Delicious Southern Pinto Beans and Ham Hocks Recipe

Welcome to my Southern Pinto Beans and Ham Hocks Made in the Crock Pot Recipe. If you’re a fan of authentic southern-style cuisine, then this recipe is perfect for you. This dish has all the heart and soul of the deep south with its deliciously tender ham hocks and perfectly cooked pinto beans. It’s truly a classic and a must-try for anyone who loves good, hearty food.

I’ve always believed that food should make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, and what could be more comforting than a big bowl of slow-cooked beans and ham? This recipe may take some time to cook, but the end result is worth every minute. The flavors are incredible, and the texture is just right – creamy beans with bits of smoky ham throughout.

This recipe is perfect for those cold nights when you want something comforting to warm you up. It’s also great for feeding a crowd since it makes a large batch that can be reheated easily. I guarantee that this dish will become one of your go-to recipes for years to come.

So come on, let’s get started on making some delicious Southern Pinto Beans and Ham Hocks in the Crock Pot!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Southern Pinto Beans and Ham Hocks Made in the Crock Pot
Southern Pinto Beans and Ham Hocks Made in the Crock Pot

Y’all, listen up! If you’re a fan of Southern-style cuisine, then this recipe is going to speak to your heart and soul. As a chef who specializes in this type of cooking, I can confidently say that this Southern Pinto Beans and Ham Hocks Made in the Crock Pot Recipe is not only delicious but also comforting.

Let me tell you why I’m so passionate about this recipe. First of all, it’s super easy to make. All you need are some dried pinto beans, a large smoked ham hock, some garlic and onion, and a slow cooker (AKA crock pot). Then add some water, seasoning salt, black pepper, bay leaves, and let the crock pot work its magic for several hours.

The best part is that this recipe works well for busy weeknights or lazy weekends. With almost no prep work necessary, all you have to do is toss everything into the crock pot and walk away. The slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld together perfectly without any effort on your part.

But what really sets this dish apart is the taste. The rich and savory flavors of the ham hocks seep into the beans creating a heavenly combo that will leave you wanting more. This recipe is soul food at its best – hearty, warm, and satisfying.

Lastly, this recipe offers plenty of versatility. You can use different types of smoked meat like turkey or beef shank instead of ham hocks if you prefer. You can also adjust the seasoning to your preferred taste by adding more or less salt and black pepper.

Trust me when I say that once you try this Southern Pinto Beans and Ham Hocks Made in the Crock Pot Recipe, you’ll never look back. It’s perfect for cozy winter nights in with family or friends or even impromptu gatherings. Give it a try – you won’t be disappointed!

Ingredient List

 Slow-cooked to perfection: Southern pinto beans and ham hocks
Slow-cooked to perfection: Southern pinto beans and ham hocks

Before diving into the recipe, let’s take a look at what you’ll need to create these mouth-watering Southern Pinto Beans and Ham Hocks slow cooked to perfection.


  • 1 pound of dry pinto beans
  • 1 large smoked ham hock (or smoked ham shank)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of seasoning salt
  • 8 cups of water (or low sodium chicken broth)
  • Sliced green onion (optional for garnish)

Make sure to sort and wash the pinto beans before using them. You can substitute the ham hock with smoked turkey or beef shank for a twist on traditional soul food dish. The key secret to authentic Southern flavor is slow cooking, so avoid fast cooking methods like pressure cookers and dutch ovens. Let’s get started!

The Recipe How-To

 One-pot wonder: Crockpot pinto beans and ham hocks
One-pot wonder: Crockpot pinto beans and ham hocks

How to cook Southern Pinto Beans and Ham Hocks in the Crock Pot

This recipe is one of my all-time favorite hearty soul food dishes, perfect for cold winter nights or really any time of the year. Here’s how you can make this comforting dish using your slow cooker.


  • 1 pound dry pinto beans
  • 1 large ham hock or 2 small ones
  • 1 large smoked ham shank or smoked turkey leg (optional)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and seasoning salt to taste
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 6 cups water or low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves (optional)

Step 1: Preparing the Beans

Begin by sorting and washing the pinto beans. Check for any rocks or debris, rinse well in cool water, and place in a large pot. Cover with several inches of water and soak overnight, then drain before using.

Step 2: Cooking the Beans

In a slow cooker, add the soaked beans, chopped onion, minced garlic, ham hocks, smoked ham shank (if using), salt and pepper to taste. Add a couple of bay leaves if you want extra flavor.

Cover with about 6 cups of water or chicken broth.

Set the slow cooker on low and cook for 8 hours or high for 4 hours depending on your preference. Your house will smell amazing as these delicious soulful Southern-style pinto beans slowly cook away.

Step 3: Adding Seasonings

About an hour before the end of cooking, remove the ham hocks and let cool. Once cool, remove the meat from the bones and break it into small pieces. Discard the bones and fatty pieces. Then add the meat back to the slow cooker.

