This Crock Pot Pinto Beans with Bacon recipe is the best tender and delicious southern comfort food – loaded with nutrition – easily made in the slow cooker.
There’s nothing quite like a hearty, comforting Crock Pot pinto beans with bacon dish on a cold winter day. We jazzed up a southern classic with a spicy twist, and not only is it delicious, but it’s also good for you!
Pinto beans are packed with nutrition like fiber and protein, while the bacon adds a touch of richness and flavor. This recipe is super easy to make – just throw everything in the Crock Pot and let it cook!
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Southern Style Pinto Beans with Bacon in Slow Cooker
Pinto beans get their name from their “painted” appearance – they’re brown with specks of red, white, and black.
Pinto beans are a staple in many cuisines, but they’re especially popular in the South. They’re often cooked with ham or bacon, which adds a delicious salty flavor.
This Crock Pot pinto beans with bacon recipe is the perfect combination of southern and southwestern cooking. I’ve added cumin and optional jalapenos for a touch of the southwest.
The beans are slow-cooked to perfection, and the bacon gives them a delicious smoky flavor.
Do You Have To Soak Beans Before Cooking In Crock Pot?
Per USDA recommendations, you should soak all dry beans first (see the USDA instructions below). You should not cook dry beans in your slow cooker without properly prepping them first.
USDA recommendations for preparing beans
- Hot Soak: Hot soaking helps reduce intestinal gas. For each pound (2 cups) of dry beans, add 10 cups of hot water; heat to boiling and let boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside for up to 4 hours.
- Quick Soak: For each pound of dry beans, add 10 cups of hot water; heat to boiling and let boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside for at least one hour.
- Overnight Soak: For each pound of dry beans, add 10 cups of cold water and soak pinto beans overnight, or at least 8 hours.
- I recommend adding 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar to your water to pre-soak dried beans.
Pinto Beans Nutrition
The health benefits of pinto beans are many:
Pinto beans are also low in calories and fat, making them a healthy nutrition choice. One cup of cooked pinto beans contains only about 200 calories.
Pinto beans are an excellent source of dietary fiber, which is important for a healthy digestive system. They’re also a good source of protein and iron.
One cup of cooked pinto beans contains about 15 grams of protein and 13 grams of dietary fiber. This is good news for vegans and vegetarians, who often rely on beans as a source of protein.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Dried pinto beans – These are the base of this recipe. It’s best to pre-soak the beans overnight, which helps to reduce cooking time and improves the texture of the dish.
- Chicken broth – Used to add flavors to the beans as they cook. You can also use vegetable broth or just water as a substitute.
- Water – This is added along with the broth. However, you can just use broth if you prefer but keep in mind that the taste will be much stronger.
- Bacon – I used cooked and crumbled bacon bits as they add more flavor and richness to the beans. If you don’t have bacon, you can use diced ham or smoked sausage.
- Onion and garlic – We used chopped large onion and minced garlic for this recipe as they add aroma and depth of flavor. If you don’t have these on hand, you can use dried garlic or diced shallots.
- Herbs and spices – We used dried oregano and ground cumin as they both add aroma and warm flavor to the soup. If you don’t have these on hand you can use dried thyme, ground coriander, or a blend of herbs and chili powder of your choice.
- (Optional) Jalapeno – chopped with membranes and seeds removed. Jalapeno pepper is optional, but it gives the beans a nice little kick. If you don’t like spice, leave it out.
Kitchen Tools Needed
Cooking Pinto Beans in Crock Pot
Rinse the beans. Rinse your presoaked pinto beans in clean water, and drain in a colander.
Add the ingredients. Put pinto beans, broth, water, bacon, onion, garlic, seasonings, and jalapeno pepper (if using) into the slow cooker.
Pressure cook the Pinto Beans. Cook the pinto beans in a slow cooker on high heat for 4-6 hours, then on low heat for 2 hours. For creamier pinto beans, mash about 1/2 of the beans with a potato masher.
- Crock Pot Pinto Beans with Ham – for pinto beans in a Crock Pot with ham, skip the bacon and swap with 1 cup of ham instead.
- Crock Pot Pinto Beans with ham hock – for pinto beans and ham hocks in a slow cooker, swap the bacon with a ham hock for extra flavor.
- Vegetarian Crock Pot Pinto Beans – omit the bacon and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. You can also add extra vegetables like carrots, celery, or bell peppers.
- Pinto beans and Sausage in Slow Cooker – use 1/2 pound of cooked sausage instead of bacon in the Crock Pot for a hearty meal.
- You can use any type of bacon in this recipe – pork, beef, or turkey bacon.
- Make it spicy, add more jalapeno peppers or some chopped green chilies.
- Add a can of Rotel tomatoes and/or bay leaves for extra flavor.
Try our other slow cooker bean recipe, Slow Cooker Calico Beans.
How to Serve Pinto Beans with Bacon
You can also serve them with your favorite toppings like pico de gallo, sour cream, crushed tortilla or corn chips, pepitas, or salsa.
Storage, Freezing, and Reheating Instructions
Leftover pinto beans can be stored in the fridge for up to four days. To store, place them in an airtight container or Ziploc bag.
You can also freeze Crock Pot pinto beans. To do so, place them in a freezer-safe container or bag and freeze them for up to three months.
To reheat, simply thaw in the fridge overnight and then reheat on the stove or in the microwave. You may need to add a little water to get them to the desired consistency.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can put raw bacon in a Crock Pot. It will cook as the beans cook. But, I prefer to cook the bacon first and then add it to the Crock Pot because it renders some fat and gives the beans a nice smoky flavor.
It depends on the type of bean. Smaller beans like black-eyed peas will take less time to cook than larger beans like pinto beans. For this pinto beans in Crock Pot with bacon recipe, cook the beans on high heat for 4 to 6 hours and then on low heat for 2 hours.
Yes, pinto beans are safe to cook in a Crock Pot or slow cooker. Just be sure to soak the beans overnight before cooking (see USDA recommendations above).
You can add many things to this pinto beans recipe for flavor. I added bacon, onion, garlic, and seasonings to this recipe. You could also add a can of Rotel tomatoes, chopped green chilies, or pico de Gallo. See the recipe variations for more ideas.
Crock Pot Pinto Beans with Bacon
- potato masher - optional
- 1 pound dried pinto beans (pre-soaked, see notes)
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 4 slices bacon cooked and crumbled or 1/2 cup bacon bits
- 1 large onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 3 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 large jalapeno, chopped with membranes and seeds removed
- Rinse your presoaked beans in clean water, and drain in a colander.
- Add all ingredients to the slow cooker: pinto beans, broth, water, bacon, onion, garlic, seasonings, and jalapeno pepper (if using).
- Cook on high heat for 4-6 hours, then on low heat for 2 hours. For creamier pinto beans, mash about 1/2 of the beans with a potato masher.
- Serve with your favorite toppings like pico de gallo, sour cream, crushed tortilla or corn chips, pepitas, or salsa.
- Hot Soak: Hot soaking helps reduce intestinal gas. For each pound of dry beans, add 10 cups of hot water; heat to boiling and let boil 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside for up to 4 hours.
- Quick Soak: For each pound of dry beans, add 10 cups of hot water; heat to boiling and let boil 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside for at least one hour.
- Overnight Soak: For each pound (2 cups) of dry beans, add 10 cups of cold water and let soak overnight, or at least 8 hours.