Pressure Cooker Smoky Ham Hock and Pinto Bean Soup
Smoky Ham Hock and Pinto Bean Soup is full of textures and flavors. You’ll love the tender & moist ham lending its’ smoky flavors to the fulfilling soup. This easy pressure cooker ham and bean soup recipe makes the perfect comfort food dinner.
Hi there! We’re Amy + Jacky, the husband and wife team from Pressure Cook Recipes.
Thanks Barbara for having us here and thank YOU so much for dropping by!
We love our pressure cookers and are CRAZY about delicious food!! We enjoy spending hours researching, testing, and tasting recipes together in our kitchen.
Making Smoky Ham Hock and Pinto Bean Soup in an Instant Pot
Today, we’re excited to share our newest creation with you! We love cooking beans in a pressure cooker, as it saves us so much time. Plus, we can never say no to a bowl of comforting soup (yes, even when it’s hot! hehe~) In fact, we once enjoyed a bowl of piping hot soup as we were sweating bullets at 100°F+ without any air-conditioning!! Such an unforgettable experience.
Pressure Cooker Smoky Ham and Pinto Bean Soup Recipe Ingredients:
- Smoked ham hock
- Small onion
- Garlic cloves
- Cumin powder
- Dried oregano
- Ground black pepper
- Bay leaves
- Pinto beans
- Homemade unsalted chicken stock
- Season: Kosher salt to taste
- Garnish: cilantro & minced tomatoes
Little Beans Cooking Experiment
Before developing the actual recipe, we first did a little pinto beans experiment to find the best cooking time for the desired texture and flavors.
Cooking Method & Time: High Pressure for 30 minutes
Liquid: 3 cups of water
Release Method: Full Natural Release
Test 1 Results:
Beans’ Texture & Flavors – beans are fully cooked, tender with some chew & texture; full of flavors
Soup’s Texture & Flavors – soup is flavorful, but not as flavorful as Test 2’s results
Cooking Method & Time: High Pressure for 50 minutes
Liquid: 3 cups of water
Release Method: Full Natural Release
Test 2 Results:
Beans’ Texture & Flavors – beans are soft cooked and less flavorful than Test 1’s results
Soup’s Texture & Flavors – soup contains more texture & much more flavorful than Test 1’s results
Using these results, we developed 2 different cooking methods for this recipe:
- Dump-and-Go Version: Easy no fuss method where you place all the ingredients into the pressure cooker, then set-it-and-forget-it. Season, garnish, and serve!
- More Texture & Flavors Version: Split the beans into 2 sets and place them into the pressure cooker at 2 different times. This method allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds from the 2 tests above. This version results in an overall flavorful dish full of texture.
Note: no pre-soaking or quick soaking required as we found it’s unnecessary for bean soup.
Watch How to Make Smoky Ham and Pinto Bean Soup:
Pressure Cooker Smoky Ham Hock & Pinto Bean Soup
- 1 smoked ham hock (2 pounds)
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 pinch dried oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups pinto beans (~412 grams)
- 5 cups homemade unsalted chicken stock or (3 cups homemade unsalted chicken stock + 2 cups water)
- A pinch of ground black pepper
- Kosher salt to taste
- Garnish with cilantro and minced tomatoes
Dump & Go Version
- Clean pinto beans with cold running tap water. Place all ingredients (smoked ham hock, onion, garlic cloves, cumin powder, dried oregano, ground black pepper, bay leaves, pinto beans, and unsalted chicken stock) into your pressure cooker.
- Lock the pressure cooker’s lid in place and pressure cook at High Pressure for 50 minutes. Turn off the heat and do a full Natural Release (roughly 20 minutes).
- Season with kosher salt
- Garnish with cilantro and minced tomatoes.
More Texture & Flavors Version
- Clean pinto beans with cold running tap water. Place smoked ham hock, onion, garlic cloves, cumin powder, dried oregano, ground black pepper, bay leaves, 1 cup of pinto beans, and 3 cups of chicken stock into your pressure cooker.
- Lock the pressure cooker’s lid in place and pressure cook at High Pressure for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and do a Full Natural Release (roughly 15 minutes).
- Open the lid carefully and pour in the rest of the pinto beans (1 cup) and 2 cups of water.
- Lock the pressure cooker’s lid in place and pressure cook at High Pressure for 25 minutes. Turn off the heat and do a Full Natural Release (roughly 20 minutes).
- Season with kosher salt
- Garnish with cilantro and minced tomatoes.
