Southern-style Pinto Beans with Ham Hocks, Cornbread, and Pickled Onions

Here’s a recipe for Southern-style Pinto Beans with Ham Hocks, Cornbread, and Pickled Onions:


For the Pinto Beans:

  • 2 cups dried pinto beans, sorted and rinsed
  • 2 ham hocks
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Water

For the Cornbread:

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs

For the Pickled Onions:

  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt


For the Pinto Beans:

  1. Soak the Beans:
  • If you have time, soak the dried pinto beans in water overnight. Drain and rinse before cooking.
  1. Cook the Beans:
  • In a large pot, combine the soaked pinto beans, ham hocks, chopped onion, minced garlic, bay leaf, salt, and black pepper. Add enough water to cover the beans by about 2 inches.
  1. Simmer:
  • Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 2-3 hours or until the beans are tender. Stir occasionally and add more water if needed.
  1. Season:
  • Once the beans are cooked, taste and adjust the seasoning. Remove the ham hocks, shred the meat, and return it to the pot.

For the Cornbread:

  1. Preheat Oven:
  • Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). Grease a baking dish or cast-iron skillet.
  1. Mix Dry Ingredients:
  • In a bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  1. Combine Wet Ingredients:
  • In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, melted butter, and eggs.
  1. Mix Batter:
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.
  1. Bake:
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

For the Pickled Onions:

  1. Prepare Pickling Solution:
    • In a small saucepan, combine apple cider vinegar, sugar, and salt. Heat over medium heat until the sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from heat and let it cool slightly.
  2. Pickling:
    • Place the thinly sliced red onions in a jar or bowl. Pour the warm pickling solution over the onions. Let them sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.


  1. Serve Together:
    • Serve the flavorful pinto beans with ham hocks alongside slices of cornbread and topped with pickled onions.

This Southern comfort meal is a true delight, combining the rich flavors of pinto beans with ham hocks, the comforting taste of cornbread, and the tangy kick of pickled onions. Enjoy!

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