How To Cook Beans In A Rice Cooker

Cooking beans in a rice cooker can be a game-changer for busy people who want to enjoy a healthy and delicious meal without spending too much time in the kitchen.

Whether you’re a vegetarian, a budget-conscious eater, or just looking for new recipes to add to your meal rotation, cooking beans in a rice cooker is a versatile and convenient option.

So, today, I want to run you through the process and share a couple of really tasty recipes that you can enjoy making in your rice cooker. Let’s go!

Different Kinds of Beans

Rice cookers are not only great for cooking rice but are also perfect for cooking a variety of beans.

You can easily make black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, lentils, and kidney beans in a rice cooker.

Red Beans

Red beans, also known as kidney beans, are a highly nutritious legume that provides a range of health benefits. They are an excellent source of plant-based protein, fiber, and several vitamins and minerals, such as iron, potassium, and folate. Regular consumption of red beans may help lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Also, their high fiber content may aid in digestion and weight management.

Red Bean

Before cooking the red beans, you need to prepare them properly. Rinse the beans in cold water and pick out any debris or broken beans. Then, soak the beans overnight in water. Soaking helps to soften the beans and reduce their cooking time. Alternatively, you can use the quick-soak method. Boil the beans for 2-3 minutes, then remove from the heat, cover, and let them soak for an hour.

Once the beans are ready, drain the soaking water and transfer the beans to the rice cooker. Add enough water to cover the beans and a bit more. The ratio of water to beans should be around 3:1. You can also add any seasoning or spices you prefer at this point.

After adding the water and seasoning, turn on the rice cooker. The cooking time will vary depending on the rice cooker model, but generally, it takes around 1-2 hours to cook the red beans until they’re tender. Once the cooking is done, let the beans sit in the cooker for another 10-15 minutes to absorb any remaining moisture.

Once the beans are cooked, you can serve them as a side dish, add them to soups or stews, or use them as a filling for tacos or burritos. The possibilities are endless!

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Black beans

black beans in a bowl . On rustic background.

Black beans are a type of legume that are rich in nutrients and offer numerous health benefits. They are an excellent source of plant-based protein, fiber, and several vitamins and minerals, such as iron, magnesium, and folate.

Regular consumption of black beans may help lower the risk of heart disease, promote healthy digestion, and improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes. Like red beans, their high fiber content may help with weight management and reduce the risk of certain cancers.

Adzuki Beans

Adzuki Red Bean
Adzuki Red Bean

Adzuki beans are a nutrient-dense legume that has been a staple in East Asian cuisine for centuries. They are an excellent source of plant-based protein, fiber, and several vitamins and minerals, such as iron, magnesium, and potassium.

They are also high in antioxidants, which can help protect the body against oxidative stress and inflammation, and regular consumption of this tasty bean may help improve blood sugar control, reduce the risk of heart disease, and promote healthy digestion.

They are commonly used in sweet and savory dishes, such as soups, stews, and desserts. Incorporating adzuki beans into your diet can provide a tasty and nutritious addition to your meals.

Pinto Beans

close up view of raw organic pinto beans

These are a good source of plant-based protein, fiber, and several vitamins and minerals, such as iron, potassium, and folate. Regular consumption of pinto beans may help lower cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of heart disease, and improve digestion.

Their high fiber content may also help with weight management and promote satiety, and, of course, they are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes, from chili to salads.

Beans Are Healthy

red bean

Beans are a great source of nutrition, containing a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals. They’re also packed with protein and fiber, making them an excellent option for people looking to follow a healthy diet, and because cooking beans in a rice cooker doesn’t need any added oils or fats, this method is great of you are on a diet or looking after your health.

Adding vegetables to your bean dish is also a great way to increase the nutritional value of your meal.

Vegetables like bell peppers, onions, carrots, and spinach are rich in vitamins and minerals that can help support a healthy immune system and promote overall health. They can also add flavor and texture to your dish, making it more satisfying and enjoyable to eat.

Average cooking times

Here’s a table with the average cooking time in a rice cooker:

Type of BeanCooking Time (Rice Cooker)Serving SizeNutritional Value
Black Beans30-35 minutes1 cupProtein: 15g, Fiber: 15g, Iron: 2mg, Calcium: 46mg
Kidney Beans30-35 minutes1 cupProtein: 15g, Fiber: 13g, Iron: 3mg, Calcium: 46mg
Navy Beans30-35 minutes1 cupProtein: 15g, Fiber: 19g, Iron: 4mg, Calcium: 128mg
Pinto Beans30-35 minutes1 cupProtein: 15g, Fiber: 15g, Iron: 2mg, Calcium: 82mg
Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)40-45 minutes1 cupProtein: 15g, Fiber: 12g, Iron: 4mg, Calcium: 80mg
Lentils20-25 minutes1 cupProtein: 18g, Fiber: 16g, Iron: 6mg, Calcium: 37mg
Cannellini Beans35-40 minutes1 cupProtein: 15g, Fiber: 11g, Iron: 3mg, Calcium: 99mg
Great Northern Beans35-40 minutes1 cupProtein: 15g, Fiber: 12g, Iron: 2mg, Calcium: 120mg

Please note that these cooking times are approximate and can vary depending on the specific rice cooker model and the desired tenderness of the beans.

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It’s always a good idea to follow the instructions provided by the rice cooker manufacturer and adjust cooking times as needed.

