Hearty Soup Beans and Dumplings

Tonight, I made soup beans for dinner. No, I have not made a mistake when I say soup beans. I do not mean bean soup; I mean soup beans.

I am from Appalachia where soup beans are not the same thing as bean soup. Bean soup usually contains things like celery and has a more of a broth. Soup beans are northern, pinto, navy, or other white or brown dried bean cooked with ham or pork hocks.

They are usually served with corn bread. My mom usually made them with dumplings. So, we did not always have corn bread.

I tried to make them like hers, but she never used a recipe. I think I came very close.

For full disclosure, I do not like soup beans. I never have liked soup beans. I only like the dumplings. I have only ever liked the dumplings. However, my husband and daughter both like soup beans and really liked these.

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  1. Thanks so much for sharing your Mom’s recipe. I bookmarked it because I want to try to make some dumplings. I’ve never once been successful at making them but I’m hoping your recipe will be the one. 🙂

    My family is from the Appalachians, and so I know just what you’re talking about when you say there’s a difference between soup beans and bean soup. 🙂

    • Sheila, I hope the dumpling recipe works for you. The dumplings my Mom made were always light and fluffy. However, I know that they can also be a dense, pasta-ish and flat in many dishes. In fact, I can find “dumplings” in the grocery stores around here, but rarely the homemade-style noodles I used to buy in the “North.” 🙂

  2. Not only did I grow up on soup beans with dumplings, but somtimes we would also put white bread over our soup beans and put mustard and sugar on top- it is sooo good. My grandma used to make this a lot during the depression- we always called it the poor mans dinner. by the way the sugar and musard is great on the beans and the dumplings too!!!

    • Brenda Goodfellow says:

      We ate this a lot when we stayed with our grandma. Sometimes for lunch we would have mustard and sugar sandwiches…….comfort food at it’s finest.

  3. Hi! Thanks so much for this recipe! I grew up in Central West Virginia, and my Mom made soup beans and dumplings very often! As a child, I liked only the dumplings, too, but have since developed an appreciation for the soup beans, as well. I have been wanting to make dumplings, but wasn’t sure how to go about it, and this sounds exactly like how my Mom would have made them! I can’t wait to cozy up with this wonderful comfort food! 🙂

  4. I’d love to know where your mom grew up. I’m researching historical cookbooks and found an almost identical recipe in an 1845 cookbook from Baltimore, Maryland. I decided to give the historical recipe a try because I love white beans. Your results look as yummy as mine!

    • My mom grew up in Ritchie County, West Virginia. All of her family had settled in the WV/western PA/eastern OH regions by the mid 1800’s, but the ancestry line traces back to eastern VA, easten PA, New Jersey and the eastern half of Maryland in the 1700’s.

      Similar soup bean recipes are common in the Mid-Ohio Valley in both Ohio and WV. I also know that they are found in central and southwestern WV as well.

      Your research sounds facinating! I love old cookbooks.


  1. […] Soup Beans and Dumplings: Left Over Ham Bone: Free, it was left over from eating the ham Soup Beans: $ .69 Milk: $.10 Onion, Flour, Salt, Pepper, are from kitchen staple supplies. […]

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