Slow Cooker Baked Pinto Beans (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

There is nothing like baked beans to go with a summer barbecue. This version is balanced with several unrefined sweeteners for a delicious taste, and well seasoned with chili powder. Quick to throw together, it cooks gently in the slow cooker so that you don’t have to worry about it or heat up your kitchen. It’s perfect for this time of year, and is yet one more way to enjoy beans and save money! 

Ah, summertime! What are you looking forward to most this year? I think I’d have to say I’m anxiously awaiting all the fresh summer fruit – berries, melons, stone fruit… I can’t wait until they start showing up at the farmer’s market!

The other thing I’m excited about is that it’s time to uncover the grill! I love grilling, and as the thermometer inches up and up, I often find that the last thing I want to do is spend a lot of time over the stove, much less turn the oven on and heat up the kitchen. My other essential kitchen item is the crock-pot, though I use that all year long.

Last night, we used both of these appliances to cook a meal we shared with friends. We feasted on burgers, a cold green bean salad, herbed rice, baked beans, and sun tea, with homemade chocolate ice cream for dessert. It was a great evening of food, fun, and fellowship!

The recipe for the baked beans is the one I’m sharing today. Mom developed it, drawing inspiration from a few different recipes found on the internet and tailoring it to our tastes. Tastes which, before starting our real food journey, quite enjoyed Bush’s baked beans. But these are much better than anything found in a can! Beans are also a great choice for a frugal, nourishing dish.

Slow Cooker Baked Pinto Beans
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Serves: 15
  • 2 lbs dried organic pinto beans
  • 1 cup Rapadura sugar
  • ½ cup molasses
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ⅓ cup arrowroot powder
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 tsp. dried mustard powder
  • 10 TB chili powder
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 5 cups water
  1. Place beans in large bowl, cover with warm water until water comes a few inches above the beans. Allow to soak 12-24 hours.
  2. In 7-qt slow cooker, combine soaked beans, sugar, molasses, syrup, arrowroot powder, onion, mustard powder, chili powder, salt, pepper, and water.
  3. Cook on high, stirring occasionally, for 8 hours or until beans are soft.




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Lindsey Proctor is a twenty-something foodie, with an emphasis on great tasting real food. She lives with her parents and sister on Hickory Cove Farm, a small, natural and sustainable farm in South-Central Pennsylvania where they raise Alpine and Nubian dairy goats, a flock of pastured laying hens and a few roosters, and a few beef steer. Her favorite place to be is out in the pasture with her goats, but she also enjoys spending time in the kitchen cooking, baking, preserving food, and cheese making. She also enjoys photography, music, and a really good cup of coffee, and blogging at The Life Of Linz. She views her life in the country as a great blessing and it is her firm belief that she has been placed there for a purpose; to help others get back to living and eating the way she think God intended us to - a simple, fresh, local, and seasonal way of life.


  1. says

    wondering… doesn’t NT recommend soaking beans in an acid medium to reduce phytic acid? or is soaking in water good enough?

    i usually soak my beans with some ACV, but i want to make sure i’m doing it correctly.

    • KimiHarris says


      Yes, in Nourishing Traditions. Later there was an article in the Wise Traditions Journel ( search for it as giving very specific instructions for different types of legumes (some used baking soda, for example, instead of vinegar, if I remember right). Some of us have not had good results doing it this way with a pot of beans sometimes seizing up and refusing to soften….ever…which is why I generally recommend the warm water soak. However, I should probably try it again, just to see what happens. 😉

    • says

      In my copy of NT, the beans introduction mentions something to the effect of “some beans are soaked with an acid, some with just plain water” and the basic beans recipe gives a list of beans to use – black, pinto, kidney, white, and black-eyed peas, but says whey or lemon juice for black beans only, so that’s what we went by. 🙂

  2. Karen says

    What is the purpose of the arrowroot powder in the recipe? I have yet to use it in anything because it costs so much.

  3. Karen says

    What is the purpose of the arrowroot powder in the recipe? I have yet to use it in anything because it costs so much. These sound great. We love baked beans but have yet to find a real food recipe that works for us.

    • Jen says

      I often use organic corn starch in place of arrowroot, if I don’t have arrowroot on hand. I would make sure it is organic though, to avoid GM corn.

  4. Jen says

    I just made crockpot baked beans from a similar recipe, and they were very good. I didn’t love the diced green pepper in the recipe, though I do love green pepper. I’ll give this recipe a try next time. I like the idea of the sauce thickening a bit with the arrowroot. One question… is 10 TB of chili powder correct? That sounds like a LOT of chili powder! 🙂

  5. Munapua says

    Can I sub coconut sugar for the Rapadura??? I’m going to try it tomorrow, will let you know how it turns out!!! 🙂

    • KimiHarris says

      I often use coconut sugar in place of rapadura, so I am sure it would be fine. 🙂 As you probably know, coconut sugar isn’t quite as sweet, so you could always add just a little more, if you wanted.

  6. says

    These look really good. Having so many food issues, I’m always looking for something hearty to bring along to a cook out (so I’m sure they’re will be at least one thing I can eat). I’ll have to cut the recipe in half (half sized slow cooker) or use my dutch oven, but I am greatly looking for to these!

  7. Jacquie says

    I have been looking for a good baked bean recipe and love using my slow cooker, I tried this recipe and took it to a family gathering on Father’s Day, it was so spicy no one would eat it!!! I think I will use it again but cut the chili powder down to 1 – 2 Tbsp.

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