Ham and Bean Soup

4.75 from 4 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 savory ham and bean soup

Ham and Bean Soup

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. Ham bone soup is easy to prepare but has so many layers of flavor, it’ll taste like you spent hours slaving away in the kitchen.

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.

What Beans Go Best in Ham and Bean Soup?

We use great northern beans because they are a mild, buttery bean 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.

Can I Use Canned Beans Instead of Dried?

Yes! Dried beans can take a long time to soak, so 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.

Close-up view of a spoonful of ham and bean soup

How to Season Ham and Bean Soup

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

  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Mustard Powder
  • Bay leaves (optional, just remember to remove them before serving)
  • Cumin (optional)
  • Chili powder or red pepper flakes (optional, for a little kick)

What Do I Do If My Ham and Bean Soup is Too Salty?

If you end up with a way too salty soup, 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.

How Long Does Ham and Bean Soup Last?

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!

Can Ham and Bean Soup Be Frozen?

Absolutely! This 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 sauce pan on the stove, add thick slices of French bread, cornbread or rolls and you’ve got yourself a cozy, nourishing dinner.

Is Ham and Bean Soup Gluten Free?

Check your labels when picking out a chicken or vegetable broth. Make sure to use a gluten-free option and you should be just fine. All the other ingredients are GF so this is a great option to serve your gluten free friends.

Can I Make Ham and Bean Soup in the Crock Pot?

Yes! Just place your veggies in the bottom of the pot, 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.

Top view of two bowls 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

Close-up view of a spoonful of ham and bean soup

Ham and Bean Soup

4.75 from 4 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 hr
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings


  • 1 pound dry great northern beans
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup celery chopped
  • 1 ham bone (it tastes best when there are still plenty of scraps on it)
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 1 cup carrots chopped
  • 2 teaspoons rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 2 cups ham chopped
  • kosher salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste


  • 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. 
  • In the same stockpot or a large Dutch oven, heat oil and add onions, garlic, and celery. Sauté until onions and celery become soft. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Add chopped ham and simmer an additional 30-40 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.  

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 beautiful three 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.

More about Erica Walker

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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.