Crock Pot Great Northern Beans

Slow cooker great Northern beans in a bowl with bread slices

The Spruce

  • Total: 6 hrs 45 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 6 hrs 30 mins
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
317 Calories
1g Fat
60g Carbs
19g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 317
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 49mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 60g 22%
Dietary Fiber 16g 59%
Protein 19g
Calcium 203mg 16%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

There's a lot to be said for using the slow cooker to prep big batches of beans, and Great Northern ones are no exception.

Larger than navy beans but smaller than cannellini beans, Great Northern beans have a delicate nutty flavor and a flattened shape, making them versatile, protein-packed additions to any meal—or a meal on their own.

Great Northern beans made in a slow cooker with an assortment of vegetables gives you a side dish to pair with grilled meats, a flavorful ingredient for salads, dips, soups, or stews, or a meal prep foundation to build on all week. Start with dried beans for the most economical dish and add vegetables and seasonings to taste.

It's endlessly customizable. Keep it vegetarian as is, or throw in a ham hock for smoky, meaty flavor. What's great about using the slow cooker is that because the beans cook for six hours or more, you do not need to soak them overnight first. It's a mostly hands-off process that requires little intervention on your part, leaving you free to do other things. Serve with rice, if desired.

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Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried Great Northern beans
  • 1 1/2 quarts water
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 1 medium carrot (diced)
  • 1 large rib celery (diced)
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 2 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon celery flakes
  • 2 to 3 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons kosher salt (to taste)
  • Optional: ham hock

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather ingredients.

    Crock pot Great Northern Beans ingredients
    The Spruce
  2. Rinse the beans well in water and pick them over. Discard any malformed beans or small stones you might find.

    Great northern beans, dried and uncooked in a bowl
    The Spruce
  3. Transfer the beans to the slow cooker. Add 1 1/2 quarts of water to the ceramic insert.

    Great Northern beans and water in the slow cooker.
    The Spruce
  4. Add the onion, carrot, celery, bay leaves, garlic, celery flakes, parsley sprigs, and freshly ground black pepper.

    Vegetables and Great Northern beans in the crockpot.
    The Spruce
  5. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 hours.

    Great northern beans in the slow cooker.
     The Spruce
  6. Add kosher salt to taste.

    Seasoned great northern beans.
     The Spruce
  7. Serve the beans over steamed or boiled rice; use them in salads, chili, stew, or soup; or mash them as a dip or a spread for crostini appetizers.

    Great northern beans over rice
    The Spruce

Variations

  • Dice about 1/4 pound of salt pork and add it to the slow cooker along with the vegetables.
  • Add a ham shank to the slow cooker along with the vegetables. Remove the bone before you serve the beans.
  • Mix about 1/4 cup of diced cooked bacon or 1/2 cup of diced ham into the beans before you serve them.

How to Store and Freeze Great Northern Beans

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 or 5 days. Reheat them at medium power in the microwave or in a saucepan over medium heat on the stove. You can also enjoy them cold in a salad or dip.
  • Freeze leftover beans in recipe-portion or serving-size containers for later use. Let the beans cool thoroughly before you pack them into airtight containers, leaving about 1/2-inch of headspace to allow for expansion. You can also freeze beans in zip-close freezer bags. Use within 3 months for best quality.