Swap your canned beans for homemade with this easy crock pot white bean recipe. Learn how to cook beans from scratch with this slow cooker version- you don't even have to soak the beans thanks to the extended cooking time. Be sure to read through the full post for important notes and tips as not all types of beans are safely cooked in the slow cooker.
I'm not against using canned white beans. They are super quick and convenient (and what I most often use for Italian Sausage Rice).
However, when I am proactive enough to cook up dry beans for a recipe, I am always glad that I did.
They are just so much more flavorful (I'd happily eat them all on their own), the texture is better and, especially when made in the crock pot, they are actually quite simple to make (as are these black beans).
Like with Buffalo Chicken Chili, all you have to do is dump everything in the slow cooker and then let it do all of the work. Such a great way to make a big batch of beans for meal prep or to have on hand for your favorite recipes.
So let me show you how to cook some delicious white beans in your slow cooker!
- Dry White Beans- Not all white beans will work with this recipe as some contain high amounts of lectins that need to be boiled in order to be safe to consume.
- You CAN Use: Navy Beans and Great Northern Beans
- You CANNOT Use: Lima Beans (AKA Butter Beans), White Kidney Beans (AKA Cannellini Beans), Broad Beans (AKA Fava Beans)
- If you would like to use one of these beans, you will need to soak them in water for a minimum of 8 hours and then boil them for 30 minutes before finishing them in the slow cooker in order to reduce the lectins.
- Salt- If you plan to use the beans for sweet recipes or want to make the beans low sodium, you can omit it.
- Water- I most often use water but you could use chicken broth or vegetable broth instead for a bit of extra flavor. You may want to reduce the salt depending on how salty your broth is.
1. Wash beans. Place the dried beans in a fine mesh sieve and rinse them thoroughly.
2. Mix. Add the cooking liquid, rinsed dried beans and salt to the base of a crock pot or slow cooker and stir to combine.
3. Cook. Cook on the high setting for 4-5 hours until you have tender beans.
Leftovers and Storage
To Store: Store leftover crockpot white beans in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. You can drain and rinse the cooking liquid off before storing or store with the liquid.
To Freeze: Freeze the cooled beans in a labeled container or zip-top bag for up to 3–4 months.
To Reheat: Reheat in the microwave until warmed through or on the stovetop adding water if needed.
Make it Your Own
- Garlic White Beans- In addition to the salt, add 2 cloves of minced garlic to the slow cooker or 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.
- Italian Inspired- Along with the salt, add 4 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon of rubbed sage, a bay leaf and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper. Stir in good quality extra virgin olive oil when serving.
Ways to Use White Beans
Substitute this white beans recipe the next time you would use a can of white beans. Some suggestions:
- White Chicken Chili with Kale
- Italian Sausage Rice Skillet
- White Bean Hummus
- Tuscan Kale Soup
- White Bean Toasts
- Vanilla Bean Hummus
Or try them out as a side dish to:
Frequently Asked Questions
Because of the slow cooking process, it doesn't change the cook time enough to make a difference so you don't have to soak the beans. But, if you find that you have difficulty digesting beans, there are sources that suggest that soaking beans can make them more digestible.
Definitely! Stir together all of the ingredients in a large pot, then cover with a lid and bring to a boil over medium heat. Then remove the lid, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1-1.5 hours until tender, adding more cups of water as needed.
Try this recipe with pinto beans or chickpeas. However, it is not a safe method for red kidney beans, white kidney beans, broad beans or lima beans as these contain unsafe amounts of lectins that won't be broken down with the low cooking temperature of the slow cooker.
Tips and Notes
- Unless you have a very small slow cooker, I recommend making at least one pound of beans in order to have even cooking.
- Cooking beans in the slow cooker is not a safe method for Red Kidney Beans, especially, as well as White Kidney (Cannellini) Beans, Lima (Butter) Beans or Broad (Fava) Beans as it may not get hot enough to destroy the high concentration of lectins found in these foods.
- If you would like to cook these beans in the slow cooker, it is recommended that you first soak them for a minimum of 8 hours and then boil them for 30 minutes before placing them in the slow cooker to finish cooking.
- Some sources suggest that not soaking beans or cooking them in the slow cooker may make them more difficult to digest. If you find them difficult to digest, follow the above method for kidney beans for any type of beans in the slow cooker.
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And if you liked this recipe...
...you might also like:
Slow Cooker White Beans
- 1 Slow Cooker 4 Qt or Larger
- 3 cups dry great northern or navy white beans (1 pound) *See Note
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt optional
- 6 cups water
- Rinse the white beans thoroughly in a fine mesh sieve.
- Add the beans, salt and water to the base of a slow cooker and stir to combine.
- Cook on the high setting for 4-5 hours or the low setting for 8-10 hours until tender.
- Remove the lid, stir and serve or cool and store for later use.