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Slow Cooker Pinto Beans and Ham

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Slow Cooker Pinto Beans and Ham makes for a delicious, comforting, and hearty meal. You’ll love how the slow cooker makes it so easy as you simply throw all the ingredients into the pot and let it simmer all day.

Serve the beans with your favorite cornbread, and the result is a hearty, flavorful main dish meal that your whole family will love.

slow cooker pinto beans with ham

Slow Cooker Pinto Beans and Ham

Pinto beans and ham with cornbread are a southern favorite staple; this slow cooker recipe adds a bit of Tex-Mex flair with the addition of onions, peppers, cumin, and chili powder.

The pinto beans, rich broth, ham, and spices come together for a savory and satisfying meal. Ideal for a busy weeknight or lazy weekend meal.

Get the crock pot going first thing in the morning, and by dinner time, you’ve got a rich and hearty stew-like pot of beans and ham, ready for dipping a piece of crusty bread or scooping up with corn tortillas.

The leftover pinto beans are delicious for lunch the next day and will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can reheat them on the stove or in the microwave.

Why You Should Make These Pinto Beans and Ham

  • Easy to prepare – There’s nothing easier than this pinto beans recipe, just throw everything into the crockpot and let it cook throughout the day.
  • Good for you – Not only is this dish full of nutritious ingredients like protein-packed legumes ham, but it’s also cost-effective as well. This comforting meal will quickly become a family favorite for sure!
  • Perfect for busy weeknights or lazy weekends – This slow cooker recipe is one of those set-it-and-forget-it kinds of recipes. A few minutes of prep in the morning leads to a hearty and nourishing meal in the evening. Comfort food at its best!
  • Customizable – You can use this simple recipe as a base and modify the vegetables, beans, and seasonings. If you don’t want to use the slow cooker, I have also included pressure cooker and stove top cooking instructions as well. (Find them towards the bottom under the FAQs.) Make it your own!
slow cooker pinto beans and ham

Ingredients And Tips For Making Slow Cooker pinto Beans

(Ingredients at a glance, you will find the full recipe with ingredient amounts in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.)

  • Dry pinto beans | Try to find fresh pinto beans if you can. (Difficult, I know, since dried beans aren’t labeled.) As dried beans get older, they become harder to digest and prone to splitting. So, instead of using the bag I’d had in my pantry for five years, I went ahead and bought a new bag. I also clicked on the item reviews. (Benefit of online ordering.) I almost bought the Walmart brand since they were the cheapest, but after reading the reviews, I felt they might not be freshest, so I bought these instead.)
  • Chicken broth | You can use all water, but broth really adds to the flavor. Beef or veggie works too. Water with bullion is fine as well. If you are worried about sodium levels, you can use low-sodium broth. We don’t have sodium issues, so we used regular chicken broth.
  • Spices | I have always used the ready-made Pinto Bean seasoning for my beans, but if you can’t find it, replace it with 2 teaspoons chili powder, 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon garlic powder,1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/2 tsp salt.
  • Onion and bell pepper | yellow or white onion is fine. I used a green bell pepper today, but red works too. (I’ve used both.)
  • Ham – Ham really adds a ton of flavor to the beans. For today’s pinto bean recipe, I used our leftover hambone from Christmas. (After removing most of the meat, I just tossed it in the freezer.) A ham hock works, too. (gives excellent flavor.) You can also use 1 to 2 cups of sliced ham. (I have used all three with excellent results.)

How To Make Slow Cooker pinto Beans

  1. Optional step. But highly recommended: Soak beans in a large bowl of water for at least 8 hours and up to 10 hours at room temperature. (Don’t soak for longer than that, or you’ll start to lose nutrients and affect the texture. You can safely soak the beans in the fridge for 12 to 14 hours.) Transfer soaked beans to a colander and rinse them well. Discard the soaking water. You can also use a quick soak method, usually found on the back of the bean package, but I prefer an overnight soak.
  2. If using a ham hock or ham bone, place it at the bottom of the slow cooker, and add soaked beans over the ham hock/bone. (If using leftover sliced ham, just mix it in at the end with the water.) how to make slow cooker pinto beans and ham
  3. Coarsely slice the onion and green bell pepper and add to the slow cooker. Add spices. how to make slow cooker pinto beans and ham
  4. Pour in the chicken broth and enough water to cover the beans by one inch. Stir everything together. Alternatively, you can use all water instead of the broth – I just like the extra flavor from the broth. how to make slow cooker pinto beans and ham
  5. Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours. Stir a couple of times during cooking, and add more water if necessary. (If you like a firmer bean, start checking for doneness at the 7-hour mark. (If you like a softer bean, you can continue cooking until the desired texture is reached.)
  6. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed. Depending on how salty your ham was or the salt level of the spices, you may not need any.
slow cooker pinto beans and ham

Recipe Tips

  • Save leftover ham, ham hock, or bone for use in this recipe. Just pop the leftovers in the freezer until you need them.
  • Everyone likes their beans at a different firmness. I find 8 hours on low for pre-soaked beans results in a bean that is on the softer side of firm. If you like a firmer bean, start checking for doneness at the 7-hour mark. (If you like a softer bean, you can continue cooking until the desired texture is reached.)
  • If you decide not to soak your beans, cook beans on high for 8 to 9 hours or until tender.
  • Add the salt and pepper at the end of the cooking time; depending on how salty your ham is or the salt level of the spices, you may not need any additional salt.

