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"Baby I'm Scared of You" Instant Pot White Beans with Ham Hocks Recipe

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This easy one-pot meal is for you! With just a few simple ingredients, you can have a delicious and hearty ham and bean soup on the table in no time. Plus, it's perfect for those busy nights when you don't have time to cook.

Everything cooks in the Instant Pot, so there's hardly any cleanup involved. Give this ham and beans recipe a try tonight!

This instant pot bean soup recipe is major comfort in less than 30 minutes! Hearty enough to be a main dish stew but versatile enough for a Southern side dish.

This delicious and easy ham and beans stew is the perfect comfort food for a cold winter day. Plus, it's a great way to use up any leftover ham from Thanksgiving. Enjoy!

white bean stew with ham hocks in a bowl

During my Chicago years, hearty comforting stews and soups got me through those long winters as well as great soul and classic r&b music like Womack and Womack’s “Baby I’m Scared Of You” which would make any Chicago soul music playlist.

Many of you have asked me for Instant pot recipes, so here you have it. This is my first one, as I broke in my new Christmas present with this bean and ham hock recipe.

The recipe is basically a converted traditional stovetop recipe, so if you don’t have an Instant Pot, no problem as the directions are basically the same and transferrable.

I ain’t saying I was scared, but admittedly I was surprised by how simple it was to use as well as the intense flavor it produced. I guess my old school pressure cooker may now be a relic, marginalized by innovation.

This Instant Pot ham and beans stew recipe is my take on a typical Provencal soup/beans recipe which features ingredients like ham, fresh herbs, and a medley of vegetables.

I simply remixed it soul food style by substituting ingredients common in soul food dishes like okra and ham hocks to accompany the white beans.

Ingredients Needed To Make Pressure Cooker Beans Soup

ingredients for beans and ham on a tray

I went light on the broth (wine and vegetable stock) as I wanted more of a thicker bean dish vs. more soupy. This lends some itself to the white beans and vegetables really sticking out and being the hero.

However, if you prefer more of a soup consistency increasing the broth ingredients levels and cooking longer/slower gets you there.

Many Provencal soup recipes call for bacon, but since I had some smoked ham hocks on hand I used them. The smokiness added an additional layer of delicious flavor to go with the strong thyme essence and sweetness provided by the wine.

How To Make Instant Pot Ham and Beans Soup?

Step 1: Saute vegetables

Heat the instant pot on "high" saute settings. Add olive oil once the display reads "hot." Add the olive oil and then saute the vegetables (onions, carrots, garlic) 1-2 minutes. I add carrots and onions first then the garlic for the last 30 seconds of cooking. Add the okra and cook another 30 seconds.

okra, carrots, onions, and garlic sauteing in a pot

Step 2: Season the Vegetables

While the vegetables saute add half the dry seasonings. Saute another minute, just long enough for the flavors to be released as a result of the heat.

okra, carrots, onions, and garlic sauteing in a pot with spices

Step 3: Pressure Cook

Add the remaining ingredients including the reserved dry spice seasonings and bay leaves. Give everything a big stir. Cancel "saute" and close the lid. Pressure cook on high pressure for 40 minutes and then use the natural release pressure method for 20 minutes.

Turn the valve to venting. Unlock and remove lid carefully. Remove ham hocks with tongs. Discard skin, bones and cartilage, then chop into smaller pieces. Add the chopped ham back to the beans and stir well.

Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Bam! Just like that you have a one pot hearty meal for a cold day comfort dish or holiday dinner.

okra, thyme, ham, and carrots boiling in a pot
For thicker consistency reduce the amount of liquids.

Serving Suggestions

This hearty soup is quite filling and probably only lacking some bread to sop up all the residue goodness left behind in your bowl. A good buttermilk cornbread or biscuit would be great! Or even some classic Southern hot water cornbread. Top the ham and bean soup with chopped fresh parsley.

white bean stew with ham hocks in a bow

Cooking Considerations and Tips For Instant Pot Bean Recipes

Saute the vegetables first to release the flavors

Add spices to the saute, as heat brings out their flavor more

Cook the smoked ham hock whole, in big chunks or as diced ham and then after the dish is done, remove, cut into pieces and add back to the pot

Have bread on hand as you’ll want to sop up any and all remains

This bean soup recipe is based on using dry beans regardless of the type of bean you use in the recipe.

Leftover ham bone is great in place of ham hocks. There is so much flavor around that meaty ham bone. So keep this in mind when you're trying to figure out what to do with that holiday smoky ham.

Make sure you use enough water. You'll need about 2 cups of water to combine with the white wine and cups of chicken broth.

Don't get crazy with the spices. The flavors of the ham will provide so much depth, complexity, and richness.

Reduce the broth to your desired consistency by continuing to cook with the saute mode.

Leftovers of this delicious soup get better the next day. These tender beans absorb all that flavor and maintain for a couple of days.

Reserve some of that flavorful broth for additional later use. I like to use it with rice or mashed potatoes.

This recipe can easily be converted to crock pot, slow cooker, or stove top. If using a crock pot you'll still want to saute the vegetables in a skillet beofre adding to the slow cooker.

I get that crock pot is pretty convenient, however, pressure cooking beans is the best way to enjoy them. You get perfectly tender beans and great flavor! Furthermore, pressure cooking is just as convenient in terms of being hands-free cooking.

Ham and Beans Soup Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Need To Soak The Beans?

Technically you don't have to use soaked beans, but I always do an overnight soak or occasionally use the quick soak method. I soak beans for instant pot recipes out of habit.

Does this recipe work with other vegetables?

This is actually a base go-to recipe for me cause of its versatility. It works with a variety of different vegetables so depending on the season you can change things up to your liking. I’ve made this dish with other soul food staples like turnips, artichokes, sweet potatoes, etc.