Extras: Add jalapeno peppers if you want some kick to your soup!
Soaking: no pre-soaking or quick soaking required as we found it's unnecessary for bean soup.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 199Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 314mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 9gSugar: 3gProtein: 17g
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Love the ham hock & pinto bean soup, superb. Thank you 4 ur hard work and have turned on many folk 2 ur site.
That’s great – thanks Ricardo!
Thanks so much for an easy to follow recipe! I made the dump and go version with one of our own ham hocks and this turned out incredible! I did not have an unsalted broth so used 3 cups broth to 2 water. It wasn’t too too salty but I will use unsalted next time. I added a dash of liquid smoke bc our ham hock was not smoked. I was skeptical about using my last ham hock in the instant pot rather than crock pot but it was just as flavorful!
Great tips – thanks for sharing Amber. Glad the soup was a hit.
Easy and delicious
Made this last night and it was fabulous! Served with mashed potatoes and salad. I enjoyed how easy it was to make, and the soup while admittedly a bit oily, was very tasty!
This was amazing! YUM!
I did the 50-minute version and instead of Jalapeno I did Fresno Chilis
and no soaking .. tender and delish
That’s great – thanks Lisa!
How do I use timer fir my hamhocks
Can I use a frozen ham hock? If so are there any time adjustments?
Did you get a reply for this? I am about to make this and have a frozen ham hock as well.
Hi Lindsey – you shouldn’t need to make any changes. Enjoy!
Hi Dawn – I haven’t tried it, but you can use a frozen ham hock wihtout making any changes. It will take longer to come to pressure.
I made Amy + Jacky’s delicious Smoky Ham Hock & Pinto Bean Soup on Sunday and would like to share my experience. First I appreciate that Barbara invited Amy and Jacky to share one of their recipes on her website. Kudos for generosity. Isn’t it nice when fellow bloggers can work together?
I don’t know where Amy and Jacky find such beautiful large ham hocks as pictured, but the ones I find are much smaller so I purchased a package with two ham hocks. Still, there wasn’t going to be as much ham in my soup as I desired, but fortunately, I was able to find a package of diced ham and purchased one to add to the soup after it had pressure cooked. Since the ham was already cooked, I didn’t want to add it prior to pressure cooking as I thought it might be “pulverized.”
The recipe calls for pinto beans but I use Vallarta beans from Rancho Gordo. They were somewhat larger than pinto beans. I used Veggie Queen, Jill Nussinow’s technique for quick soaking the beans that Barbara, again generously shared on her site: https://www.pressurecookingtoday.com/pressure-cooked-beans-most-beans-cook-in-less-than-10-minutes/.
Amy and Jacky note with respect to soaking: “no pre-soaking or quick soaking required as we found it’s unnecessary for bean soup.” I don’t question their experience, but they don’t mention which varieties of beans they’ve used for making soup and found quick soaking or pre-soaking unnecessary. Had I not quick soaked my beans they would not have been close to sufficiently cooked after 50 minutes under pressure with a full 20 minute NPR. In fact, when I make this recipe again (and I will), if I again use Vallarta beans I will likely cook them at least 60-65 minutes under pressure. I would suggest reconsidering what Amy and Jacky have written to say, “in most cases, pre-soaking or quick soaking is not necessary for making bean soup.” Further, I would suggest trying to find a pressure cooking recipe using the same bean variety you wish to use to determine the ideal amount of pressure cooking time. Fortunately, regardless of how much pressure cooking time you use in making bean soup, you can always bring the soup back to pressure and cook it longer if needed – but it’s nice when you get the time right to begin with.
Having a 32 oz. package of Costco chicken broth, I used it and 1 cup of water. The recipe calls for only a pinch of oregano. Next time I’d use a teaspoon of oregano. I also like thyme in bean soup and might add thyme as well. While I didn’t add a jalapeno to my soup, it would have been a nice addition that I’ll use next time. Of course flavoring this or any soup is a personal decision.
I’ve read that altitude can affect the cooking times in the Instant Pot. At what altitude are your recipes developed and cooked? I live at 4000 ft above sea level and I’m wondering if I need to adjust my cooking times or not.
Hi Debbe – yes, you’ll want to adjust your cooking time. There’s more information on this post https://www.pressurecookingtoday.com/instant-pot-cajun-15-bean-soup/
If I wanted to just cook the smoked ham hock, how long would I cook it for? Also, how much chicken stock would I use? Thanks for your help. I really enjoy your site.
