Lima Beans with Ham Hocks and Rice Recipe

| January 27, 2019 | 29 Comments

Lima Beans, Ham Hocks and Rice

Follow our step-by-step, photo illustrated instructions to learn how to make this Lima Beans with Ham Hocks and Rice recipe. Printable recipe included.


Lima Beans with Ham Hocks and Rice, enjoy.
Lima Beans with Ham Hocks and Rice recipe – A one pot meal.


Lima Beans with Ham Hocks and Rice, slider.

Years back, during those long, hard and cold winters, when all the fresh vegetables from the garden were long gone, folks relied on dry beans to get them through.

Times were tough, so they often had to get creative and turn an ordinary pot of dried beans into something a bit special. Either that, or they just needed to stretch out what little they had to feed a large family.

I think that’s how recipes like Lima Beans with Ham Hocks and Rice came into being, out of necessity more than anything. But, because of such times, the South has created some mighty tasty and long lasting dishes.

Combine all that into a one pot recipe, and you’ve got a meal that is not only delicious, but fills the tummy and the soul at the same time.

I use ham hocks, side meat, bacon or hog jowl for many of the vegetable recipes that I’ve made here on Taste of Southern. I try to keep some on hand most all of the time.

This may not be one of our prettiest dishes, but it certainly tastes good. I do hope you’ll give it a try.

My thanks to Kathryn R., one of the subscribers to our Newsletter for reminding me about this.

I’ve cooked it as a one pot meal, but folks will also often cook the beans with the ham hocks, then serve it over prepared rice. The choice is yours. It will taste great either way.

Ready to give it a try? Alright then, let’s head on out to the kitchen and… Let’s Get Cooking!

Lima Beans with Ham Hocks and Rice, you'll need these ingredients.
Lima Beans with Ham Hocks and Rice – You’ll need these ingredients.

Ham Hocks come either sliced or as a whole piece of meat. It’s often smoked and generally pretty salty. Its a Southern favorite for seasoning up a big pot of beans or greens. I’m using the sliced version because it was the only thing available from my grocer.


Lima Beans with Ham Hocks and Rice, soak the dry beans overnight.
If you’re using dry Lima Beans, you will need to soak them in water overnight first.

Empty the dry beans into a large bowl, then sort through them to remove any discolored beans, rocks, or pieces of trash that might be in them. Since the beans were not picked by hand, its possible the machinery being used to pick them could have also picked up some small pieces of trash along the way.

Discard any bad beans, then cover them with a couple of inches of cold water. Let these sit overnight to re-hydrate the dry beans. If you’re in a hurry, you can also follow the directions generally found on most bags to get them up to speed much quicker.


Lima Beans with Ham Hocks and Rice, this is how they will look the next day.
Next Day: This is how they will look the following morning. As you can see, they have swollen up a good bit. We’ll let them stay in the water for a few more minutes, as we need to get our pot ready to start cooking them.

Please note that we will DRAIN the beans before we add them to the pot.


Lima Beans with Ham Hocks and Rice, slices of ham hock in boiling water.
Grab a large pot and fill it a bit over half way with water. Place this on your stove top and set the heat to about Medium. Let the water come up to a boil, then drop the ham hock into the water.

If you’re watching your salt intake, you might want to rinse the ham hock, or even place it in a bowl of water and let it soak for an hour or so before you begin to cook it. They can be very salty some times so keep this in mind.

In the photo above, I let the ham hocks cook for about 15 minutes, then I scooped off the white foam that floated to the top. This is often referred to as some “impurities” and is generally scooped off and tossed.


Lima Beans with Ham Hocks and Rice, add the Lima beans to the pot of water.
After the ham hocks have cooked for about 20 minutes, add the drained Lima beans to the pot.

I left mine uncovered, and let them cook for an hour before testing them to see if they were any where near being done.

The cooking time on the beans will vary so you’ll need to check them after an hour or so. Some folks let them cook for 2 hours or longer. But, once they are getting soft and close to being done, let’s go ahead and add the remaining ingredients.


Lima Beans with Ham Hocks and Rice, add the black pepper.
Add the black pepper.


Lima Beans with Ham Hocks and Rice, add the sugar.
Add the SUGAR. This is not salt. We’re actually not going to add any salt because the salt that is already in the ham hocks should be enough to add good flavor.

Mama always added a bit of sugar to most all of her vegetables. It just seems to enhance the flavor.


