Recipe: Crock Pot Beans with Epazote

Cooking beans over the stove is not exactly how I want to spend a hot summer day. But who can resist home cooked beans?

This recipe is a take on Frijoles de olla, or pot beans, that are traditionally cooked in a clay pot–imparting a richer, smoky flavor. I don’t have a clay pot and these days I’m pretty well occupied during the day, so I substituted a crock pot as my vessel.

Epazote growing like a (delicious) weed on Smoot’s Flavor Farm

Epazote is a key ingredient in this recipe. A Mexican herb grown since pre-hispanic times, epazote has a unique flavor that truly cannot be substituted. It adds an incredible depth of flavor to pot beans and many other Mexican dishes. It’s flavor is easily lost in cooking, so I add it at the end (last 15 minutes or so), about the time I add the salt.


  • 1 pound dry beans
  • 6 cups water, boiling
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves, quartered
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2-3 sprigs epazote


  1. Start by cleaning the beans. Sort through the dried beans and pick out any stones or broken beans. Then rinse them with water.
  2. Put the clean beans into the slow cooker pot and toss the onion and garlic in as well.
  3. Pour the boiling water into the crock and set the slow cooker to high.
  4. Cook for 3 hours and test the beans. If necessary, continue cooking on high, checking every 15 minutes.
  5. When the beans are almost tender and cooked through, add the salt and epazote. Stir to incorporate and allow it to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Remove the onion, garlic and epazote sprigs before serving.
  7. Let the beans cool completely before storing. They should keep in the fridge for about a week.

I save the onion and garlic for other dishes, but not as a substitute, since most of their flavor has been stewed into the beans.

Served with fresh sweet corn, queso fresco and warm tortillas

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