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An overhead shot of a quart of cooked slow cooker black beans.

Simplest Slow Cooker Black Beans



  • Don’t be afraid to make these ahead of time, as they continue to develop more flavor as the beans sit in their cooking liquid.
  • Olive oil is something I always add to my slow-cooker cooked beans (see here). I think it adds flavor, especially once the beans finish cooking and are cooling in the flavorful cooking liquid. Feel free to omit if you wish.
  • Pepper flakes: if you like a little bit of spice, add the the chili flakes; if you don’t, omit or use less. 1 teaspoon will not make for especially spicy beans, but there will be a nice kick.
  • To make these in the Instant Pot, into the Instant Pot add all of the ingredients listed below along with 6 cups of water. Start with 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Turn the valve to sealing. Set the IP to Manual, High Pressure, 30 minutes. Let it release naturally for at least 20 minutes. Uncover. Taste. Add more salt (I often add 1 to 2 more teaspoons of salt) to taste.


  • 1 lb. dried black beans, no need to soak
  • 1 half of a small onion, halved through the core to keep it intact, peeled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and halved
  • 2 to 4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, optional


  1. Place the beans, onion half, bay leaf, garlic, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, pepper flakes (if using), and olive oil (if using) into a slow cooker. Cover with 8 cups of water. Cover pot. Cook on high heat for 6 to 8 hours or until the beans are done, but start checking at the 4-hour mark — all slow cookers are different and times might vary, too, depending on the age of your beans.
  2. Taste. Add more salt to taste. I add 2 more teaspoons, but start with 1 or a 1/2 teaspoon and adjust from there. Note: When you first taste a bean, do not expect to be wowed. The beans develop more flavor as they cool in their cooking liquid, which will continue to season them. As noted above, I find they taste even better on day 2.
  3. Store the beans in their cooking liquid. I love these deli quart containers for this purpose. I freeze the beans in their cooking liquid in these quart containers as well.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Category: Beans
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: black, beans, slow, cooker, crockpot, dried