Instant Pot Appalachian Soup Beans—A comforting bowl of creamy pinto beans flavored with smoky ham. A winter staple in the Appalachian states.
SLOW COOKER Appalachian soup beans recipe is included in the notes below
Instant Pot Appalachian Soup Beans
Each week in 2020 I’m sharing a recipe inspired by one of the 50 states. So far I’ve covered Alabama, Louisiana, Utah, Minnesota, Colorado, Idaho, Hawaii, South Carolina, Illinois, Iowa, Alaska and New Mexico. (If you want to see all the “state recipes” listed in one place you can go here). Today I’m sharing a recipe inspired by The Mountain State–West Virginia.
When I think of West Virginia I automatically start singing John Denver’s “Country Roads.”
Almost heaven, West Virginia–country roads by john denver
Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River
Life is old there, older than the trees
Younger than the mountains, growing like a breeze
West Virginia is considered the southern most northern state and the northern most southern state.West Virginia is known for its beautiful scenery of mountains and rolling hills. Nearly 75% of West Virginia is covered by forests. It’s also known for its historically significant logging and coal mining industries.
West Virginia’s official state food is a pepperoni roll and although it sounded delicious to me I couldn’t find a way to make it in the Instant Pot. I decided to make something called “soup beans.” This is a recipe that originated in the Appalachian states. Wintertime in the Appalachian mountains could be tough and families lived off of preserved and pantry foods. Dried pinto beans and corn were among the essential pantry ingredients. They were inexpensive too and could be bought in bulk. The creamy soup beans are typically served with a side of corn bread.
“If I ate twice what there was, it would’ve been half what I wanted.”Appalachian musician, Doc Watson on his love for soup beans
I made this recipe and my whole family loved it. Luckily I had all the ingredients I needed on hand. Pinto beans and corn meal plus some bacon and ham. Try out these soup beans and cornbread soon, it’s a comforting meal that will make you feel like you’re in the Appalachian mountains.
What should I serve with Instant Pot soup beans?
- Cornbread is typically served alongside soup beans. My favorite cornbread is this recipe, I love it with honey and butter.
- Chow Chow is pickled vegetable relish and it is often served with soup beans. You can find a chow chow recipe here.
- Diced Onions are sometimes added as a topping to soup beans.
- Fried Potatoes are often serve with soup beans in the Appalachian states.
Try these other Instant Pot recipes…
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A comforting bowl of creamy pinto beans flavored with smoky ham. A winter staple in the Appalachian states.
- 4 strips of uncooked bacon, chopped
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 ham hock
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1 pound dry pinto beans, soaked (see note)
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- Turn your Instant Pot to the saute setting. When the display says HOT add in the chopped bacon and cook it until it is crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon and set it aside.
- Add the onions into the pot and saute the onions in the bacon grease for about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and saute for about 20 seconds. Turn off the Instant Pot.
- Add in the bacon, cayenne pepper, ham hock, chicken broth and pinto beans.
- Cover the pot and secure the lid. Make sure valve is set to sealing. Set the manual/pressure cook button to 20 minutes. When time is up let the pot sit for 10 minutes and then move the valve to venting. Remove the lid.
- Stir in the salt. Add in pepper to taste. Shred off any meat you can from the ham hock.
- Ladle into bowls and serve.
Soaking the beans: I know there are recipes that say you don’t need to soak but I find that the beans turn out much better if they are soaked overnight (plus your tummy will thank you). Soak the beans overnight for 8-24 hours in plenty of water and then rinse and drain the beans. If you forget to soak overnight you can use the quick soak method.
How to Quick Soak: Add the beans to your Instant Pot with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil using the saute setting. Once the water is boiling then quickly cover the pressure cooker and and turn valve to sealing. Set the manual/pressure cook button to 2 minutes. When time is up slowly move valve to venting. If foam escapes then move valve back to sealing for 20 seconds and try again. Remove the lid. Then rinse and drain the beans and use them in the recipe.
I used my 6 quart Instant Pot Duo 60 7 in 1*. Use your 8 quart pot with no changes. For the 3 quart pot you will need to halve the recipe, keep the same cooking time.
Slow Cooker Instructions: cook the bacon in a pan on the stove until crispy. Transfer the bacon to a slow cooker. Saute the onions in the bacon grease for 5 minutes then add in the garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Transfer to the slow cooker. Add in the cayenne pepper, ham hock, chicken broth and pinto beans. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Stir in the salt. Add in pepper to taste. Shred off any meat you can from the ham hock. Ladle into bowls and serve.
- Category: Beans
- Method: Instant Pot
*Karen Petersen is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.