slow cooker black beans-5 squareWhen I was growing up and it came to Latin food, I thought the only kind of beans that existed were refried beans. I can’t remember when I realized there were other beans out there–sometime after more Mexican restaurants than Taco Time and El Sol (if you have Logan, Utah connections, you most likely know El Sol) came to town, so late-ish high school. And while I can 100% get behind really amazing refried beans, you’re more likely to encounter flavorless mush from a can. So when I discovered black beans, it was a big day.

It’s not a huge secret that Sara and I love black beans–I just did a Google search for “Our Best Bites black beans” and had over a page of results. And while canned beans are great in a pinch, I love cooking up a batch of dried black beans because I can control the flavor, sodium, and cooking them from scratch is so unbelievably cheap that it kind of makes those two pairs of shoes I just ordered a little more okay.

To make black beans from scratch, you’ll need a pound of black beans, 6 cups of low-sodium chicken broth, 2 chopped onions, 8 cloves of smashed garlic, and 1 tablespoon of green Tabasco sauce.

slow cooker black beans ingredients

Place beans in a colander and rinse, picking out any stones or shriveled beans that you can see.

rinsed black beans

If you live at a high altitude or if you just want to, place that beans in a slow cooker and cover with cool water and soak overnight. Now…I don’t soak my beans because I live at a low altitude and remembering to start my beans in the morning is a big enough feat, so I usually just cook mine on high for about 6 hours, no soaking involved.

If you’re soaking the beans, drain the liquid off the beans in the morning and rinse again. Add the chicken broth, chopped onions,

chopped onions

garlic, and Tabasco sauce

Green Tabasco Sauce

and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-6 hours (times will vary depending on individual slow cookers and altitude…kind of keep an eye on things). If desired, add the juice of a lime. Season with salt and additional Tabasco sauce to taste. Makes about 6 cups of beans or twelve 1/2-cup servings. If you want to make these for future use, they can be portioned out into individual 1/2 cup servings or portioned into 1 1/2 cup servings, which is about equivalent to a can of beans. You can store them in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer for about 6 months.

Slow Cooker Black Beans from Our Best Bites



  1. I love beans! Most of the time, I can my own beans. This way, I have the convenience of a ready to go product, but I get to control the flavor and salt. I love the idea of the slow cooker, though — I will have to try this! Thanks.

  2. We prefer the chipotle Tobasco which is also very mild, and has a delicious smokiness in addition. We don’t eat super hot foods, but we go through a bottle of that per month. It’s MUCH better than the green, we think, and just what bland beans need. I would guess that you’re going to have some tortillas on the menu with those beans. I hope they are corn! When flour tortillas were introduced to northern Mexico, it caused a epidemic of Type 2 diabetes. Good, fresh, yellow corn tortillas are healthy and lower in carbs, calories, and fat, and higher in fiber and other nutrients.

  3. My in laws grew a whole bunch of beans a few years ago for us, so I have enjoyed cooking them dry. I have usually used the pressure cooker, but I’m glad to know I can crock pot them too. I will have to try your recipe sometime soon. Thanks!

  4. Thanks for this! A question, though, what’s the best method for freezing? Zip-top bag? Freezer safe container? With or without “juice”? And could I go with veggie stock, since the hubby is vegetarian?

    1. This is not Kate and she might have a different opinion, but yes on using veggie stock (a can of tomatoes or tomato sauce is great in there, too). I freeze mine in old sour cream or yogurt containers and I leave some liquid in when I freeze them. Sour cream containers are close to the size of a can of beans so I used to always freeze them that way but I usually use more than one so now I use the bigger yogurt containers. They probably aren’t the very most air-tight, but I almost always use them within a couple of weeks so they work fine for me.

  5. We love black beans! I usually cook mine in my pressure cooker because that requires even less planning ahead. But I have never used green tobasco. I’m pretty sure I need to get some and try it out.

    Also, I LOVE your yellow colander with smiley face holes. Where did you get it?

  6. So…do you have some kind of cheap chicken broth hookup? This recipe would cost me more to make than buying four cans of black beans. Don’t get me wrong, these look amaaaaazing and I’m so going to try them because my family adores black beans, but unless I use my hoarded stash of chicken stock (for broth soups and gravy only) it’s going to be more $$ than canned.

      1. Option 3: Make your own broth. After we have whole chicken, I put the carcass in my crockpot and cover it with water and some bouillon. Cover it and let it cook for a few hours or all day. Viola: broth. Then I freeze flat in ziplock bags. Sounds like a lot of work, I know, but it really takes almost no time and makes me feel SO NOBLE ;).

    1. Yep, you could use water, homemade broth, find it on sale (it can be ridiculously cheap–I stock up when it’s on sale.) Another option is to use water with a couple tablespoons of chicken or veggie base, which is sold right by the broths and stuff and is SUPER cheap at Sam’s Club and Costco.

      1. Good to know. I keep a little jar of the beef and chicken base in my fridge in case I run out of broth, but I never knew Sam’s carried it.

        Thanks for the tips everyone!

    2. Well I paid about $2 for the dried beans and $1.50 for a box of stock. I got 7 bags of 1&1/2 cups of black beans. So yeah I’d say this is cheaper. Lucky to find a can of black beans here in Canada cheaper than $1.25.

  7. YESSSSSSSSSSS! i love love love black beans and cook mine from the dried state all the time. But now I have a OBB recipe for it, which is bound to be amazing. Green Tabasco– genius! How did I never think of that? Thanks Kate!

  8. I love Sara’s stovetop black bean recipe, but ever since I first tried your amazing slow cooker refried beans I have been hoping for a similar recipe with black beans. Sometimes it is just nice to get all of the food prep out of the way earlier in the day. I am so excited to try these! As another option to soaking overnight, would it be possible to simmer in a pot first, like your refried beans?

  9. We love black beans and the slow cooker is a great option – do not know about the green Tabasco sauce? Is it spicy hot, can you do without it, we’re a bland group, in a good way:)

    1. The green Tabasco sauce is a favorite around our house because not only is the flavor amazing, but it’s much more mild. I promise, beans are so bland that you’re just trying to pack as much flavor into them as possible, so even with a tablespoon, the beans aren’t spicy at all. You might not want to add anymore (or you might, who knows, haha), but it just adds some flavor and acidity.

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