Slow Cooker Gigante (White) Beans
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These gigante beans cook in the slow cooker for 6-12 hours with tomatoes, thyme, onions, garlic, and olive oil until they become stewy, creamy, and delicious! If you can’t find gigante beans, the method works well with Great Northern, Cannellini, Lima, or other dried white beans.
On Wednesday morning, inspired by a Dinner, A Love Story post, I dumped half a pound of dried gigante beans into my crockpot followed by half a can of crushed tomatoes, a bay leaf, pepper flakes, water, smashed garlic, chopped onions, thyme, and a drizzle of olive oil.
I whisked the kids off to soccer tots then to the bagel shop, and when we returned three hours later, the house smelled as if I had been working away all morning.
Dried beans in the crockpot for the win! This is where the crockpot really excels: No browning required. No measuring required. The crockpot keeps the one-pot wonder simmering at the steadiest simmer, ensuring creamy, not mushy beans.
How nice to be able to leave the house while a machine works away? And to have the oven and stovetop free should I feel like making bread or the children their favorite dinner.
The beans cooked all day — they needed 8 hours in the pot — and when the dinner bell rang, I toasted bread, placed a slice in each of our bowls and ladled the stewy white beans overtop. With a few cracks of pepper and shavings of parmesan, dinner was served.
More Slow Cooker Bean Recipes to Try
- Slow Cooker Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
- Simplest Slow Cooker Black Beans
- Slow Cooker Flageolets, Gratinéed
- Simplest Slow Cooker Chickpeas
How to Make Gigante (or other white) Beans in the Slow Cooker
Here’s the play-by-play:
Select your bean. I love gigante beans but they do take a long time to cook, anywhere from 8 to 12 hours, so plan ahead. Great Northern, Cannellini beans, Lima, or other white beans would all work here, and those varieties will cook in 6 to 8 hours. Also, if you get on the Rancho Gordo mailing list, they’ll let you know when they get beans (such as these Corona Beans) back in stock:
Dump all of the ingredients into a slow cooker. (I never add pancetta anymore.)
You can use whole peeled tomatoes — simply crush with your hands. Or use crushed tomatoes.
Give everything a stir. Then cover the pot and cook on high heat for 8-12 hours.
When done, the beans will be creamy and cooked through, and the broth will be plentiful.
Ladle the stewy beans over a hunk of bread.
Shave parmesan over top if you wish.
Crack lots of pepper over top, too.Print
Slow Cooker Gigante (White) Beans
- Total Time: 12 hours 5 minutes
- Yield: Serves 4
- Diet: Vegetarian
Adapted from this Dinner, A Love Story post. As Jenny notes, the beauty of this sort of meal is that you really don’t have to measure.
If you don’t have a slow cooker, here’s my mother’s oven method.
Beans: I love gigante beans but they are hard to find, and they’ve gotten so expensive. Use any white bean you like here. Cooking time will vary depending on the age and type of bean you are using.
Note: You can soak the beans prior to cooking if you wish, and I recomm end doing so if you are using Gigante beans, but you do not have to. If you do soak, the cooking time may be shorter. Gigante beans take anywhere from 8 to 12 hours, so plan ahead.
I love these spooned over this oven-roasted polenta.
- 8 oz dried white beans, such as Gigante, Great Northern, or Cannellini (see notes above)
- 1 bay leaf
- pinch red pepper flakes (I use 1/2 teaspoon)
- a few cloves garlic, smashed
- two onions, chopped to yield about 2 cups
- 1.5 cups crushed tomatoes (I love Pomi finely diced tomatoes)
- a few sprigs thyme
- parmesan rind if you have one
- 4 cups water
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt or to taste
- fresh cracked pepper to taste
- shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano for serving
- toasted bread for serving or oven-roasted polenta
- Place everything with the exception of the Parmigiano Reggiano and toasted bread or polenta, into your crockpot. Cook on high for at least 6 to 8 hours. Depending on the type of bean you are using, the times will vary. If using unsoaked gigante beans, it may take as long as 12 hours to cook.
- When the beans are done, taste the broth. Add more salt to taste.
