Here’s Why You Should Never Cook Kidney Beans In Your Slow Cooker

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I swear I learn something new every day.

I was today years old when I learned that you should NEVER EVER cook kidney beans in your slow cooker.

kidney bean food

To be honest, I think I may have done this quite a few times over the years. I honestly had no idea.

As it turns out, according to research from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), red kidney beans contain high levels of a toxin called Phytohaemagglutinin (PHA).

All it takes is just 4 beans to become toxic and it causes extreme nausea, severe vomiting, and sometimes abdominal pain.

PHA is present in red kidney beans that are still partially raw from undercooking, or haven’t been heated to a safe temperature to destroy the toxin.

That is why cooking them in the slow cooker is dangerous because it doesn’t get the beans hot enough to cook the toxin out of them entirely.

It is important to note that this is for RAW red kidney beans (both light and dark). If you are using canned kidney beans you are fine because those have already been pre-cooked.

So, what can you do if you are using raw red kidney beans? Well, you can prepare them safely to ensure the toxins are cooked out of them.

How To Safely Prepare Red Kidney Beans

Here are the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s recommendations:

  1. Soak – soak raw kidney beans in water for at least five hours prior to cooking.
  2. Boil – Drain the beans and change to a fresh pot of water. Bring to a boil (212°F) for a minimum of 10 minutes.
  3. Prepare – Once you’ve followed the instructions above, your kidney beans are no longer toxic and can finish cooking in whatever method you prefer, such as in a slow cooker, Instant Pot or even on the stove top.
The red kidney beans in the plastic box, close up picture.

I sure hope this saves you from getting sick. I truthfully did not know this until today and felt inclined to share!

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