Step 4: Serving

Once done, serve in bowls over warm white rice or with freshly baked cornbread. Top with chopped green onion to taste or hot sauce for an extra kick.

Shortcut Options:

If you prefer to cook your beans quicker, try cooking on high for 4-6 hours.

Alternatively, you can cook in a pressure cooker or Dutch oven with similar cooking times.

Soulful southern-style pinto beans and ham hocks are easy, delicious, and a comfort food favorite that you will make again and again. For more variations and tips on cooking this classic recipe, head over to the next section of substitutions and variations.

Substitutions and Variations

 Warm and comforting: Homemade pinto beans and ham hocks
Warm and comforting: Homemade pinto beans and ham hocks

I know that not everyone has access to the same ingredients and may want to switch things up. Here’s a few substitutions and variations that can make this recipe your own.

If you don’t have ham hocks, you can still make delicious pinto beans by replacing the ham hocks with smoked turkey or a smoked ham shank. You could also use beef shank or a ham soup bone for added flavor.

If you’re cooking for someone who is sensitive to high sodium content, try using low-sodium or salt-free seasoning packet instead of seasoning salt. You could also replace the ham hocks with chicken or vegetable broth instead.

Want to add more depth of flavor? Cook yellow onions and garlic in olive oil and add them to the slow cooker before adding beans and water. A bay leaf or two will also give great taste.

If you don’t have a slow cooker, try cooking these beans in a pressure cooker, Dutch oven, or instant pot. Cooking times may vary, so be sure to read instructions beforehand.

Not feeling like eating plain pinto beans? Turn these into soulful baked beans by adding green onion and brown sugar. Or make that hearty soup calling it soup beans by pairing it with cornbread.

Don’t be afraid to try new things with this recipe, as Southern style cooking is all about using what you have on hand and making it work.

Serving and Pairing

 A classic Southern comfort: Pinto beans and ham hocks
A classic Southern comfort: Pinto beans and ham hocks

Southern Pinto Beans and Ham Hocks made in the Crock-Pot are simply delicious on their own, but they also taste amazing when paired with a number of other dishes. Here are my recommendations for how to serve and pair this dish to make it even more enjoyable.

Firstly, these beans are great served with a side of cornbread or rice. The combination of the moist, flavorful beans and the crispy texture of the cornbread or rice is heavenly! I recommend making a batch of southern-style cornbread or using simple steamed white rice to accompany your pinto beans.

For an even heartier meal that’s sure to satisfy, you might consider pairing these beans with some smoked sausages or grilled pork chops. The smokiness of the meats goes perfectly with the savory flavor profile of the beans and ham hocks for a truly fulfilling meal.

If you’re in the mood for something on the lighter side, these beans are also delicious over a bed of lettuce as a salad or mixed into a warm pasta dish. Fresh green onion or chives pair well with this, adding an additional layer of flavor to your dish.

In addition, you can try adding some hot sauce or vinegar-based sauce to your serving. A dash or two can help cut through the richness of the ham hocks and add an extra bit of zing to each spoonful of beans.

For beverage pairing, southern-style sweet tea is commonly served with this dish but any Southern alcoholic drinks can be served alongside like Mint Julep, Hurricane or Whiskey Sour.

No matter how you choose to serve these Crock-Pot Pinto Beans and Ham Hocks, they are sure to become one of your family’s favorite recipes. Enjoy!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Hearty and filling: Slow-cooked ham hocks and pinto beans
Hearty and filling: Slow-cooked ham hocks and pinto beans

One of the best parts about this recipe for Southern Pinto Beans and Ham Hocks Made in the Crock Pot is that it is a perfect dish to make ahead of time. Slow cooked dishes like this one tend to get better with age, so you can easily prepare this recipe over the weekend and store it in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to serve it.

To make these beans ahead of time, simply let them cool for a while after cooking and then transfer them into an airtight container. You can store them in the fridge for up to five days or in the freezer for up to three months. When reheating, add a little bit of water or broth to loosen the consistency of the beans and then reheat them slowly.

If you have any leftover ham hocks, don’t throw them away! They actually work wonderfully in other recipes like soup or stews. You can also chop them up finely and use them as a topping on salads, pizzas or potato dishes.

When serving these delicious Southern Pinto Beans and Ham Hocks, I highly recommend adding some extra toppings like sliced green onion or hot sauce for an extra spicy kick. Trust me; it’ll take this dish from good to great!

Overall, this recipe is perfect for meal planning or preparing meals for larger gatherings as you can save time and make it ahead of your event. With simple steps for reheating and storing, your pinto beans will always taste fantastic whether fresh out of the crock pot or from your fridge days later.

