Ham and Bean Soup

4.88 from 8 votes

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Ham and Bean Soup will warm your soul and belly this season. Hearty chunks of ham, buttery beans, and veggies in a savory broth makes this a comforting winter supper.

Two bowls of Ham and Bean Soup with spoons. Rolls on the side.

If you’re looking for recipes to use up all your leftover Christmas ham, this is one of the best around! Something about serving up a steaming bowl of ham and bean soup on a wintry evening lifts my post-holiday spirits. This is a simple recipe that is done in a matter of minutes!

Ham bone soup is easy to prepare, but has so many layers of flavor, it’ll taste like you’ve spent hours working away in the kitchen. This soup is high in protein and can be on the healthier side of soups. Make this warm ham and bean soup for your friends and family this winter season!

Ham and Bean Ingredients

Together, all the ham and bean ingredients blend together and create a deliciously savoy and warming soup recipe! It is best with leftover ham with all the flavor. Grab your large soup pot and let’s start making this classic ham and bean soup!

  • Great northern beans – These type of white beans are creamy and add flavor to the bean soup. They also bring in protein and fiber to make a healthier dinner.
  • Olive oil – This may be surprising to add into a soup, but olive oil is known to enhance the flavors in a soup as well as spice up the recipe.
  • Garlic – Add in a bit of a nutty flavor into the soup. It is a subtle hint of garlic that adds just the right amount of flavor.
  • Vegetables – Carrots, celery, and onions need to be chopped into small yet thick slices to cook evenly.
  • Ham bone – Leftover ham bone is ideal for this bean soup recipe, but not necessary.
  • Chicken broth – I used a low sodium broth, but you are welcome to omit the salt and use chicken broth instead. The low sodium helps you to control the amount of salt intake in your soup.
  • Seasonings – Rosemary, thyme, dried sage, and mustard powder blend together to create a cozy flavor for this ham bone soup.
  • Ham – Chop your ham into 1 inch pieces. Thick enough to see and taste, but not so big that it is not bite-sized and hard to take a bite.
Ingredients to make Ham and Bean soup including ham, ham bone, salt, pepper, beans, chicken broth, carrots, celery, onion, spices, garlic and oil.

Variations for the Best Ham and Bean Soup

Ham and ham bone has a lot of sodium, so the flavor can get salty really quickly. Your best bet to control flavors would be to start with the low-sodium broth. You can season it later on if you feel it needs more salt. Here are some more seasonings we love in this ham soup.

  • Dried beans can take a long time to soak. If you prefer to use canned beans, just add them in the last hour or so of cooking (you don’t even have to drain and rinse them). Nobody will ever know they weren’t soaked for hours.
  • Substitute vegetable oil or canola oil for olive oil. This will give it a different taste and flavor, but will still be delicious.
  • Instead of chicken broth, make this with vegetable broth, or even bone broth if that is what you have on hand.
  • Add a little heat with cumin and chili powder or red pepper flakes. Bay leaves are flavorful too, just remember to remove them before serving.

“Ooh, this reminds me of one of my favorite local restaurants! Love how flavorful and cozy this soup is!”

Hand dipping a piece of roll into a bowl of Ham and Bean Soup.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make ham and bean soup in the crock pot?

Yes! Just place your veggies in the bottom of the slow cooker, add your other ingredients and let it cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 4-6 hours. Remove the ham bone or ham hock and serve. It’s really simple to use a crock pot for this recipe.

What do I do if my ham and bean soup is too salty?

If your soup is too salty, here’s a trick: add some cut up potatoes to the pot. They will help absorb some of the sodium. You can leave the potato in, or remove it before serving. Adding extra water to the broth may help to dilute the salty flavor as well.

What beans go best in ham and bean soup?

We use great northern beans because they are mild, buttery beans, but you can use any kind of white bean. Navy beans, baby lima beans, or cannellini beans will all work. You can also add a variety of beans if you want to add some color and different textures.

What if I don’t have any leftover ham or ham bone?

