Our ham hock and beans recipe combines the flavors of canned pinto beans, smoked ham hock, bay leaves, onion, and garlic resulting in a hearty meal that can be enjoyed as a main course or as a side dish.
Dutch Oven Ham Hocks and Pinto Beans
Fall is almost here, and you know what that means! Plenty of casseroles, soups, football, and cozy sweaters (or hoodies in my case!).
It’s the perfect time to make a pot of my ham hocks and beans.
Instead of using dry beans, I opted for canned pinto beans. It’s a great way to drastically reduce the cooking time.
Add those beans to a flavorful broth infused with ham, onions, garlic, and bay leaves, and you’ll have a flavorful bowl of beans on the table in less than 2 hours.
How to Make Ham Hock and Beans:
Scroll to the recipe card below for full instructions and ingredient amounts!
- Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add ham hocks, chicken broth, water, diced onion, garlic, bay leaves, and pepper.
- Bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer over low heat for 1 hour.
- Drain and rinse the pinto beans, and carefully pour them into the broth. Stir to combine, and continue simmering for 20-30 minutes.
- Use tongs or forks to break apart the ham hocks and separate the meat from the bones.
- Serve warm!
How to Store Beans with Ham Hock:
Refrigerator: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Freezer: For longer storage, cool the beans and broth completely and store in an airtight, freezer-safe container and freeze for up 3 months.
Reheating: Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until warmed through. You may need to add a bit of liquid to keep the beans from drying out.
Can You Use Another Type of Canned Beans?
Absolutely! Navy beans, kidney beans, lima beans, or cannellini beans are excellent substitutes for canned pinto beans.
You can use one type of bean or a variety of beans. The flavor of the dish will change depending on the kind of beans you choose.
Can You Use Dry Pinto Beans in Place of Canned?
Yes, you can substitute dry pinto beans in this recipe. However, you’ll need to pick through the beans and discard any small pieces of rock or foreign objects.
Add the beans to a large bowl of water for an overnight soak. Then, drain the beans and cook as written.
It may be necessary to increase the cook time to get the beans completely cooked through and tender. Add additional water or broth if needed.
What Can You Use in Place of Ham Hocks?
If ham hocks are not available, there are several other flavorful options that you can use in your recipe. Smoked turkey necks or turkey legs could add a different but equally delicious flavor.
A leftover ham bone, with or without much meat left on it, can also be a great substitute. Pieces of salt pork or a ham shank would work well too.
These choices will infuse your beans with a rich, savory taste similar to ham hocks. Remember to adjust your seasonings as these substitutes may have different salt levels.
What Do You Serve with Ham and Beans?
Southern pinto beans are a classic! While these beans don’t require elaborate side dishes, there are a few select foods that make them stand out. Here are a few ideas:
- Cornbread: A tender, buttery cornbread is a favorite to pair with ham hocks and beans.
- Greens: Complement the smoky richness of the ham with a side of spinach, kale or collards.
- Baked potatoes: Add a touch of comfort food with these hearty baked potatoes.
- Slaw: Make a light and tangy slaw to add crunch and contrast to the beans.
- Dessert: End your meal in the best way possible with a sweet treat like banana pudding or peach cobbler.
- 4 cups chicken broth, or chicken stock
- 4 cups water
- 2 ham hocks, ¾ to 1 pound
- 1 large onion, diced or sliced
- 2 teaspoons garlic cloves, minced or pressed; about 2 small cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
- 62 ounces pinto beans, four (15 ½ ounce) cans of beans, drained and rinsed
- In a large soup pan or Dutch oven over medium heat, add the chicken stock, water, ham hocks, onion, garlic, bay leaves, and pepper.1 large onion2 teaspoons garlic cloves2 bay leaves½ teaspoon ground black pepper2 ham hocks4 cups chicken broth4 cups water
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Continue to cook for to 1 hour (or longer for a richer flavor).
- After 1 hour, add the pinto beans. Stir to combine, and continue to simmer for an additional 20-30 minutes.62 ounces pinto beans
- Remove any meat from the ham hock, and stir it into the beans. Discard the bay leaves before serving.
- Scroll up and see the post for FAQs and storage information.