Instant Pot Ham and Beans recipe. Pressure cooking is my dry bean secret weapon. Dry navy beans, soaked overnight, only take 10 minutes at high pressure, so I can have a hearty meal of dried navy beans and cubed ham ready with under an hour of total cooking time.
Ham and beans are a great combination - the salty ham and creamy beans are a natural pairing. Here is my straightforward recipe for these classic partners, with nothing fancy to get in the way.
This is one of my wife's favorite meals. "You're making ham and beans? Yessss!" It's a great example of how simple doesn't mean boring. I pair pork and beans all the time, like in my Pressure Cooker Senate Bean Soup recipe , Instant Pot Borracho Beans, or Instant Pot Cajun White Beans. If you have it, homemade chicken broth adds extra depth to this recipe.
- Dry navy beans
- Fine sea salt
- Vegetable oil
- Cubed ham
- Red pepper flakes
- Chicken broth (homemade or store-bought low sodium)
- Bay leaves
- Fresh ground black pepper
See the recipe card for quantities.
Instant Pot Ham and Beans
Sort and soak the beans
Sort the dried beans, discarding any dirt, stones, or broken beans. Rinse the beans, then soak them overnight in 8 cups water and 1 tablespoon of fine sea salt. (Or see the recipe card for quick soak instructions). Drain the beans.
Sauté the aromatics
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in an Instant Pot using Sauté mode set to High. Add the ham, onion, carrot, and celery to the pot, and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of fine sea salt. Sauté until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Stir in the red pepper flakes and sauté for 1 more minute.
Everything in the pot
Pour the chicken broth into the pot and stir in the soaked beans. (And 1½ teaspoons of salt if using homemade broth.) Lock the lid on the pressure cooker.
Pressure Cook for 10 minutes with a Natural Release
Lock the Instant Pot lid and pressure cook at high pressure for 10 minutes. (Use "Manual," "Pressure Cook," or "Pressure Cook: Custom" mode set to 10 minutes in an Instant Pot. If you're using a stove top pressure cooker, cook for 8 minutes at high pressure). Let the pressure come down naturally, about 20-30 minutes. If you're in a hurry, you can quick release any remaining pressure after 15 minutes of natural release
Carefully remove the lid, tilting it away from you to avoid the hot steam. Stir in the freshly ground black pepper. Ladle into bowls, serve, and enjoy!
Which White Bean Should I Use?
Navy beans are the quickest choice; after soaking, they take only 10 minutes to cook through. Rancho Gordo Alubia Blanca beans are fantastic and cook the same as the navy beans do in this recipe. Other types of beans also work; great Northern beans, Cannellini beans, or pinto beans are good substitutes if you want a larger white bean. (Increase the cooking time at high pressure to 15 minutes for these larger beans.) Baby lima beans will take 20 minutes at high pressure.
Can I use a ham bone? What about leftover spiral-sliced ham?
I used diced ham in this recipe, but if you have leftover ham, say from a spiral-sliced holiday ham, use it! Even better is a smoked ham hock, or leftover ham bone with some clinging meat. Put the bone in the pot to add even more flavor to the recipe.
Do I have to use chicken broth?
I use chicken broth for the extra flavor and body they give the recipe. (Especially when I have homemade chicken broth or store-bought low-sodium broth in my pantry.) Homemade ham broth is even better, but I don't have that on hand often. Or, if you don't have broth, use water. Or you can use a mix of water and broth. I need 5 cups of liquid for this recipe, and store-bought cartons of broth are usually 4 cups. I'll use a cup of water instead of buying an extra carton of broth only to use 1 cup. Also, if you only have water, that's OK. The beans create their own broth, so the recipe will still be good with plain water. (But don't forget the 1 ½ teaspoons of salt.)
That's a lot of red pepper flakes. Can I cut the heat?
The red pepper flakes are optional. If you or your diners can't stand the heat, skip the pepper flakes. If you want spicier beans, up the red pepper flakes to 2 teaspoons.
A 6-quart pressure cooker (I love my Instant Pot, but any electric pressure cooker can use this recipe as written.)
You can double this recipe in an 8-quart pressure cooker and make a huge batch. Or, cut all the ingredients in half to fit this recipe in a 3-quart pressure cooker. The cooking time does not change; it takes the same time to cook the beans, no matter how many are in the pot.