Thanks Joan! If you’re wanting to create a flavorful ham stock, I would still use the 50 minute cook time. You could reduce the chicken stock by half and then add additional water or broth to get the concentration you’re looking for.
We grow our own pinto beans and freeze them without drying. How should my pressure cook time be adjusted?
Hi Barbara – this recipe https://simpledailyrecipes.com/8822/how-to-cook-fresh-pinto-beans/ says to cook fresh pintos for 45 minutes to 1 hour on the stove, so generally pressure cooking time is 1/3 of the stovetop time. So I would try 15 minutes and see if they’re as tender as you’d like.
How do I use timer fir my hamhocks
I like barley in my bean soup.
May I add 1 C pearl barley? and, how does this affect the cooking time?
Hi Sharolyn – In my beef and barley recipe in my cookbook, I cook the barley for 25 minutes. So you may want to cook it for 25 minutes, let it naturally release for 5 minutes, then add the barley and cook it for the remaining 25 minutes.
Hi can I use white beans instead of pinto.
Hi Denise – I haven’t tried it, but it should work fine.
Such a simple yet delicious dinner that I will make more often.
This soup has so much flavor! So comforting when it’s this cold out!
If I cut the recipe in half, for how long do I cook the beans?
Hi Debby – the cook time is the same.
My beans were undercooked….. Used an instant pot ?
Hi Ruthie – if your beans are undercooked, you can pressure cooker them again, or I like to use the saute adjusted to less and simmer them until they’re your desired consistency. Beans vary a lot depending on how old the bean is, your altitude, etc.
I made this recipe today, but had to use regular chicken broth instead of low sodium as it was all I had. the Flavour was incredible but waaaaay too salty. Is there anything I can do now to lower the saltiness of the soup so I don’t waste it?
Hi Robyn – here’s some tips https://www.rachaelray.com/2010/01/25/too-much-salt-tips-on-saving-an-oversalted-dish/
No luck for me, followed the “Dump & Go” recipe , minus the ham hock, using a stove top pressure cooker. Ending results were some mostly cooked beans on top and burned beans on the bottom. I’m going to use more water/stock next attempt if the cooker is salvageable…ya cook, ya learn
Hi Greg – sorry you had trouble with the recipe. There is definitely a learning curve especially with a stove top pressure cooker. Be sure you have a good seal – no steam should be escaping around the sides of the lid, and be sure you’re lowering the stove temperature to the lowest possible to maintain pressure.
Hi! If I wanted to double the recipe, would I also need to double the liquid? I am also adding a slice of ham cut up into pieces into the pot. Would the time also stay the same? Making this tomorrow! Thank you!!!
Hi Erin – you can’t fill the pressure cooker more than 2/3’s full, so if you have a 6 quart pressure cooker you may not be able to double the recipe. If you have an 8 quart pressure cooker I would double all the ingredients and use the same cook time.
When I hit pressure cook do I need to press the bean button also??? I mean what is the button there for if you don’t have too press it!?! Please help! I’m a newbie on this instant pot.
Hi Lisa – the bean setting is there for convenience. https://www.pressurecookingtoday.com/instant-pot-duo-and-smartcooker/ If you prefer to use the bean button and adjust the time to 50 minutes, you could.
I like the beans with the 2 cooking times.
Looks like you need more recipes in the bean section. How about a Navy bean soup? I like all the beans my wife likes Navy bean. I still like to soak the beans I think it takes some of the gas out of them.
Thanks and good job
I want to know how to cook a 1 pound bag of dry pinto beans.
I know how to rinse,and season them,but get so lost on all of the different ways I have read how to cook them.
I am trying to learn how to cook in my Instant Pot Lux Mini,but have only had it for 1 week.
Do I push the pressure button & set the pot to a certain time?
Or just push the pressure button?
Sorry for so many questions.
Check out this post https://www.pressurecookingtoday.com/instant-pot-duo-and-smartcooker/ for information about what all the buttons do. There’s also a video that you’ll find helpful https://www.pressurecookingtoday.com/video-use-instant-pot-ip-duo/
I did this recipe exactly and it seems like I have no liquid left and half my beans aren’t cooked. Is this an issue with my instant pot?
Hi Dalton – yes, it sounds like you didn’t have a good seal on your Instant Pot. Did you see steam coming out from around the sides of the lid?
Have many serving does this recipe make? I have a 8qt. Power cooker. Should I double the recipe? I have a big family.
