Crockpot pinto beans



When I think of pinto beans, I think of my grandma.  She is the queen of a comforting pot of simple beans.  As a child, when we would visit, we would almost always be served a pot of beans at one point or another.  That and chicken and dumplings have become her two signature dishes.  Both make you wanna slap your pappy as my grandpa says.  She often serves hers with greens and cornbread for a complete simple and frugal down home cookin’ country meal.

Beans are so simple to make, but I know many of you aren’t home during the day to babysit a pot of beans simmering on the stove for a couple of hours.  Using the crockpot is a great way to get dinner on the table if you work outside the home or are just busy with other things and can’t devote a lot of time to cooking.

These beans are seasoned very simply with just salt, pepper and a little bit of bacon, ham, or bacon fat.  In my mind there is no need for fancy seasonings with this humble dish.  The simplicity of the seasonings, makes the flavor of the bean shine through.  I also like to keep the seasonings simple so leftover beans can be turned into different things.

They are excellent in burrito bowls or taco salads. Simply layer any ingredients that you desire:  rice, beans, cheese, salsa, guacamole, corn, peppers, lettuce, sour cream.

For re-fried beans, drain off a tad of the liquid and mash or puree.  You can add it to a toasted corn tortilla shell for tostadas, wrap them in wrap, serve it with eggs and salsa, etc.

Other things I like to do with leftover beans :

Spicy bean burritos


Beans, greens, and sausage soup


Here is the process through pictures, for all you visual people out there.


1.  Rinse and sort beans.  Pick out any funky ones or debris.


2.  Soak beans overnight with about 2 inches of warm water covering beans.  Add a pinch of baking soda if desired.


3.  Drain beans and place in crockpot.


4.  Add 6 cups water or broth and fat of choice, or bacon or ham hock, or a bay leaf if you are vegetarian.


5.  Season that bad boy up after they’re tender.  Now gobble down your delicious pinto beans.  Nom nom nom

Pinto beans in the crockpot


Crockpot pinto beans
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Make the simple humble pinto bean even simpler by cooking them in the crockpot.
Recipe type: main dish
Serves: 6
  • 1 lb. dry pinto beans
  • 6 cups. water or broth
  • 1-1/2 tsp. sea salt (add more if desired)
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 T. bacon fat, or 2 pieces of bacon, or a ham hock (omit if vegetarian)
  • 1 bay leaf (only if vegetarian)
  1. Rinse and sort beans.
  2. In a pot or bowl, add warm water covering the beans by two inches. Let soak overnight.
  3. Drain the next day and add beans to a crockpot.
  4. Add 6 cups water or broth as well as fat (use a bay leaf if you are vegetarian).
  5. Cook on low for 7-9 hours and on high for 4-5 hours.
  6. After beans are tender, add salt and pepper to taste.

If you love a good crockpot meal, or are busy and short on time, I highly recommend, these two books by Stacy Myers from Stacy Makes Cents.  Take the trouble out of dinner and use you slow cooker.  I do receive a small commission if you purchase through my links.  Keep Crockin’ is her brand new book because her first book, Crock On was such a major success.

keepcrockin-300x300 crockon-300x300

This post was shared at:

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  1. Charlotte Moore says

    You sound like a southern girl talking about pinto beans. That corn bread in the pic is another southern thing. Hahaha!!! We love that!!!

    • Tara says

      I was born and raised in KY. Depending on who you talk to, it may or may not be southern. Based upon my southern twang growing up, living next to corn fields, deer hunting family, and love for southern food, I’d say I definitely have southern roots! :D

      • Christine says

        Hi Tara. I love JESUS too. Ca
        n I ask u a question. On the pinto beans. How do u do the ham hock when cooking the beans?? And u add the salt after? Why??

        • Tara says

          Just throw the ham hock in there when you are going to cook the beans. Bits of ham will fall off the bone and flavor the beans. I have been told that beans won’t soften as well if salted. I can’t verify for certain though. It may be a myth.

    • Tara says

      I always season at the end. I’m not sure if it’s a myth or not, but I’ve been told that the beans won’t soften. Although the bacon or fat is salty, so I’m not sure. Sorry I’m not much help with the myth busting. :)

      • says

        I make my own beans all the time, It’s one of my favorite things! I wondered the same thing about the salt myth and tried it out. The beans did not turn to stone, but they were certainly not as tender as usual. Come check out my blog at!

  2. says

    We grew up on pinto beans and cornbread, as well. My mother was born and raised in Arkansas and my Dad in Texas. Mom loves turnip greens, so sometimes she would fix them on the side, with a bit of cut-up turnip in them. Mom taught us the same thing, that putting salt in before they were cooked would make the beans tough. She always flavored hers with bacon grease and sometimes leftover ham. And you are right, the simpler, the better. No other seasonings beyond salt and little pepper. We would break the cornbread into our plate or bowl of beans and kind of mash them up together. My Dad always added a bit of the vinegar or pepper juice from a jar of peppers to his. We always had a battle over the cornbread, however. We kids liked the kind that was sweet, but my parents grew up on the kind that was not sweet. Now that they are in their 80′s they still make the un-sweet type of cornbread. Sadly, the only time I get beans and cornbread is when I visit them in Shreveport, LA, where they are living these days. I now live in New Orleans where everyone is all about red beans and rice. Not me. Not thanks! Give me pinto beans and cornbread, please! Finally broke down and bought a bag of pinto beans yesterday and am getting them ready to soak overnight. Will be fixing my first pot of pinto beans and a batch of sweet cornbread tomorrow! Thanks for the recipe!!!

  3. Tara says

    This kind of comment just warms my heart. I love how certain foods can send you straight back to childhood. :) Enjoy your pinto beans and cornbread tomorrow. I grew up on the un-sweet cornbread too. Thanks so much for sharing your story. It made my day.


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