This is the simplest way I know of to cook beans, so it is the only way I cook beans.
Slow Cooker Black Beans
– makes the equivalent of 3-4 cans worth
- 1 lb dry black beans (this works with pinto beans as well)
- 6 cups water
- 1/2 to 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 to 1 tsp cumin
- 1 Tbs salt
- Sort through the black beans, in small batches, and remove any rocks that might be hiding (or weird wrinkled beans)
- Rinse the beans thoroughly with water in a colander
- Transfer the beans to a slow cooker, then add the water, garlic powder, and cumin (but NOT the salt). I eyeball the seasoning measurements.
- Set on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours
- After the beans have cooked, stir in the salt
- If you want to keep the beans whole, you are done! If you want refried black beans…
- Remove 1/2 cup of the liquid from the crock pot, but do not discard it – set it aside.
- Use a potato masher to mash the beans to desired “refried bean” consistency.
- If the beans are thicker than you want, add some of the reserved cooking liquid back in and stir. Note: the beans will thicken as they cool.
Some extra details:
I find it easiest to sort through the beans by pouring a small amount onto a white plate and looking through them (sometimes there are black-bean-sized rocks hiding in there!), before pouring them into a colander for rinsing.
The salt gets added at the end because if you add it at the beginning, it could cause the skins to be tough (or so I’ve heard…I’ve never tested it because who wants to risk getting tough beans.)
Warning: This last picture is pretty steamy.