Tender and creamy old fashioned butter beans are a classic Southern comfort dish served as the main attraction or side dish. Making beans from scratch starting with large lima beans is easier than you think!
WHAT ARE BUTTER BEANS
Butter beans are lima beans by another name.
There really isn’t a difference. In my mind, lima beans are the small lima beans and butter beans are the big lima beans. In fact, you should probably just look for large dried lima beans at your local grocer.
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST BUTTER BEANS
The first step is finding the best butter bean recipe like ours!
They’re about as easy to cook as any other bean. Sort, rinse, soak (or not), and cook.
Butter beans in the south are made so many ways and every family has their own version. I’ve seen them made without meat, with bacon, salt pork, ham hocks, or leftover ham.
I prefer mine plain or with leftover ham.
HOW TO COOK BUTTER BEANS WITH MEAT
If you want to use bacon simply cook 4 or 5 thick slices of bacon and set aside. Replace some of the butter in the recipe with the bacon grease. Add the cooked bacon to the cooked beans about 15 minutes before serving.
Ham and ham hocks
Add ham hocks to the pot when the beans start to simmer. Remove the ham hocks about 30 minutes before serving to allow the ham hocks to cool. Pick the meat from the ham hocks and add it back to the simmering beans before serving.
Add leftover ham about 60 minutes after the beans start simmering.
ADDING BUTTER TO BUTTER BEANS
Butter is not necessary to make this recipe, but it sure does add some serious flavor.
I will tell you though if you don’t add butter you are going to need to add some oil to make your beans creamier.
A guy from New Orleans once gave me his secret to creamy beans. Add fat during cooking.
He was right! I even add oil to my ham and beans now!
You won’t need to any cream to any recipe for creamy beans with this one tip. You don’t need more than a tablespoon or two per pound of beans being cooked. Add it about midway through the cooking time.
WHAT TO EAT WITH BUTTER BEANS
Cooked butter beans should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. They will last 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator.
It’s OK to freeze these beans, but you need to thaw them before reheating. Beans are easy to break when trying to remove them from the ice chunk.
REHEATING BUTTER BEANS
Thawed butter beans can be heated in the microwave or on the stovetop. It may seem thick when first coming out of the refrigerator. Don’t add water just yet. Heat the beans a bit before deciding if it needs more water.
Start with a low to medium heat if using the stovetop. Once the liquid starts to get thinner and the butter beans start to separate the heat can be increased.
MORE SOUTHERN RECIPES YOU NEED TO TRY!
Classic Butter Beans
- Sort and rinse the beans.
- Place the beans into a large saucepan with enough water to cover the beans by an inch or two.
- Place the pan of beans over high heat and cook just until boiling.
- Remove the beans from the heat and cover with a lid and allow the beans to sit for at least one hour.
- Drain the beans and rinse again.
- Place the beans back into the pan and cover with water to cover.
- Place the beans back on the stove and bring to a boil. When the beans begin to boil reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Add the remaining ingredients, except ham if using, and stir well to combine.
- Allow the beans to simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally and adding water as necessary.
- If using ham, allow the beans to cook at least an hour before adding the ham.
- When beans are tender, remove from heat and serve with cornbread or over rice for a complete meal.
Follow Us on Social Media