smokey ham hock pinto beans

smokey ham hock pinto beans

These smokey ham hock pinto beans are off the charts authentically delicious! They’re made with my WV roots and love. The ham hock seasoning is divine!

Pinto Beans

Honestly, there’s not a more versatile food than pinto beans. I mean so many things can be done with pinto beans from the obvious, eating them from a bowl like a soup to things like refried beans, tacos, burritos, salads. Even some sweet recipes, like cake and cookies are made with pinto beans. 

Growing up in Southern West Virginia in coal-mining country, there was undoubtedly a pot of pinto beans on most everyone’s stove each week. Even coal miner’s made pinto bean sandwiches with leftover pinto beans. Just two slices of white bread and beans. That’s it. 

Now there’s no way I’ll buy a can of pinto beans when I know how easy they are to cook and how amazingly delicious they are. My pinto beans recipes and just bean recipes in general are excellent. And, the think about my pinto beans recipe is that you could substitute another bean if you like. 

Pinto Beans Recipe

It doesn’t take much to make a good pot of pinto beans. But, in my opinion, the best pinto beans are made on the stove top. That’s because I want these beans to cook on a high blaze at a roaring boil for a while. Yes, the liquid evaporates and you have to keep adding water, or say beef broth or stock, but what happens is the finished product is a pot of beans that have a thick rich gravy texture, rather than brothy and soupy. If you prefer more liquidy broth, then just add more water. 

Ham Hocks

The best seasoning agents for cooking pinto beans are ham hocks. Ham hocks are in your grocery store with the pork products usually. If you can’t find ham hocks, then look for a ham shank. And, if you can’t find either ham hocks or ham shanks, then use thick cut bacon (for this recipe 3-4 slices), a bone in pork chop or pieces of pork with fat. Fat simply provides the flavor that you need. But, in my pinto beans recipe, there’s another flavor agent that comes from the nutritional yeast. 

What to Serve with Pinto Beans

Almost heaven, West Virginia
Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River
Life is old there, older than the trees
Younger than the mountains, growing like a breeze 

Country Roads, John Denver

Yes, there is a protocol in our house, based on growing up in ‘them thar mountains’ that you have with a big ol’ pot of pinto beans. Here are the real deal what to serve with pinto beans:


Cucumber Salad


Fried Potatoes

Bean Recipes

Here are some of my favorite bean recipes. Yes, I cook a LOT of beans!

Smoked Anasazi Beans & Herbs

Bourbon Ham Shank Cranberry Beans

Kung Pao Kidney Beans

pinto beans

pinto beans

smokey ham hock pinto beans

Yield: About 6+ servings

These smokey ham hock pinto beans are off the charts authetically delicious! They're made with my WV roots and love. The ham hock seasoning is divine!


  • 3 cups beans, pinto and/or great northern + 14-16 cups water, divided
  • 2 Tbl. nutritional yeast
  • 3 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 ham hock, medium to large size
  • 1 cup sweet onions, diced
  • 1 ½ tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. coarse ground pepper


1. Rinse and clean the beans. Put in a bowl and cover with water for about 2-3 hours. Drain water.

2. Put in large stock pot. Add the nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, ham hock, onions and ten cups of water. Cover with a lid. Turn blaze to high and bring to roaring boil.

3. Put lid askew (to let a little steam escape and prevent boiling over) and cook on high for about 60 to 75 minutes, checking occasionally and adding water if needed.

4. Add more water and cook another about 45 minutes on medium high achieving steady boil, lid askew to let some steam escape.

5. Bean liquid will begin to thicken like a more gravy mixture. Add water if needed. Check for doneness (beans should be soft and tender). Leave on warm/simmer until ready to serve.

6. If you want your bean gravy thinner, add more water.


This recipe can be done in the slow cooker, crock pot or multi-cooker. Follow instructions for cooking beans.

With leftover beans, you'll need to add water when you reheat because the broth usually thickens.

To make refried beans, simply mash the beans, add a little oil to the skillet and warm, then maybe add ground cumin to give these beans more of a Latin flair.

Your sharing is GOLDEN! Thank you!

Your sharing and comments help me stay in business! Share a photo if you make the recipe #allyskitchen Thank you! xo Ally

pinto beans

Similar Posts


  1. Kelly schulte says:

    Hi Ally
    I made this Ham hock pinto bean soup! I have a lot of liquid left. Also ham from the bone. It’s delicious but I’m wondering if it’s possible to add more pinto beans? I wish I had more in the soup. How would I add them if possible?
    Thank you 😊

    1. Hi Kelly! Wonderful! You can freeze and use broth/ ham as a base for another soup, say split peanut and ham or lentils and ham. Or you could do a nice veggie soup! Yummmmm xoxo ally

  2. Beans are on the stove, the house smells soooo good! Never thought of adding smoked paprika! Thank you Ally ❤️

    1. Angie!!! I can smell them from here! OMG, gonna be a fabulous dinner! So what are you serving with these glorious beans!! And, thannnnnnk YOU! XOXX

  3. What the heck is a “blaze”?

    1. Nora! I know now why you’re totally confused. Thanks for the great editing catch. I’ve edited. It should be ‘lid’ in instructions #3. xoxx ally

  4. I just made the pinto beans, very good, this will be my go to recipe. Really like the consistency and the smokey flavor. Very easy to make!!

    1. Linda!! That’s so so great to hear! Thank you for letting me know. Yes, that smokey flavor just elevates them to a new level! Thanks for stopping by, luv! xoxx ally

  5. In your video you added onion to the pot of uncooked pinto beans. The ingredient list does not include onion. How much did you add.

    1. Oh, lawsy, LInda, THANK YOU! You know, it’s always great to have really super editors, which you are! One cup of diced sweet onions! xoxx ally I’m editing now!

  6. Roxie Dolph says:

    Did you know the four corners area of Co, NM, Utah, the pinto bean capital‼️..My mom always taught me to buy the lightest colored pintos as possible for freshest..they cook faster and more tender…and i cook mine in chicken broth..💕

    1. Roxie! I didn’t know this about the four corners and pinto bean capital! So awesome! I’d be super happy there! And, thanks for that tip from your Mama! I’ll keep that in my box of facts…and, I didn’t know that! Thanks for sharing and spending time w/me in the kitchen, luv xoxo ~ally

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.