Like poor people everywhere, mountain people in the South thrived for centuries on food that was indigenous, inexpensive and healthful. These days “soup beans” speak instant comfort to anyone who had familial connections from Appalachia, where every garden produced shelling beans that could be eaten fresh or grown to maturity for dry beans. Serve this thick, stew-like soup with cornbread, pickle relish and diced sweet onion.

Sarah Fritschner
Source: EatingWell Magazine, Soup Cookbook


Recipe Summary

2 hrs 10 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Place beans, water, ham, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper in a large Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are very tender and beginning to burst, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. If necessary, add an additional 1/2 to 1 cup water while simmering to keep the beans just submerged in cooking liquid.

  • Remove from the heat; discard the onion and garlic. Transfer 2 cups of the beans to a medium bowl and coarsely mash with a fork or potato masher. Return the mashed beans to the pot; stir to combine.


To make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Facts

226 calories; protein 17.6g; carbohydrates 35.2g; dietary fiber 12.1g; sugars 0.5g; fat 2.1g; saturated fat 0.6g; cholesterol 12.8mg; vitamin a iu 25IU; vitamin c 10.3mg; folate 230.4mcg; calcium 74.5mg; iron 3.1mg; magnesium 76.1mg; potassium 681.6mg; sodium 517.2mg; thiamin 0.4mg.

Reviews (2)

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2 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 1
  • 4 star values: 0
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
I put mine in a crock pot and cook unsealed beans for about 6 hours instead if mashing and it makes it more thick instead of soupy. ( and for some reason they seem to be even better the next day) Read More
Rating: 2 stars
I made these in a stock pot simmered for 1 hour and 55 minutes. They came out quite watery which I'm certain is correct. Also I wasn't certain if I was supposed to drain them or use them as a soup. It definitely wasn't a thick stew-like anything. Would love some feedback from OP Read More