Boiled Dinner With Ham Hocks and Vegetables

ham hocks
Lew Robertson / Getty Images
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 2 hrs 30 mins
Total: 2 hrs 45 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
168 Calories
3g Fat
29g Carbs
9g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 168
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 3%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 18mg 6%
Sodium 1554mg 68%
Total Carbohydrate 29g 10%
Dietary Fiber 5g 16%
Protein 9g
Calcium 115mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Simple, flavorful, and cheap. These ham hocks are cooked with sweet potatoes, turnips, and carrots, making a budget-friendly meal your family will enjoy. The simplicity is what we love about this boiled dinner, and everyone else will love the flavor. Easy to prepare, the aroma wafting through your house while the ham hocks boil for 2 1/2 hours will only build the anticipation of sitting down to enjoy this meal.

You can change this dish up a bit if you'd like and use a picnic ham in place of the ham hocks or regular potatoes instead of the sweet potatoes. We've provided more information below the recipe on these variations to the dish. 

Serve up some collard greens and homemade southern biscuits to complete the meal.


  • 4 meaty ham hocks
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 4 medium white turnips, peeled and quartered
  • 2 to 3 large carrots, halved lengthwise then crosswise

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Put ham hocks in a large Dutch oven or stockpot and cover with water. Add the bay leaves, garlic, salt, and pepper, then cover and simmer for 2 hours.

  3. Add the vegetables and cook for 30 minutes longer.

  4. Skin the ham hocks and arrange them on a platter with the vegetables.

  5. Serve and enjoy!


Ham hocks take a longer time to cook than the vegetables do, which is why they need to simmer for two hours before adding in the vegetables. Although you might be tempted to throw everything in at once, doing so will overcook the veggies and make them mushy and unpalatable.

Ham hocks typically come in packages of two or four. If for some reason, you have an extra ham hock, they do freeze well. Just wrap it up tightly and store it for up to six months.

Recipe Variations

  • A smoked pork shoulder or picnic ham may be substituted for the ham hocks. Cook a picnic ham for about 25 minutes per pound. Add the vegetables 30 minutes before it's done. A smoked shoulder will serve 6 to 8, so increase the vegetables, if desired.
  • Replace the white turnips with a medium-sized rutabaga, and cut it into chunks.
  • Add a large onion, sliced, to the ham hocks along with the bay leaf and seasonings.
  • Replace the sweet potatoes with red-skinned potatoes, or add them to the pot in addition to the sweet potatoes.

What are ham hocks?

Ham hocks are a tasty and smoky part of the pig that has a similar taste to bacon. Inexpensive, they are usually cured with salt, and are cooked best long and slow, making them fall off the bone tender. They can be hard to find in grocery stores, so check to see if they're available, or go to a local butcher.