Slow-Cooked Pinto Beans and Ham Recipe

Harness the power of your slow cooker to create this flavorful pinto beans and ham dish. The slow-cooked method enhances the rich flavors of the beans and ham, making it a comforting meal for any time of the day. It's the perfect dish to serve at a family gathering or a casual dinner with friends.

Slow-Cooked Pinto Beans and Ham Recipe

Photos of Slow-Cooked Pinto Beans and Ham Recipe

Dried pinto beans and ham base might not be your average pantry staples. Dried pinto beans, found in the dried foods or legume section, need to be soaked before they're cooked, which enhances their digestibility and reduces cooking time. Ham base, usually found near the bouillon cubes in your grocery store, enriches the dish with a deep, smoky flavor.

Ingredients for Slow-Cooked Pinto Beans and Ham

Pinto beans: A type of legume that's high in fiber and protein, contributing to the hearty nature of this dish.

Ham bone with meat: Provides a depth of flavor to the beans while the meat adds texture and protein.

Red onion: Adds a subtle sweetness and texture to the dish.

Garlic: Gives a distinct, robust flavor to the beans.

Ham base: Enhances the ham flavor throughout the dish.

Hot pepper sauce: Adds a kick of spiciness to the dish, which can be adjusted according to taste.

Salt and ground black pepper: Basic seasonings to further enhance the flavor of the dish.

One reader, Celina Oneal says:

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This slow-cooked pinto beans and ham recipe is a game-changer! The beans are perfectly tender, and the ham adds a rich, savory flavor. The aroma alone is mouthwatering. It's a comforting, hearty dish that's perfect for a cozy night in. I highly recommend trying it out!

Celina Oneal

Cooking Techniques for Slow-Cooked Pinto Beans and Ham

How to soak pinto beans: Soak the pinto beans in water for at least 1 hour to soften them before cooking.

How to cook in a slow cooker: Slow cook the pinto beans and ham bone in a slow cooker on low heat for about 8 hours until the beans are tender.

How to remove and shred ham meat: After cooking, remove the ham bone from the slow cooker, shred the meat, and add it back to the beans before serving.

How To Make Simple Slow Cooker Pinto Beans and Ham

Think of the classic pork and beans dish but this time we are using slow-cooked pinto beans and ham which is the right mix of sweetness and earthy flavor.

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 8 hours 5 minutes
Total: 8 hours 15 minutes



  • 14cupswaterdivided
  • 2cupsdried pinto beans
  • 1ham bone with meat
  • 1largered onionchopped
  • 2tspgarlicminced
  • 1tspham basesuch as Better than Bouillon®
  • 1dashhot pepper saucesuch as Tabasco®, to taste
  • 1pinchsalt and ground black pepperto taste


  1. Bring 8 cups water and pinto beans to a boil in a large pot. Remove pot from heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse before using.

  2. Transfer pinto beans to a slow cooker. Add ham bone, red onion, minced garlic, and ham base. Pour in remaining 6 cups of water, or enough to cover the beans.

  3. Cool on Low until beans are tender, about 8 hours.

  4. Remove the ham bone, shred meat, and add back to the beans. Discard the bone. Serve hot, seasoned with hot sauce, salt, and pepper.


  • Calories: 277.31kcal
  • Fat: 6.25g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.94g
  • Trans Fat: 0.04g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 2.56g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.98g
  • Carbohydrates: 32.43g
  • Fiber: 7.82g
  • Sugar: 1.86g
  • Protein: 22.92g
  • Cholesterol: 34.89mg
  • Sodium: 511.81mg
  • Calcium: 76.08mg
  • Potassium: 896.50mg
  • Iron: 3.03mg
  • Vitamin A: 1.14µg
  • Vitamin C: 4.70mg

Crucial Technique Tip for Slow-Cooked Pinto Beans and Ham Recipe

When preparing your pinto beans, it's important to remember that soaking them before cooking can help to reduce their cooking time and make them easier to digest. This recipe calls for a quick soak method, which involves boiling the beans and then letting them stand for an hour. However, if you have more time, you can also do a long soak by simply covering the beans with water and leaving them to soak overnight. This can be done in the refrigerator to prevent any fermentation. This soaking process can also help to remove some of the indigestible sugars that can cause gas.

