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Ham and Beans in the Instant Pot

Thanks for sharing!

Make ham and beans in your instant pot for a satisfying meal. It’s a great way to use leftover ham and there’s no need to soak the beans!

bowls of ham and beans with corn muffins and instant pot

It is ham and bean soup season! This great pressure cooker recipe allows you to make it much more quickly than ever before.

You can have dinner ready in under two hours with no overnight soak. So get the cornbread ready!

Do you only have ham on holidays? That is definitely not our style.

I remember a friend being shocked when he at down at our dinner table one random Tuesday night and a spiral ham was waiting. We do enjoy a good ham, but it’s really about the leftovers!

Instant pot filled with dry white beans, ham bone, onion, bay leaf etc.

There are so many great things you can make with what’s left after the first meal. If nothing else it elevates your sandwich game. Lunch meat has nothing on an actual slice of delicious ham!

But the meat isn’t the only valuable part of the ham, the bone just begs to be made into ham and bean soup!

Usually I make my ham and beans in the slow cooker. It is a great recipe because it’s a long slow cook, perfect for a workday. But I usually pre-soak the beans so it takes just a smidge of planning.

I recently upgraded my pressure cooker game and added a 6 quart instant pot to the mix. So I couldn’t wait to adapt my ham and beans recipe to a quicker instant pot version.

cooked ham and beans in instant pot, ready to serve.

It worked beautifully! I started with dry beans, some simple seasonings and a ham hock. No planning needed!

I like to add fresh ham towards the end because I prefer the texture and flavor that way.  So after an hour of cooking, I removed the bone and bay leaf and added cubed ham.

Just 5 more minutes of cooking is all you need to get soft beans, a creamy broth and perfectly cooked ham. Just remember to get those corn muffins or beer bread in the oven so you’ll be ready!

What are your favorite ways to use leftover ham? How about favorite instant pot recipes? I plan to give ours a workout this year!

Why is the cook time so long?

You may notice that I am telling you to cook the beans for longer than the instant pot guides suggest for beans. The extra cook time makes the beans buttery soft which is how we like them in this soup.

Some of them will even disintegrate a bit and thicken the broth, which again is just how we like it. Feel free to shorten the cook time a bit if you like your beans to have a little chew left.

bowls of ham and beans next to basket of corn muffin

In order to make up for the extended cook time, I cook the beans with the ham bone for flavor but reserve the meat to be added in later. That way the meat isn’t overcooked but the beans are flavorful and delicious.

I haven’t tried it yet, but I’d imagine you could shave off some cook time if you did soak your beans first. You could soak them while you work and cook dinner quickly when you get home!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you thicken ham and beans?

This recipe usually makes nice thick ham and beans because of the longer cook time. If your broth is thinner than you’d like, just mash a few of the beans. The starch from the beans will help make the broth thick and creamier! Also, the soup will thicken as it cools a bit and leftovers will be thicker as well.

What if my soup is too thick?

If you open your pressure cooker and the soup is thicker than you’d like, just stir in a little water or chicken stock until you reach your desired consistency.

Can I add carrots or celery to my soup?

Of course! We like our ham and bean soup to really focus on the ham and beans, but feel free to add carrots and celery to the mix if you want. Just toss them in your pressure cooker along with the beans and ham bone and let it do its thing. You can also add additional herbs and spices if you desire. Some people add a pinch of cloves, a sprinkling of red pepper flakes or a little bit of thyme to the broth.

Can I use different beans in my ham and bean soup?

Sure! If you want to use pinto beans, another kind of white bean or even a 15 bean soup mix of beans feel free. The basic cooking directions won’t change.

Can I make ham and bean soup without a ham bone?

Yes! It is possible to make perfectly delicious soup without the bone.

While the bone adds richness and depth to the broth, it is not absolutely necessary. You can buy cubed ham or dice a couple of ham steaks if you would like.

I would use a rich chicken broth in place of the water if forgoing the bone though. That will help to bring that depth of flavor.

Optional Add-ins

We love this soup as written. It is simple and really allows the ham and beans to shine.

