Slow Cooker Chickpeas

Slow Cooker Chickpeas

There are only about 10 ingredients in our pantry that we get panicky if we run low on, and dried chickpeas (or garbanzo beans…same thing) are number seven on that list. Throw a pound of chickpeas in a slow cooker (no soaking required) and just like that, you can replace four cans. Not only do they taste better in the long run, they’re a heck of a lot cheaper.

Chickpeas, like most dry legumes, should be sorted to remove debris and then rinsed to remove dirt before cooking. Spreading the dried beans out into a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet (or half sheet pan) is the easiest way to sort the them. Toss out any shriveled or dark beans as well as any small rocks (which are never good eats, by the way) then move the beans to a colander and give a quick rinse under cool water before cooking.

Slow Cooker Chickpeas

  • 7 cups water
  • 1 pound dried chickpeas (sorted and rinsed)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (makes the water more alkaline, softens skins)
  1. Combine the water, chickpeas, salt, and baking soda in a 2 1/2 quart slow cooker. Cook for 4 hours on high or 6 to 8 hours on low until the chickpeas are tender, but not mushy.
  2. Divide the cooked chickpeas into four 15-ounce increments (the size of a standard can of chickpeas), and cover with about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.
  3. The beans can be use right away or stored in airtight containers in the fridge for up to a week.

Slow Cooker Chickpeas are extremely creamy and ideal for pureeing into hummus.
For longer-term storage: Seal the cooked chickpeas and their liquid in zip-top freezer bags and freeze flat. Thaw frozen beans in the refrigerator overnight before using. The cooked chickpeas can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Makes about 4 pounds cooked chickpeas

So this may come to you as a shock, but I’m not the only culinarian around here (here being Brain Food Industries my test kitchen) generating life-enhancing recipes, tips, and advice for American cooker-folk. In fact, my Director of Culinary Ops, Meghan Splawn, has been working behind my scenes for years. She’ll be sharing wisdom from our test kitchens on a weekly basis — nothing classified mind you, but she can cook up a storm so you might want to pay attention.


Add yours
  1. 1

    The thing that helps with softening the bean is the baking soda making the water more alkaline. Celery leaves have the same effect and add a different flavor note. I add celery leaves when making red silk beans (frijol de seda).

  2. 2
    Alton Fan

    Here is what I have learned from experience:
    1. Alton Brown’s method is the best!
    2. Salt does not affect anything except the flavor.
    3. Add aromatics, if you like (onion, garlic, bay leaves) but leave out the tomatoes until perhaps the last half hour. Even if the beans are fresh, the acid can keep the beans hard.
    4. A pound of beans will make the equivalent of four cans. You can measure out 1-3/4 cups of cooked beans, plus that 1/2 cup cooking liquid, to equal a can of beans.

  3. 3
    Kelly Smith

    On the amount – I cook one cup to 1 1/2 cups in the crockpot. It’s enough to last me a week. I live alone and this has worked out well. Saves time. Then all you have to do is make some rice or fix a salad and you just add the protein.

  4. 6

    Can the liquid from these beans be used in the same manner as Aquafaba? My son is allergic to eggs, so I’m experimenting with the use Aquafaba as a replacement.

  5. 11
    Peter D

    2 points: When you say to divide them into 15 oz increments, are you talking weight or volume? I believe in one of the Bean shows you say not to add salt to cooking water because it toughens the skins, yet here it is included, and in slow cooker cookbook from another Test Kitchen that is available ‘Public’ly they specify to salt soak the beans. So, which is it? salt or no salt?

  6. 12
    Jennifer Sigman

    Can these be frozen after you cook them? It’s just me and my mother, and while I love this because it saves money, there’s no way we can eat that many in a week. 😉 Thanks!

  7. 18

    I’ve read mixed reviews about using salt with beans prior to them being fully cooked. Some swear it makes the beans more tender, but my experience has been too many pots of hard as rock beans even after hours of cooking. Any clarity as to why the discrepancy would be greatly appreciated!

    • 19

      My experience has been that if the dried beans you buy are old, they’ll stay hard no matter what you do to them, regardless of your water type or whether you add salt or anything else. It can be difficult to find “fresh” dried beans. I try to only buy dried beans at places that I know have a high turnover. And I always try to find out when the beans have been packaged, though manufacturers aren’t required to tell you, so that can be difficult.

  8. 23

    In Northern New Mexico we cook the gabanzo (chick peas) in a slow cooker with chunks of pork loin, salt, canned diced tomato and sautéed yellow onion. A garbanzo stew of sorts. Serve with a crusty bread – now that’s what you call “Good Eats.”

  9. 24
    David Perez

    I only use dry beans and the slow cooker is the way to go. For those asking, I think pretty much any bean can be cooked this way, but personally I’ve only done kidney, small red, black, black eyed peas, and lentils, so I can’t guarantee any other types. Just be warned, start in small batches. Two pounds of dried beans looks like nothing in my crock at start, but will literally be touching the lid after cooked

    • 27

      Never pass up an opprotunity to add flavour. I cook my beans in what eventually becomes a veggie stock…Bay leaves carrot, garlic, etc etc Have fun

    • 30

      No, hummus alone would probably be an undeserving end for these legumes. While I use them heavily for homemade hummus mixed with black beans for my own preference but here in Quebec your normal three bean canned blend of beans will include them and thus easily acceptable for chili. I also like to mix them in where I would normally have other beans if they are cooked well such as tacos, salads, with rice, with pasta, etc. It all depends on if you like beans in your food to begin with I guess. I for one don’t necessarily mind! But good eats are to each their own!

+ Leave a Comment