Hilariously Easy Slow Cooker Bean Stew

I can't believe how easy this recipe is. I really can’t.

It doesn't seem possible that a recipe could have this few ingredients, cost this little, be this delicious... and still be this easy. But it is. Yet another candidate for my next collection of top Laughably Cheap recipes!

I hope you enjoy this humble and hearty soup recipe as much as we did.

Easy Slow Cooker Bean Stew

1 cup white beans
5 cups water or stock
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
1 onion, chopped very coarsely
A dash or two of Tabasco or cayenne pepper, optional
Black pepper to taste

1) Combine everything in your slow cooker and cook on low for 6-7 hours. Check beans for tenderness once or twice during the last hour to avoid overcooking.

2) Serve with optional rice or brown rice.

Serves 4-5.
Recipe notes:
1) This recipe is so hilariously easy and so self-explanatory that all I could think to offer was a rundown of the cost:

Beans, ½ of a 1-pound bag: 65c
Onion: 30c
Canned tomatoes: 1.25
Spices: 20c
Total Cost: about $2.40, or about 50-60c per serving.

Related Posts:
The Six Core Principles of Healthy, Inexpensive Cooking [FULL ARCHIVE]
Thoughts On Recipe Development
Cookbook Review: Mollie Katzen's The Heart of the Plate
Baking for Beginners: How to Make a Sponge Cake

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Sally said...

I saw a recipe very similar to this recently at ruhlman.com. This reminds me to make it soon!

When you posted the chili recipe I thought if meat and chili seasonings were added to that recipe, it would make a good chili. The beans could be kidney, pinto or a combination.

Daniel said...

Sally, you're right! This one is designed for a crockpot, and the spicing is a little different, but yes, otherwise they are similar.

I hope you enjoy it!


Daniel said...

PS: I dug up the link to Ruhlman's recipe and thought I'd share it here, in part because Rulhman's post shares some highly interesting and useful thoughts on "stripped carbs." Good insights there.

Plus, you can see an alternate version of this recipe that's oven-made. If you don't have a crockpot--and if you do have an oven-proof pot or dutch oven--feel free to use that recipe's process with *this* recipe's spicing.

Here's the link. Enjoy!


Mike Vrobel said...


I don't want to get all "you're doing it wrong on the internet", but...

Watch out for kidney bean poisoning. Kidney beans contain a toxin ( Phytohaemagglutinin, aka Kidney Bean Lectin ). Lectin is deactivated at boiling temperature (212°F). You should never eat raw, soaked, or undercooked kidney beans. Unfortunately, this poison is strengthened at sub-boiling temperatures - it increases fivefold at 170°F. The low setting on slow cookers is 180°F, so if your cooker is running a little cool, you’re right in the danger zone.

Why is this a big deal for this recipe? Because cannellini beans are white kidney beans - they contain the poison. (All beans do, but kidney beans and broad beans have it in high amounts.) If the white beans someone buys are cannelini beans or white kidney beans…and their slow cooker runs a little cool…that could lead to problems.

The solution is to boil the beans for ten minutes before putting them in the slow cooker - that deactivates the toxin. Which is unfortunate - I used to cook beans all the time in the slow cooker, because this is such an easy technique.

I wrote a post on this after I found out about it (after I had posted a bunch of slow cooker bean recipes, unfortunately):

...and here's the FDA's details:

Hope this helps...

Daniel said...

Thanks Mike. Honestly I've never heard of this risk before.

However, we've made and tested this recipe twice here at Casual Kitchen using our crockpot, which is a standard model by Rival. Using the "low" setting, it (admittedly) takes a few hours to *bring* foods to a boil, but it *will* boil this soup.

Further, as I checked this soup during the last two hours or so of cooking time (thus this was after hour five), the soup was clearly boiling, and thus continued to boil for an extended time.

Naturally, I can't speak to how others' crockpots/slow cookers cook and at what temperature, but over a 6-7 hour cooking time, I would think that this recipe should bring these beans to a full boil for an extended time in a standard-issue crockpot.

Either way, thanks for the information and advice.


Sally said...

I found this at Dr. School's blog:


Sally said...

That would be Dr. Sukol. I forgot about auto correct.

Stuart Carter said...

Daniel, Daniel, Daniel.

*shakes head sadly*

You're wrong on 2 points.

First - water? For shame! "A nice roasty stout" was the phrase you were looking for!

Secondly - where's the chili powder?!!?


Daniel said...

Stuart, the idea of making this with stout (instead of water? in place of some of the water?) pretty much fries my brain. Have you tried this? Sounded quite tempting.


Daniel said...

Readers, on the "toxic kidney beans" issue, I've uncovered strong evidence that this is not a meaningful risk. I'll be writing a post on this in the coming weeks.

Granted, like most sources of worry, it's yet one more thing you can *choose* to worry about if you like, but the math and the data strongly suggest that this is a non-issue. Like I said, I'll write up these thoughts in extended form in an upcoming post.


Stuart Carter said...

I have made slow cooker chili with stout plenty of times before. Left Hand Milk Stout is a particular favourite as it brings roasty chocolate flavour to the heart of the meal - it lends an almost mole quality to the sauce. Other stouts lend their own quality, but I would avoid Guinness unless you have some you need to use up - it's pretty bland.

It also tells you which beverage you are pairing with the chili :)