However, you can easily add in more vegetables if you would like. Feel free to toss in some celery and carrots with the onion.

You could also stir in a can of chopped tomatoes if desired to give a 15 bean soup feel. Just wait until the beans are cooked before you stir it in.

Adding acid before the beans are cooked may prevent them from softening. So just be aware of that.

More favorite leftover ham recipes:

Cheesy Ham and Broccoli Noodle Casserole is a twist on one of our favorite dinners. It is loaded with pasta, broccoli and cheese goodness

Cheesy Ham and Asparagus Frittata is a fabulous brunch or breakfast for dinner option. Sub in broccoli if asparagus isn’t in season.

Or check out this collection of leftover ham recipes.

Make ham and beans in your instant pot for a satisfying meal. It's a great way to use leftover ham and there's no need to soak the beans!

Storing your ham and bean soup

Store leftover soup in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to a week.  Ham and bean soup also freezes really well.

For easy lunches later, freeze it in single serve sizes. Defrost the soup overnight and then warm up when you are ready to eat it!

Love this recipe? Give it a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review in the recipe card below!

Yield: 12 Servings

Ham and Beans in the Instant Pot

Bowls of creamy ham and bean soup with basket of corn muffins in front of instant pot.

Make ham and beans in your instant pot for a satisfying meal. It's a great way to use leftover ham and there's no need to soak the beans!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds dry great northern beans
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 meaty ham bone
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups ham, in about half inch cubes

Instructions

  1. Place onion, beans, ham bone and seasonings in instant pot. Cover with water.
  2. Cook on high pressure for 1 hour, then quick release the pressure.
  3. Remove bone and bay leaf.
  4. Stir in chopped ham and pressure cook for another 5 minutes. Quick release the steam again.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Serve with cornbread or beer bread if desired.

Notes

You can cook the beans for as little as 30 minutes, but the extra time makes them extra creamy and delicious. We think it's worth the extra time.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 310Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 636mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 16gSugar: 3gProtein: 24g

All nutritional information is estimated and will depend on the exact ingredients you use.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to see it! Share a picture on Instagram or Pinterest and tag me @carleecooks to let me know how it went!

Make ham and beans in your instant pot for a satisfying meal. It’s a great way to use leftover ham and there’s no need to soak the beans!

Thanks for sharing!

Marilyn

Saturday 12th of March 2022

Do not add salt until the end. Salt will keep your beans from softing.

Carlee

Sunday 13th of March 2022

That's actually a myth. You can read about epicurious's side by side comparison here.

C

Saturday 22nd of January 2022

I'm new to the IP myself and am trying this as my first venture. Your recipe says high pressure but no temp setting. Does the IP set the temp automatically when pressure cooking?

Carlee

Sunday 23rd of January 2022

The default should high pressure. Depending on your model there may be an adjust button or something that adjusts the level. That also works for the slow cooker settings etc. But for this recipe, you should be able to just adjust the time and use the default pressure setting. I hope you love it!

melissa Clary

Tuesday 4th of January 2022

Did not come out at all, dang it everyone in the house was disappointed. I did just like the recipe and diaper soak the beans, bad idea. Still hard after and hour. So I dumped the whole pot in a crock pot and we’ll eat them tomorrow night I guess.

Carlee

Wednesday 5th of January 2022

I am so sorry, I wish I knew what happened. We make this several times a year and have never had that happen. I hope the slow cooker helps to finish off the beans.

Monika

Friday 29th of October 2021

When would I add the celery and carrots

Monika

Friday 29th of October 2021

@Carlee, thank you

Carlee

Friday 29th of October 2021

Go ahead and add them with the beans.

Unknown

Thursday 5th of November 2020

Hi Carlee. I've noticed other recipes cook beans for only 30min and you are cooking for over an hour. Is this because of the quantity of beans you have? I would only want to do 1lbs of beans instead of two; would that lessen the cook time?

Carlee

Sunday 8th of November 2020

I like my beans really soft and creamy, so I probably cook them longer than they need. Of course making a big batch takes a little more time as well. You could certainly try a half hour and taste them. It's easy to add a few minutes of cook time if you think they still need it.

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