Variations

  • Add different spices to the crockpot – basil, oregano, rosemary or add a bay leaf.
  • Change up the beans and use white or red kidney, black or lima beans.
  • Add smoked sausage toward the end of the cooking time. Delicious!
  • Add a can of diced tomatoes in with the onions and peppers.
  • Like it spicy? Add a minced jalapeno pepper or a teaspoon or two of crushed red pepper flakes with the rest of the spices.
  • Add extra toppings such as shredded cheese or sour cream.

Storage

Let the beans cool and place leftovers into an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 

To freeze, place beans in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months for best quality. To thaw, place overnight in the refrigerator, or in a pan of warm water for about an hour. (thawing them quickly in the microwave degrades the texture of the bean – making them mushy.) For longer-lasting food in the freezer, I highly recommend a FoodSaver. (If you get an off-brand, make sure it has a “moist” mode.) I swear by mine! I just thawed a bag of leftover Christmas ham, (from the previous year’s Christmas) to use in another pot of beans, and the ham was perfectly tasty.

FAQs

Do I have to soak the beans before placing them in the crockpot?

You don’t have to soak your beans, but I recommend you do.

Soaking your beans reduces the cooking time, but most importantly, soaking helps break down the oligosaccharides (a type of carbohydrate) in beans that our digestive system can’t handle. (It is the oligosaccharides that cause gastrointestinal discomfort. Beano helps with this.)

This is why I love the slow cooker method for pinto beans. It’s easy to soak them overnight and then throw them into the crockpot in the morning. They can cook all day on low and are ready for you when you get home from work.

What Crock Pot do you recommend?

I have the Hamilton Beach Set it and forget it, 6-quart model. I have had it for several years now, and it has held up great. I really like the programmable timer. (so you can set your beans for 8 hours, and then the crock pot will automatically switch to warm. It also comes with a meat probe, so you can know when your meat is cooked to the proper internal temperature.

What if I don’t have any ham on hand?

You can substitute smoked sausage turkey or chicken for the ham. No smoked meats on hand? You can also add a few drops of liquid smoke to add a smokey flavor.

Can this recipe be doubled?

Yes, just last week, I made another batch of pinto beans with ham. I used 2 lbs of dried beans in my 6-quart slow cooker. They fit fine in the slow cooker. (And yes, we were eating beans for days. Luckily, they are delicious.)

Can I make these pinto beans with ham on the stovetop?

Yes, add all the ingredients to a dutch oven or other large pot with lid. Bring beans to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 2.5 hours. You can start checking them at the 2-hour mark for desired firmness.

Can this recipe be made in the instant pot?

Yes, to make this recipe in the instant pot, add everything to the pot (ham, beans, onions and peppers, broth, and spices) and pressure cook soaked beans on high for 15 minutes. (Unsoaked beans for 30 minutes- however, I tried the no-soaking method once and regretted not soaking them first, lol.)

Looking for more slow cooker inspiration?

Did You Make These Pinto Beans and Ham?

Please leave a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and/or a review in the comments section below. If you share an image on Instagram or Facebook, be sure to tag me and use #scatteredmomrecipes!

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slow cooker pinto beans and ham recipe

Slow Cooker Pinto Beans and Ham

  • Author: Jamie Sanders
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: slow cooker

Description

Slow Cooker Pinto Beans and Ham makes for a delicious, comforting, and hearty meal. The slow cooker makes it so easy as you simply throw all the ingredients into the pot and let it simmer all day.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 pound dry pinto beans
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water (you’ll want to use enough water to cover the beans by about an inch.
  • 3 tablespoons Pinto Bean seasoning (or 2 teaspoons chili powder, 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon garlic powder,1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 tsp salt)
  • 1 large onion (I used yellow; white is fine too.)
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1/2 pound thickly sliced ham (OR ham bone/ ham hock with or without meat scraps still on it)
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Instructions

  1. Optional step. But highly recommended: Soak beans in a large bowl of water for at least 8 hours and up to 12 hours at room temperature. Transfer soaked beans to a colander and rinse them well. Discard soaking liquid. You can also use a quick soak method (usually found on the back of the bean package but I prefer an overnight soak.
  2. If using a ham hock or ham bone, place it at the bottom of the slow cooker, and add soaked beans over the ham hock/bone. (If using leftover sliced ham, just mix it in at the end with the water.)
  3. Coursely slice onion and green bell pepper and add to the slow cooker. Add spices.
  4. The chicken broth and enough water in the pot to cover the beans by one inch. Stir everything together. (you can use all water – I just like the extra flavor from the broth.)
  5. Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours. Stir a couple of times during cooking, and add more water if necessary. (If you like a firmer bean, start checking for doneness at the 7-hour mark. (If you like a softer bean, you can continue cooking until the desired texture is reached.)
  6. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed. Depending on how salty your ham was or the salt level of the spices, you may not need any.
  7. Garnish with your favorite toppings and enjoy!


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 437
  • Fat: 8
  • Carbohydrates: 51
  • Fiber: 13
  • Protein: 32

Keywords: solw cooker pinto beans, southern-style pinto beans, slow cooker pinto beans with ham

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One Comment

  1. Great flavor, I used about 1.5 pounds of ham, left out the final 1/2 tsp of salt and it was a little too salty. The cook time was perfect.