Leftover ham and beans are great. You can make this recipe a day ahead of time and reheat it; it will only be better the next day. Also, it makes fantastic leftovers. I store any leftovers in 2-cup containers, which last for a few days in the refrigerator or 6 months in the freezer.
What to Serve With Ham and Beans
I like to serve ham and beans with something green and fresh, like a salad. I also serve bread or rolls to dip in the beans.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you soaked your navy beans, then you should cook them for 10 minutes at high pressure, with a natural pressure release (about 20 minutes more, but you can quick release any remaining pressure after 15 minutes.
Soaking the beans helps them cook more quickly. I do an overnight soak (or a quick soak) to speed up the cooking process. If I forget to soak the beans - hey, it happens - I increase the chicken broth to 6 cups and the pressure cooking time to 30 minutes with a natural pressure release.
Beans are an agricultural product, and stuff tends to creep in during picking and processing. Beans should always be sorted and rinsed before use to remove any twigs, stones, clumps of dirt, or broken beans.
To sort beans, I pour them out on the far side of a rimmed baking sheet. Then I slowly pull the beans towards me, a little at a time, running my fingers through the beans and watching for anything that doesn't look right. If something catches my eye, I find it and discard it. I repeat this several times until I'm satisfied everything is out of the beans.
Then I rinse the beans in a fine mesh strainer under cold running water to wash off any dirt or dust still on the beans.
Now the beans are sorted, rinsed, and ready for soaking or cooking.
Instant Pot Ham and Beans recipe. Dried navy beans and cubed ham make this hearty meal with about an hour of pressure cooking in about an hour thanks to pressure cooking.
- 16 ounces dried navy beans
- 8 cups water
- 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
Ham and Beans
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 8 ounces cubed ham
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 rib celery, diced
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 5 cups chicken broth (homemade or store-bought low sodium)
- 1½ teaspoon fine sea salt (if using homemade broth or water)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Sort and rinse the beans: Spread the navy beans on a rimmed baking sheet and discard any stones, dirt, or broken beans. Rinse the beans, then do an overnight soak or a quick soak.
- Overnight soak: Cover the beans with 8 cups water and add 1 tablespoon salt. Leave the beans to soak for at least 8 hours (or overnight). Drain the beans and discard the soaking liquid.
- OR: Pressure Quick Soak for 1 minute with a 30-minute Natural Release: Put the beans, 8 cups of water, and 1 tablespoon of salt in an Instant Pot or another pressure cooker. Pressure cook at high pressure for 1 minute ("Manual" or "Pressure Cook" mode in an Instant Pot), then let the pressure come down naturally for a full 30 minutes. (Quick release any pressure remaining after 30 minutes, but let the beans rest for the full 30 minutes, even if the pressure releases itself earlier.) Drain the beans and discard the soaking liquid.
- Sauté the aromatics and spices: Set the Instant Pot to sauté mode adjusted to high (medium-high heat in a stovetop PC). Add the vegetable oil and heat until shimmering, about 3 minutes. Stir in the ham, onion, carrot, and celery, and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt. Sauté, occasionally stirring, until the onions soften, about 5 minutes. Stir the red pepper flakes into the onions and sauté for 1 more minute.
- Everything in the pot: Pour the chicken broth into the pot, and stir in 1½ teaspoons salt if using homemade broth or water. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a flat-edged wooden spoon to loosen any stuck bits of ham, onions, or spices. Stir the drained navy beans into the pot, then float the bay leaves on top of everything.
- Pressure Cook for 10 minutes with a Natural Release: Lock the Instant Pot lid and pressure cook at high pressure for 10 minutes. (Use "Manual," "Pressure Cook," or "Pressure Cook: Custom" mode set to 10 minutes in an Instant Pot. If you're using a stove top pressure cooker, cook for 8 minutes at high pressure). Let the pressure come down naturally, about 20-30 minutes. If you're in a hurry, you can quick release any remaining pressure after 15 minutes of natural release
- Serve: Carefully remove the lid, tilting it away from you to avoid the hot steam. Discard the bay leaves. Stir in the freshly ground black pepper. Ladle into bowls, serve, and enjoy!
Cooking dried navy beans without soaking: Sort and rinse the beans as directed and skip the soaking step. Increase the chicken broth or water to 6 cups, and increase the pressure cooking time to 30 minutes at high pressure. The rest of the recipe works the same.
- Prep Time: 8 hours
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Category: Weeknight Dinner
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: Americn
Keywords: Instant Pot Ham and Beans recipe, Pressure Cooker Ham and Beans recipe
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