So your relatives polished off all the Christmas ham leftovers? No worries. You can easily make this soup with a smoked ham hock, which can be found near the bacon and sausage at your grocery store. A smoky ham steak or chunks of deli ham are also tasty options that will enrich the flavor of the soup.

Ham and Bean Soup in a bowl with a spoon and rolls.

Storing Easy Ham and Bean Soup

In my humble opinion, this soup tastes even better the next day! So, I always make sure to have at least a good bowlful of leftovers in the fridge. It will last up to three days in the refrigerator. The flavors meld together deliciously and it just takes minutes to heat up. The perfect lunch!

You can even freeze this soup! Ham and bean soup freezes beautifully and can be stored in a freezer-safe container for a couple of months! It’s the perfect thing to have on hand when you’re too tired to prepare a meal. Simply remove it from the freezer and heat it up in a saucepan on the stove, add thick slices of French bread, cornbread, or rolls, and you’ve got yourself a cozy, nourishing dinner.

Spoon resting in a bowl of Ham and Bean Soup.

More Scrumptious Soups

If I had my way, I would make soup every night of the week during cold months. Here are a few of my favorites for you to try:

How to Make Ham and Bean Soup

Bowl of Ham and Bean Soup with a spoon and rolls on the side.

Ham and Bean Soup

4.88 from 8 votes
Ham and Bean Soup will warm your soul and belly this season. Hearty chunks of ham, buttery beans, and veggies in a savory broth makes this a comforting winter supper.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings



  • Bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil and then remove from heat. Rinse beans well and add them to the pot. Allow beans to soak for 1-2 hours. Drain beans and set aside. 
    Pot of white beans soaking in boiling water for Ham and Bean soup.
  • In the same stockpot or a large Dutch oven, heat oil and add onions, garlic, and celery. Sauté until onions and celery become soft. 
    Pot of celery, garlic and onion sautéed with oil for Ham and Bean Soup.
  • Add ham bone, chicken broth, carrots, soaked beans, rosemary, thyme, sage, and mustard powder to the pot. Stir well to combine seasonings and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook on low for 60 minutes. 
    Pot with a Ham bone, broth and spices for Ham and Bean Soup.
  • Remove ham bone from the pot and discard. Remove about 4-5 cups of the soup and place in a food processor or blender. Pulse 4-5 times until coarsely blended. Add back to pot. This helps to thicken the soup. You can blend more or less of the soup depending on how thick you want it. 
    Blender with pulsed soup for Ham and Bean Soup.
  • Add chopped ham.
    Pot with ham cubes added to Ham and Bean Soup.
  • Simmer an additional 30-40 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.  
    Ladle full of Ham and Bean soup over a pot of soup.
  • Serve in individual bowls.
    Two bowls of Ham and Bean soup with fresh herbs, spoons and rolls on the side.


How to Store Ham and Bean Soup

This soup tastes even better the next day! So I always make sure to have at least a good bowlful of leftovers in the fridge. It will last up to three days in the refrigerator. The flavors meld together deliciously and it just takes minutes to heat up.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 380kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 25gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 516mgPotassium: 1200mgFiber: 12gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 2740IUVitamin C: 6.2mgCalcium: 127mgIron: 4.1mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her three beautiful girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

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  1. 5 stars
    Ooh this reminds me of one of my favorite local restaurants! Love how flavorful and cozy this soup is!

  2. 5 stars
    This looks so quick and creamy! I love eating soup all year round because who doesn’t need comfort food all the time these days!! This is a must-try for me!

  3. 4 stars
    I have a HUGE ham bone from Christmas dinner (we had a whole smoked ham – 24 pounds) so this one showed up at the best time. I will have to try this one as hubby was just asking if I could make soup with any of the leftovers (like we didn’t have). Thanks – now I will have my fridge back 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    Just popping in here to say thank you for the e-book for subscribers. It will be fun to make some recipes that originated in another country. By the way, this soup looks delicious. We do prime rib for Christmas so won’t have a ham bone left over. There are only two of us so I guess I will just have to use a slice of ham to make this. It won’t be as good as if I had a ham bone though. Merry Christmas.