Tips for Perfect Results

 The ultimate comfort food: Crockpot ham hock and pinto beans
The ultimate comfort food: Crockpot ham hock and pinto beans

Achieving the perfect texture and flavor of Southern Pinto Beans and Ham Hocks can be quite challenging, but with a few tricks up my sleeve, I’m confident that you’ll achieve excellent results. Here are my top tips for ensuring your pinto beans are tender and flavorful every time:

1. Soaking the Beans overnight

Before cooking your beans, soak them in water overnight. This process will soften the outer layers of your beans, increasing their tenderness, reducing the cooking time, and making them more digestible. If you don’t have whole night to spare, you can try quick soaking the beans by bringing them to a boil for 2 minutes and removing them from heat. Let them sit, covered, for an hour before rinsing and proceeding with cooking.

2. Cooking Slowly and Gently

Pinto beans can be delicate, so they need to simmer gently to preserve their shape and flavor. When using slow cooker or crock pot add soaked beans with ham hock or smoked ham shank to cook on low for around 6-8 hours. Check them periodically to ensure they’re covered with water and stir if necessary.

3. Adding Ingredients at the Right Time

Adding seasonings like garlic or onion too early can turn bitter due to overcooking. Add salt sparingly at first as it can prevent beans from softening. Bay leaves, smoked ham shanks or ham broth can be added at the beginning along with soaked beans for best flavor.

4. Storing Leftovers Properly

If you have any leftovers of this soulful dish follow proper storing instructions in an air tight container for no longer than 5 days in the refrigerator or freeze up to two months.

These little tips may seem small details but they could mean a world of difference between ordinary and extraordinary Southern Pinto Beans and Ham Hocks recipe. Remember that when cooking soul food recipes it is about paying attention to the details of generous family recipes and the love behind the food.


As a southern-style cuisine chef, I understand that cooking is not an exact science and can often be intimidating. Whether you’re a novice cook or a seasoned pro, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of the recipe you’re following. Before diving into this Southern Pinto Beans and Ham Hocks Made in the Crock Pot Recipe, let’s address some frequently asked questions to help ease your concerns and provide guidance throughout the cooking process.

Do you have to soak beans before cooking in crock pot?

If you plan to use dry red kidney beans in your recipe, it’s important to properly prepare them before cooking. To do so, soak the beans in water for at least five hours. During this time, you can periodically change out the water, although this isn’t required for safety reasons. Finally, drain the beans from the water in which they soaked.

How long do beans need to soak before cooking in crock pot?

To ensure tender and flavorful beans, it’s best to let them soak for at least 6 hours, or overnight, covered on the counter. After soaking, drain and rinse the beans using a colander before placing them in a crock pot for cooking.

Do you leave skin on ham hock when making soup?

When dealing with ham hocks or shanks, be sure to peel off the skin and dispose of it before extracting the meat from the bone. Shred the meat and mix it in with the soup for optimal results.

Should ham hock be soaked before cooking?

Before cooking ham hocks, it is recommended to soak them in cold water for 30 minutes or more. This process is helpful in removing the excess salt and preventing an overwhelming salty taste. If you are braising the smoked ham hocks, consider using a low sodium broth to balance out the flavor.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, Southern Pinto Beans and Ham Hocks made in the crock pot is a recipe that has the ability to transport you back to the roots of Southern cuisine with just one bite. With simple ingredients like dry pinto beans, smoked ham hocks, garlic, onion, and seasoning, it creates a dish that warms your heart and brings your family together. Plus, it’s incredibly easy to make!

This recipe is perfect for not only a weeknight meal but also for a family gathering or holiday feast. The best part about this recipe is that it’s versatile and can be customized to fit your personal taste preference.

So go ahead, grab your slow cooker, some dry pinto beans, and allow yourself to embark on a soulful journey filled with aroma and sensational flavors. Trust me; you won’t regret it!

Southern Pinto Beans and Ham Hocks Made in the Crock Pot

Southern Pinto Beans and Ham Hocks Made in the Crock Pot Recipe

I made a ham, and there's nothing better with the ham bone than a pot of beans. I also added ham to the recipe with the ham hock. I love that you don't have to presoak your beans. Just throw them in the crock after you clean. Fast and easy delicious mean to serve over rice or just as is. Recipe courtesy of
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 6 hrs
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Southern American
Calories 74.4 kcal


  • 3 cups dry pinto beans, sorted and washed
  • 1 large ham hock
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon mrs dash salt substitute or 2 teaspoons seasoning salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 7 cups water
  • chopped green onion (to garnish) (optional)


  • After sorting and washing the beans, put them in the crock pot.
  • Add the onions, garlic, and ham hock.
  • Pour in the water, then sprinkle with the seasonings.
  • COver the crock pot and set on high for 6 hours.
  • Once the beans are done, serve them over rice.
  • Garnish with green onions.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 400gCalories: 74.4kcalCarbohydrates: 14.4gProtein: 5.8gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 168.4mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 0.8g
Keyword Beans, Ham, Meat, Pork
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