Perfect Crock Pot Pinto Beans

I love beans 🙂  I didn’t used to care that much about them, but a past boyfriend turned me on to them years ago.  He was also the one who taught me how to cook.  We would make just a little pan of pinto beans, with plenty of butter, salt and pepper and let it boil all day, continuing to add water (it was just a little pan).  While they were cooking  we’d quickly walk to the store and pick up some hard rolls and sour cream.  The beans were always so perfect sandwiched in the roll with a good dose of sour cream.  Carb-loading at it’s best!

Nowadays I do them my own way, and they are still pretty darn perfect.  And a lot easier when you just put it all in the crock pot and leave it!  I don’t really use a recipe, so the seasonings will be to taste for you and your liking.  My amounts are ish-es 😉  We think they are great this way.  The trick is to make sure you put A LOT of flavor into them, otherwise they will be kind of boring.


  • 2 cups dry pinto beans
  • 1 chopped onion (I use yellow)
  • 1 T bacon grease or oil
  • 5-6 garlic cloves minced
  • about 4 cups total liquid – I usually do half and half chicken stock and water
  • 4 T butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 3 T good chili powder*
  • 1 tsp. epazote**
  • salt to taste***

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Saute the onion on medium heat in oil for 7-8 minutes until soft.  Let them get a little brown in the pan.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds or so.  Add this to the beans in the crock pot.  Deglaze the pan with some of the liquid and add that to the pot.  Add all of the other ingredients.  The liquid should cover the beans by about 2 inches.  There are a couple of options for cooking.  You can do it on high the entire time, about 5 hours.  You can also cook on high for 2 hours, and then turn it to low for the remaining time, about 4-5 hours more.  I usually just do it all on high, but if you need them to cook longer for whatever reason you could do the latter.  I like mine a little on the soupy side so I try not to let the water get cooked out too much.   The ones pictured went a little too far!

* I grind my own chili powder from various dried chiles.  If you use store bought try to use some different kinds, like regular chili powder and ancho, or whatever you like.  Something like that 😆

** Epazote is for flavor but also to combat the gas effect of beans.  Although I’ve heard Alton Brown say that if you have that issue, you just need to eat beans more often and it will go away.

***Do NOT add salt in the beginning, only add it after the beans have cooked!!  Otherwise your beans will take a lot longer to get done.  I don’t know why, it just is.

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