Southern Pinto Beans cooked with smoked ham hocks, are tender with a hearty brown soup.
Serve this southern classic as a side or main dish with Homemade Self-Rising Cornbread.
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EDITOR’S NOTE (June 19, 2022): I posted first recipe on July 4, 2019. Today, I updated the recipe and instructions. Also added helpful tips with photos.
DISCLAIMER (NOT SPONSORED): I have not been paid to endorse pictured products. Delighted to share what I purchased and used to make this delicious recipe.
All comments are my own.
One onion (before chopping), salt, smoked ham hock, and pinto beans.
THE LIQUID: USE CHICKEN BROTH OR HAM BROTH
Although many enjoy cooking pintos in chicken broth, I prefer delicious Ham Broth.
While beans are soaking, make the Ham Broth.
Place one smoked ham hock (rinsed) and a coarsely chopped white onion in a large pot.
Add 16 cups of water. Simmer for 1 hour. Drain before using.
Discard the onions. Keep the ham hock in the pot.
Set aside until ready to add prepared pinto beans.
HOW TO SORT DRY PINTO BEANS
Never pour dry pinto beans directly from the bag into the pot.
Dry beans are a natural agricultural product. Despite using modern cleaning equipment, foreign material and grains may get into the package.
They’re easy to inspect and sort. Simply pour dry pintos into a large bowl or spread out on a flat surface.
Carefully search for foreign particles. Discard whatever you find.
HOW TO RINSE PINTO BEANS
Place a colander or bowl in the sink. Pour in the sorted pinto beans.
SHOULD PINTO BEANS BE SOAKED BEFORE SIMMERING ON STOVE?
YES. Soaking dry pinto beans will remove gas and make them easier to digest. Another benefit is soaked beans cook much faster than dry beans.
The bags that contain dry pinto beans have instructions written on the back for both Quick Soak and Overnight Soak (eight hours). The instructions are specifically for pinto beans that will be simmered in a pot on the stove.
Since this recipe calls for soaking, below are helpful tips for both Quick Soak and Overnight Soak (eight hours).
According to hurstbeans.com (experts), pinto beans do not have to be soaked if cooked in a slow cooker.
In my humble opinion, it’s a matter of personal preference. One benefit of soaking is decreased cooking time. Soaked beans definitely cook faster than dry!
Check out my recipe for Crock Pot Pinto Beans.
HOW TO SOAK PINTO BEANS (AFTER SORTING/RINSING)
Pour sorted/rinsed pinto beans into a pot.
Add water until it rises 2 inches above the beans.
Place lid on pot. Turn on high heat.
Allow beans to boil for 2 minutes before turning off heat.
Keep lid on the pot while beans soak.
USE ONE OF THE FOLLOWING SOAK METHODS
1. Quick Soak: Soak 2 hours with lid on pot.
2. Overnight Soak (Suggested): Keep pintos in pot as shown above or pour beans and water into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Soak 8 hours or overnight.
DRAIN & RINSE
After soaking one hour, drain and rinse pinto beans.
Place a colander or large bowl in sink.
Pour in the soaked pinto beans and the soak water.
Drain and rinse thoroughly with water.
HOW TO PREPARE THE SMOKED HAM HOCK
This recipe calls for one smoked ham hock. It provides the delicious smoky ham flavor in pinto beans.
Before soaking pinto beans, simmer a smoked ham hock in water for one hour.
Check water level after 30 minutes. If water drops below the ham hock, add more to cover it.
After 1 hour, turn heat off. Place lid on pot. Set aside until pinto beans are through soaking.
SMOKED TURKEY WINGS (ALTERNATIVE SEASONING)
Smoked Turkey Wings are sold in medium sized pieces slathered with delicious smoked seasonings. Do not rinse before cooking.
Perfect for individuals who avoid pork for whatever reason.
I prefer Smoked Turkey Wings Cajun Style.
HAM FLAVOR PACKET
The Ham Flavor packet is included with the brand of pinto beans I purchased for this recipe.
When the pintos are done, sprinkle contents packet over the top. Stir gently.
Cover pot with lid. Let stand two minutes.
Serve as a side or main dish with diced onions and Homemade Self-Rising Cornbread (Muffins).
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Southern Pinto Beans
- 1 bag (20 ounces) dry pinto beans
- 1 smoked ham hock
- 1 large onion (optional) Peeled and chopped.
- salt to taste
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped To garnish each serving (optional).
PREPARE PINTO BEANS
- Inspect, sort and rinse pinto beans.
- Soak "rinsed" beans as instructed on the back of the package. Use Quick Soak Method or Overnight Soak Method (Suggested).
PREPARE SMOKED HAM HOCK
- One hour before pinto beans are through soaking, prepare ham hock.
- Thoroughly rinse smoked ham hock. Place in a large pot. Add water until it rises 2 inches about the meat.
