Ask Niki: Crockpots and dried beans

Q: "I’m keen to cook with my crockpot and I would like to use dried beans. I’ve heard, however, beans aren’t safe to cook in the crockpot. Is that true? Dried beans are much cheaper than canned beans!"


A: Dried beans are great to have on hand and they are super-cheap. But we do need to take care, as dried beans contain toxins called lectins, which can cause stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea. The beans with the highest concentration are red kidney beans.

Slow-cooking raw beans after soaking alone may not destroy the toxins, so prepare beans as follows:

  • Soak beans in water overnight or for at least five hours.
  • Drain then cover with fresh water. Cook at a rapid boil for at least ?10 minutes.
  • Beans can then safely be added to your slow cooker recipe.

Also see our article How to cook chickpeas.

First published: Jul 2010

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