Best Ham and Beans Recipe Ever

by Robyn Wright on January 10, 2012

in Food

I think ham and beans are something you either love or hate. Hubby loves them, I hate them. However I am a nice wife and make a big pot of ham and beans a couple of times of year for him. Today was one of those days and I thought I would share the recipe because they are very easy to make.

Best Ham and Beans Recipe

People have different beans they use for ham and beans. Hubby prefers white beans or Great Northern beans is how the label reads. If you like a different style of bean such as navy beans, pinto beans, etc. then by all means use what you like. The important part to the beans is letting them soak overnight. This will soften them up but it seems to also help those who eat the ham and beans not have gas as much – an important consideration for those who have to live with them! Do not skip the part of picking over the beans either to find rocks. This may sound silly in this day and age, but it happens. My grandma had an incident a few years ago where she had made bean soup and while she was eating she had thought she had broke a tooth. She spit out this little bit of what she thought was her tooth and made an appointment for the dentist the next day. The dentist chuckled because it was not a broken tooth, just a small rock that had been in the beans! Oops!

Ham hocks can be found in just about any grocery store. There are usually two ham hocks per package. Do not be afraid to use them, I promise people like them. Ham hocks are extremely flavorful and very inexpensive and crucial to ham and beans. If for some reason you do not want or have ham hocks you could use other leftover ham or a ham steak if you like. I sometimes will add a ham steak I have diced along with the ham hocks into the ham and beans for extra meatiness.

Hubby, and everyone else, seems to like having cornbread along with their ham and beans. He also likes to have a slice of raw white onion with ham and beans. I think that sharpness of the onion must cut through the creaminess of the ham and beans. This dish is even better the day after. It is perfect to cook one day in your slow cooker, then cool and refrigerate the ham and beans overnight. The next day you can place the ham and beans back in the slow cooker on low to heat up or just put them in a pot on the stove for faster heating.

Robyn’s Ham & Beans


  • 1 bag of Great Northern white beans
  • 2 ham hocks/shanks (found in pkg of 2 by other ham products in store usually, very inexpensive)
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped large
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped large
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped large
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed a bit
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Knorr Homestyle Chicken Stock cups (those new gel type ones)
    (you could use any other chicken base, bullion, etc. you have on hand too)
  • 4 cups water


The night before open your beans and pick through them for any rocks or bad looking beans – it happens. Rinse them once, and then place in a bowl with cold water to just cover the beans by an inch or two. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a lid and let soak overnight. In the morning drain the beans and rinse well again. Remember that beans are not washed before they are packaged.

In a slow-cooker place your ham hocks right out of the package, now add the the remaining ingredients, including the soaked and rinsed beans. Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8 hours. I stir them once about half-way through the cooking. If you stir more you will smush the beans up – unless of course you like that then smush away!

These get better the next couple of days too Hubby says and he also says serve with cornbread!

Ham and Beans Recipe   Ham and Beans Recipe
On the left is the ham, veggies and seasoning. The right is with the beans before cooking.

Are you a fan of ham and beans? Want to share any tips from you recipe?

© 2012, Robyn Wright. All rights reserved.

Comments on this entry are closed.


1 candy @mommypalooza™ January 10, 2012 at 10:16 pm

agree….i hate ham and beans….but looks like a great recipe for those who love it! :)

2 tannawings January 10, 2012 at 11:15 pm

I love ham and beans but my hubby isn’t overly fond of it he will eat it now and again. I like using mixed beans in mine (they come all mixed in the package) instead of just Northern because I like the different kinds of beans in it. Hocks are also what is normally used here too although a hambone from a ham is the best!
Have to agree with your hubby- pass the cornbread!

3 Robyn's Online World January 11, 2012 at 1:00 pm

I make a thinner soup with the mixed beans for him occasionally, but he prefers this thicker white bean and ham. Agreed on the ham bone – after Christmas I usually keep the ham bone to make this, but I didn’t cook xmas dinner this year.

4 GAHCindy January 11, 2012 at 5:41 am

We eat beans at least once a week–usually pintos or black beans. It’s cheap and filling, and once you get past the picky husband, yummy. I don’t usually have ham for my beans, just a few pieces of fatback for the oil and flavor. Sometimes I just throw a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter in there. (Really, it’s good.)

5 Robyn's Online World January 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Peanut butter in beans????

6 GAHCindy January 11, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Not much! Just enough for the oil and a little flavor. It doesn’t taste like peanut butter!