Great for Vegetarian Dishes

Rice cookers are a perfect tool for preparing delicious and savory vegetarian dishes.

Beans, combined with rice and other vegetables, can make filling and satisfying meals, and you can use your creativity to make a great selection of tasty vegetarian bean dishes, such as bean and rice burritos, bean and cheese enchiladas, black bean and brown rice bowls, and many others.

Budget-Friendly Bean Cooking in a Rice Cooker

In addition to being healthy and nutritious, cooking beans in a rice cooker is also cost-effective. Beans are an affordable source of protein, and using a rice cooker to cook them is an efficient way to prepare meals without spending a lot of money. Compared to beef or chicken, beans are a fraction of the cost but offer many of the same nutritional values.

You can buy beans in bulk and store them in your pantry for several months. Instead of buying canned beans, which can be expensive, you can use dried beans and cook them in a rice cooker.

Using a rice cooker will also save you money on electricity and gas bills, as it uses less energy than stove-top cooking, something that’s very good to know given today’s sky-high energy prices.

Tips for Cooking Beans in a Rice Cooker

Here are some of my favorite tips for cooking beans in a rice cooker:

  • Rinse the beans before cooking to remove any dirt or debris.
  • Soak the beans overnight or for at least 4 hours to reduce cooking time.
  • Use enough water or broth to cover the beans by an inch or two.
  • Add salt and other spices to the water or broth for better flavor.
  • Don’t overfill the rice cooker as the beans will expand during cooking.

Best Beans to Cook in a Rice Cooker

Tabbouleh salad. Tabouli salad with fresh parsley, onions, tomatoes, bulgur and chickpea
Tabbouleh salad. Tabouli salad with fresh parsley, onions, tomatoes, bulgur and chickpea

You can cook almost any type of beans in a rice cooker, but some beans cook better than others. Here are some of the best beans to cook in a rice cooker:

  • Black beans: Black beans are perfect for adding to salads, tacos, or as a side dish.
  • Pinto beans: Pinto beans are a staple in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, and they are great for making refried beans or chili.
  • Chickpeas: Chickpeas are versatile and can be used to make hummus, falafel, or curries.
  • Lentils: Lentils are great for soups, stews, and salads and cook faster than other types of beans.
  • Kidney beans: Kidney beans are perfect for making chili, salads, and bean burgers.
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Slow-Simmered Bean Recipes for a Rice Cooker

If you love the taste of slow-simmered beans, you can achieve the same result in a rice cooker.

Soaked beans cooked in a rice cooker on a low setting will create a delicious and flavorful meal. Slow-simmered beans are perfect for soups, stews, and other slow-cooked dishes.

Some popular slow-simmered bean recipes to try in a rice cooker are black bean chili, Tuscan white bean soup, and lentil curry.

Mexican-Style Bean Cooking in a Rice Cooker

Mexican cuisine heavily features beans, and cooking them in a rice cooker creates authentic and flavorful Mexican dishes.

You can use pinto or black beans to make refried beans, bean salad, or bean and cheese dip. You can also use beans as a filling for tacos, burritos, and enchiladas.

Buckwheat Pancake. Mexican Quesadilla.

Here’s a simple recipe for a great tasting Bean and Cheese Quesadilla:

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of refried beans
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese
  • 4 tortillas
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Spread a layer of refried beans onto each tortilla.
  2. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top of the refried beans.
  3. Fold each tortilla in half.
  4. Brush the outside of each tortilla with olive oil.
  5. Add the quesadillas to the rice cooker.
  6. Turn on the rice cooker and cook for about 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are crispy.
  7. Once done, remove from the rice cooker and serve hot.

One-Pot Rice and Bean Cooking in a Rice Cooker

Love rice? Love beans? Why not combine them?

Cooking rice and beans together in a rice cooker is a perfect option for a complete and nutritious meal.

You can add various vegetables, such as bell peppers, onions, or corn, to create a delicious and satisfying one-pot meal. Some popular one-pot rice and bean recipes include rice and black bean bowls and Mexican-style rice and beans.

So, hopefully, you now have all of the information to make great tasting beans in your rice cooker but, just to make sure, here are a couple of simple but tasty recipes that use beans and can be cooked in a rice cooker:

Rice and Bean Bowl

Plate of prawns with rice and beans
Plate of prawns with rice and beans

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of rice
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups of water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Add the rice, black beans, chopped bell pepper, chopped onion, olive oil, water, salt, and pepper to the rice cooker.
  2. Give everything a good stir.
  3. Turn on the rice cooker and cook for about 20-25 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked.
  4. Once done, give it a final stir and serve hot.

Bean and Vegetable Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Add the kidney beans, chickpeas, diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, chopped carrot, chopped celery, chopped onion, olive oil, salt, and pepper to the rice cooker.
  2. Give everything a good stir.
  3. Turn on the rice cooker and cook for about 30-40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Once done, give it a final stir and serve hot.

Cooking beans in a rice cooker is an easy and convenient way to enjoy nutritious and budget-friendly meals. From vegetarian bean dishes to slow-simmered bean recipes, there are endless possibilities for cooking beans in a rice cooker. Whether you’re a busy professional or a beginner cook, using a rice cooker for beans is a great option to save time and enjoy delicious and healthy meals. So, dig out your rice cooker, grab some beans, and get ready to cook up a storm!

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