Speckled Butter Beans Recipe

| October 24, 2021 | 2 Comments

Speckled Butterbeans

Follow our complete, step-by-step, photo illustrated instructions to learn how to prepare one of the South’s favorite side dishes, the speckled butterbean. Printable recipe included.


Speckled Butterbeans, enjoy!
Speckled butterbeans, sometimes called colored butterbeans, are an old Southern favorite side dish. Quick and easy to prepare.


Speckled Butterbeans, slider.

I knew these more as “colored butterbeans” growing up instead of Speckled Butter Beans. They’re basically the same thing, so guess it just depends on what part of the South you grow up in, or what your Mama called them. Smile.

I tried throughout the Summer of 2021 to find some Butterbeans in the shell. I had several folks looking some for me, but even the NC State Farmer’s Market didn’t have them in the shell. They shell them now days and sell them in quart size bags or larger. More for the convenience to the customer I suppose if they can get them already shelled.

I really wanted some for a photo I wanted to do, not that I wanted to actually shell them. If there was one thing I disliked in my younger days, it was when Mama tried to get me to shell beans. I never liked that at all.

I was always a nail biter, and never had any fingernails to help open the bean pods, so it was always a task for me. Besides, I’d rather have been out in the yard playing or riding my bike. Don’t judge me.

But, I did enjoy them once she placed them on that big oval table for Sunday dinner. Mama could cook them to perfection and everyone liked them.

I was able to find some frozen Speckled Butter Beans at the local grocery store. I’m not sure they are available throughout the good old USA, but do try to find some next time you go shopping. You’ll enjoy them too, I’m pretty certain.

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


Speckled Butterbeans, ingredients.
Speckled Butter Beans Recipe – You’ll need these ingredients.

Were using Salted Pork Fat Back as seasoning for our beans. You could also use a ham hock, bacon grease, side meat or smoked turkey to add some great flavor. The choice is yours. Smile.


Speckled Butterbeans, slice the fatback.
Slice the fatback.

It’s not often that I find a thick slice of fatback in the local grocery store. Even this is “thin” compared to what Mama would have used during my younger years. The fatback she used back then was about 2 inches thick or more.

We raised our own hogs back in those days and they would often get up to near 500 pounds in weight before they were turned into hams and other such goodies. Hogs these days are usually no where near that in size before they are slaughtered, so finding some thick slices of fatback can be much more difficult.

Mama would always slice a hunk of fatback off the main portion, then cut slits in the fatback piece she was going to use for seasoning.


Speckled Butterbeans, rinse the beans.
Rinse your beans under cold running water.

I’m using frozen beans today. I still like to rinse them before cooking them.


Speckled Butterbeans, add water and seasoning meat.
Place the rinsed beans in a large stock pot and cover them with an inch or two of water. Add the fatback to the beans.

Place the pot over Medium heat on your stove top and bring the beans up to a boil.


Speckled Butterbeans, cover and simmer.
When the water starts to boil, cover the pot and REDUCE the heat to about Medium-Low to let them simmer until done.


Speckled Butterbeans, add salt.
Cook the beans until they are starting to get tender. You’ll just have to taste them to see. The cook time will vary but will probably take around 45 minutes or longer. Just don’t overcook them or they will turn mushy.

Once the beans start to get tender, add 1 teaspoon of Salt.


Speckled Butterbeans, add black pepper.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of Black Pepper.

Stir the salt and pepper into the beans. Cover the pot and let them cook until fully tender according to your preference.


Speckled Butterbeans, cooked fatback.
The cooked fatback.

Some folks enjoy eating a bit of the fatback along with their beans. I’ve never acquired much of a taste for it, so either leave it in the pot with your beans, or remove it and discard it, whichever you prefer.


Speckled Butterbeans, enjoy!

Serve the beans while warm. This makes a great side dish to just about any meal. Hoecakes go well with them too. Smile.


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Speckled Butter Beans Recipe

  • Author: Steve Gordon
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: Varies
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: American, Southern


One of the South’s favorite side dishes is Speckled Butter Beans, sometimes also known as Colored Butterbeans. They are quick and easy to fix and go with just about any meat dish you will serve.



1 bag, frozen Speckled Butter Beans, 24oz.
1/4 pound Fatback
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
Water as needed for cooking.


Rinse the frozen beans under cold running water.
Add beans to a large stock pot. Cover beans with 2 inches of water.
Slice fatback as needed. Add to pot with beans.
Place pot over Medium heat on stove top. Bring beans to a boil.
Cover pot. REDUCE heat to Medium-Low.
Simmer beans about 45 minutes or until they start to get tender.
Add salt.
Add black pepper.
Stir well. Cover again and cook until done.
Serve warm.


You can use ham hocks, smoked turkey, bacon grease, side meat or whatever type of seasoning meat you have available. Don’t overcook the beans or they will be mushy.

Keywords: butterbeans, butter beans, speckled butter beans, colored butter beans, sliced fatback, salt, pepper, old time recipes

Your Comments:

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You might also like: Corn Pudding

Or how about this?  Creamed Corn

Or maybe this:  Cornbread and Eggs


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Category: Side Dishes

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 (2)

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  1. Ronnie Harrelson says:

    I just recently moved my permanent residence from South Carolina to Calif. and I cant get any butterbeans to eat for me and my family. Im dying for some. Do you know where I can get some frozen speckeled butterbeans like the ones in your article mailed now or some fresh shelled ones mailed next June 15th when the new crop is ready.
    Your reply will be greatly appreciuated! Sincerely,

    • Thelma Kay says:

      Hi Ronnie, In North Carolina, we have a local grocer called Carly C’s and we have another called Piggly Wiggly. They always carry frozen speckled butter beans, but last year I explored a country market and found dried speckled butter beans. They were not as great tasting as fresh ones, but they were good with greens and cornbread. I even took Steve’s sister in-law, Margaret some and she loved them. I am not sure if you can order from our grocers, however, you may want to google “southern vegetable markets,” to see if you may be able to order some dried ones. Thanks for posting. I hope this helps.

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