You’ve never tried Instant Pot Lima Beans until you try this version made from fun, cranberry speckled beans called Christmas Limas. This heirloom variety will be a quick family favorite.
- What are Christmas Lima Beans?
- Do I Have to Use an Instant Pot?
- What to Do When Ham is Too Expensive?
- Can I Use Any Lima Bean?
- What to Do If Your Beans aren’t Cooked?
What are Christmas Lima Beans?
The Christmas variety of lima beans is a very large, heirloom bean. They’re each about the size of a quarter. I snapped this shot right after I drained them from soaking.
When you scoop them from your bowl with a spoon, imagine eating just one bean at a time. That’s how big they are!
The beans have different swirling patterns in a pretty cranberry and white. They almost look like little pieces of bacon.
I’ve read on the internet that the beans have a flavor like chestnuts. Together with its pretty color, they became known as Christmas limas.
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I first saw these beans available at a seed supplier, but we later found them already grown at Rancho Gordo, a terrific vendor of dried beans and chiles. (This isn’t an affiliate link; we just love them!)
Do I Have to Use an Instant Pot?
You don’t need to use one. Cooking these beans is really easy. You’ll find the easy instructions for both stovetop and slow cooker in the recipe card.
If you don’t have an Instant Pot, have a look at this 6-Quart Instant Pot (aff link) which we use. We’ve had it for several years and it still works great.
If you look closely, you will see that I forgot the onion in this photo! Oh, no! I’ll get another shot later, when we can pick up some more ham.
What to Do When Ham is Too Expensive
I’ve used the end pieces and extra slices from Farmland. This is a great way to conserve money.
Since you’re already cutting everything up anyway, it won’t make any difference that they are the extra pieces. It tastes the same.
You could also use a ham steak, which is just one big slice.
Can I Use Any Lima Bean?
You can use any dried large lima beans for this recipe. I’ve used Christmas lima beans because they’re so unusual and taste great too.
You should be able to use baby lima beans in your Instant Pot, but I’m not sure of the time for cooking. It should be less than the large beans. Try 6 minutes, then test for doneness. Pressure cook for 3-5 minutes more, if they’re not soft enough yet.
What to Do If Your Beans Aren’t Cooked?
Once you open your Instant Pot, check a few of the beans to make sure they’re soft enough. This can happen if the beans are old or not soaked enough.
Check your water level to make sure you have enough water covering the beans then cover and pressure cook a little more. Try 3-5 minutes.
I’ve had some really old Pinto beans that I couldn’t get cooked, even cooking on the stove for an entire day. It happens. Check the date on any dried beans so you’ll know what you’re dealing with.
What to Serve with Lima Beans
With the ham, this is really more of a meal than a side dish. If you want to add something, I recommend cornbread and, perhaps even a side salad.
Try my Iron Skillet Jalapeno Cornbread for a really delicious, moist alternative to plain.
Instant Pot Lima BeansTap to leave a star rating
For more information, be sure to check the recipe details in the attached 24Bite® post.
- 6-quart Instant Pot Pressure Cooker (or covered skillet)
- or Dutch Oven or Stock Pot for stovetop
- or Crockpot
- 1 pound Lima Beans, used Heirloom Christmas Lima Beans but any large Lima will do
- ½ pound Smoked Ham, roughly chopped
- ½ large Onion, sliced horizontally and slivers separated
- 4 cups Chicken Stock, or broth
- ½ teaspoon Pepper, ground
- 2 Garlic Cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 Bay Leaf
- Pour beans into a tray or large plate to sort and remove any debris. Rinse in a colander. Place in a large bowl and fill with water until about 2 or 3 inches above the beans. Cover and place in refrigerator for 2 hours or, preferably, overnight. Pour into colander and rinse again then place in liner of Instant Pot.
- Place all remaining ingredients in Instant Pot except the Bay Leaf. Stir.
- Add water, if necessary, to ensure that everything is covered with liquid. Add bay leaf.
- Check the Instant Pot lid to ensure the seal is in place and nothing is blocking the vent. Place lid on top and set lever to Sealing. Press the Manual button on the Instant Pot and set to high for 10 minutes, then natural release for 15 minutes. Open vent to quickly release any remaining pressure. The entire cook time will be about 30 minutes.
- See notes below for alternate cooking instructions.
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