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How to Cook Butter Beans

How to cook butter beans on the stove is easy. A simple, cheap and delicious side dish similar to Dried Lima Beans but with a different color and texture. Wonderful legume to include in a soup, stew or salad we will show you step by step how to soak and boil them perfectly.

How to Cook Butter Beans

Butter beans with ham is a wonderful main dish with leftovers after the holidays or make vegetarian as a cheap side dish that is super family friendly and easy to do. Dried beans on the stove, pressure cooker, or slow cooker are all possible and we’ll discuss them all. (affiliate links present)

Dried Butter Beans How to Cook

There isn’t a lot of differences when it comes to cooking dry beans to tender no matter which ones you have, except maybe kidney because of the extra soaking required. Typically though whether you want to know how to cook Northern Beans, Pinto or garbanzo I recommend soaking, boiling and draining when tender.

Do you need to soak butter beans before cooking?

Yes and no, you can do both technically. I will discuss the timing for both below but to get really creamy beans simple with a bit of salt and pepper, throw them into a large bowl of water the night before. Next day add ham hocks in the middle, drain beans, cover with broth and simmer until perfect. That is the best way ever. Period.

how to cook dry butter beans

How long does it take to cook butter beans?

Canned doesn’t take long at all. You just need to warm them in a pot over medium heat with a lid on for about 5 minutes. If they are rock hard to start that depends on whether they are soaked beforehand or not. This step is highly recommended, overnight, like our white Tepary Beans. From there it’s about 1 hour or until they are as tender as you’d like.

How to Cook Unsoaked Butter Beans

This will typically take longer to cook. Plan on simmering the large dried beans in water or broth for about 1 to 1.5 hours, or until they are tender. Keep in mind that older they are, they may require even longer and either way won’t be as good of a result than if they were soaked.

How Long to Cook Soaked Butter Beans

This is highly recommended before cooking to reduce their cooking time and promote even cooking. It also is better for your gut to reduce bloating. You just soak in water overnight, or use a quick soak method by bringing the beans to a boil in water, removing them from the heat, and letting them soak for 1-2 hours. After, drain and rinse before cooking.

Cooking soaked beans in simmering water or broth takes about 1 hour, or until they are tender. Look at the lima beans How Long Do Beans Take to Cook timing for all different methods you might want to try.

Butter Beans in a Pressure Cooker

Cooking Beans in a Pressure Cooker can significantly reduce the cooking time. In an Instant Pot or Ninja Foodi under high pressure unsoaked takes about 20-30 minutes with a natural release. Soaked butter beans may only take about 10-15 minutes to cook in a pressure cooker.

Crockpot Butter Beans

Low and slow all day is another option that requires minimal hands-on effort. Cook soaked overnight legumes on low heat for 6-8 hours, or until they are tender. I don’t recommend pouring in dry as it does take a really long time to get the ideal texture. Slow cooker butter beans recipe for these directions.

cooking dried butter beans

Do you need to peel butter beans?

Peeling butter beans is preferred sometimes because they do have a thin outer skin that can sometimes be tough or chewy, especially when cooked. This step involves removing this outer skin, leaving behind the insides only. This can result in a smoother texture and more refined appearance in dishes such as Pressure Cooker Ham and Beans, soups, stews, and purées.

How do you peel butter beans?

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil and prepare a bowl of ice water.
  • Add dry beans to the boiling water and let them cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Use a slotted spoon to transfer into the bowl of ice water to cool rapidly. This step helps loosen the skins.
  • Once they are cool enough to handle, use your fingers to gently squeeze each one. The skin should slip off easily.

Not Peeling butter beans is typical because many recipes, particularly in Southern cuisine, do not require this time consuming step. The outer skin adds texture and may contribute to the overall flavor of the dish. Leaving the skins on can also help them hold their shape better during cooking, especially in dishes where they are simmered for an extended period.

Dried Butter Beans How to Cook

What’s the difference between butter beans and lima beans?

Typically the two names are synonymous with the same thing but there are slight differences if you want to really dig into the technicalities. Both are versatile ingredients used in a variety of dishes like soups, stews, casseroles, salads, and side dishes.

Butter typically refers to a specific type of lima bean with large, flat seeds and a creamy texture when cooked. These are often green or white. Lima on the other hand, is a broader term that encompass several varieties of this legume species. These vary in size, shape, and color, ranging from small to large, round to flat, and green to white or speckled.

Why are my butter beans tough?

One of the most common reasons for tough beans is undercooking. These require thorough cooking to become tender. If they are not cooked long enough, they will remain firm and tough. Ensure that you are simmering them gently over low to medium heat until they are soft inside.

butter beans

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How to Cook Butter Beans
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How to Cook Butter Beans

How to cook butter beans on the stove, in a pressure cooker or slow cooker unsoaked or soaked overnight to tender. A.K.A Lima Beans recipe.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword butter beans, dry beans, how to cook
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 6
Calories 0.2kcal
Author The Typical Mom




  • Rinse dried beans to remove dirt and debris. Pour into a bowl covered with water + 3 inches above top of them. Leave on the counter and soak overnight. You want to do this no matter which cooking method you choose to do below.
  • Butter beans on the stove – Drain soaked beans, rinse in a colander and put into a pot filled with new water covering the beans + 2 inches. Set to medium heat, once it starts to boil cover with a lid. Boil until they are tender which will take 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on size and preference.
  • Crockpot butter beans – Drain soaked beans, rinse in a colander and put into slow cooker filled with new water covering the beans + 2 inches above the top. You can add 1-2 ham hocks in center if desired. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until tender.
  • Pressure cooker butter beansUse for unsoaked beans – Rinse beans and pour into pot with 3 inches of water above beans. Close lid and steam valve and set to high for 25 minutes with a 5 minute natural release. Then let rest of steam out. If not tender enough leave water in and set to saute to boil for as long as needed.
  • If you want to continue on to make seasoned beans on the stove – When tender, drain that water. Pour beans into a pot on the stove with; 2.5 tbsp butter until it melts, then add 1/4 cup chicken broth + 1 tbsp minced garlic + 1/2 tsp salt + 1/4 tsp pepper. Stir, simmer together until most of liquid is absorbed, taste, adjust seasonings and enjoy.
Nutrition Facts
How to Cook Butter Beans
Amount Per Serving (2 oz)
Calories 0.2
% Daily Value*
Sodium 6mg0%
Potassium 1mg0%
Carbohydrates 0.03g0%
Fiber 0.01g0%
Sugar 0.01g0%
Protein 0.01g0%
Calcium 0.03mg0%
Iron 0.003mg0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)
Recipe Rating

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