Lima Beans with Ham Hocks and Rice, add the rice.
Before you add the rice, take a good look at the level of liquid in your pot. You might need to add a bit more if a lot of it has boiled away.

The rice is going to absorb a whole lot of liquid once it begins to cook. You’ll need to keep an eye on this so your beans don’t dry enough to where they could scorch or burn. Don’t ask me how I know this, just thank me later for this word of advice. Okay? Smile.


Lima Beans with Ham Hocks and Rice, stir everything well.
Stir everything together well.


Lima Beans with Ham Hocks and Rice, cover the pot and cook about fifteen more minutes.
Put a lid on the pot and let everything cook for about 15 more minutes.

It’s best to check the rice about 10 minutes after you put it in to be sure you still have enough liquid in the pot. You’ll be surprised at how quickly it can begin to dry up on you.

If you need to add more liquid, you can add some more warm water, or some chicken broth if you happen to have that on hand. Just enough to keep the beans and rice in a slightly moist state.


Lima Beans with Ham Hocks and Rice, cook until the rice and beans are done.
Cook the dish until the beans and the rice are done. As you can see, the ham hock was fully cooked and falling apart on me.

I had to add some more liquid to mine. The rice just soaked up the liquid in the pot once it started cooking. So, I added two cups of chicken broth to the pot once I removed the lid. Again, keep an eye on it so your beans don’t scorch and stick to the bottom of the pot.

You might should also stir the rice about 10 minutes after it goes into the pot. Rice has a tendency to sink to the bottom, so give it a quick stir.


Lima Beans with Ham Hocks and Rice, enjoy.

Just add some cornbread or hoe cakes, and you’ve got a meal. Unless of course you’d like to add some greens to go along with it. But, if you know me, I’m not much of a fan of the greens. Smile.


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Lima Beans with Ham Hocks and Rice, as seen on Taste of Southern.

Lima Beans with Ham Hocks and Rice Recipe

  • Author: Steve Gordon
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 26 hours
  • Yield: 8-10 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish, vegetable
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American, Southern


A simple one pot meal combining Lima Beans and Rice seasoned with ham hock. Can be made with dry, fresh, or frozen beans.



1 small Ham Hock (12-oz)
1 package Lima Beans (16-oz)
1 cup Rice, uncooked
½ teaspoon Black Pepper
½ teaspoon Sugar


Sort through the dry beans, removing any discolored beans, rocks or trash.
Place the beans in a large bowl, cover with about 3 inches of water.
Let the beans soak overnight.
Next Day, fill a large stock pot about half full with water.
Place the pot over Medium heat on your stove top.
Once the water begins to boil, add the ham hock.
Let the ham hock cook for about 20 minutes, then skim off any foam that might be on top.
Add the drained Lima beans.
Let the beans cook  uncovered for about an hour, stirring once or twice in the process.
Add the black pepper.
Add the sugar.
Add the rice.
Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring at least once.
Keep an eye on the level of liquid in the pot. Add warm water or broth as needed.
Cook until the beans and rice are done.
Taste and add salt or pepper as needed.


If you’re watching your salt intake, you might want to rinse the ham hock first. You could also place it in a small bowl of water and let it soak for an hour or so before using it. Ham Hocks are generally fairly salty. Feel free to use dry, fresh, or even frozen Lima beans if you prefer.

Keywords: butter beans, butterbeans, lima beans, ham hocks, rice, easy, southern recipes

Your Comments:

Have you tried our recipe? I’d love to know how it turned out for you, or if you have had it in the past.

Share your memories of this great Southern dish with us. It will only take a minute or two for you to leave your comments in the section below.

Just remember, all comments are moderated.  That just means that I personally read each and everyone before they are approved for viewing on our family friendly website. Thank you in advance for sharing.

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Be Blessed!!!


You might also like: Ms Sally’s Southern Pinto Beans Recipe

Or, maybe this:  Southern Green Beans and Potatoes

Perhaps this one:  Baked Beans Recipe, made from scratch


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Category: Main Dishes, Other

About the Author ()

Award Winning Food Preservationist, Fisherman, Author of three cookbooks. "From Mama's Big Oval Table, From Mama's Big Oval Table - BOOK TWO and Carolina Christmas Sweets and Appetizers." Online Contributor to Our State Magazine Newsletter.