- Ladle broth into bowls over toasted bread or serve toasted bread on the size. Shave Parmigiano Reggiano over top. Crack pepper over top. Drizzle more olive oil over top if you wish.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 12 hours
- Category: Beans
- Method: Slow Cooker, Crockpot
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: slow cooker, crockpot, beans, simple, winter, gigante, white
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
145 Comments on “Slow Cooker Gigante (White) Beans”
What size of crockpot did you use? I have a 6.5 quart as find that many recipes are for 4 quart; hence, dishes can get overcooked in mine is not careful. From your photos, it looks like we might have the same size ?
I only discovered your blog yesterday morning–and I must say I wish I had found it sooner! I made this bean recipe–I loved the idea of using large beans (few recipes call for them) and so I picked up some Rancho Gordo Royal Corona. I live in CA near Napa so we can get them at the grocery store. I also used bacon because that is what I had. The soup is delicious!
More importantly, I was compelled to try your peasant bread recipe! I love to cook, but I have always been intimidated by bread making. No more! It turned out awesome! Thank you so much for all the videos–I watched them all (twice actually) and they gave me the confidence to try it out. It was very easy and I definitely plan to make it again.
One question, can the bread recipe be easily doubled?
I’m so happy to hear all of this! So glad you liked the soup, and I’m so glad you liked the bread. I’m jealous that you can get Rancho Gordo beans at the grocery store. I just ordered some “Marcella” beans. I’m so excited!
Yes, the bread can be easily doubled. When you double, three teaspoons of yeast will be sufficient.
Thank you for your kind words,
This looks delightful and I soooo want to try it but we are trying to be health conscious and lose a little weight for our daughter’s upcoming wedding. Wondering what the nutritional content is and if I could tweak it so it would be less caloric. Thanks so much for any thoughts you may be able to give me.
I don’t have the nutritional content, but I’ve heard good things about a website called My Fitness Pal. I think the easiest way to cut back calories here would be to omit the pancetta. If you want to cut it back further, I would reduce the oil to 2 tablespoons — you can always add more at the end if it needs more flavor. Hope that helps! Exciting about your daughter!
This was really good. A 4 on my 5 point scale of recipes (which means that it rises to the level of being so good, I would not only make it again, but I would recommend it to others). I used Rancho Gordo Royal Corona beans, and for the broth I used River Cottage vegetable bouillon food52.com/recipes/64146-the-river-cottage-s-vegetable-bouillon-a-k-a-souper-mix (which I know is a bit fussy, but I already had it on hand), and for the bread I used Lahey’s no knead recipe https://kneadingandknives.wordpress.com/2016/07/28/food-52-genius-recipes-no-knead-bread/, which I also had on hand. I made the recipe as written, with a couple of dried chile d’arbol serving as my “pinch”, the full 4 T of olive oil, pancetta, the parmesan rind, and seasoning adjusted at the end as recommended. I soaked the beans overnight, draining the liquid (which Rancho Gordo says is unnecessary, but I’ve had some under done Royal Coronas before, which is a shame because fully cooked Royal Coronas are amazing.) My slow cooker has a brown/saute setting, which allows the mix to be boiled at the beginning, which I did for 15 min, and then slow cooked it for 12 hrs. It was a bit soupy toward the end, so I boiled it again for 10 min or so, and left the cover off for the last hour. Really, really good. Maybe a 5.
Tom, I just placed a huge Rancho Gordo order that includes a few bags of Royal Coronas — a friend just recommended them to me. I’m so excited to try this recipe with them. I’ve also been meaning to try that veg bouillon recipe — sounds like a good thing to have on hand. Glad you liked this one, and all of your modifications/adjustments sound great. Thanks so much for writing in!
Thank you so much for this recipe! I too have an unused crockpot and a recipe book to go with it, both are dusty from lack of use. We are vegetarian and all the recipes call for a lot of cutting and browning before starting the crockpot-Not much of a time saver! I will definitely try this.
I hope you like it, Monica! It’s a staple here.
This was very good, loved the big beans. I love my slow cooker for beans. I do black beans and chick peas in it all the time. I also make a squash soup from Skinny Taste that is terrific. I have purchased so many slow cooker recipe books looking for things that work and have three that can reliably turn out good slow cooker meals – Skinny Taste, both cookbooks, Cooking Light – 100 Best Slow Cooker Recipes and The Mexican Slow Cooker from Deborah Schneider. The soup and stew like recipes work best with beans and vegetables. And I usually do something different with the meat – ie put it in later so it doesn’t disintegrate and I always put chicken in the last 2 hours if possible, bone in, skin on. Some days when I am very busy its nice just to throw everything in the slow cooker and know that when I get home at the end of the day I don’t have to do anything to get dinner on the table, but dish a hot stew or soup into bowls with some good croutons and/or crusty bread.
