Southern Butter Beans

Any Southerner worth their salt has eaten so many butter beans in their lifetime it’s hard to know whether to list it as a main dish or a side dish.  If you haven’t made a meal of butter beans over some fresh cornbread, you haven’t spent much time in the South.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Southern Butter Beans
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 12
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
  • 1 lb bag of large lima beans
  • Water to cover, plus an inch
  • 1 cube chicken bouillon
  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick) of butter
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 4-6 cups of water
  1. Rinse and sort beans.
  2. Place beans into stockpot with just enough water to cover them, plus about an inch.
  3. Bring to a boil.
  4. Cover and turn off the burner.
  5. Let the beans soak covered for one hour, drain and set aside.
  6. Pour 4-6 cups of fresh water over the beans.
  7. Add chicken bouillon.
  8. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and let simmer for about 1 hour.
  9. Stir in the butter
  10. Continue cooking on a low simmer an additional hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until beans are tender and sauce thickens.
  11. Add additional chicken stock or water only if needed.

Southern Butter Beans


Peggy Chaney was best known as cook and co-owner of Peggy's Restaurant in Kings Mountain, North Carolina (which she and her sister, Loretta, ran for over two decades). You can find her pages on Google+, Twitter and Facebook. One of eleven siblings, she was the daughter of a Baptist preacher, and was well remembered for her kind spirit and regard for others. Her genuine warmth and grace is sorely missed.

5 Responses to Southern Butter Beans

  1. Leslie Strahan May 12, 2017 at 8:09 am #

    My mom and her family ate these with mayo added at serving with a side of cornbread. Yum–a meal in itself!

    • Wanda October 18, 2017 at 12:04 pm #

      Mayo…..I’ve never known anyone to do that. Where was she from?

  2. Julia Lane February 27, 2017 at 11:10 am #

    This recipe was easy and so delicious! My family gobbled it up! Thank you mama Peggy!

  3. Guy Fuller November 2, 2016 at 12:02 am #

    One more instruction. Add the salt only after the beans have softened. Adding before can thicken the skin and result in longer cooking time.

  4. Adriana February 26, 2014 at 5:33 am #

    Thank you! I’ve been looking for this. ^_^

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