Hi Kolleen – 2 – 4 servings and could easily be doubled in the 8 quart.
Can I do this in a slow cooker?maripn
I made this today in my little Fagor LUX 4 qt. pressure cooker. I used Northern white beans and added some chopped celery and carrots to the mix. DELICIOUS!!! A definite keeper!
Barbara I was wondering if you could add potatoes and Navy beans to your recipe or will the potatoes over cook? I can’t not wait to follow all your great recipes, I am so new to my electric cooker Thanks
Hi Bobbi – I think the Navy beans would be fine, but diced potatoes will only need about three minutes. But you could certainly reduce the cook time to 22 minutes, then pressure cooker it again for 3 minutes to cook the potatoes.
My family loves bean soup with potatoes also but I am not sure if they can also be added with carrots. Does anyone know?
It appears that the beans are not soaked in this recipe, is that correct?
Hi Sandra – that’s correct. You don’t need to soak the beans with this recipe.
when cooking beans (or soaking beans) add fresh ginger root. If i soak beans i use several slices to the soaking water. It neutralizes the gas forming enzymes of the beans. When I cook the beans I add fresh ginger root to the cooking. I always have fresh ginger root on hand as I store it in refrigerator in a quart jar fill with 1/2 whie wine and water. Lasts for ages this way. Takes the gas away better than anything you buy like beano.
Does the ginger root give the beans a ginger taste?
This makes a delicious and very flavorful soup. I had to cook for an additional 20 minutes, but I suspect it was because my beans were old. Still it’s a very easy and flavorful recipe in a short amount of time considering one is using dry beans. Hubby really loved it too! The beans themselves would be great leftover as a side with Mexican food or wrapped in a flour tortilla for a burrito–if they lasted that long!
I just have navy beans. Can I use them?
I love celery and carrots in my bean soup. I added 1.5 cups of sliced celery to the pressure cooker first and 1 tablespoon of oil. I sauteed the celery, onion, and garlic until limp. I then proceeded with step 1 under the texture and flavor method. Under step 3, I added 2 cups of sliced carrots and 1 can of diced tomatoes. Delicous! Thanks Barbara for the fantastic recipe!
Hi, I’m new-ish to pressure cooking and cooking in general. I would really love to try this recipe but I live in South America and chicken stock is not available. Any easy ideas to come up with a flavorful replacement for chicken stock?
Thanks in advance!
Hi David – chicken or vegetable stock is super easy to make in the pressure cooker https://www.pressurecookingtoday.com/pressure-cooker-vegetable-stock/ https://www.pressurecookingtoday.com/chicken-stock-in-the-pressure-cooker/
Wish you could make smaller portions for 2 people.
Make the full recipe, then portion out the leftover into a couple of containers and freeze. You will love having a batch of homemade soup ready to go…
I love ham hocks with any kind of beans or greens!! Would you post canning recipes please?
Hi Kate – electric pressure cookers are not recommended for canning except for some hot water bath canning. http://www.hippressurecooking.com/consumer-alert-no-pressure-canning-in-un-tested-multi-cookers/
could i used some cubed ham instead of a ham hock in this recipe?
Hi Lesa – you could add cubed ham instead of the ham hock, your broth just won’t have quite as much flavor.
Why yes it’s just as good. I’ve even used smoked turkey wings and it still delicious!
Thanks for the receipes, new to this pressure cooker thing. And so far the family has enjoyed everything I’ve made!! SO I look out for more things to make. SO helpful with this summer heat, doesn’t heat up the kitchen.
Thanks Barbara – some people don’t think of using their pressure cooker in the summer, but you’re right summer is a great time to use it so you don’t heat up the kitchen.
Nicely done, Barbara. More tactful than came to my mind. Great recipe site. I have so much fun here.
Thanks Jane 🙂 So glad you enjoy hanging out on Pressure Cooking Today!!
Sounds delicious! My one regret..no nutritional values included. I know it’s a pain (I don’t like to do it, either), but since hubby is on a low sodium diet, I need to know sodium value of EVERYTHING! When it’s included in a recipe I stand up and cheer!
Hi Shirley – it would be a nice feature to include. Maybe at some point, that will be an option. Here’s a link to a site I use when I’m trying to determine nutritional information https://www.caloriecount.com/cc/recipe_analysis.php. Hopefully it helps. 🙂
Thanks so much, that’s a page I’ll definitely bookmark! Good information there!