I’ve been working on adding more beans to my family’s diet. As we move further away from a meat-based diet, I know I need to replace the protein that we’re giving up. Dried and canned beans are the perfect high-protein, nutrition-packed, low-fat, flavorful way to do that.

Canned beans are convenient, but I’ve wanted to experiment with much less expensive dried beans. I finally got around to it over the weekend, and I’m very pleased with my first attempt. I slightly adapted a recipe from Veg Web for Great Northern Beans cooked in a slow cooker.

Honestly, the hardest part of this recipe is remembering to soak the beans the night before. I’ve been meaning to attempt this method of cooking dried beans in the slow cooker for a while now, but kept forgetting to do the easiest part the night before.

This made enough for several meals worth of perfectly cooked, flavorful beans for a main or side dish. I’ll be freezing several small batches of it for future use. It took about 20 hours from start to finish, but less than a half hour of that was hands-on time. Cooking beans in the slow cooker, or Crock Pot as many people call it, couldn’t be easier.

Slow Cooker White Beans


  • 1 pound great great Northern beans (or any white bean)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 heaping tablespoons vegetable bouillon seasoning (I used Better Than Bouillon Vegetarian No Chicken Base)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • water


  1. Sort, wash and cover the beans with water the night before to soak. This can be done in the crock of the slow cooker; just don’t plug the slow cooker in.
  2. In the morning, add all the remaining ingredients except the salt and pepper to the slow cooker, and cover them with just enough water to submerge everything.
  3. Cook on high for 8-10 hours. Slow cookers vary depending on how old they are and how their heating mechanisms work. You’ll know your beans are done when they are fork tender.
  4. Remove the bay leaf before serving. You can take a ladle or two of the beans, puree them, and return them to the pot to make a thicker dish or serve as is.

My notes

  • This recipe was originally vegan, but since I used regular butter, the recipe as I’ve written is vegetarian. By substituting vegan butter for regular butter, it can easily be vegan.
  • The original recipe called for Morag vegetable bouillon seasoning. I chose to use the no chicken base (that has a chicken-like flavor) because I had it, but I’d like to try it with vegetable bouillon sometime.

These white beans will be great all by themselves, but since they also make a great ingredient for other dishes and the recipe makes plenty, I’m looking for some ideas. What would you put these cooked white beans in?

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.