This Southern Lima Beans Recipe uses dry beans and is served soul-food style, cooked in turkey, ham, or salt pork. Pair this dish with collard greens, cornbread, or any of your favorite sides.
Lima Beans vs Butter Beans
Butter beans are also known as lima beans (they are labeled lima beans in the grocery store and on the packaging) and are white beans/legumes with a buttery and creamy texture.
How to Season the Beans
A smoked turkey wing or turkey leg will work great. You can also use ham hocks, diced ham, salt pork, and bacon.
Soaking the Beans
This recipe uses dried beans. If you want to lower the cooking time you will need to soak them in advance. You have two options. You can soak them overnight in a large bowl filled with water. Or you can boil a large pot of water on the stove. Once the temperature reaches boiling, remove the pot from heat and add the beans. Allow the beans to soak for at least one hour.
Not soaking them in advance will add a couple of hours to your cook time.
How to Make Lima Beans
Detailed measurements and full instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Soak the beans in advance.
- Place a large soup pot on medium-high heat and add the olive oil.
- Add the onions and garlic. Saute.
- Add in chicken broth, lima beans, smoked turkey, Creole seasoning, and bay leaf. Stir.
- Place the lid on the pot and lower the heat to medium-low.
- Cook until tender.
They will typically need anywhere from 1 1/2 hours – 3 hours depending on your texture preference. Soft beans that aren’t mushy will take around 2 hours.
You can test if they are done by grabbing one bean out of the pot and mashing it with a spoon or fork.
How to Double the Recipe
You can double the recipe and use the same amount of smoked turkey or opt for one slightly larger. The cook time will remain the same.
How to Make the Dish Vegan or Vegetarian
Omit the smoked turkey. Use vegetable broth. Add in 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika and 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes for flavor.
How to Store Leftovers
Store leftover beans for up to 3-5 days in the fridge, tightly covered.
These will freeze for up to 9 months. This is a great hack. Be sure to store them tightly sealed. I like to leave them in the broth so that when I defrost they are loaded with flavor.
Pair With these Recipes
Southern Lima Beans
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped white onions
- 3 garlic cloves Minced
- 5-6 cups chicken broth Use enough to fully cover the beans.
- 1 pound bag dry lima beans Rinsed.
- 1 smoked turkey leg or wing About 1 pound to 1 1/2 pounds fully cooked. See notes for substitutions.
- 1 teaspoon Creole Seasoning
- 1 bay leaf
- Fill a large soup pot with water (enough to cover the lima beans) and place it on the stove to boil. Once the water has boiled, remove it from the heat and add the lima beans. Allow the beans to soak for 1 hour and then drain.
- Place the large soup pot on medium-high heat and add the olive oil.
- When hot, add the onions and garlic. Saute until translucent and fragrant.
- Add in the chicken broth, lima beans, smoked turkey, Creole seasoning, and bay leaf. Stir.
- Place the lid on the pot and lower the heat to medium-low. Cook for 1 1/2-3 hours until the beans are soft. You can test if they are done by grabbing one bean out of the pot and mashing it with a spoon or fork.
- Open up the pot and remove the bay leaf and smoked turkey. Use 2 forks and shred the turkey and return it to the pot. Taste repeatedly and add salt and pepper to taste if needed.
- Cool before serving.
- Not soaking the beans in advance will add hours to the cook time.
- Rinse the beans first to remove any surface dirt.
- Soft beans will take around 2 hours to cook. Super soft/mushy beans will require a longer cook time.
- You can substitute turkey for ham hocks, a leftover ham bone, salt pork, country ham, or bacon.
- You can double the recipe and use the same amount of smoked turkey or opt for one slightly larger. The cook time will remain the same.
- You can substitute Creole seasoning for whatever flavor or spice blend you like.
- Frozen lima beans are usually pre-cooked and don’t require any soaking or initial preparation. Defrost before using.
- Canned beans don’t take long to cook. Combine all of the ingredients and heat until warm.