Ham With Beans The Old Southern Way

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Ham With Beans – The Old Southern Way

Jeff Baygents
This is how to make ham with beans the correct Southern Way. It won't be mushy, it has lots of ham, and it will be extremely flavorful and healthy. It goes great with cornbread.
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Prep 5 mins
Cook 20 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Servings 4 servings
Calories 304kcal


  • 1 lb ham deli or other cooked
  • 1 large onion diced medium
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar optional
  • 2 16 oz beans canned, Navy Beans (or Great Northern Beans) Bushs or Joan of Arc
  • ½ cup water hot from faucet, as 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 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • Add and stir in the brown sugar to distribute well.
    1 tbsp brown sugar
  • Reduce heat to medium-low. Add in the beans (undrained) and FOLD them into the other ingredients. Cover for about 10 minutes, only stirring minimally 2-3 times in the first 5 minutes, to prevent scorching the pan bottom. Add hot water, as needed.
    2 16 oz beans, ½ cup water


Calories: 304kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 1350mg | Potassium: 392mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 3IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg



About How to Make Ham With Beans

This all time favorite now comes to you in the true and correct Southern Way. This is not the classic, national version, which is mushy and lacks full flavor. Several aspects are important. First of all, you’ll notice that you use absolutely no salt. Ham is typically already salty enough. Secondly, you actually 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.

And, if you’re in a big hurry, here’s a good 20-minute recipe of ours.

FAQ on Ham With Beans

What kind of beans can I use for Ham with Beans recipes?

The primary choice is Navy Beans. Very good alternates are nearly any kind of white beans like “Great Northern Beans”. And yes, you can mix them. I’ve had to use a combo of Navy and Great Northern and it’s still a super outcome.

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.

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

It’s the beans. Here’s a little secret. Okay, so it’s on the Internet now. Dang it! 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.

What goes good with ham and beans meals?

The most popular is going to be cornbread. Here’s an example recipe for cornbread muffins. And, alongside, a basic lettuce salad is also popular.

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