Time-Saving Tips for Making Slow-Cooked Pinto Beans and Ham Recipe

Prep ahead: Soak the pinto beans overnight to reduce the cooking time in the slow cooker. This will help soften the beans more quickly and evenly.

Use a pressure cooker: Consider using a pressure cooker to cook the pinto beans and ham more rapidly. It can significantly reduce the cooking time while still achieving tender and flavorful results.

Chop ingredients in advance: Pre-chop the red onion and garlic the night before and store them in the refrigerator. This will save time during the recipe preparation.

Multi-task: While the beans are cooking, use the time to prepare other dishes or sides for your meal to maximize efficiency in the kitchen.

Invest in a slow cooker: A slow cooker can be a time-saving kitchen appliance for preparing slow-cooked dishes like pinto beans and ham. It allows for hands-off cooking and can be left unattended while you attend to other tasks.

Substitute Ingredients For Slow-Cooked Pinto Beans and Ham Recipe

  • water - Substitute with vegetable broth: Vegetable broth adds depth of flavor and richness to the dish, similar to the savory quality of ham broth.

  • dried pinto beans - Substitute with dried black beans: Black beans have a similar texture and flavor profile to pinto beans, and they hold up well in slow-cooked dishes.

  • ham bone with meat - Substitute with smoked turkey leg: Smoked turkey leg provides a similar smoky flavor and richness to the dish, while also adding a meaty element.

  • red onion - Substitute with yellow onion: Yellow onions have a slightly milder flavor compared to red onions, but they still provide a good base flavor for the dish.

  • garlic - Substitute with garlic powder: Garlic powder can be used as a convenient substitute for fresh garlic, providing a similar flavor without the need for chopping or mincing.

  • ham base - Substitute with smoked paprika: Smoked paprika adds a smoky flavor similar to ham, enhancing the overall depth of the dish.

  • hot pepper sauce - Substitute with cayenne pepper: Cayenne pepper can be used to add heat and spice to the dish, similar to hot pepper sauce.

  • salt and ground black pepper - Substitute with smoked sea salt and smoked black pepper: Smoked sea salt and smoked black pepper can add a smoky flavor to the dish, complementing the other ingredients.

Presentation Tips for Slow-Cooked Pinto Beans and Ham

  1. Elevate the plating: When presenting the slow-cooked pinto beans and ham, focus on creating an elegant and visually appealing plate. Use a large, shallow bowl to showcase the beans and ham, allowing the rich colors and textures to shine through.

  2. Garnish with fresh herbs: Add a touch of freshness and color to the dish by garnishing with finely chopped parsley or cilantro. The vibrant green hues will provide a beautiful contrast against the earthy tones of the beans and ham.

  3. Incorporate a drizzle of olive oil: Before serving, delicately drizzle a high-quality olive oil over the beans and ham. This not only enhances the flavors but also adds a glossy sheen to the dish, creating a visually stunning presentation.

  4. Use complementary dinnerware: Opt for earthenware or stoneware plates to add a rustic charm to the presentation. The natural textures and earthy tones of the dinnerware will complement the hearty nature of the slow-cooked beans and ham.

  5. Add a pop of color with pickled vegetables: Introduce a burst of color and tangy flavor by serving a side of vibrant pickled vegetables. The acidity and visual appeal of the pickles will elevate the overall presentation of the dish.

  6. Incorporate a sprinkle of smoked paprika: Just before serving, lightly dust the dish with a sprinkle of smoked paprika. The deep red hue and smoky aroma will add a touch of sophistication to the presentation, enticing the senses.

