Skip to Content

The Perfect Butter Beans Stew

This butter beans stew recipe is a cherished family tradition that I learned from my mother and have continued to prepare with love over the years.

This butter beans stew recipe goes straight to the first place on my favorite recipes list! It is absolutely perfect! I like butter beans a lot and I have tried different recipes with them, but this one has the ideal combination of flavors and textures.

I learned this butter beans stew recipe from my mother. Cooking beans the right way really makes the difference! You’ll get extra-soft and buttery beans and an awesome thick sauce for the stew.

The Perfect Butter Beans Stew vegan recipe
Lima beans stew

Do butter beans (Lima beans) need to be soaked before cooking?

Whether or not you need to soak Lima beans (or butter beans) before cooking depends on your desired cooking method. Soaking beans overnight can help reduce their cooking time and make them more digestible. However, some recipes and cooking methods may not require soaking, and you can simply cook them for a longer period without soaking.

Why do lima beans have to cook so long?

Lima beans require a longer cooking time primarily because they contain natural compounds called trypsin inhibitors and phytohaemagglutinin, which can be toxic if not properly cooked. Boiling or cooking at a high temperature for an extended period helps break down these compounds and make the beans safe to eat.


What are butter beans (Lima beans) good for?

Butter beans, also known as Lima beans, are good for you because they offer several health benefits. They are a rich source of dietary fiber, which promotes digestive health and helps maintain regular bowel movements. Butter beans are also high in protein, making them an excellent plant-based protein source for vegetarians and vegans. Additionally, they contain essential nutrients like folate, manganese, and iron, which are important for overall health.

Are butter beans a complete protein?

While butter beans are a good source of protein, they are not considered a complete protein on their own because they lack some essential amino acids. To make them a complete protein, you can pair them with grains like rice or whole wheat bread, which provide the missing amino acids, creating a balanced protein source.

The Perfect Butter Beans Stew

Dry butter beans vs. canned butter beans

Dry butter beans and canned butter beans both have their advantages. Dry beans tend to have a better texture and flavor, but they require soaking and longer cooking times. Canned beans, on the other hand, are convenient and require less cooking time, making them a quick option for recipes.

However, canned beans may contain added salt, so you may need to adjust your recipe’s seasoning accordingly. The choice between dry and canned beans depends on your preference and the specific requirements of your recipe.

The Perfect Butter Beans Stew recipe

Tarragon in beans stews – match made in Heaven!

Tarragon is a versatile herb that pairs exceptionally well with bean stews, creating a harmonious and flavorful combination that many consider a match made in heaven. I always add it to my beans recipes. You can use pickled tarragon as well. It’s even better! Dry tarragon is not that flavorful, but if you really can’t get any fresh one, use dry and double or even triple the quantities.

butter beans stew lima
butter beans stew lima

The Perfect Butter Beans Stew
This butter beans stew recipe is a cherished family tradition that I learned from my mother and have continued to prepare with love over the years.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine European, Romanian
Servings 6 people
Calories 155 kcal


  • 500 g Lima Beans soaked overnight
  • 2 onions diced
  • 4 garlic cloves chopped
  • 4 tbsps fresh tarragon chopped
  • 2 tbsps sweet paprika
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • tsp ground pepper
  • salt to taste


  • Boil the beans for 2 hours (half this time if previously soaked). Change the water at least 2 times. Don't skip this step! Beans are hard to digest and if you didn't soak them overnight they will release bad enzymes into the boiling water, which will cause bloating.
  • Heat the oil in a large pot.
  • Sauté the onion for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the drained beans.
  • Add water just enough to cover the beans.
  • Add bay leaves, pepper, salt, fresh tarragon, chopped garlic and paprika.
  • Cook for half an hour.
  • Serve and enjoy this flavorful dish!


Serving: 1bowlCalories: 155kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 8gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0.4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.01gSodium: 8mgPotassium: 681mgFiber: 8gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1350IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 86mgIron: 4mg
Keyword beans, stew, tarragon
Liked this recipe?Join the community and receive monthly recipes, straight to your inbox!

If you liked this Lima beans stew recipe, you may also like these hearty stews:

Recipe Rating

Caryle Katz

Friday 2nd of August 2019

I plan to prepare this without oil, with a water or veggie broth sauté for a fat-free version. I imagine it will still be a very tasty dish. Caryle

Ruxandra Micu

Monday 7th of October 2019

It should be tasty oil-free as well. ;)


Tuesday 17th of July 2018

Hello, Ruxandra, I have just made this recipe for dinner tonight and my family loved it! I must say that the tarragon really made a difference. Such a good idea!

Ruxandra Micu

Monday 22nd of October 2018

Thank you! Glad you liked the recipe! :)


Monday 20th of February 2017

I've had a few cans of butter beans sitting in my kitchen cupboard for a while and this recipe has given me an idea. Thank you for sharing.

Sabah ||


Thursday 23rd of February 2017

You're welcome!


Friday 3rd of February 2017

Love lima beans, but have never used herbs in the preparation. I'm going to try these tomorrow. I usually use the soaking water to water my plants ... they love it.


Tuesday 14th of February 2017

Great gardening tip! I usually throw it away, but now I'll save it for my herbs. :D


Monday 3rd of March 2014

Oh wow, I love butter beans! They look delicious, I believe I could eat them everyday!

I recently posted my recipe for butter beans, check it out