Comments (29)

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  1. Phyllis D. Alltop says:

    My son-in-law is a Florida southern boy and I’m going to fix the lima beans, ham hocks and rice for him for Thanksgiving. I’ll let you know how they turn out. I fixed him some greens and ham hocks not long ago, they turned out great. Thanks for the recipe

  2. BetteLou says:

    Steve, I love this recipe! My Dad loved beans, and every Sunday Mom would make some kind of beans for Dad to eat through the week. Of course, us kids did’nt appreciate those beans back then, but I sure do now! Your beans are delicious and bring back so many wonderful memories, thank you.

    I’m born and raised in the south – south Jersey! The Garden State! Live in NC now, you make food like I was raised on. Thank you!

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi BetteLou, I’m glad we could bring back some good memories for you with our recipes. I’m glad you enjoyed the Lima Beans. It’s great to know you made it to North Carolina. Smile. Welcome! I do appreciate your visits and your support of our recipes. I hope you’ll continue to visit with us often. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  3. Sandra says:

    Oh my goodness. A plate full of these Lima beans and rice, with Lacy cornbread would make me so happy right now. Going to cook this ASAP.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Sandra, I do hope you get to enjoy some Lima Beans very soon. And yes, you’ve got to have the cornbread to complete the dish. I appreciate your comment and do hope you’ll visit with us often. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  4. Joyceb says:

    Hello Steve! Thank you for this recipe for butter beans. They look wonderful and l plan to try them. Today on the menu is your recipe for Chicken Pastry (we call it Chicken and Dumplings). Be very well and blessed.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Joyceb, I do hope you get to make a big old pot of Lima Beans soon. I think you’ll enjoy them mixed with the rice and ham hock. With the cold weather we’ve been having, a pot of Chicken Pastry sounds great. I hope you enjoy those as well. I do appreciate your visits and your support. I hope you’ll visit with us often. The door is always open. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  5. Anthony B. says:

    Good morning Steve. I join you for being thankful for a warm hearth and a satisfied tummy. The recipe today has sustained many. For myself and others, a very comforting and healthy meal. On another note, old pressure cookers from the 1800’s got a new name. Had to add a keypad and digital lights to create interest today. Our old “rockin whistlers” still cook and put up vegetables. Was a time before these good coolers, we carried canned meat in jars to the woods. I enjoy your site and wish you a good day. Keep Warm.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Anthony B., Kids now days think everything has to have some flashing lights. Smile. Still, I’m glad to see lots of younger folks are getting interested in some of the old ways and trying to learn them. These are things that need to be passed on. I’ve yet to can any meats. Maybe I need to give that a try soon. Thank you for the suggestion. I do appreciate all of your visits and support. I hope you’ll continue to visit with us often. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  6. Doris says:

    Hi Steve,Thanks for all you do I look forward to your newsletters and recipes.I love butter beans.Well honestly I love all kinds of beans and peas.Was wondering if you have a recipe for fried pea patties,i would like to cook some.I am looking for the snow to come in here in ALABAMA.Hope it passes me by.I hope you get enough dried apples,maybe make some fried apple pies,share the recipe.Stay warm and well.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Doris, Are you referring to fried black eyed peas or some other type of pea? I don’t have a recipe for those online, but thank you for suggesting it. I’ll be anxious to hear any memories you might have of them. I hope you make it through the rest of the winter without snow. Smile. I’m still working on the fried apples, and YES, will most certainly plan to do some fried apple hand pies, just like my dad use to make for us. Stay tuned. I hope you stay warm as well. I do appreciate your visits and your support. I hope you know the door is always open, so feel free to drop by any time. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

    • Anthony B. says:

      There are many recipes for bollitos (boy-yos) made with dehulled black-eyes and seasoned up to your taste and fried like hushpuppies. We never fry but put enough liquid to make on a griddle or skillet.
      This is a hybrid dish with Native American, Spanish, African and Acadian influence. Never knew the pea fritters had a name like that. We had a Cuban cow hunter that worked for us years ago, our camp cook made these with leftover beans and Hosea named them.
      Great to use any leftover pea or bean.

  7. Jim Button says:

    Hi Steve, I am 71 and grew up on beans and vegs. Meat was optional ( scarce) but Granma at least had a little bacon drippins on hand. I wonder if you have ever tried this in a Instant pot? My grandkids gave me a 6 qt for xmas and I have tried a couple of things with mixed results. This old dog is trying new tricks. I did make a pot of speckled butter beans and cajun smoked turkey wings ( both frozen) turned out great. I would like to try this recipe in t e ip though. god bless Steve.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Jim, I’ve heard a lot about that new fangled device called the Instant Pot, but I don’t have one. Smile. I’m sure you could easily adapt this recipe to it. If you give it a try, please come back and let me know how it turns out. I think it’s great that you’re willing to try out some modern conveniences. Keep up the great work. I do appreciate your visit and I hope you’ll stop by again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  8. Laura says:

    Would country ham be an adequate substitute for the hocks?