I think I make that same squash soup?? This one: https://alexandracooks.com/2016/11/11/slow-cooker-butternut-squash-apple-soup/
Thank you so much for the book recs. Definitely will check them out. I’m really curious about the Mexican Slow Cooker one. Sounds great.
Made this today as written (no pancetta) and served it over rice. It was delicious and the rice soaked up everybody but of the yummy stew. Thanks for a great recipe! We are not vegetarian but it was so delicious, definitely didn’t miss the pancetta!
Every bit! Darn autocorrect!
I haven’t made this wonderful recipe in a while because giant limas were very hard to source around these parts for the last couple of years. I just found some but I no longer have a slow cooker! I could use the slow cook function on my instant pot or I could just pressure cook them and see how it goes. Curious if you have tried this recipe under pressure yet yourself?
Hi Lucy! I have not tried them under pressure yet, and I have not tried the slow cooker function on my Instant Pot yet either — do you like it? My instinct is to say try the slow-cooker function but I’m not sure why exactly, because I’ve had great results cooking beans under pressure. I think I worry that the soup might be too soupy and not stewy enough after being cooked under pressure, but that’s an easy fix, too: simmer it down until it thickens to the consistency you like.
Thanks Alexandra! I haven’t used slow cook in the IP yet either, might as well try it with this? I bought quite a few gigantes, so maybe I’ll do one batch slow-cook and one under pressure. Will report back!
PS your kitchen reno looks amazing! ????????????
I tried this a couple of months ago with the IP slow cooker and the beans never softened. Using the slow cooker today to make this to ‘celebrate’ our first snow.
Hi again Alexandra!
So I tested both versions in the instant pot and I actually preferred it under pressure. I used two cups of beans (soaked because they looked like they could use a soak) a full carton of Pomi tomatoes, and reduced the water to 3 cups. Cooked for 32 minutes high pressure with natural release, and I simmered it on sauté mode for about 5 minutes to reduce the liquid a little further. Such a simple dump and go meal!
Thank you for this, Lucy — my Instant Pot takes up so much room that the slow cooker function is almost a non-starter. But soaked beans under high pressure for 32 minutes is definitely the ticket! I’m new to Instant Pot, so am on the lookout for all kinds of recipes/adaptations for the new toy.
The first time I made this with the Greek beans, I shared the soup with a friend. We both loved it. Today I doubled the beans to 16 oz. and doubled the other ingredients. It is too oily and not as good. I cooked it in my slow cooker at Low for 9 hours.
Help! I am ready to try again!
Hi Carmen! So sorry for the delay here. Next time, I would not double the oil and not double the pancetta. Sorry about this! One fix if you still have your beans: let them cool completely in the fridge. The fat will congeal at the top, and you can scrape all of some of it off.
I am making the beans for the second time in a week. My husband and I are plant based and loved this recipe. We paired it with brown rice and left out the pancetta and parm rind. It was perfect.
Oh wonderful! So happy to hear this, Patty! I never use the pancetta anymore. Plenty of flavor without it.
Thank you for inspiring me to use my crockpot for beans, Alexandra. I am never organized enough to soak the beans the night before, so this gives me a second chance when I decide tonight is Bean Night.
This worked out as a great base recipe for me. I used dried chiles from the Indian food store, and fresh tomatoes instead of canned (with 1 small can of Contadina tomato paste). I also added mushrooms instead of pancetta, as I must avoid cured meats now (sigh). The mushrooms are a wonderful accompaniment to the beans. Because I used water instead of broth and skipped the pancetta, my note-to-self said that it needed more salt. Another similar recipe called for capers, which I think might be a nice savory addition, if you have them on hand (I didn’t). Otherwise, I think folks will need to salt to their own personal taste (I tend to keep my salt shaker close at hand when I eat anyway).
A delicious meal and easy to put together when you decide late in the morning that you want beans for dinner. By the way, I live in Belgium, so I am able to get the wonderful haricots geants from my local Carrefour. I appreciated the other reviewers’ references to they types of giant white beans that can be found in the States for when I return in the summertime.
