A spoonful of cooked slow cooker chickpeas.

Like many, I am feeling drawn to cooking beans right now. They’re cheap. They’re in the pantry. They’re good. Also, it’s still chilly up here, so beans would likely be on the cooking agenda anyway.

As you might know, I’m a fan of brining beans overnight and cooking them stovetop, a method I love for two reasons:

  1. The beans, thanks to the brine, cook up beautifully: creamy, intact, and cooked through with tender skins. (Scientific explanation here.)
  2. The overnight soak (in salted water or not) allows for a relatively quick (less than 1 hour) cooking process.

But my recent slow-cooker black bean experiment reminded me of the virtues of the slow-cooker: how nice it is …

  • … “to set it and forget it”.
  • … to not have to fiddle with the temperature dial to ensure the water simmers just right.
  • … to not have to worry about foamy overflows and the messy aftermath.
  • … to fill the house with cooking-all-day smells.

These slow-cooker chickpeas follow the same process as the black beans, and you can employ the technique with any bean or legume, keeping in mind the timing will vary from bean to bean. My dried chickpeas (various brands) have consistently been cooking in 8 to 10 hours on high, but it’s important to start checking at the 3 to 4 hour mark to ensure your beans don’t turn to mush. (Moreover, slow cookers vary in their strength/power.)

I could eat these chickpeas straight from the pot. The broth tastes slightly vegetal thanks to the onion and bay leaf, and it’s a little spicy, too, thanks to crushed red pepper flakes. But there’s a richness to it, too, lent by the chickpeas themselves, their “aquafaba”. (More about aquafaba here.) All beans create aquafaba upon being cooked, but chickpeas’, I think, is the most flavorful and the most robust.

Recently, I dumped the entire pot of slow cooker chickpeas into a pot of sautéed onions and escarole and let it simmer away with a rind of parmesan. But I’ve got another batch simmering away, with a few of my favorite chickpea recipes in mind: 10 Recipes to Make with Chickpeas Right Now.

Thinking of you, Friends. Hope you are well ???

PS: If you’re having trouble finding dried chickpeas, Nuts.com is a great source.

Here’s the play-by-play: Gather your ingredients:

Ingredients to make slow cooker chickpeas.

Add everything into the slow cooker:

Overhead shot of a slow cooker with dried chickpeas and aromatics.

Cover with 8 cups of water and set the crock pot on high. Cook until the chickpeas are cooked through — times will vary depending on the age of your beans.

A slow cooker ready to cook dried chickpeas.
spoonful

Store in quart containers. These deli quart containers (BPA-free) are great for this purpose. Freeze for up to 3 months. Store in fridge for up to a week.

Three quarts of cooked slow cooker chickpeas.
Overhead shot of quart containers of cooked chickpeas.