    I so love your website, recipes, and stories–may you live long in good health! You are a blessing in my life.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Laura, Thank you for the kind comments. I’m glad you found us and I do appreciate your support. Some country ham would be great in this recipe. I hope you’ll give it a try real soon. Thank you for stopping by today. I do hope you’ll visit with us often. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  9. Karen Miller says:

    Love butter beans. Definitely gotta add this into my menu rotation.
    Enjoyed reading about your adventures with the dehydrator. We bought one a couple years ago because we get so much fresh produce in our co-op. Haven’t tried apples yet, but strawberries are great! Bananas were not a success. Mushrooms turned out great. I love experimenting
    with it. My great granddaughter loves the dehydrated strawberries and eats them for snacking.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Karen, I do hope you’ll try the recipe. Please let me know how it turns out for you. Thank you for being a subscriber to the Newsletter. The dehydrator was “interesting” but sure takes a lot of time to make dried apples. What happened to your bananas? I have a friend that said she tried them and they turned out black, but found out later that she should have dunked them in some lemon water before drying them. Is that what happened with yours? Just curious. I appreciate your visit today. Thank you for your support. The door is always open, so please stop by again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

      • Karen Miller says:

        We did use the lemon juice but even after 36 hours of dehydration bananas were a lost cause. But that was our first time using the dehydrater. I probably need to try again. By the way, an egg slicer is perfect for slicing soft foods like strawberries, mushrooms, bananas, etc. You get even slices without a mandolin.

  10. Kathryn L Ransom says:

    EXCELLENT !! Thank you for including this recipe in all of your other wonderful southern recipes !! This is a wonderful cold weather meal and filling !! We ate this many a day and way back in the day, you could buy a bag of lima beans for 32 cents and it could feed a large family especially when paired with rice and cornbread. For those who have never tried this, they should …it tastes way better than it looks … Thanks again Steve and May God Bless you abundantly !!

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Kathryn, I’m glad you approved. Thank you for mentioning this to me. I really enjoyed it myself. But, I did pay more than .32 cents for my bag of beans. Smile. I’m thankful for your visits and pray that God will bless you abundantly as well. I do hope you’ll visit with us often. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  11. Roselyn says:

    I think you made a boo boo, Steve, on the photo where you add the sugar. “Mama always added a bit of salt to most all of her vegetables. It just seems to enhance the flavor.” I think you meant to say Mama added “sugar” based on other times you have mentioned this. If I’m incorrect, my apologies.

    I love limas and ham hocks! Thanks for the recipe. I never learned how to make them from my moma.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Roselyn, You’re awesome. Thank you for catching my mistake. I’ve corrected it so it reads right now. Don’t know how I messed up on that one, but I’m really happy you caught it. I hope you get to try the recipe soon. Thank you for your visit today, and I do hope you’ll visit with us again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  12. Margaret says:

    This looks really yummy. Now I have to find a ham hock. And I love Butter Beans. Thanks again for your newsletter.
    Blessings to you.
    Emporia, KS

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Margaret, They really are good if you like the butter beans. Smile. I hope you’ll get to try it soon. Let me know what you think. You could always use bacon, bacon grease, or a slice of country ham if you can’t find the ham hock. Thank you for your visit and do visit with us often. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  13. Kathy Wolfe says:

    I grew up on dry beans and cornbread. If we had ham, mom would use it or bacon and even just the bacon grease to season. Iron skillet fried taters always accompanied them. Green onions or sliced onions that had been soaked in water and sliced maters. I’ve just made myself hungry but that is good eating. Never had the rice with them but I will try it.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Kathy, You’ve made me hungry too. Smile. I hope you get to try the Lima Beans with some rice real soon. It’s a great way to stretch the dish and I think you’ll like it. Thank you for your visit. I hope you’ll visit with us again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  14. Bill and Linda Hicks says:

    Looks so yummy, thanks. Will try it.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Bill and Linda, I think you’ll enjoy it when you get the chance to try some. Please let me know what you think when you do. Thank you for your visits and I hope you’ll stop by often. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

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