Mouthwatering Southern Style Lima Beans Recipe

Hey there, fellow foodies! You know what they say, the soul of a cooking is in its ingredients. Today, I’m excited to share my simple yet delicious southern-style lima beans recipe that will surely satisfy all your cravings for classic soul food. These humble legumes are packed with fiber and nutrients, making them a nutritious staple in any diet. But don’t be fooled by their simplicity – when done right, lima beans can transform into a creamy, comforting bowl of goodness that will warm your heart and belly.

In this recipe, we’ll be using dried large lima beans or baby lima beans, also known as butter beans. They’re readily available at most grocery stores and online retailers like Camellia Brand. Additionally, we’ll be using smoked ham hocks for an elevated flavor profile that’s sure to impress.

What I love about this dish is its versatility – it goes well with just about anything! Serve it alongside your favorite cuts of meat, as a side dish or even as a standalone vegan option. I promise you won’t regret taking the time to soak these delicious southern style lima beans and letting them cook low and slow to maximize their creamy goodness.

So let’s dust off our pots and get ready for some good ole’ fashioned southern cooking!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Southern Style Lima Beans
Southern Style Lima Beans

Are you ready to taste a dish that embodies the soulful, comforting flavors of southern-style cuisine? Then look no further because this Southern Style Lima Beans recipe is exactly what you need in your life. Trust me, it will warm your heart and satisfy your taste buds.

What makes this dish so irresistible is its simplicity. Made with just a handful of ingredients, including dried large lima beans, yellow onions, and smoked ham hocks, this recipe is easy to follow and requires minimal prep work. But don’t let that fool you – the end result is a hearty and delicious meal that will have you licking your plate clean.

But what truly sets this lima beans recipe apart from other southern-style dishes is its versatility. It can be served as a side dish alongside your choice of protein or as a main course paired with cornbread or rice. And thanks to the various substitutions and variations provided in this article, you can customize it to your liking or dietary restrictions with ease.

Plus, cooking these beans allows you to invite the rich history and heritage of southern cuisine into your kitchen, which is why they call it soul food after all! So whether you’re looking for a new go-to dish or simply want to savor some classic southern-style goodness, this Southern Style Lima Beans recipe won’t disappoint.

Ingredient List

 These lima beans are so tender, they're practically melting in your mouth!
These lima beans are so tender, they’re practically melting in your mouth!

Now let’s talk ingredients! To make this Southern Style Lima Beans Recipe you’ll need the following:


  • 1 pound of dried large lima beans
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 smoked ham hocks
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 10 cups of water (or chicken broth)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or vegan butter for a plant-based option)

These ingredients are the key components that give this dish its classic soul food taste. Make sure to use large lima beans, also known as butter beans, or baby lima beans for this recipe. For the best results, I recommend using Camellia brand dried lima beans. You can also substitute the smoked ham hocks with turkey ham or salt pork if needed, but the flavor might differ slightly.

The Recipe How-To

 One bite of these southern-style lima beans and you'll be transported to grandma's porch.
One bite of these southern-style lima beans and you’ll be transported to grandma’s porch.

Now, let’s talk about how to make this Southern-Style Lima beans recipe. Follow the instructions below and you’ll have a pot of delicious beans to fill your stomach and soul.


Here is what you’ll need:

Step 1: Soak the beans

Place the dry lima beans in a large pot and cover them with water. Let them sit overnight, or for at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse the beans before cooking.

Step 2: Cook the ham hock

In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the ham hock until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per side. If using bacon or salt pork, add them in together with the ham hock.

Step 3: Add onions and aromatics

Add chopped onions, garlic powder, ground cumin, ground black pepper, and ground cayenne pepper into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until the onions are browned, about 10 minutes.

Step 4: Cook the beans

Add the soaked lima beans into the same saucepan along with the slices of bacon if using. Pour in 6 cups of water or enough to cover the beans entirely. Stir everything together and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat.

Lower the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and let everything simmer for 2-3 hours, or until the beans are tender and creamy.

Step 5: Finish with butter

Once the beans are cooked, remove the ham hock or any other meat pieces from the saucepan. Add butter and stir in until melted. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Cooking Tips

  • Don’t add salt until after the beans have been fully cooked as it can slow down the cooking process.
  • For a creamier bean dish, use southern-style or baby lima beans.
  • For a vegetarian version, replace ham hock with 2 tablespoons of butter and use vegetable broth instead of water.
  • If you want to speed up the cooking time, use a pressure cooker. A good rule of thumb for pressure cooking this recipe is

Substitutions and Variations

 Creamy, flavorful and oh-so-comforting – these lima beans are the real deal.
Creamy, flavorful and oh-so-comforting – these lima beans are the real deal.

