Grammie Bea's New England Boiled Dinner

Total Time
4hrs 25mins
Prep 25 mins
Cook 4 hrs

New England boiled dinner is often made with a smoked ham shoulder, and that's the way we always had it at my house growing up. The flavor is incredible and makes for a DELICIOUS meal! Some people like their vegetables firm and some like them soft and tender, so cook your veggies accordingly. The cooking time for this particular recipe is 4 hrs. for an 8 lb. ham, or 5 hrs. for a 10 lb. ham. Another way of cooking veggies is, wait until ham is cooked and removed from water, then cook your veggies in the water in the kettle to the desired doneness. Sometimes I use boneless ham and add turnip and beets, just like in the photo I posted. Yummy!!

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 1 (8 -10 lb) smoked ham, shoulder any size (I use an 8-10 lb. ham for this amount of vegetables and cook 4-5 hrs.)
  • 3 onions, peeled, and left whole
  • 1 -2 cabbage, each cut into 6 wedges
  • 8 large potatoes, peeled, and cut in half
  • 1 lb carrot, peeled, and cut in half


  1. Place ham in a large dutch oven style kettle.
  2. Cover with cold water, and fill to about 2" above top of ham. Cover kettle, and bring to a boil using high heat.
  3. Turn down to med-high and let boil a few minutes, then drain water, and refill with water 2" above ham, and bring to a boil again over high heat. This method is used to make the ham less salty. (Or you may refrigerate ham overnight in water, and change water several times before cooking instead).
  4. Once water comes to a boil, turn heat down to med. to med-high making sure it keeps boiling. Keep cover on kettle while cooking.
  5. Add peeled onions to the kettle.
  6. Cook ham 1/2 hour per pound of ham.
  7. Add some water to the kettle, when it starts getting low.
  8. Peel and cut potatoes and carrots.
  9. Wash and core cabbage, then cut into wedges.
  10. Add vegetables during the last 30-40 minutes of cooking time. Serve when veggies are tender, or to your liking.
Most Helpful

Since I'm a native from New England I just had to try your recipe for boiled dinner! We love ham more than corn beef, so this was right up our alley! I used a 9 lb. smoked shoulder that yielded lots of meat. I made a pea soup with the leftovers. My family inhaled this meal and went back to the fixings more than once! Other than sprinkling the cabbage with a little vinegar, and adding butter and pepper to my carrots and potatoes, nothing needed anything else to bring out the simple flavors of this delicious combination! Yes JCC I have to agree, this is outstanding and something even the beginner cook can make with much success!

Maine E Ack! March 12, 2009

This is the way my Mom and I usually cooked this in New England. One change though. After boiling shoulder, I pour water into cabbage and potato mixture in another pot instead of throwing it out. Then I add fresh water to the shoulder to finish cooking. The ham flavor is infused with vegetables and gives it a wonderful taste. No need to add spices since shoulder's water already has the salty flavor.

Portegee March 14, 2014

This recipe is outstanding! I changed the water twice to make sure the Ham Shoulder was not salty. I added parsnips and turnip to list of vegetables. The meat was so tender and not salty and the veggies were perfect. Thanks so much for sharing.

JCC October 31, 2008