How to Cook Beans in Crock Pots, Pressure Cookers, Cast Iron and Bean Pots

Bean Pots & Cast Iron Pots

Baking in the hot dry air of the oven is a slow process, but it's the only way to create the glazed, crusty top characteristic of baked beans and bean pot casseroles. Generally, oven cooking is used in combination with cooking in a pressure cooker or in a pot on top of the stove. Be sure the beans are not overcooked before baking or they will be mushy. 

Traditional containers for baking beans are earthenware bean pots, usually 3 or 3½ quart size. 

You can also use glass or ceramic casseroles. 

To bake beans, preheat the oven according to the recipe instructions. Then combine the drained cooked beans, seasonings, liquids and any other ingredients in the bean pot or casserole. Cover it and bake for 1 to 1½ hours. To brown the top of the beans, remove the lid and bake the beans 15 to 30 minutes longer. 

Using a pressure cooker
If you have a pressure cooker, take advantage of it to prepare beans in a matter of minutes. 
Pressure cookers are especially designed cookware. All models have a lock-on lid and a vent over which a weight or pressure regulator, is placed. Most pressure cookers are designed to be used on top of your stove, but at least one model has its own electrical heat source. 
Food is cooked by the high temperatures inside the cooker. This high temperature is made possible by raising the pressure to a point greater than atmospheric pressure. Fifteen pounds of pressure will raise the temperature in the cooker high enough to cook soaked beans in 3 to 10 minutes. 

Crock Pot 
The advantage of using a crock pot is that you can put the food in it, turn it on and forget it. Several hours later, the dish is ready to eat.  You'll have to watch the crock pot to be sure the beans stay covered with liquid. I've had great success using a crock pot.

If you want to experiment with your crock pot, try cooking soaked beans for 1-2 hours on High, making sure they are constantly covered by liquid. When they are just tender, turn the heat setting to Low and let them cook 6 to 8 hours longer. During these last 6 to 8 hours the beans wont need any special attention. 

Crock pots can be used to reheat pre-cooked beans. They are also useful for keeping bean soups and warm while you finish preparing a meal or for serving at a buffet.