Creamy Butter Beans

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Creamy Butter Beans have lots of smoked ham flavor. They’re so thick and creamy and make a fantastic side for any southern meal.

Creamy Butter Beans with Ham


This recipe is adapted from Deep South Dish Cookbook and it is phenomenal. Butter beans never tasted so good.

You have to make these beans to see how much flavor they have. And while you’re at it, make a side of cornbread to serve with them. They’re so meaty and delicious, you can serve them over rice for a whole meal.

Creamy Butter Beans with Ham


To make Creamy Butter Beans, start by bringing 1 pound of dried lima beans, covered with water, to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover the pot, and let soak for 1 hour.

While the beans are soaking, you’re going to start to build all the flavors for the beans.  Cook some onion, celery, and carrots in some bacon grease until soft. Then add chopped smoked ham, 2 ham hocks, a large container of chicken broth, 4 cups of water, 2 bay leaves, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, dried thyme, and pepper. Simmer these ingredients for 1 hour then add the beans, 4 tablespoons of butter, and some Cajun seasoning. Cook 60 to 90 minutes, until the butter beans are soft and the liquid gets thick.

You won’t believe how unbelievably meaty these beans taste!

Creamy Butter Beans with Ham

More Southern Sides

Creamy Butter Beans with Ham

Creamy Butter Beans

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
soak beans: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Creamy Butter Beans have lots of smoked ham flavor. They're so thick and creamy and make a fantastic side for any southern meal.
Print Recipe


  • 1 pound dried large lima beans
  • 1 tablespoon bacon grease or butter
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/3 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup diced carrot
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped smoked ham
  • 2 ham hocks
  • 1 (32-ounce) carton chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cajun or Creole seasoning


  • Rinse and sort the beans, getting rid of any broken pieces. Place in a stockpot or Dutch oven and cover with 1-inch of water. Bring to a boil. Place lid on pot and remove from heat. Let sit 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, in a large pot or Dutch oven, heat bacon fat over medium heat. 
  • Add onion, celery, and carrots and saute until soft, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add ham, ham hocks, chicken broth, water, bay leaves, garlic powder, thyme, black pepper, and red pepper flakes.
  • Bring to a boil and reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer for 1 hour.
  • Once beans have been sitting for an hour, drain them.
  • Add beans, butter, and Cajun or Creole seasoning to the chicken broth mixture after it has simmered for 1 hour. Continue to simmer for 60 to 90 minutes. If liquid level gets too low (ie not all the beans are submerged), add more water.
  • Remove ham hocks. Let cool slightly and then remove any meat from the bone, chop it up and return it to the pot.
  • Serve as is for a side dish or serve over rice with a side of cornbread for a main dish.

Recipe adapted from Deep South DishCreamy Butter Beans #southern #sidedish #beans

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14 thoughts on “Creamy Butter Beans

  1. These beans were delicious. I’ve been doing butter beans in a similar way for decades, taught to me by my Grandma, but without the red pepper flakes, thyme, and creole seasoning. We really enjoyed the subtlety of the seasonings, just the right amount! Next time I will use a little less liquid, probably about a cup less, because trying to get the beans to the right consistency for our taste I had to cook them longer and they were starting to lose their shape. These beans were beautifully creamy! And who can argue about adding that butter?! YUM

  2. Started butter beans yesterday. Had the beans boiled and setting. Put ham bone, onion, celery , spices, bay leaves, covered with water & chicken broth (I had in fridge). Boiled for a couple hours. Cooled ham bone mixture, strained. Put liquid into refrigerator to be able to get the fat off the top. Cut up all available ham off the bone and added additional ham for flavor. The next day, I put the bean pot on the stove, took fat off the top, brought it up to a simmer. Added chopped ham. Allowed it to cook for another 2 hours. So why are my beans not creamy? Do I need to take some of the broth/beans and put them in blender or use an imersion blender? Please help.

    1. In my experience in making beans, I like a thick creamy liquid. Sometime the beans will be watery or thin liquid even when you cook them at the time the recipe says, so I keep adding a cup of water at a time and keep cooking them until the soup is thick, sometimes it takes adding a cup full three times to get the the thickness i like. I hope that helps.

  3. Do you put simmer the pot for 60-90 MORE minutes after you put the beans in and it has already been going for an hour? or does it only need 60-90 total?

  4. A tasty bean recipe. Hadn’t had butter beans in years, saw the Pinterest post and had to make them. Will make again soon.

  5. I am sure this is delicious but lima beans and butter beans are not the same thing. The shape is similar and the size can be similar but there is a thing called lima bean (they can be green or white) and then there are butter beans which growing up we called “speckled butter beans” because they are bespeckled. Beans are good. Lets all eat beans.

    1. They sell dried Lima beans, they are white and are found with all the other dried beans in just about any grocery store

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