Have you wondered how to cook beans from scratch, but were kind of intimidated, thinking it was a confusing or hard process? Well, me too, and now that I’ve done it a couple of times I’m not sure why I waited so long to give it a try.
For me, the motivation to finally cook dried beans myself instead of buying the cans is because I wanted a no-salt option. The only “No Salt Added” cans of beans in my local store cost $1.39 for a 15 oz can. I think it’s the most expensive option on the shelf! This, of course, is not a happy thing for a frugal person like me. 🙁
So I decided it was high time for me to get busy and learn how to cook beans from scratch. And it turns out it’s super easy to do with the crockpot method I’ve been using. So now if I want “No Salt” beans, I can just make my own!
I’ve used this method a couple times now with good success. I’ve only made black beans so far, but I’m sure this method works the same for cooking other types of dry beans as well. And it’s definitely saving me money too.
A 1 lb bag of dried black beans at my local Meijer store costs $1.99, and a 2 lb bag of dried black beans at my local Aldi costs only $2.49. The 1 lb bag of dried beans (which is about 2 cups) will yield about 6 cups of cooked beans. I divide that up between four ziploc bags (about 1½ cups per bag) which is close to the amount of cooked beans in a 15 oz can.
So I’m getting the equivalent of a no-salt can of beans for 50¢ (if I buy the dried beans at $1.99 for a pound) and better yet – I’m getting a can of no-salt beans for only 31¢ cents if I use the cheaper dried beans from Aldi.
And this makes my frugal little self happy. Here’s how to do it:
No Salt Beans From Scratch In The Crockpot
- Dried Black Beans
Place the dried beans in a colander and rinse.
Then place the beans in a large bowl and cover with water, with about a couple extra inches of water above the beans (as they will swell up a bit), and then let the beans soak overnight. (Note: There is some debate on whether this step is needed. You can read this article for some more thoughts on this subject, but I’ve decided to still take this step and let the beans soak.)
The next morning, drain the water, rinse the beans again, and put them in your crockpot.
Cover the beans in the crockpot with water, again having an extra inch or two of water above the beans.
Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or until the beans are soft.
Then I turn off the crockpot, drain off most of the water and then let the beans just sit there for a while to cool down before transferring them to ziploc bags (or other storage container of your choice). I use a slotted spoon as there will still be some excess liquid with the beans in the crockpot, and put the cooked beans into quart sized ziploc bags.
I divide a 1 lb bag of cooked dried black beans between four ziploc bags (or about 1½ cups of beans per bag), and then lay them flat in the freezer to store them until needed. Each of these bags is about equivalent to a 15 oz can of black beans.
Of course if you want some salt in your beans, you can do that too! That’s the joy of making your own – you can add as much or as little as you want. If you decide to add salt, do it at the end when the beans are cooked as the salt can keep the beans from softening up like you want them too.