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Ham and Beans in the Instant Pot

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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 beans 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!

       The meat that doesn’t end up in sandwiches can find itself in a number of our favorite dishes. There’s everything from ham, egg and potato breakfast chimichangas to ham and broccoli pot pie.

      Then there are the pasta dishes. We love them too!

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

      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.

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.

Parmesan Pasta with Ham and Peas is a super easy dinner with just a bit of creamy sauce. It is lighter than it sounds and super delicious. 

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 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


  • 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


  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.


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:



Serving Size:


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.

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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!

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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?


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.


Wednesday 15th of April 2020

Would I cook it the same with ham pieces and no bone?


Thursday 16th of April 2020

That would work too. I would use chicken broth instead of water, if you have it. That way you get more depth of flavor.


Sunday 12th of January 2020

New here to instant pot cooking. We love ham and beans. Do you use the default normal pressure setting or adjust to low or high pressure?


Sunday 12th of January 2020

That is a great question! I normally just leave my IP on high pressure. I adjusted the wording of the recipe to clarify. I hope you enjoy the recipe and your instant pot!


Monday 9th of September 2019

Thank you!


Friday 6th of September 2019

Do you have any suggestions for thickening the juice? I would like to be able to get the second day results on the first day. My beans although very flavorful don’t have the thickness like you get after sitting in the fridge for a night or two.


Monday 9th of September 2019

If you mash just a few of the beans and mix them back in it will help thicken the juice and give you that next day texture on the first day! Enjoy!

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