Go Back
Closeup of crockpot pinto beans.

Slow Cooker Pinto Beans Recipe

Simple to make, so flavorful and tender, crock pot pinto beans are convenient and versatile. Unsoaked or soaked dry pinto beans are seasoned with onions, salt, smoky paprika and your favorite Mexican salsa recipe to make the perfect side, component or main. This recipe is vegetarian, vegan and easily gluten free.
See note*** about cook times and see blog post for recipe serving suggestions and additional tips. This recipe yields about 7 cups (1.6 kilograms) broth and beans, for about one cupish servings each as a main for four, or about 7-8 servings as a side.
Course Component, Dinner, Side
Cuisine American
Keyword Crock Pot Beans, Slow Cooker Pinto Beans
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 8 hours 10 minutes
Servings 4 Servings as a Main
Calories 286kcal
Author Traci York | Vanilla And Bean


  • 1 1/2 cups (280 grams) Dry Pinto Beans sorted and rinsed
  • 2 cups (480 grams) Vegetable Broth
  • 2 cups (465 grams) Water
  • 1/2 cup (80 grams) Yellow or Red Onion diced small
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 teaspoon Fine Sea Salt or less to taste
  • 1 cup (250 grams) Mexican Salsa homemade or store bought*

Serve With:

  • Pickled Jalapeños, Cilantro, Chopped Red Onion


  • Optional: Soak the beans in enough water to cover them by about two inches for 8 to 12 hours at room temperature. Drain the beans.
  • Transfer the beans to a crock pot. Add the broth, water, onion, paprika, bayleaf and salt. Stir. Add the salsa now or you can wait until 30 minutes before serving the beans** (see note).
  • Put the lid on the slow cooker cook for***:
    Soaked, Cook on High: cook for, 4 - 6 hours
    Soaked, Cook on Low: cook for, 6 - 8 hours
    Unsoaked, Cook on High: cook for 6 - 8 hours
    Unsoaked, Cook on Low: cook for 8 - 10 hours
    If you held out the salsa, add it to the slow cooker about 20-30 minutes before turning the cooker off. The beans are done when they're tender, not mushy, yet you can easily squish a bean between two fingers.
    Taste for salt adjustment.
  • The beans can be held in the slow cooker, turned off, up to an hour before serving.
    These beans are delicious served with Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread or Gluten Free Cornbread, Pickled Jalapeños and Smoky Collard Greens.
  • To Store: Store the beans in a lidded container for up to three days in the refrigerator. Freeze Your Beans: Cool the beans completely before freezing then, freeze beans and cooking liquid in Mason jars leaving 1/2 inch head space at the top for expansion. Thaw in the fridge overnight, then rewarm gently on stovetop.


*For this recipe, I use my easy homemade Mexican Chipotle Salsa. It can be made mild, medium or hot. Your finished beans will reflect the heat of your salsa, so for a milder bean recipe, choose a mild or medium salsa.
**Beans and Tomatoes: I've read that the acidic component in tomatoes can toughen the skin of beans when cooked together. However, after testing this, I've found when tomatoes are added at the beginning of cooking (pictured) the beans and broth are a bit more flavorful, yet the bean skins tend to be a little more fragile and split. When tomatoes are added towards the end of cooking, the bean skin is more in tact. I didn't really notice a difference in bean texture.
***Suggested Cook Times are a reflection of my particular slow cooker which reaches up to 205 Fahrenheit on Low and 290 Fahrenheit on High. Depending on the crock pot employed and age of bean, cook time will probably vary. Be sure to check your manufactures owners guide for guidance.


Calories: 286kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1494mg | Potassium: 1222mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 934IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 4mg