  7. Serve with artisanal bread: Accompany the slow-cooked pinto beans and ham with slices of freshly baked artisanal bread. The warm, crusty bread will not only elevate the visual appeal but also provide a delightful textural contrast to the dish.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making Pinto Beans and Ham

  • Large pot: A large pot is essential for boiling the pinto beans and ham bone.
  • Slow cooker: A slow cooker is used to cook the pinto beans and ham bone over a long period of time, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  • Knife: A knife is needed for chopping the red onion and mincing the garlic.
  • Cutting board: A cutting board is used as a surface for chopping the red onion and preparing the ingredients.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: These are used to accurately measure the water, pinto beans, and other ingredients.
  • Strainer: A strainer is used to drain and rinse the soaked pinto beans before adding them to the slow cooker.
  • Serving bowl: A serving bowl is used to present the slow-cooked pinto beans and ham to the table.

Storing and Freezing Slow-Cooked Pinto Beans and Ham

  • Allow the pinto beans and ham to cool completely before storing or freezing.
  • For short-term storage, transfer the cooled beans and ham to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
  • To freeze the slow-cooked pinto beans and ham for longer storage:
    • Divide the cooled beans and ham into portion-sized freezer-safe containers or resealable bags, leaving about an inch of space at the top for expansion during freezing.
    • Remove as much air as possible from the bags before sealing to prevent freezer burn.
    • Label the containers or bags with the date and contents for easy identification.
    • Place the containers or bags in the freezer, laying them flat for even freezing and to save space.
  • Frozen pinto beans and ham can be stored for up to 6 months in the freezer.
  • To reheat frozen beans and ham, thaw the desired portion overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Transfer the thawed beans and ham to a saucepan and reheat gently over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Add a little water or broth if needed to achieve the desired consistency.
  • Alternatively, you can reheat the thawed beans and ham in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds to ensure even heating.

How To Reheat Leftover Pinto Beans and Ham

  • Stovetop method: Transfer the leftover pinto beans and ham to a saucepan. Add a small amount of water or broth to prevent the beans from drying out. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the beans are heated through and the desired consistency is reached. This method allows you to easily control the moisture content and texture of the beans.

  • Microwave method: Place the leftover pinto beans and ham in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp paper towel to prevent splattering and to help retain moisture. Microwave on high power in 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval, until the beans are heated through. Be careful when removing the bowl from the microwave, as it may be hot.

  • Oven method: Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Transfer the leftover pinto beans and ham to an oven-safe dish. Cover the dish with aluminum foil to prevent the beans from drying out. Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the beans are heated through. This method is ideal if you have a large quantity of leftovers or if you want to reheat the beans alongside other dishes.

  • Slow cooker method: If you have a small amount of leftover pinto beans and ham, you can reheat them in a slow cooker. Transfer the leftovers to the slow cooker and add a small amount of water or broth to prevent the beans from drying out. Set the slow cooker to low heat and allow the beans to reheat for 1-2 hours, or until they are heated through. This method is convenient if you want to reheat the beans without much supervision.

Interesting Fact About Pinto Beans and Ham

Pinto beans are a great source of plant-based protein and are rich in fiber, making them a healthy addition to any diet.

Is Making Slow-Cooked Pinto Beans and Ham Recipe Cost-Effective?

The slow-cooked pinto beans and ham recipe is highly cost-effective for a household. Pinto beans are an economical source of protein and fiber, while the addition of a ham bone provides rich flavor without the need for additional meat. The recipe's use of simple, affordable ingredients makes it a budget-friendly option for families. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $10-$15, making it an excellent choice for those looking to prepare a nutritious and satisfying meal without breaking the bank. Overall Verdict: 9/10

Is This Pinto Beans and Ham Recipe Healthy?

The slow-cooked pinto beans and ham recipe is a hearty and flavorful dish, but it may not be the healthiest option. Here's why:

  • High in sodium: The recipe includes ham bone, which is high in sodium. Consuming too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure and other health issues.
  • Saturated fat: Ham is also high in saturated fat, which can raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease.
  • Lack of vegetables: While the recipe includes onion and garlic, it lacks other nutrient-dense vegetables that could provide additional vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

However, the recipe does have some positive aspects:

  • Pinto beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals.
  • The slow-cooking method helps to retain nutrients and enhances the flavor of the ingredients.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Use a lean, low-sodium ham or replace the ham with a smoked turkey leg for a lower-fat alternative
  • Reduce the amount of added salt and rely on other herbs and spices for flavor
  • Incorporate more vegetables into the recipe, such as carrots, celery, and leafy greens, to boost the nutrient content
  • Serve the beans with a side of brown rice or quinoa for added fiber and complex carbohydrates

By making these adjustments, you can enjoy a more balanced and nutritious meal that still delivers on taste and comfort.