So great to hear this, Loretta! I, too, like to keep my salt shaker close at hand whenever I am eating anything 🙂 🙂 🙂 I never use pancetta here anymore, so I don’t think you’re missing out, but I think I ned to try mushrooms and capers. Yum!
Could this be done in a Dutch oven? I (mistakenly?) got rid of our slow cooker after it went unused for over a year prior to Covid. Thanks!!
Hi Kate! So sorry for the delay here! Yes, it can! Actually, my mom makes them in a Dutch oven. She does soak the beans overnight. If you email me, I can email you her word doc of the recipe: firstname.lastname@example.org
I love this gigante beans recipe, but just have a taste for something “green” in it. Could a little
spinach or kale be added to the recipe the last hour? Sometimes that can have a bit of bitter
taste. Thank you!
Absolutely! I think you could actually just stir it in right before serving.
Talk about next level delicious. Made this with great northern beans and bacon because it’s what I had on hand. This came out so good- savory, salty, beans are creamy, filling. Served this over creamy grits and instantly went back for seconds. Alexandra’s recipes are helping me fall in love with beans!
So nice to hear this, Abdelis!
Weirdly, I can’t find dried or canned gigante or butter beans at, so far, 3 of my local grocers (one used yo carry them). It’s like the black hole of big beans!
They are SO hard to find these days, and when you order them online, they are SO expensive. I don’t even link to Amazon anymore bc it feels outrageous to pay so much for beans.
I would go with Cannelini or Great Northern. I think dried lima beans would work, too.
Any idea as to what I could substitute for the tomatoes. I’m allergic to tomatoes but the recipe looks sooo delicious. So many recipes use tomatoes. So discouragig,,,
Hi! I would just leave them out. Another thought could be to add some diced butternut squash … it might bread down and help thicken the sauce slightly.
I didn’t separate into smaller containters when I froze this. I defrosted for dinner, we have leftovers. Can i refreeze them? Thanks, love yur recipes!
Hi Lori, yes absolutely! And thank you, so nice to hear 🙂 🙂 🙂
Loved this recipe and very glad I doubled it Used white kidney beans So simple yet delicious Share it wit a friend who immediate made it herself
So nice to hear this, Pat! Great to hear your friend approved, too. Nice work doubling it 🙂
This recipe is truly like a nice warm hug on the inside! 🙂 i made this soup exactly to recipe (with the exception of doubling) and it was delectable! All the flavors balanced well and nothing was over powering however I used extra parmesean over the top in my own bowl and that gave it an extra bite, and punch of flavor!! There is nothing I’d do differently the next time I make it. I love soups and beans in general, so this is a win win and will definitely be added to my recipe box! Thank you for sharing this goodness!
Oh Yay! So nice to hear this, Monica 🙂 🙂 🙂 It’s one of my staples all winter. So glad you approve 💕
This recipe is absolutely fantastic! A new favorite dish in our house. I can’t say enough good things about it. Simple, freezes beautifully, delicious! I used dried Great Northern beans & cooked for 8 hours and it was perfect. I do recommend using high quality canned tomatoes for the best flavor. I served it over the Creamy Parmesan Polenta from Sarah Copeland’s book “Instant Family Meals”. A+ is my book!
Oh Yay! So nice to hear this, Nichole!! And I’ve made that polenta with these beans, too. Yay 🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉 Thanks for writing.
This recipe turned out just beautifully! I usually make Gigantes Plaki the old fashioned way (boiling and then cooking in the oven). They always turn out perfectly creamy that way, but, I wanted to try an “easier” no fuss method. And, I’m so happy with how the crockpot version turned out. The ratio of beans to broth was perfect and the beans were perfectly cooked. My son made a roasted garlic boule, which we tore into chunks and smothered in the beans and sauce. The only adjustment I made was to add dried oregano during the cooking and some fresh parsley at the end. Next time I’m going to sub out the spices and use the ones from my shakshuka (garlic, cumin, cinnamon, and coriander, and then adding some mint, cilantro, and sumac at the end).
So wonderful to hear this, Danielle! I am actually making these tomorrow morning for a friend who is arriving on Friday – first visit in over a year! A roasted garlic boule sounds absolutely divine!! Thanks for writing.