- Simmer over medium-high heat for 1 hour. Check after 30 minutes. If water drops below meat, add enough to cover it. Continue simmering over medium-high heat for 30 more minutes.
- After simmering ham hock for 1 hour, turn heat off. Cover pot with a lid. Set aside.
SOUTHERN PINTO BEANS
- When the pinto beans are through soaking, do the following...
- Place a colander OR bowl in the sink. Pour in pinto beans AND soak water. Rinse thoroughly with cold water.
- Pour SOAKED/RINSED pinto beans into the same pot with the ham hock and "seasoned" water. Add chopped onions (if using). Pour in water until it rises 2 inches above contents. Stir together.
- Cover and simmer over medium heat until beans reach desired tenderness.
- Check after 30 minutes. If water drops low before beans reach desired tenderness, add more water until it rises at l1 inch above contents.
- AFTER pinto beans reach desired tenderness, add preferred amount of salt and sprinkle in the Ham Flavor Packet (pictured above). Soup should be thick and brown (not watery).
- Gently stir. Cover pot with lid. Let stand 2 minutes. Taste a "cooled" sample. Add more salt if desired.
- Serve hot. Garnish each serving with chopped onions (optional).
- REFRIGERATION TIP: Pour cooled pinto beans and ham hocks into a container. Cover with an airtight lid. Refrigerate up to four days.
28 thoughts on “Southern Pinto Beans”
It is like a hug in a bowl for me! Makes me think of my grandparents. You have to have the cornbread! So good.
Love your comment! Thank you for visiting.
As a child my mom would add sure and prepare fried chicken!
Hi Shamarrion! Thank you for sharing your precious memory. I’ll always love fried chicken and pinto beans. Heaven on a plate! I also add a little sugar to my pinto beans. Tastes great!
These pinto beans will be the perfect side dish for all my summer parties. Thanks for the traditional recipe.
I bet the flavor is outstanding! Love the video you made showing how to make this!
Thank you very much! I love your work. I’m always inspired.
Thank you very much! I’m always inspired by your amazing recipes/videos.
This looks really flavorful! I love it!
I’ve never heard of Hurst’s Ham Beens. But I’ve never met a bean that I didn’t like! Pintos and cornbread is a great southern meal!
Hi! Yessss, a great southern meal. Thanks for visiting my blog. Please come again. Happy holidays!!
Cornbread for sure and chop up some jalapenos in it. Also, I add Rotel tomatoes in my beans for a zing. I’m from the south and was raised on all sorts of beans. Im actually making a pot today. Yum.
I grew up in southern Arkansas. This recipe reminds me of my mother’s beans and cornbread which she mixed with chow-chow on her place. That was not my thing but the beans and cornbread were..
my favorite beans an ole southernboy myself. making me some right now.
I have alteady cooked pintos. May., Serve with biscuits. I love both.
Hi Rita! Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a pleasant comment. Delighted to know you enjoy both cornbread and biscuits with pinto beans. Deeeelicious for sure!
The house smells so good, almost as good as the wonderful meal. Just amazing. Thanks for the first of many.
Hi Bruce! You’re welcome. Yes, they make the house smell soooo good while they’re cooking on the stove. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a pleasant comment. GREATLY appreciated.
I love pinto beans as much as anybody can. A problem I found with the pinto beans recently is that they cook at a different rate in the same bag. I to Love them broken down in the sauce. The last couple of years I’ve been getting cranberry beans, you can get them at Walmart. They taste just like pinto beans but are creamier and cook faster. Try them sometime, I think you’ll really like them.
Hi Scott! I will definitely try cranberry beans real soon. Thank you for the tip!
My Mama was raised in the hollers of West Virginia on pinto beans and cornbread. I love seeing and trying this recipe because it takes me back home to the southern cooking I was raised on. Thank you so much for sharing.
You’re welcome. Greatly appreciate your kind words.
Delighted to know my recipe brought back pleasant memories. This combo is always good (in my opinion). Never gets old.
I LOVE pinto beans and cornbread. I haven’t made a pot of beans from dried beans since I was a teenager living with my Granny Reed. I made a pot today fir the first on my own. I used these Hurst Ham Beens as well and it was just like I remembered. I would give almost anything to sit down to one of her meals again. Thank you for posting this. It brought back some great memories of being with my grandparents and having good southern cooking.
I was poor growing up and this was a meal we had several days every week. My dad was the cook for this dish. He also made crispy fried potatoes and mustard greens when he made this. He’s been gone for 4+ years now and, unfortunately, I didn’t get his recipe before he passed. Thank you for giving me a piece of my past.
Hi Tracey! You’re welcome. Delighted to know my recipe reminded you of precious childhood memories with your dad. Thank you for sharing. Merry Christmas!