Can I Use a different type of bean?

Black-eyed peas and pinto beans also make perfectly good substitutes for white beans in this recipe. Note, white beans do have their advantages and there are a few different varieties to choose from. But if you’re looking for a black-eyed peas recipe to cook for New Year’s just swap out the white beans.

  • They absorb flavors extremely well so anything (herbs, wine, bacon, etc.) they get paired with gets pulled in
  • They also break down pretty quickly when cooking which releases their creaminess in the form of starches right into the body of the soup
  • Naturally high in protein and fiber

What about the okra, is it slimy?

Now when you’re cooking this dish it may be a good idea to keep family members out the kitchen. Ham hocks ain’t really all that familiar to a generation of folk and okra is always polarizing.

My crew has been socialized over time to be open to okra given the frequency in which I cook it but initially they were scared off by the slime factor. Don’t worry these okra are slime free, as it’s one of the benefits of cooking them in an instant pot.

The high pressure cooks the slime away, leaving you with tender, delicious okra.

Which Pressure Release Approach Do You Use?

I allow the pressure to release naturally vs. the quick release approach I use for other recipes. In this recipe I allow for a 20 minute release. Use quick release by turning the valve to get rid of any remaining pressure.

Can I Cook This Without An Instant Pot?

Yes indeed, it's just as easy, but will require a longer cooking time. Just make sure you have a enough liquid to cover the beans fully.

How long does beans cook in an Instant Pot?

All together it should take about an hour and 10 minutes. Actual cooking time is 40 minutes, but you'll need to add about 7 minutes to allow the instant pot to build pressure and about 20 minutes to release pressure naturally.

How to freeze Instant Pot Ham and Beans?

White bean soup is a great soup that can be frozen easily. The beans hold up nicely when stored properly in a refrigerator. Simply allow the soup to cool completely then place in hefty ziplock freezer bags. The soup can stay frozen forever as in like a few years. six years.

What kind of pressure cooker do I use?

I use the Instant Pot Duo 7 in 1. It serves me well as it has ample space and simple functionality with the settings.

For more instant pot soup recipes and/or comforting recipes with ham hocks you might like: : 

Smoked Ham Hocks w/ Whiskey and Cola Glaze 

Comforting Navy Beans and Ham

Southern Pinto Beans

Gameday Pork Nachos w/ Ham Hocks

Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice

Southern Green Beans

Make This Recipe

This easy and delicious Instant Pot ham and beans soup is perfect for a winter meal. It really is one of my favorite instant pot recipes. It’s warm, comforting, and hearty, with plenty of protein from the ham and fiber from the beans.

The best part is that it only takes about 30 minutes to make in your Instant Pot! If you don’t have an Instant Pot, no problem – this recipe can also be made on the stovetop. Give it a try this weekend – we promise you won’t be disappointed!

If you make this hearty, delicious ham and white bean stew, please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.

You can also keep up with my food exploits as well as original recipes! You can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

If you like any of the music you find on the site, visit me at Spotify to find curated monthly playlists.

white bean stew with ham hocks in a bowl

Instant Pot Ham and Beans Stew

Creamy and flavorful white bean stew with chunks of ham hocks that add both richness and smokiness. 
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Resting Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Soul Food
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 238kcal
Author: Marwin Brown


  • 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 smoked ham hocks
  • 1 medium red onions diced
  • 10 whole okra ends removed and sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot quartered and chopped
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 large sprigs of thyme
  • 1 cup cannellini beans (dried) soaked overnight
  • 1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon all spice
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf


  • Set instant pot settings to saute and add olive oil, onions, carrots, okra, and garlic. Saute for 2 minutes
  • Add paprika, pepper, salt, allspice and saute for an additional minute
  • Add beans, broth, water, wine, ham hock, bay leaf, and thyme. Stir well. Twist to lock the lid, and turn the valve to sealing. Cook at high pressure 40 minutes, and then let the pressure release naturally for 20 minutes.
  • Turn the valve to venting. Unlock lid, and remove ham hocks with tongs. Discard skin, bones and cartilage. Chop or shred ham and stir back into beans.


YouTube video


  • For traditional stovetop cooking approach follow the same instructions using a large pot or dutch oven. It will just be a longer, slow simmer. Saute the vegetables on medium heat and then cook the beans covered on simmer for 40 minutes or more depending on the desired level of creaminess.
  • For creamier beans, put a ladle or two of the beans into a small bowl, and mash with a potato masher or fork. Stir back into the pot.
  • Saute the vegetables first to release the flavors
  • Add spices to the saute, as heat brings out their flavor more
  • Cook the smoked ham hock whole or as big chunks and then after the dish is done, remove, cut into pieces and add back to the pot
  • Have bread on hand as you’ll want to sop up any and all remains


Calories: 238kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 342mg | Potassium: 319mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 2820IU | Vitamin C: 6.3mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 1.9mg
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Recipe Rating


Sunday 27th of December 2020

How much allspice should be used? It's in the instructions, but not in the ingredients.

Marwin Brown

Monday 28th of December 2020

Sorry, 1 tsp


Monday 31st of August 2020

Great recipe! I made it with baby potatoes too and it was great!

Marisa F. Stewart

Sunday 30th of August 2020

A smoked hock just adds a special element to whatever you add. We love it with greens and in soups - I haven't tried it in the instant pot yet but you make it seem so easy. Will be making this recipe this coming week.


Saturday 29th of August 2020

Now this looks incredible! What a filling, comforting delicious meal to make anytime. Thanks for sharing.


Friday 28th of August 2020

This looks so comforting and delicious...perfect summer to fall dish! I don't have an instant pot so I love that I can make this on the stovetop too! :)