Recipe for Ham and Beans

Recipe for Ham and Beans in 20 Minutes

This Southern Recipe for Ham and Beans is made in 1 pot in 20 minutes. AND, it’s not mushy. Great melded flavors. This is part of our Main Courses Recipes Category.

This is how to efficiently make ham and beans in one pot. It is so simple and easy, has lots of ham, and is extremely flavorful and healthy.
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About This Recipe for Ham and Beans on Stove

This recipe for ham and beans on the stove has been tested for shorter times but the results impacted the quality of both the flavors and the beans texture. Confidently, I can say this is the best ham and beans ever if you follow the steps.

Following our this as a guide, you’ll always have exceptionally flavors and quality to produce the best beans with ham recipe for everyone. It is extremely easy and quite surprising for great flavor. Read further.

How To Make Beans and Ham

Learn how to make beans and ham in the true and correct Southern Way. This is not the classic, national version, which is mushy and lacks full flavor.

In summary, you make it by browning some chopped onions and ham cubes. You then add in the canned beans, folding it altogether. Cover it for a few minutes to thoroughly get hot and serve it! There are 2 very important steps during this preparation.

  1. First of all, you’ll notice that you use absolutely no salt. Ham is typically already salty enough.
  2. Secondly, you don’t stir this pot a lot. We emphasize the “folding” of the beans. This is to avoid making the beans mushy from a lot of stirring. If you reduce the amount of times you “stir” and focus on mainly just scraping the pan’s bottom, you’ll be good to go.

When To Add Ham To Beans

After years of testing different ways, the best time to add ham to beans is at the very beginning. This gives it time for all the excess water to cook out and then begin to brown right alongside the diced onions. Plus it melds the ham and onions together.

Ham and Beans with Cornbread
Ham and Beans with Cornbread

Ham and Beans Canned Beans

Can you make ham and beans with canned beans? Yes; this is a 100% ham and beans recipe using canned beans. Regarding the best beans to use with ham and beans, we say to use “navy beans with ham” or “great northern beans with ham”. We’ve always ventured out over the decades with trying different brands. But we have relied on the brands of “Bush’s” and “Joan of Arc” for the canned beans. And, we’ve made them with dried beans (after overnight soaking) as well. But, that takes longer cooking and more water beyond this quick and easy recipe.

FAQ on Ham and Beans Recipe

What are the best beans to use for ham and beans?

The primary choice for ham and beans are Navy Beans. Very good alternates are nearly any kind of white beans like “Great Northern Beans“. And yes, you can mix different beans. I’ve had to use a combo of Navy and Great Northern and it’s still a super outcome. You can also use Pinto Beans if you want. I’ve tried Black-eyed Peas and Chick Peas and they were terrible so, you might want to skip beans like those.

How long do I soak my dried beans, if I’m making my own instead of canned beans?

Although it’s best to follow the dried beans directions on the package, it’s usually going to be about 8 hours or overnight. And, if you didn’t soak them overnight, each package often has its own recommendation for speeding things up by cooking the beans in water, sometimes for about 1-1/2 to 3 hours on low after initial boiling.

My ham and beans are too salty

If you feel your ham and beans are too salty, here are 3 key tips to reduce it.

  1. Don’t add any salt to this recipe. With this recipe for ham and beans, no salt is to be added by design.
  2. The salt flavor can be excessive for some people due to the ham. You can opt to soak your ham (before or after dicing) in some water for about a minute and then drain. You can press down on the ham as you run tap water over it while draining off the water in a colander.
  3. Another possibility is that you are using canned beans that are already seasoned. Those will be adding to the salt flavor so you’ll want to avoid those kind of beans.

How do I make my ham and beans recipes less gassy?

It’s the beans. Here’s a little secret. Add about 1/4-1/2 tsp baking soda to this recipe when you add in the beans, not before. If you’re making your own dried beans, then add about 1 tsp of baking soda to the soaking water for every cup of dried beans.

Speaking of gas, did you know that soybeans are the number one for gas and navy beans are second? So, maybe the Great Northern Beans are looking a whole lot better for this recipe. However, use caution, as baking soda adds a more salty flavor to the recipe.

Ham and Beans Recipe is Best Served With Cornbread

If you time things right, you can have cornbread alongside as well. But, that might take more minutes, due to waiting for the oven to preheat. Here are some of our popular cornbread recipes that go perfectly with this quick and easy ham and beans.

This recipe is listed as a leftover use for ham on our Dinner Ideas for Christmas Eve article, where you’ll also see other traditional and non-traditional fun recipes for main courses, sides, appetizers, salads, and breads.

Nutritional Values of Ham and Beans Recipe

The nutritional values are shown in the <Print Recipe> option.


In conclusion, this recipe for ham and beans is a great way to enjoy a classic Southern dish prepared swiftly. The beans provide plenty of fiber and protein. So give it a try!

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Southern Recipe for Ham and Beans – 20 Minutes

This is how to efficiently make ham and beans in one pot. It is so simple and easy, has lots of ham, and is extremely flavorful and healthy.
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 543kcal

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  • 1 lb ham deli or other cooked
  • 1 large onion diced medium
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar optional
  • 2 cans Navy beans 16 oz canned, Navy Beans (or Great Northern Beans) Bushs or Joan of Arc
  • ½ cup water hot tap water, if needed


  • Dice up ham and onion into medium-small pieces.
    1 lb ham, 1 large onion
  • Add ham, onion, and black pepper to medium-sized pot and cook on medium-high for about 5-10 minutes, stirring periodically. The goal is to cook the onions a bit and mainly to reduce the water in the ham.
    1 lb ham, 1 large onion, 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • Fold in all remaining ingredients and combine together.
    1 tbsp brown sugar, 2 cans Navy beans, ½ cup water
  • Heat to boiling, scraping bottom occasionally to prevent scorching. Add hot water, as needed. After reaching boiling, reduce heat to low, cover pot, stirring periodically (mainly to scrape the bottom to prevent scorching). Let it cook on low for 10 minutes.


Calories: 543kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 2302mg | Potassium: 1002mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 3IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 122mg | Iron: 5mg
Tried this recipe?Let us all know how it was!

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