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to switch things up, here are some tasty substitutions and variations you can try!

– Bacon: Substitute the smoked ham hocks with slices of bacon for a smoky flavor in your Southern Style Lima Beans Recipe. If you’re vegan, you can also use vegan bacon or skip it altogether.

– Turkey Ham: Swap out the smoked ham hocks with turkey ham for a slightly healthier option that still packs a punch of flavor.

– Salt Pork: Salt pork is another classic Southern ingredient that adds richness and depth of flavor. If you don’t have ham hocks on hand, salt pork makes for a great substitute.

– Country Style Lima Beans: If you can’t find dried large lima beans or baby lima beans, you can use country style lima beans instead. They have a similar texture and taste that will work well in this recipe.

– Butter Beans: Butter beans are another great substitute for lima beans if you don’t have any on hand. They are creamy and slightly sweet, which would complement the flavors of this Southern classic.

– Slow Cooker: If you don’t have time to cook your lima beans stovetop, try making this recipe in a slow cooker! Simply follow the same steps, but cook on low for 8 hours or until the beans are tender.

– Neck Bones: To add even more depth of flavor, you can add neck bones to the pot along with the ham hocks or bacon. The bones will add a richness to the broth that complements the creamy buttery flavor of the lima beans.

No matter what substitutions or variations you try, these Southern Style Lima Beans are sure to warm your soul and satisfy your taste buds!

Serving and Pairing

 Don't be fooled by their humble appearance – these lima beans are packed with flavor.
Don’t be fooled by their humble appearance – these lima beans are packed with flavor.

Now that you’ve cooked up this aromatic pot of southern-style lima beans, it’s time to dig in and enjoy! These hearty beans make for a delicious and wholesome main dish, perfect for any cozy dinner at home.

You can pair these beans with a variety of other southern side dishes like collard greens, mac and cheese or cornbread. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, try serving them on top of baked sweet potatoes for a tasty twist on classic comfort food.

For a lighter meal, whip up a simple green salad dressed lightly with olive oil and vinegar to contrast the savory flavors of the lima beans.

And don’t forget about leftovers! These southern-style lima beans are even better after a night in the fridge as their flavors deepen and develop. You can reheat them on the stovetop over medium heat with a splash of water to keep them from drying out.

But no matter how you serve them, these southern butter beans are sure to be a hit, bringing all the soulful flavors of the south straight to your plate.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 This recipe is proof that lima beans can indeed be delicious.
This recipe is proof that lima beans can indeed be delicious.

Cooking these southern-style lima beans is a labor of love that requires patience, as the beans must be cooked low and slow for maximum creaminess. But once you have made them, they can be stored for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

To reheat your lima beans, you can use a microwave or reheat them on the stovetop. The easiest way to heat them up is in the microwave. Place the beans in a microwave-safe dish and heat for about 1-2 minutes per serving. If you prefer to reheat them on the stovetop, add some water or broth to your lima beans, and heat them over medium-low heat until they are warmed through.

If you want to make these beans ahead of time, follow the cooking instructions accordingly but undercook them slightly by reducing their cooking time by about 10-15 minutes before letting them cool completely. This will ensure that they don’t become mushy when reheated later.

You can also freeze your cooked lima beans for up to 3 months. To freeze, let them cool completely before placing them into an airtight freezer-safe container or bag. Make sure to label the container with the date and what’s inside. When you’re ready to use them, simply thaw them overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Keep in mind that if you have any leftover ham hock or other meats used during cooking your lima beans, they will enhance their flavors even more when used again in another recipe such as bean soup or southern butter and rice recipe.

Overall, this Southern Style Lima Beans Recipe is easily adaptable and perfect for meal prepping while keeping that southern taste throughout the week.

Tips for Perfect Results

 With just a handful of ingredients, these lima beans are easy to make and absolutely delicious.
With just a handful of ingredients, these lima beans are easy to make and absolutely delicious.

Listen up, y’all! I’ve got some tips for making the best Southern Style Lima Beans Recipe. You want your beans to be creamy, tender, and full of flavor. So follow these tips and you’ll have lima beans that will make your mama proud.

