UPDATED! Pinto Beans and Ham Hocks (Crockpot Cooking) and Cornbread

UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention that some people aren’t quite sure how to do pinto beans in a crockpot, so I’m updating the post with an actual recipe:

I love great comfort food and nothing brings back comfort food memories from my childhood faster than a pot of pinto beans with pork.  Mom usually used bacon, but I like to throw in a ham hock.   It’s so simple, and you can leave the house all day (or work in the gardens) and come home to a nice crock pot of beans and ham! 

Of course, I can’t have the frijoles and ham without the cornbread and corn chips–preferably Fritos!

I soak my beans overnight in a bowl of water, then rinse, throw them in the crock pot and cover with lots of water (or broth), ham hock or two, some chiles, onion and pepper.  Simply turn on the crock to high and off I go.  When I return, I bake a round of cornbread and get to ettin’!


Crockpot Pinto Beans and Ham Hock

1 lb bag pinto beans, sorted and rinsed

Use quick soak method to prepare beans.  Place cleaned and sorted beans in a dutch oven, cover them with 6-8 cups HOT water (I use my tea kettle), boil the beans for 2 minutes,place the lid to the dutch oven on the pot, remove from heat and let sit covered for 1 hour.

After one hour, drain and rinse the beans in a colander.

Throw your drained and rinsed beans into the crockpot and cover them with fresh water.  Approx. 3 quarts.  I simply cover them about 2 inches over the bean level.

Add 2 smashed garlic cloves to the beans and water

Add 1/2 to 1 tsp dried crushed red peppers (less OR eliminate, if you don’t like spicy)

Add one small ham hock (it’s for flavor not meat for me)

About a teaspoon of Kosher salt.  Check at 6 hours and see if they need more salt–mine always do.

Place lid on crock pot and cook on high for about 6-8 hours.  Do not open the lid to check or stir for at least 3 hours and if you do, cover them back up quickly.  If you need more water, add it.  The beans should have a soup consistency.

In 6 hours, test beans and if they are cooked, you are done.  Still hard?  Add some time.

 For the cornbread, use your favorite recipe or try one of these:

Cornbread Recipes


12 thoughts on “UPDATED! Pinto Beans and Ham Hocks (Crockpot Cooking) and Cornbread

  1. Oh I saved the ham bone from the ham the other day, just for something like this…. so how’d I fall on this recipe? If it’s under “top posts” it must be a winner! Next time I hit the G-store I am getting the beans! I like the idea of red pepper flakes.. I like it hot!

  2. My mom always used to make this when I was a kid. I’m using smoked pork necks for meat/flavor. Also my dad was saying some fresh pico on top when served really makes this zing. Thanks for the help 🙂

  3. KIM: I think this is one of my favorite comfort foods. So simple to make. Yes, don’t forget the heat!

    DALE: Mmmm, smoked pork necks sound wonderful. I also like your dad’s suggestions 🙂
    I have a ham with bone right now and after your comment, I decided to do the beans tomorrow morning.

  4. made this today.. I have always failed at making a good ham and beans.. but this was absolutely fabulous! I can’t even express how delicious this is.. thanks for the recipe. It’s slightly sweet, salty and spicy-hot all at the same time.

  5. I’d like to try your receipe and love the reply I used smoked ham hocks, lol. I never used them before. I just got done making split pea and ham hocks in the slow cooker. When I bought the peas at the store it just said ham hocks. I asked the butcher and he said it shouldn’t matter if they are smoked or not. When I looked at the Better Homes receipe it had called for smoked. Well I tried it and threw in an 1/8 tsp of liquid smoke to be on the safe side. They turned out fall off the bone and I saved the fat (ew) for my husband to refry up, lol. I hope I don’t get anyone sick eating the fresh ones. I browned them and slow cooked the soup (with the hocks) for 8hrs and then only put the meat cut up (barely had to cut so moist) back in the pot and I tasted it. Do people use the smoked hocks mainly for the smoke flavor? I usually make split pea from a healthier cookbook that calls to add lean turkey ham cut up at the end. But I really like the pork hock now that I tried it reminds of pork shoulder when you braise it for pulled pork sandwiches or lamb shanks.

    • I’ve only had the smoked ham hocks–they add a lot of smoky flavor to the soups. Sounds like you discovered a success! I think pork is all good 🙂 Thank you for sharing– you have taught me something here.

  6. I LOVE Ham Hocks and Beans ! Never thought to add garlic and red pepper. Looks like dinner tomorrow night will be spicy too. Thank you for the wonderful idea.
    Hugs and Happiness, Natalie

  7. I am making pinto beans and ham hocks for dinner tomorrow. I grew up in the South eating them all the time, but my husband was born and raised in Fairbanks Alaska and has never had them. Wish me luck!

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