If you are a person who loves Southern cooking, you will love this easy recipe for Slow Cooker Pinto Beans with Ham Hock. In the South, or at least in my house, we refer to them as brown beans. Either way, they are delicious!
When I was a kid, my momma always had a pot of beans going on the stove. Whether they were white beans, brown beans, lima beans, or green beans. That woman never had dinner without some kind of bean to serve. Beans and ham were, also, some of the best MRE meals people could have in a war.
Then, I married a man who loves any kind of bean. So I had to make it my mission to learn how to cook them so he could have a great comfort food meal. I think I have done pretty well learning, so I thought I would share with you too just in case you need an easy pinto bean recipe. My secret is slow cooking the beans.
Of course, if you do not have a slow cooker, you can totally do this same method in a large pot on the stove.
How to Make These Southern Pinto Beans in the Crockpot
This recipe could not be easier to make.
To start with, you need a 16-ounce bag of dry pinto beans from the store. Keep in mind that dry beans need to be sorted, and washed prior to cooking. You need to do this because occasionally you will have rotten ugly beans in your bag and you will need to remove them. These are the same beans you would also use for refried beans.
I do an overnight soak in a water bath in the fridge. This softens them and cuts down on the cooking time tremendously. You do not have to do this though. You can do the quick soak method or go straight from the bag to the slow cooker.
Pour your beans into the crockpot.
Next, you are going to get a smoked ham hock (or ham shank) with the ham bone on it and nestle it right into the dried beans. Smoked ham hocks can usually be found in the grocery store where the bacon and sausage are located. If you have leftover ham, then that works just fine too. You can find my favorite ham recipe here.
My local grocery store offers a two-pack for around $4. They are super cheap and add a ton of flavor to your beans.
Once you get the ham hock nestled, add one teaspoon each of garlic powder and onion powder. Then, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and black pepper.
Cover the beans with 8 to 10 cups water or chicken broth. There should be about 2 inches of water above the beans. The cook time should be low for 8 hours or on high for about 5 hours. You may need to add more water to your beans if you don't soak them in a water bath overnight.
You could also add some bacon grease to the slow cooker.
Once the beans are soft, remove the ham hock from the beans. Take the fatty portion off and shred the meat with a fork. Put the meat back in and mix it with the beans. Give it a taste and season with a little more salt and pepper if needed.
Serve the best pinto beans with a side of my Classic Skillet Cornbread and top with pickled chilies for the perfect weeknight dinner idea. You can use this as a side dish if you want, but my husband loves to just eat it as his main meal sometimes. It is even better the next day.
To keep the leftover pinto beans fresh, store them in an airtight container in the fridge once they cool down to room temperature. This is a great way to serve a hearty meal when your money is tight.
Looking for other bean recipes? Check these out
- Green Bean Bundles
- Slow Cooker Green Beans
- Southern Style White Beans and Ham (made using Great Northern beans)
- Blistered Green Beans
- 16 ounce bag of dry pinto beans sorted and washed
- 1 large ham hock or substitute
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
- 7 Cups Water if you are doing dry version or 4 cups of water if you did a water bath overnight
- After sorting and washing the beans, put them in the crockpot.
- Add in the ham hock.
- Season with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper.
- Pour in the water.
- Cover the Crock-Pot, then set in on high for 6 hours.
- Once the beans are done, remove the ham hock. Take off the fatty portion of the hock and throw it away. Shred the meat and throw it back into the beans. Stir to mix in and then serve with a side of cornbread.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 286Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 212mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 12gSugar: 2gProtein: 19g