Make fabulous slow cooker pinto beans from scratch with this simple, healthy, and naturally vegan recipe! Perfect in a bowl, for mashing into refried beans, or using as a replacement in any recipe calling for canned pinto beans!
Why make your own beans?
Making your own pinto beans from scratch is notably cheaper than opening a can of beans, plus you get to enjoy far superior flavor and texture - without any preservatives!
Naturally vegan, this crock pot pinto bean recipe is both healthy and delicious and a favorite with any crowd!!
The salt content is also adjustable, for those looking to watch their sodium intake.
Related recipe: Vegan Black Bean Soup
Do I have to soak my beans before cooking?
You don't have to soak your beans - but I definitely recommend it. Here's why:
- Soaking the beans helps to clean them thoroughly - beans are unwashed before selling so they tend to be dirty and sometimes a bit moldy.
- Soaking helps the beans release indigestible sugars - making you less gassy later!
- Soaking beans can help decrease cooking time by up to 50%.
So, if you soak your beans, make sure to rinse and drain them after soaking, and if you don't soak, then be sure to at least rinse your beans well before cooking - and add the extra cooking water (and time!) recommended below!
Related recipe: Vegan Taco Soup
How to make slow cooker pinto beans from scratch:
Soak your dried pinto beans in a large bowl covered with 3 inches (or more) of water for at least 4 hours and up to overnight (Photo #1).
Rinse and drain beans (Photo #2).
Place beans into slow cooker with water, cumin, salt, onion and garlic powder, olive oil, diced onion, and a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies (Photos #3 & #4).
Cover and cook on high for at least 6.5-8 hours. Test desired tenderness near the end of the cook time.
For Whole Pinto Beans: Serve with the liquid from the beans for more of a soup-style pinto bean bowl, or use a slotted spoon to strain the bean juice.
For Refried Pinto Beans: Strain desired amount of beans, reserving the bean liquid. Mash beans in the crockpot or another pan (maybe you'll want to save some whole beans for another meal), with a potato masher, adding bean liquid as needed to reach desired thickness.
You can also use your blender to puree beans quickly, but be sure to be careful - they're hot! Please note that refried beans tend to thicken quickly as they cool, so be sure to leave a slightly runny texture, otherwise you'll have a pinto bean brick the next day!
Related recipe: Vegan Mexican Rice
Slow cooker cook times:
Cooking times vary slightly based on your slow cooker, so just be sure and check your pinto beans near the end of the cook time.
If you are comfortable with leaving your slow cooker plugged in at night, you can just turn your beans on when you go to bed and check them when you get up! 8-10 hours of cook time for pinto beans is not a problem!
Don't have time to soak your beans? We've all been there. Here's what you do to make no-soak beans:
Rinse your pinto beans thoroughly. Add them to your slow cooker with the other ingredients, and then as much water as you can fit.
Cover and cook for 10-12 hours, checking part way through and adding 2-3 more cups of water at that time. (The goal is to double the normal amount of water, but an average 6 quart slow-cooker can't hold quite enough, thus adding a little water later in the cooking process saves the day!)
You can also cut this recipe in half and then adding double the normal amount of water for cooking shouldn't be a problem!
Related recipe: Vegan Black Eyed Pea & Blackened Tofu Bowls
Sometimes it's difficult to know how many beans you want to make!
I always like to fill my crockpot in order to economize my time and energy - and to have extra for later! Pinto beans refrigerate and freeze well and can contribute to so many different meals! Here's a good ratio to think about: 1 cup of dried beans = 3 cups of cooked beans.
Since this recipe is very adjustable, another handy rule is the salt rule: You'll need about 1 teaspoon of salt per cup of dried beans. Obviously if you're on a low sodium diet, you may need to adjust this, but it is an excellent rule of thumb.
Are pinto beans healthy for you?
Yes, a thousand times yes! More and more research is confirming that beans should be play an active role in our daily diet.
Check out some amazing research by Dr. Greger in his popular book How Not to Die: Discover the Food Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease. In this book, Dr. Greger shares information that highlights the importance of three servings of beans every day!
Even the federal government recommends a serving of whole grains or legumes at every meal! Protein, zinc, folate, fiber, potassium, and iron are all found in the wonderful powerhouse pinto bean!
Why make vegan/vegetarian beans?
Traditionally, pinto beans are often made with lard. However, I'm here to tell you, these pinto beans are absolutely fabulous without any animal fat!
Even if you're not vegan or vegetarian, I don't think you'll miss it one single bit! I serve these beans often at general gatherings and at it never fails that everyone loves them and asks for the recipe! Plus, just think of how much healthier they are for you!
Can I freeze leftovers?
Pinto beans keep in the refrigerator for about a week and in the freezer for up to 3 months.
You can drain the bean liquid and freeze in baggies, or save the liquid with the beans and store in portion sized reusable containers! Let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight and add liquid as needed when reheating!
What can I serve with slow cooker vegan pinto beans?
- Spoon them over vegan Mexican rice with a side of Cabbage pico de gallo
- Burrito Bowls
- Simple rice and beans
- With a warm hunk of vegan corn bread
- With nachos, and a generous drizzle of vegan nacho sauce
- Over a baked potato
- Mash 'em to make Refried Beans (tips in recipe below), then make this vegan refried bean dip
- Mash 'em and make these vegan bean meatballs!
More vegan Mexican recipes you'll love:
- Vegan Mexican Caesar dressing
- Vegan tamales
- Vegan black bean taquitos
- Vegan chimichangas
- Black bean salad
If you’ve tried this recipe or any other recipe on my blog then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how you got on in the comments below, I LOVE hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious food!!!
Slow Cooker Pinto Beans
- Soak your dried pinto beans in a large bowl covered with 3 inches (or more) of water for at least 4 hours and up to overnight. Rinse and drain beans.
- Place beans into slow cooker with water, cumin, salt, onion and garlic powder, olive oil, diced onion, and a can of diced tomatoes with green chilis.
- Cover and cook on high for at least 6.5-8 hours. Test for desired tenderness near the end of cook time.
- For Whole Pinto Beans: Serve with the bean juice for more of a soup-style pinto bean bowl, or use a slotted spoon to strain the bean juice.
- For Refried Pinto Beans: Strain desired amount of beans, reserving the bean liquid. Using a potato masher, smash beans in the crockpot or another pan (maybe you’ll want to save some whole beans for another meal), adding bean liquid as needed to reach desired thickness. You can also use your blender to puree beans quickly, but be super careful – they’re hot! Also note that refried beans tend to thicken quickly as they cool, so be sure to start out with a slightly runny texture.