The Step-by-Step Guide to Cooking Frozen Ham Hocks in an Instant Pot

Ham hocks are a delicious and flavorful cut of pork that can add richness and depth to soups, stews, greens, and beans. However, ham hocks require long cooking times to become tender. This is where the Instant Pot comes in! The pressurized environment allows you to cook frozen ham hocks safely in a fraction of the usual time.

Follow this simple guide to learn how to cook frozen ham hocks in an Instant Pot for tender, fall-off-the-bone meat ready to add bold flavor to your favorite dishes.

Benefits of Using the Instant Pot

Cooking frozen ham hocks in an Instant Pot has several advantages over traditional stewing or simmering:

  • Speed – The pressurized environment cuts cook time significantly, with frozen ham hocks done in 30-40 minutes instead of hours

  • Convenience – Just throw the hocks in the pot frozen. No need to remember to thaw overnight!

  • Safety – Pressure cooking eliminates bacteria more effectively than simmering on the stovetop.

  • Flavor – The pressurized steam infuses the meat with more intense ham flavor.

  • Juiciness – The moist heat environment keeps ham hocks incredibly juicy and tender.

Ingredients Needed

  • 2 lb frozen ham hocks
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 cups water or broth
  • Herbs and seasonings (optional)

Step-by-Step Instructions

Follow these simple steps for perfect ham hocks every time:

Step 1: Prepare the Ham Hocks

Rinse frozen ham hocks under cool water to remove any ice crystals. Pat dry with paper towels. If desired, season with salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaves or other seasonings.

Step 2: Add Water and Ham Hocks

Pour 10 cups water or broth into the Instant Pot inner pot. Place a trivet or steamer basket in the bottom. Add the frozen ham hocks.

Step 3: Pressure Cook

Secure the lid and set the pressure release valve to “sealing.” Select manual/pressure cook mode at high pressure and set the cook time to 35 minutes.

Step 4: Natural Release, Then Quick Release

When cooking is complete, allow pressure to natural release for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, quick release remaining pressure.

Step 5: Remove Ham Hocks and Shred

Carefully remove ham hocks and transfer to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones. Shred or chop meat.

Step 6: Finish Dish

Add shredded ham hock meat to soups, beans or greens. Continue cooking as recipe directs.

Tips and Tricks

  • For extra flavor, add aromatics like onion, celery, garlic or ginger to the pot.

  • For lighter stock, skim fat from cooking liquid before using.

  • Add beans, potatoes or greens on top of trivet to cook simultaneously.

  • To thicken broth, whisk in a paste of water and cornstarch.

  • Use ham hock meat within 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.

Ham HockCooking Times

Use these basic guidelines for cooking frozen ham hocks:

  • Less than 1 lb – Cook at high pressure for 25-30 minutes
  • 1 to 2 lbs – Cook at high pressure for 30-35 minutes
  • 2 to 3 lbs – Cook at high pressure for 35-40 minutes

Always allow for a 15 minute natural pressure release after the cook time completes. Adjust cook times as needed based on ham hock sizes.

Flavorful Recipes for Ham Hocks

Here are just a few of the many ways to use ham hocks cooked in the Instant Pot:

  • Hearty Split Pea Soup – Flavorful and protein-packed soup with peas, carrots, onions and ham hock meat.

  • Navy Bean Soup – Creamy white bean and ham soup, ideal for meal prepping.

  • Collard Greens – Traditional soul food greens made nutritious with ham hocks.

  • Ham and Potato Soup – Comforting soup with potatoes, ham hock meat, onions and cream.

  • Baked Beans – Sweet and savory baked beans with smoky ham hock flavor.

  • Ham Hock and White Bean Salad – Chilled salad with beans, greens and ham.

  • Lentil Ham Hock Stew – Protein-rich stew with lentils, vegetables and shredded ham.

With Instant Pot ham hocks, you’ll always have tender, flavorful meat ready to add richness and heartiness to all your favorite dishes!

Storing and Freezing Cooked Ham Hocks

Leftover cooked ham hocks can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. The meat can also be frozen for longer storage.

Here are some tips for storing cooked ham hocks:

  • Allow ham hocks to cool completely before refrigerating or freezing.

  • Store ham hocks and meat in air-tight containers or resealable plastic bags.

  • Add some of the cooking broth to the storage containers to keep the meat moist.

  • Frozen ham hock meat will last 2-3 months in a freezer set at 0°F or below.

  • Thaw frozen ham hock meat overnight in the refrigerator before using.

  • Use thawed ham hock meat within 3-4 days. Do not re-freeze thawed ham hocks.

With proper storage techniques, you’ll always have tender ham hocks ready to add big flavor to recipes even after the initial cook.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should ham hocks be thawed before Instant Pot cooking?

No, you can cook frozen ham hocks straight from the freezer in the Instant Pot! No need to thaw.

How long should ham hocks cook in an Instant Pot?

Cook ham hocks for 25-40 minutes on high pressure depending on amount – start checking at 25 minutes. Allow for full natural release.

Can ham hocks be quick released?

It’s best to do a natural release to allow time for the collagen to break down. Do a quick release only after 15 minutes.

How do you get the meat off ham hocks?

Once cooked, allow ham hocks to cool until easily handled. Remove meat from bones, discarding bones, fat and skin. Shred or chop meat.

Can you use ham hock broth for soup?

Yes! The broth left from cooking ham hocks is full of rich, meaty flavor perfect for soups like split pea, bean soups, minestrone and more.

With this handy guide, you can easily achieve fork-tender ham hocks cooked to perfection in your Instant Pot. So grab those frozen ham hocks from the freezer and get ready to add bold, rich flavor to all your favorites!

Instant Pot Lima Beans With Ham Hock |Kaye Carter

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