I’ve made this recipe twice so far. The first time using cannellini beans and the second time using big limas. It is a brilliant recipe. Absolutely effortless to put together and just delicious to come home to. The second time, we were away for a long time and I left it cooking on low for maybe 8 hours? and when I got home it was almost completely dry. So I threw in a whole bunch more water (and chucked in a whole lot of kale so I wouldn’t have to come up with a vegetable side) and it turned out perfect. Both times, I served it over a simple polenta. This one is going into the regular rotation.
So nice to hear this, Sharon! Such a relief, too, you were able to salvage those beans! I love throwing greens into things like this at the tail end of cooking … such a great way to instantly add a veg. Thanks for writing!
Just wondering if you could use canned beans and cook on the stove
Hi Linda! I have heard that you can simmer canned beans stovetop with aromatics and that it’s a great way to make canned beans more flavorful, so I say go for it! I have not personally tried, so I can’t say how it will turn out, but it’s worth a shot. Also, I would probably reduce the water considerably. And definitely drain and rinse the beans before using.
Hi Ali! The Rancho Gordo Corona beans are indeed spectacular. I have them on hand always, and have vacuum-sealed jars of them in storage. They always deliver, cooking up plump, flavorful, and perfect. The problem is availability – they sell out quickly, and I can’t always get them – so I buy them up when they’re in stock.
I find the imported beans rather hit-or-miss, and I haven’t found a Mediterranean or Baltic market in my area that carries the really big ones dried. Canned, yes, but not the dried, and the flavor of the canned beans pales in comparison, in my opinion. When I’ve tried to buy the imported beans via Amazon, I might get Gigantes, but it seems just as likely that I get something that looks suspiciously similar to large Lima beans instead, and whatever I get is often broken and split.
Love your recipes!
Ann, I would agree! The imported ones via Amazon definitely are hit or miss (not to mention very expensive), whereas Rancho Gordo beans are consistently delicious. I wish I had a Greek market near me! Thanks for writing 🙂
Can I double the recipe for Slow Cooker Gigante Beans in the slow cooker? Need to feed 8 people. Thanks so much.
Yes! Go for it … as long as your slow cooker can handle the volume.
This recipe sounds delicious! But I don’t have a crockpot and was wondering if you have a recommendation of how long to cook it on the stove?
Also, just made your easy eggplant parmesan and it was delicious!
Hi Casey! Here’s a link to the way my mother does it in her oven: Gigante Beans, Oven Method
Yay re eggplant parm. Thanks for writing!
Hi Ali….. I made this yesterday, and cooked this with presoaked cannellini in the crock pot for 8 hours.
It never became creamy stew like, the water was hardly absorbed and the water level was still the same as the start. ?????? I It just did not have that thick consistency as in the video.
I think the presoaked beans never absorbed the water. So now I have tomato broth and cooked beans, any suggestions?
I’ll soup some of it I guess. Yours looked so much better!
Best to you,
Donna, hello! And apologies for the delay here. I am stumped. The only time something like this has happened to me is when I used the slow cooker setting on my Instant Pot — same thing: liquid didn’t reduce, and my beans were barely cooked. So, I stick to my crock pot now for this recipe. Anyway, I’m so sorry about this! My only suggestion would be to strain out the beans, simmer the liquid stovetop until it tastes right and gets to the consistency you like. Hope all is well. xo
I made this recipe tonight for dinner. Delicious! I followed the recipe as written and used great northern white beans because I could not find gigante beans. The texture of the beans, flavor, and broth turned out perfect. Will definitely make again!
So great to hear this, Kim! Thanks so much for writing 🙂 🙂 🙂
These beans over polenta look amazing!!! I love the idea of using my slow cooker but I’ve been so disappointed in the past. Smelling lovely smells all day just to open it up at the end to find a watery tasteless product. Also, the time range; a two to three hour difference is too much. If I’m planning dinner for 6:00, waiting for 2 or 3 hours won’t do. Do you make a dish first, time it and then use that time frame for future meals so that you can get dinner to the table at the right time? I would love to use the slow cooker more but these issues lol!
Yes, I usually time it so it’s done long before dinner is ready. Then I either store the beans or whatever I’m cooking and reheat them stovetop. If it’s too going to be too much time (like a few hours), I’ll just leave the beans in the crockpot, and reheat them over low before serving.
Can this be done stove top if you don’t have a slow cooker or crock pot (I don’t)
Yes! Here is my mother’s oven version of the beans.