Tricia’s Slow Cooker Batch Cooking Navy Beans

I really love it when my slow cooker can do the work for me. January usually means a freezer and pantry challenge, including rice and beans. So, about once a month I batch cook some beans to tuck away in the freezer. Especially in the winter months, that means navy beans.

Using the slow cooker to batch cook takes only a little pre-planning.

  • You need to rinse and sort beans the afternoon or evening prior to cooking.
  • Next, let the beans soak overnight in the slow cooker.
  • The next morning, strain out the soaking water, rinse your beans and rinse out your slow cooker.
  • Put your beans back in the slow cooker.
  • Cover your beans with fresh water – about an inch above your beans.
  • I season my beans with minced garlic and onion.
  • Cook at least 10-12 hours on low. If you are in a hurry, you can cook the beans on high for several hours then adjust the setting to low. You’ll just need to test the beans to be sure they are done.

Overnight variation: I have also rinsed and sorted the beans mid day. Let them soak until bedtime. Drain then cook the beans, as mentioned above, in the slow cooker overnight. Cool, bag individually and freeze in meal-sized portions. Then, serve those beans up with other veggies and some cornbread. Or choose from the recipes below:

There’s no set-in-stone way to batch cook beans in the slow cooker. It takes a while but requires very little supervision. And the investment pays off big on busy weeknights. In our home it helps fill all those hungry tummies the frugal way!

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My wife and I have been trying to eat more beans. We bought a decent sized batch of Navy Beans and attempted to cook them in the slow cooker twice now for 12-hours at a time. The last time around we attempted them on high for the last 3 hours. Unfortunately they are still hard, almost crunchy. I don’t want to have them go to waste… Would you be able to offer any suggestions on how to make them softer like other beans?

Michael – are you soaking your beans overnight prior to cooking them? If so then it may be your slow cooker? When I soak the beans overnight then cook them for 12 hours they turn out well. I sure don’t want you to waste the beans either! I might suggest cooking the beans conventionally – following the package directions but I’m hoping that it may just be you need to soak them.

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In regards to hard beans, I read in my slow cooker manual to not add salt while cooking. This causes to beans to remain hard. I have a Rival Crock Pot (one of the old ones from the 1970’s). The manual suggests to add the salt after the beans have cooked. I am cooking navy beans today in my crock pot. I’ll let you know how they turn out.

I just re-read the hints in the manual. It states that the beans must be softened completely before adding sugar and/or acid foods. Sugar and acid have a hardening effect on beans and will prevent softening.

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I never soak my beans. I give them a quick rinse and sort them, then throw ’em straight into my slow cooker on low. They never need more than 6 hours (any more and they turn to mush).