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Southern Ham and White Beans

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You can’t get more southern than Southern Ham and White Beans. Traditionally made with a ham bone or ham hock, this budget friendly meal can feed a family just about all week long. Make a big pan of cornbread to go along with this and you will be in hog heaven!

Southern Ham and White Beans

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We, like many around here, make a ham for just about every major holiday. It’s just what you do.

Thanksgiving? Ham and Turkey. Christmas? Ham and Roast Beef. Easter? Well, Easter is just ham, and that’s fine by me. The thing with ham though, is that once you are done eating ham sandwiches, and ham balls, and ham quiche, the good ol’ holiday ham has one last gift – the ham bone.

We have two favorite ways to enjoy the last remnants of the holiday ham; one is my husband’s Ham and Cabbage Soup and the other is Southern Ham and White Beans.

Southern Ham and White Beans

So, to make Southern Ham and White Beans you are going to have to get yourself some dried beans. White beans (I like these from Amazon) in this case.

That could be Great Northern beans, Cannellini beans (although not very Southern, they are delish!) or Navy Beans (which is what I have used here). Any dried bean will do. You could even use, pinto beans if you had those lying around.

Cooking dried beans isn’t hard and don’t let anyone tell you that it is.  All they need is a little soak before you cook them.

You can do that two ways. The first way is to put your beans in a bowl or some kind of container, sort through them (don’t obsess over this, there probably won’t be anything but beans in your bag) and then place them in the container and cover with twice as much water as beans.

Let that sit on your counter for up to 8 hours. If you need to soak for longer than that, just stick them in your fridge so they don’t start attracting anything funky.

The second way to cook dried beans is the quick soak method.

The quick soak method is for when you forgot to soak your beans the night before. All you do is put them in a large pot, cover them with water and bring them to a boil. At that point you stick a lid on them and turn off the heat and let them sit for a couple of hours.

Both methods work the same. I have had a couple people ask me about cooking beans without soaking them. I have yet to try this method, but it might work if you could cook them long enough. Say in a crock pot for several hours.

Southern Ham and White Beans

Once you have soaked your beans, you really need to drain them. Dried beans are dirty things so don’t cook your beans in their soaking liquid (especially pinto beans. They will straight up taste like dirt.)

Now that you have given your dried beans a good soakin’ you are ready to make some Southern Ham and White Beans!

I call for a ham bone in this recipe, but you could substitute a smoked ham hock, smoked turkey leg, a big chunk of bacon, or even leave the ham out all together and do a vegetarian version (I would substitute vegetable stock for the water in this case though and maybe even some dried mushrooms or tomato paste to give these beans some extra flavor).Southern Ham and White Beans

Southern Ham and White Beans really demands hot sauce and cornbread to go with it, and if you want to be really country, a tall glass of cold buttermilk (don’t freak out on me y’all!).

The possibility of having lots of beans left even after you have eaten all of the ham out of them is pretty high, so plan on using up the leftovers in something like a White Bean Salad, a white bean bake, or our favorite Harissa Chicken and White Beans.

Of course, you can also freeze any leftovers. Just put your chilled beans in a freezer zip top bag and stash them in the freezer for another day. They should be good in the freezer for about 6 months.

I am a big lover of white beans y’all so make sure to check out these other great recipes to use those leftover beans!

Italian Baked Chicken and White Beans

Pork and White Bean Chili

Sausage and White Bean Soup

Braised Chicken Thighs with White Beans and Spinach

Southern Ham and White Beans from leftovers

Southern Ham and White Beans

A traditional Southern dish, white beans are cooked with a leftover hambone. This will make enough beans to feed you all week. Serve with homemade cornbread and a green salad for a complete meal!
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 4 hours
Course: dinner
Cuisine: american, southern
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 144kcal


  • 2 cups dried beans about 1/2 pound
  • Ham Bone
  • bay leaf
  • fresh thyme sprigs
  • onion quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • water


  • First, soak the beans for at least 8 hours or overnight in water. Alternatively, place beans in a dutch oven, cover with water and bring to boil. Boil for a few minutes then remove from heat and place lid on top. Let sit for 2 hours.
  • Next, place beans in a large dutch oven along with the rest of the ingredients and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer. Cook for at least 2 hours.
  • Serve with cornbread and a green salad.


Calories: 144kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 31mg | Potassium: 473mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 10IU | Vitamin C: 2.6mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 2.3mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @TwoLuckySpoons or tag #twoluckyspoons!

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This Post Has 23 Comments

    1. Love to make ham and pinto beans after Thanksgiving and use left over ham..numm.. I’ve never added thyme but its delish. Thank you

  1. I normally use my ham bones in soups but this sounds like a great way to add flavour to beans as well.

  2. Such a simple and comforting meal! I just want to get a big spoon, fork and dig into a this bowl of bean and ham goodness. This kind of meal feeds not just belly, but heart and soul!

      1. Is the onion quartered and sliced or just quartered? New to this site and dont know if I’m going about question properly but thanks

        1. Hi Dustin! Welcome to the site! The onion in this recipe is there to provide flavor to the broth and the beans while they are cooking so keeping it in large quarters is preferable to that they hold up through the long cook time. Thanks for the question!

  3. I’m not sure how you managed to do it, but those are some pretty pictures of hambone! Excellent classic southern food. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  4. Ham and beans. Nothing like a simple, wonderful combination. I just had 2 bowls. The flavor of the thyme really took this over the edge. Delicious, just delicious.

    1. I would brown it in the pot before adding the beans and water in. It doesn’t have to be crisp, but rendering some of the fat out will be good for flavor.

  5. Love to make ham and pinto beans after Thanksgiving and use left over ham..numm.. I’ve never added thyme but its delish. Thank you

  6. Looks delicious. I’m planning to make this recipe this week with leftover Easter ham bone. How many fresh thyme sprigs? If I had to use dried thyme, how much would you say? Do you have a favorite recipe for corn bread? I’m partial to adding jalapenos.

    1. Two or three sprigs will be fine. If you’ve only got dried, probably about a teaspoon.
      I’m pretty basic when it comes to cornbread and, honestly, I usually just use the Martha White Buttermilk mix and call it a day. Throw some jalapeños in there if you wanna.

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Jodie is a wife, mom, writer and lover of chickens and gardens. She runs her family's winery by day and cooks and writes by night.

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