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If Soaking: Place the dry beans in a large bowl and cover with about 4" of water. Allow to soak overnight. Drain and rinse the beans.
Depending on the crock pot used and age of beans, these times will probably vary. Be sure to check the manufactures owners manual for guidance on cook times. Place the beans, water, garlic and salt in the slow cooker. Lid and Soaked, Cook on High 2 -3 hours Soaked, Cook on Low 4 -5 hoursUnsoaked, Cook on High 3-4 hoursUnsoaked, Cook on Low for 6-7 hours (I've had this method take up to 8 hours before)
Place the beans, water, salt and bayleaf in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, turn heat to low, lid and simmer covered.Soaked, Cook the Beans for 45-60 MinutesUnsoaked, Cook the Beans for 50-65 Minutes (I had this method take up to 2.5 hours recently)
Preheat the oven to 325F (165C). Place the beans, water, salt and bayleaf in a Dutch oven . Lid and...Soaked, Bake the Beans for 75-90 MinutesUnsoaked, Bake the Beans for 85-95 Minutes
While the beans are cooking, check on them periodically to make sure they have enough water. If the surface of the water falls below the beans, that's too far. Add more water when needed to keep the beans hydrated. If using a Dutch oven or the slow cooker, this isn't generally a problem.
At the end of cooking, taste for salt adjustment and add a squeeze of lime if desired.
Store cooked black beans in their cooking liquid in a lidded container for up to two days in the refrigerator or up to a month in the freezer.