Amish Bean Recipes

Cooking with beans in the Amish kitchen

Amish BeansSimple and hearty beans are an important part of Amish and Pennsylvania Dutch cooking.  Beans come in all manner of shapes, sizes, and colors.  String beans, limas, kidney beans, butter beans, navy beans, northern beans, pinto beans and more feature in favorite recipes in many an Amish kitchen, showing up in soups as well as main dishes.  The bean is a simple, hearty food, packed with protein and nutrition, an essential part of many delicious dishes.

Bean Dishes

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The Lima Bean is also sometimes known as the butter bean, particularly in the South. They are hearty and nutritious, being a good source of fiber and protein. Lima beans are popular beans in the Amish garden and dinner menu.  Try them boiled or baked (below).

  • 1 pound lima beans
  • 4 or 5 potatoes, diced
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Boil the lima beans until nearly soft.  Add diced potatoes.  Continue cooking until both are tender. Drain off water, then add the butter and milk. Season as you please with salt and pepper.  A hearty, inexpensive vegetarian dish. (adapted from Pennsylvania Dutch Cook Book of Fine Old Recipes)



  • 2 cups dried lima beans
  • 4 slices bacon or salt pork
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 cup canned tomatoes
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. mustard
  • 2 tblsp. brown sugar

Soak lima beans overnight in cold water, then drain. Add 2 quarts of fresh water.  Boil until beans become tender. Pour beans into a buttered casserole. Add minced pepper, onion, tomatoes, seasoning, and mix. Place strips of bacon or salt pork on top. Cover and bake 2 hours at 325-f (you may need to add water during the baking process).  Remove the cover for the final 20 minutes of baking.



1 can string beans and liquid (or an equivalent amount of fresh string beans)
2 medium potatoes (cut into 1/2 inch dice)
1/4 pound diced bacon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 small onion
1 cup water

In a pan, brown the bacon. Combine bacon with beans, potatoes, salt, onion and water.  Cook approximately 30 minutes (until potatoes are tender). (adapted from Pennsylvania Dutch Cook Book of Fine Old Recipes)



  • 2 cups of navy beans
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • 1 small minced onion
  • 4 tblsp. molasses
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 4 tblsp. ketchup
  • ¼ lb. salt pork or 4 slices of bacon

Soak navy beans overnight in cold water. Drain.  Add 1½ qts. of fresh water, and minced onion.  Cook slowly until skins of the navy beans burst. Drain and save the liquid. Mix molasses, seasoning and ketchup with 1 cup of the liquid. Place half of the bacon or the salt pork into the bottom of the bean pot or baking dish.  Add the beans.  Top with the remainder of the bacon or salt pork. Pour the molasses mixture over beans.  Add more liquid to cover.  Bake covered for 5 hours in a slow oven (300-f). Uncover for the last 30 minutes.  You may need to add water while cooking.



Schnitzel beans are a German style recipe for the green or string bean.

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 qt. string beans
  • 3 medium sliced onions
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup hot water

Dice the bacon and fry until crisp. Slice the onions and fry until tender. Slice string beans into small pieces (approximately 1-inch). Brown string beans lightly along with the bacon and onions. Add tomatoes, seasoning and boiling water. Cover. Cook very slowly until beans are tender. Add water if necessary (this will create sauce to serve along with the beans).

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Amish beans photo: doviende/flickr
Unless otherwise noted, recipes adapted from Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking.

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