7 tmy56 January 11, 2012 at 9:01 am

Oh yum! I have to try this – perfect for a winter’s day here in upstate NY (except we have NO snow – last year we had 53″ of snow, this year we have had 7″)

8 Robyn's Online World January 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm

We are expecting a very small amount of snow tomorrow – I’ll take that over no snow at all.

9 Ravzie January 11, 2012 at 10:35 am

It sort of reminds me of the nine bean soup I make.  It’s just a bag of mixed beans with flavoring in the supermarket, there’s the Cajun flavor also.  But I add in the vegetables and meat, often ham, and I think it’s really good.  My husband would starve before he would eat a bean of any kind.

10 Robyn's Online World January 11, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Yes, the beans I buy have the little packet in them, but I just throw out that packet now and do my own thing.

11 Ljatwood January 11, 2012 at 2:47 pm

That sounds yummy! I’m going to keep this recipe to try.
Split pea soup is one that my mom used to make growing up. She made it from scratch…I have no idea how. I’ve never had a canned SPS that was any good, though. I know my kids wouldn’t eat it. LOL

12 Robyn's Online World January 11, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Hubby likes split pea too

13 JeannetteNL1966 January 11, 2012 at 5:22 pm

That sounds really good & believe it or not, I have never eaten this particular dish. Baked beans and that sort of thing but nothing like this. I do however like all of the ingredients so I am sure I would find it tasty. I think it is definitely one of those dinners they call “stick to your ribs” type that is great on a cold winter evening. Thanks for the recipe-I am going to try it out for sure!

14 Nancy January 11, 2012 at 7:43 pm

I make a similar recipe and use a ham bone that I cook with the beans and then I chop off the excess meat and put it back with the beans . Another tip is to get your potato masher and mash up about half the beans after they have cooked. This makes the soup creamier. There is a similar recipe called Senate Bean Soup that has supposedly been served in the Senate cafeteria for many years.

15 Mary Elderton January 11, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Yummy!  I love Ham & Beans! With corn bread!

16 nik January 11, 2012 at 10:27 pm

Not a Ham and Bean fan, but I’ve been known to trudge through a snowstorm for good cornbread.  ;)

17 simplydab January 12, 2012 at 11:20 pm

I’m not a fan but the offspring is – I’ll share this recipe with him.  Thanks for posting  it.

18 Angie Bailey January 13, 2012 at 6:40 am

This looks amazing. Something I would definitely love but I don’t know about everyone else in the house. : ) abailey_crace at yahoo dot com

19 Kayla H. January 13, 2012 at 8:54 am

I am not a fan of ham and beans. My mom is always trying to make me eat it lol. I will have to show her this and see if she wants to try to make it this way:)

20 deadchristmastrees January 13, 2012 at 12:32 pm

I dont think I’ve ever had them…which makes sense since im a vegetarian…but they dont really look that appetizing…

21 Doodle741 January 13, 2012 at 7:34 pm

I am NOT a fan of Ham & Beans ….

Question – what do you eat when you make them for your hubs?

22 Angie Marion January 14, 2012 at 3:24 pm

How sweet that you make it even though you don’t like it! I don’t like beans too much either but I might try this recipe! I love using my crockpot!

23 Rachel Veuve January 16, 2012 at 1:14 pm

That looks good!  I’ve never made that before and now I want to!

24 Eileen Richter January 18, 2012 at 1:35 am

Umm…sorry Robyn but I am with you on this one. I don’t think I could even make this one. Just not a bean lover at all! I grew up on a farm and have never even heard of Ham Hocks?  Feeding 9 kids, I dont think my mom ever made this, but I bet it is economical and pretty filling.
No ham for me, give me chicken or give me death. LOL.

25 terry petero February 17, 2013 at 5:32 pm

We love ham and beans, i cheat sometimes and i keep the northern beans in the can so i can just throw them in the pot and it doesnt take any longer i alway throw the ham hocks in there first and let it cook a little of each side and i use 4 of them because the kids fight over them they are good, and they also like the carnbread to go with theres but i make like the cake cornbread they love it.

26 Nicole Greer January 13, 2014 at 12:21 pm

I made this with a leftover ham bone yesterday. I didn’t soak my beans so I cooked it on high for the first few hours and added a couple extra cups of water. Turned out great! Loved the addition of vegetables! Added a whole bag of baby carrots because I love carrots! Mine was a little on the salty side, maybe from the honey baked ham leftover I was using? I’ll leave out the additional salt next time and adjust at the end. I will for sure make this again.

27 Robyn Wright March 13, 2014 at 8:44 pm

Yes, you have to adjust the salt for sure if you have an especially salty ham. Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for sharing about not having soaked the beans – saves a step!

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