1. Soak Your Beans Overnight: The secret to creamy and tender beans is all in the soaking process. Before you start cooking, soak your dried lima beans overnight in water. This softens the beans and reduces the cooking time. Trust me, it’s worth the extra effort.

2. Add Some Smokey Meat: Nothing says Southern-style like adding some smoked ham hocks or bacon to your beans. The fat from the meat adds richness to the dish, while the smokiness gives it that classic soul food flavor.

3. Don’t Overcook Your Beans: While you want your lima beans to be tender and creamy, you also don’t want them to turn into mush. Keep an eye on your cooking time and check your beans frequently. Once they’re cooked through, remove them from the heat.

4. Use Low Sodium Broth: Southern cuisine can be heavy on salt, but that doesn’t mean your lima beans have to be. Use low-sodium broth when cooking your beans so you can control the seasoning.

5. Spice It Up: For an extra kick of flavor, add some ground cayenne pepper or ground cumin to your beans recipe. Just a little bit goes a long way.

6. Keep It Simple: Sometimes the best Southern-style dishes are the simplest ones. Don’t overcomplicate things by adding too many ingredients or spices. Let the natural flavor of the lima beans shine through.

Follow these tips and you’ll have a bowl of Southern Style Lima Beans that will rival any restaurant’s version. Y’all be sure to let me know how they turn out!


Before we wrap up this recipe article, I want to share with you some of the most commonly asked questions that I receive about this southern-style lima beans recipe. It’s always best to be informed and prepared in the kitchen, so let’s go through these FAQs together.

What are lima beans called in the South?

In the Southern region, individuals cultivate two varieties of lima beans that are commonly referred to as butter beans.

Why do you soak lima beans before cooking?

If you give your lima beans a good soak prior to cooking, it can reduce their cooking time and make them more digestible. Additionally, certain beans can have an improved texture and avoid bursting while being cooked if soaked beforehand.

Do you have to soak dry lima beans before cooking?

To expedite cooking time, soaking the beans for approximately 8 hours is a helpful option, but not necessary. While the beans will decrease in size during soaking, they should swell as they cook. Care should be taken not to over-soak or overcook as it may cause the beans to disintegrate. Deciding to soak the beans allows for a shorter cook time.

How to prepare dry lima beans for cooking?

Before diving into the recipe, let’s go over the first essential step: preparing the dried beans. Start by giving them a good rinse in a strainer to remove any dirt or debris. Once thoroughly rinsed, transfer the beans to a large pot and add twice the amount of water to cover the beans. It’s best to let them soak for at least three hours, or better yet, overnight. Keep in mind that the longer you soak the beans, the quicker they will cook.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this Southern Style Lima Beans Recipe is a must-try for anyone who appreciates classic soul food and the simplicity of good cooking. With easy-to-find ingredients and simple steps, these beans will be sure to impress your family and friends. Whether you’re serving them with rice, cornbread or any other southern dish, they are guaranteed to make your meal complete. So, go ahead and give it a try! You will not be disappointed. Remember to try different variations – you might just discover your new favorite way to enjoy this classic southern dish. With this recipe up your sleeve, you are well on your way to becoming a master of southern cuisine. Get started now and let us know in the comments how it turns out for you!

Southern Style Lima Beans

Southern Style Lima Beans Recipe

From the Fayetteville Observer, March 8, 2000.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 8 hrs
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Southern American
Calories 420.2 kcal


  • 1 lb dried large lima beans
  • 3 smoked ham hocks
  • 3 yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (or more)
  • water, enough to cover


  • Simmer beans in one to two quarts of water for 30 minutes, either in the crockpot on "high" heat or in another pot over the stove. The beans will have swelled and softened slightly.
  • Drain and put them into the crockpot.
  • Add remaining ingredients.
  • Cook four to eight hours on "auto-shift" or "low" heat.
  • At some point, remove the ham hocks and separate the bones and fat from the bits of meat, cutting up the meat to return to crockpot.
  • When done, this dish should resemble a stew with a thick broth. The beans should be soft, but not quite falling apart. If you cook it too long, it will be tasty but will resemble split pea soup.
  • Serve with biscuits or cornbread.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 131gCalories: 420.2kcalCarbohydrates: 80.3gProtein: 25.4gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.2gSodium: 24.7mgFiber: 23.2gSugar: 13.2g
Keyword Beans, Ham, Meat, Pork
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