Butter Beans in Cream with Country Ham and Chives

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

In the South, butter beans are a popular variety of fresh shelled bean— sort of like fresh limas, but in my opinion better! If you can’t get authentic butter beans, baby limas can be used in this delicious preparation. In Southern fashion, the country ham and chives are used as seasonings here, like salt and pepper.



Total Timeunder 1 hour

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Courseside dish

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Five Ingredients or LessYes


Taste and Texturecreamy, rich, savory, smoky

Type of Dishvegetable


  • 3 cups fresh shelled butter beans
  • Salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced country ham
  • 1 tablespoon very finely snipped chives
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Put the butter beans in a large saucepan, and cover with water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the pot, and bring to a boil. Skim the surface until clear. Cook, partially covered, at a simmer for 30–40 minutes, until the beans are very tender but not mushy.

  2. Drain the butter beans completely, and return to the saucepan. Add the heavy cream, ham, chives, butter, salt, and pepper, stirring well to blend. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat. Taste carefully for seasoning, and add more salt if needed. Serve hot.

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