Can you cook kidney beans in a slow cooker?

In this brief guide, we’ll focus on the query “Can you cook kidney beans in a slow cooker?” Also, we will discuss why raw kidney beans should not be prepared in a slow cooker, in what instances can kidney beans may be prepared in a slow cooker, what are the advantages of cooking kidney beans in a slow cooker, and what other ways there are to cook kidney beans. 

Can you cook kidney beans in a slow cooker? 

It depends on whether the beans are precooked (boiled or canned) or raw. You should not cook raw kidney beans in a slow cooker. Serving kidney beans cooked (from raw) in a slow cooker is dangerous, and may even have deadly consequences. 

Conversely, canned kidney beans that have been -precooked- can be prepared in a slow cooker and there are in fact, several recipes for slow cooker dishes involving canned or boiled kidney beans. 

When and why should I not cook kidney beans in a slow cooker? 

Kidney beans should not be prepared in a slow cooker when raw. The reason for this is that uncooked, they contain phytohaemagglutinin, abbreviated as PHA, which is a protein that is toxic to mammals. 

Poisoning from PHA makes red blood cells stick together, break, and their contents leak into blood vessels. The contents of a blood cell, when not encased in a cell membrane, are toxic and may cause severe reactions such as vomiting and diarrhea, and in some cases, may lead to death by dehydration. 

PHA poisoning can be induced by consuming as little as 4 or five raw kidney beans, but fortunately, this protein can be broken down by high temperatures, which is where the cooking process of beans comes into play. 

Beans can be soaked for at least five hours first, and then boiled for at least ten minutes to break down PHA. Alternatively, dry beans can be boiled in a pressure cooker for half an hour, or fifteen minutes if soaked. 

As the principle behind slow cookers is to simmer food at low temperatures (beneath water’s boiling point) for extended periods of time, there is no guarantee that the PHA in raw kidney beans will be degraded, and that makes it hazardous to use slow cookers for raw kidney beans. 

How can kidney beans be cooked in a slow cooker? 

Kidney beans can be cooked in a slow cooker if they’ve been boiled or canned beforehand. Either is a guarantee that the PHA present in the beans has been degraded and the beans are safe to slow cook. 

Once precooked, kidney beans can be prepared per the chosen recipe’s instructions. 

A few slow cooker bean recipes include slow cooker chili, pinto beans, baked beans with bacon, bean stews, beans with vegetables, etc. 

The instructions will of course vary from recipe to recipe, but as is the case with other slow cooker dishes, the most laborious part is mixing the ingredients into the cooker, and setting the thermostat. 

What are the advantages of cooking kidney beans in a slow cooker? 

The advantages of using a slow cooker to make kidney beans are that the dish can simmer for a prolonged period of time, and requires almost no supervision, aside from the occasional stirring. 

Slow cookers are a convenient appliance whose design and cooking time allows the ingredients and flavors to blend and stand out. Also, when preparing recipes that include tougher cuts of meat, the prolonged cooking time can help tenderize the meat.  

Additionally, slow cookers are user-friendly appliances that only require a basic setup, and very little prior experience is necessary, which makes them ideal for novices. 

What other ways can kidney beans be cooked? 

Other cooking methods for beans also forcibly require that they be boiled, not just to tenderize the grains, but as we’ve elaborated, also to break down the PHA. 

Beans can be cooked in an array of ways and with a wide variety of ingredients and seasonings. Once boiled, and in addition to being slow cooked, beans can then be fried, stewed, sautéed, used in salads, baked, and even mashed to make pastes. 

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we’ve focused on the query “Can you cook kidney beans in a slow cooker?” Also, we have discussed why raw kidney beans can not be prepared in a slow cooker, in what instances can kidney beans may be prepared in a slow cooker, what are the advantages of cooking kidney beans in a slow cooker, and what other ways there are to cook kidney beans. 

References

https://www.thespruceeats.com/best-slow-cooker-bean-recipes-4801100

https://www.allrecipes.com/article/kidney-beans-slow-cooker/

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/222258/slow-cooker-baked-beans-using-canned-beans

/ 

https://www.inspiredtaste.net/46546/easy-bean-salad/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/legumes/art-20044278

https://www.fda.gov/media/83271/download

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.