Slow Cooker Pinto Beans

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These slow cooker pinto beans are easy to make for taco night. The secret ingredient helps to nullify the gassy side effects.Taco night is the perfect dinner for a family with picky eaters. As long as there are a few fillings that everyone enjoys, different family members can choose what they want to include in their tacos.

We have taco night every few weeks, and my favorite part is the leftover taco salad that I get to eat for lunch the next day. Instead of depending on taco meat, I always include slow cooker pinto beans or black beans as part of our taco spread.

By using the slow cooker, I don’t have to worry about a pot of beans boiling over on the stove. I place a piece of kombu in the cooking water while the beans soak and cook, and this has two benefits. It infuses the beans with minerals from this sea plant, and it also nullifies the gassy side effects of the beans. Kombu is worth the price you pay at Whole Foods or an Asian market because you only need to include a small piece of kombu in order to see its benefits.

Canned beans are a nice convenience once in a while, but homemade beans are so much more affordable. Here’s the breakdown for you:

  • Dry beans cost $.19 per cup of cooked beans.
  • Canned beans cost at least $.40 for a cup of cooked beans.
  • Cooked beans in a can cost more than twice as much as dry beans.

Slow Cooker Pinto Beans

These slow cooker pinto beans are great for taco night.
Print Recipe
pinto beans
Prep Time:5 minutes
Cook Time:6 hours 30 minutes
Soak Time:8 hours
Total Time:14 hours 35 minutes

Recommended Equipment


  • 1 lb dry pinto beans about 2 1/2 cups uncooked beans
  • 1 by 2 inch piece of kombu
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 3/4 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt


  • In the pot of a slow cooker, cover the beans with 8 cups of water. Add the kombu and soak overnight.
  • In the morning, remove the kombu temporarily and drain the beans. Rinse them and then return them to the pot.
  • Return the kombu to the pot and cover with water or broth. I add water an inch higher than the top of the beans.
  • Add the seasonings to the slow cooker and stir. Cook on low for 6 hours. Check on the beans periodically to see if they are tender. When they are beginning to get tender (after about 6 hours), turn the temperature up to high for 30 minutes.
  • When the beans are well-softened, drain most of the water. Taste the beans and top them off with a little more seasoning if needed.

Approximate Nutrition Info

Calories: 108kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 222mg | Potassium: 326mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 59IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 2mg
Servings: 16
Calories: 108kcal
Cost: $.10 per serving

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Slow Cooker Pinto Beans Price Breakdown

This recipe costs $1.63 to make, and it yields 8 cups of cooked beans. The cost per ½ cup serving is $.10 per serving.  Ten cents! A comparable amount of ground turkey costs $.37 per serving, almost 4 times as much as the beans. You won’t believe how delicious and flavorful these beans are, and they are a great way to stretch your grocery budget.


  1. Hi there! I’m loving this recipe, but, alas! I have no slow cooker! Anyway I could use a regular ol’ pot? 🙂 Thank you so much for posting!

    1. Yes, Amelia, you could simmer these beans in a pot on the stove as well. Follow the cooking time listed on the package of beans.

  2. It is amazing how much more canned beans actually do cost! I haven’t tried cooking them in the slow cooker, I need to try that! It might be the perfect method for me! I love fix it and forget it 🙂
    Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! 🙂

    Be sure to check out the winning entry this week for our Better Batter Giveaway! The winner will be announced Thursday evening!

    See you there!

    Cindy from

  3. Annemarie, I’m so glad to read this on a Monday, mere hours before I head down to Cincinnati for my son’s sled hockey practice (and I get to hit the Cincinnati Asian Market).

    I will not forget this time!

    (to get Kombu)

  4. Do you put the salt in with the other spices? I stink at cooking dried beans and am excited to try this method, but I had read salt will toughen the beans?

    1. You can do it, Jenny! I put the salt in with everything else before it cooks and the beans don’t come out tough, but I cook my beans until they’re almost mushy. You could also add the salt at the end and I’m sure they would still taste great.

  5. This is a great idea to do a taco filling with beans in the slow cooker. I have Kombu but always forget to use it – and it was staring me in the face the other day so this is perfect! I’m going to pin this idea!

    1. Thanks, Dawn! I hope you like it. The kombu does have a tendency to hide in the cabinet – I forget to use it sometimes too.

  6. I’m a big fan of kombu! I read about it in a veggie cookbook a while back and used it for from scratch black beans. Love the idea of using a slow cooker. Thanks for the great recipe.

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