Beans are one of the most budget-friendly foods out there.

If you want to cut your food budget, start incorporating more beans into your diet!

Here’s the deal: Canned beans and dried beans are both cheap options. But dried beans are, ounce for ounce, cheaper than canned beans. 

How much cheaper?

  • A cup of canned beans costs about 70 cents
  • A cup of prepared dried beans costs about 30 cents

How to make pinto beans in the slow cooker: Delicious beans at 1/3 the cost! Click through for instructions.

Making Pinto Beans In A Slow Cooker: The Process

Scroll down for detailed instructions – but here is the process, in a nutshell:

  1. Rinse and sort beans: Remove any rotten, discolored, or odd-looking beans or debris. 
  2. Soak the beans: This cuts down on cooking time, and also helps aid in digestion. How long to soak pinto beans? Preferably overnight, but any soak is better than no soak. Aim for overnight, but even an hour-long soak will be more effective than no soak at all.
  3. Rinse beans again
  4. Place beans in slow cooker: A 3.5 quart slow cooker works well, but a larger crock pot will also work. Add enough water to cover the beans by 2 inches. 
  5. Add spices and aromatics: I added salt, spices, onion, and garlic.
  6. Cook on low or high: On low, the beans will cook for 6 to 7 hours. On high, the beans will cook in 3.5 to 4 hours. Test the beans at the cooking time – if you prefer a softer bean, continue cooking for an additional 30 minutes or more.
  7. Cool, eat, and store for future use: Once the beans are cool, you can place them in individual plastic storage bags and freeze. They are ready to be eaten and used in a wide variety of recipes.

Slow cooker pinto beans: Learn how to make tasty homemade beans at home in the slow cooker.

Warning About Red Kidney Beans

This cooking method will work for most dried beans. However, red kidney beans should never been made in the slow cooker.

Red kidney beans contain high levels of phytohaemagglutinin (PHA). The slow, steady heat of a slow cooker is not enough to destroy this toxin. Consuming these beans could cause stomach discomfort, nausea or vomiting.

Uses For Cooked Pinto Beans

These beans can be used in any recipe that calls for canned beans. Here are some tasty recipes to try:

How To Make Refried Beans Using Cooked Pinto Beans

When these pinto beans are complete, you can use them to make homemade refried beans at home.

You can follow this recipe for refried beans. But skip the steps that involve cooking the beans on the stovetop.

You can use these slow cooker-cooked beans plus a bit of the cooking liquid to make a delicious batch of homemade refried beans.

Slow cooker pinto beans: Learn how to make tasty homemade beans at home in the slow cooker.

Pinto Beans

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes

Cooking the beans with spices is optional. I like the subtle flavor it adds, but you can certainly omit the salt, spices, onion, and garlic.


  • 1 pound dried pinto beans
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • One onion, skin removed, and cut in half
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut in half


  1. Rinse and sort beans. Remove any beans that are rotten or discolored.
  2. Place beans in a large bowl, cover with water, and soak for several hours or overnight.
  3. Drain and rinse with water.
  4. Place beans in a 3.5 quart slow cooker. Add enough water to cover beans by 2 inches. Add salt, spices, garlic, and onion.
  5. Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours, or high for 3.5 to 4 hours.
  6. Turn off heat, remove ceramic insert, and allow to cool to room temperature.
  7. Use or store beans: The beans are ready to eat. You can store beans for up to a week in the fridge. To freeze, remove as much moisture as possible. Place cooled beans into individual plastic freezer bags or a freezer-safe container. Frozen beans are good for up to 3 months.

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