Editor's Opinion on This Pinto Beans and Ham Recipe

This slow-cooked pinto beans and ham recipe is a comforting and hearty dish that is perfect for a cozy family meal. The long, slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld together, resulting in tender beans and flavorful ham. The addition of red onion, garlic, and ham base adds depth to the dish, while the hot pepper sauce provides a subtle kick. This recipe is a classic comfort food that is sure to be a hit at any gathering.

Enhance Your Slow-Cooked Pinto Beans and Ham Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes with a hint of garlic, perfect for pairing with the hearty pinto beans and ham.
Honey Glazed Carrots: Tender carrots glazed in a sweet and savory honey glaze, adding a pop of color and sweetness to the meal.
Cornbread: Moist and crumbly cornbread, a classic Southern side that complements the flavors of the slow-cooked pinto beans and ham.
Fruit Salad: A refreshing mix of seasonal fruits, providing a light and fresh contrast to the rich and savory pinto beans and ham.

Similar Recipes to Slow-Cooked Pinto Beans and Ham

Creamy Chicken Alfredo: This creamy and indulgent pasta dish is perfect for a cozy night in. The combination of tender chicken and rich alfredo sauce will leave you wanting more.
Mango Salsa Chicken: Add a tropical twist to your chicken dinner with this flavorful mango salsa. The sweet and tangy salsa pairs perfectly with grilled or baked chicken for a refreshing and satisfying meal.
Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad: This colorful and nutritious salad is packed with roasted vegetables and protein-rich quinoa. It's a great option for a light and satisfying lunch or dinner.

Appetizer and Dessert Pairings for Pinto Beans and Ham

Savory Stuffed Mushrooms: Create a delectable appetizer by stuffing mushrooms with a savory mixture of cheese, herbs, and breadcrumbs. Bake until golden and serve hot for a crowd-pleasing starter.
Crispy Coconut Shrimp: Whip up a tropical-inspired appetizer by coating shrimp in a crispy coconut breading. Fry until golden brown and serve with a tangy dipping sauce for a delightful flavor combination.
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and velvety chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. This elegant dessert is perfect for a special occasion or a romantic dinner at home.
Apple Crisp: Savor the warm and comforting flavors of a homemade apple crisp, with tender baked apples and a crispy oat topping. Serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a delightful contrast of textures and temperatures.

Why trust this Slow-Cooked Pinto Beans and Ham Recipe:

This slow-cooked pinto beans and ham recipe is a testament to traditional comfort food. The use of ham bone infuses rich, smoky flavors, while the addition of red onion and garlic brings depth to the dish. The slow cooking process allows the pinto beans to absorb all the savory goodness, resulting in a hearty and satisfying meal. Trust in the combination of ham and beans for a time-honored, flavorful experience.

Share your thoughts on this Slow-Cooked Pinto Beans and Ham Recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum section. Let's discuss any tweaks or variations you've tried!
How long should I soak the pinto beans before cooking?
Soak the pinto beans in water for 1 hour after bringing them to a boil. This will help soften the beans and reduce the cooking time.
Can I use a different type of bean for this recipe?
Yes, you can use other types of beans such as navy beans or black beans if you prefer. The cooking time may vary slightly depending on the type of bean used.
Is it necessary to use a ham bone for this recipe?
Using a ham bone adds a rich flavor to the beans, but if you prefer a vegetarian version, you can omit the ham bone and use vegetable broth instead for a flavorful alternative.
Can I adjust the seasoning to suit my taste?
Absolutely! Feel free to adjust the seasoning according to your preference. You can add more hot pepper sauce for a spicier kick or adjust the salt and pepper to suit your taste buds.
How should I store any leftovers?
Store any leftover beans in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. You can also freeze the beans in a freezer-safe container for longer storage. Simply reheat before serving.

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