When I share healthy slow cooker recipes, one of the most common questions that people ask me is, “Can I substitute dried beans for canned?” The short answer is, “Yes.” Here’s how…
Let me explain why you would want to substitute dried beans for canned beans in the first place:
- Dried beans are much cheaper than canned beans. At ALDI, two pounds of dried beans costs $1.99 and yields as many beans as 8-9 cans (which would cost more than double that price).
- Dried beans are healthier than canned beans. Dried beans contain more protein, fiber, iron, potassium, and magnesium than canned beans and have less sodium (source).
- Most cans have BPA in their lining. (You can read more about whether this is a concern or not in this article from the EWG.)
To substitute dried beans for canned beans in slow cooker recipes, soak the beans and then add 1.5 cups of soaked beans per can of beans in the recipe.
Soaking the beans reduces their cooking time and helps with digestion. You can soak the beans overnight or in boiling water.
To soak overnight:
Add the dried beans to your slow cooker, cover with about five cups of water per pound of beans, and soak overnight. In the morning, drain the water and rinse beans.
To “quick soak” in boiling water:
Add the dried beans to a large pot with three cups of water per pound of beans. Bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove pan from heat, cover, and allow pot to sit for an hour. Drain water and rinse beans.
Then, add the soaked beans to your favorite slow cooker recipe and let them cook to perfection.
Note: Cooked beans can also be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days and in the freezer up to three months.
To use dried beans in slow cooker FREEZER MEALS, you have two options.
- Substitute 1.5 cups of cooked beans for each can of beans in the recipe.
- Substitute 3/4 cup of dried beans for each can of beans in the recipe. Since the beans will be cooked for a long time in the slow cooker they will still turn out perfectly tender. (Google “can I skip soaking dried beans” to help you decide if this is a good choice for you.)