This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure policy.
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.
Featured with this recipe
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.
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!”-Jenn
Frequently Asked Questions for Ham and Bean Soup
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Ham and Bean Soup
- 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.
- Simmer an additional 30-40 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve in individual bowls.
How to Store Ham and Bean SoupThis 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.
Love this recipe?
We want to hear from you! Please leave a review.
Ooh this reminds me of one of my favorite local restaurants! Love how flavorful and cozy this soup is!
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!
Is the rosemary and thyme fresh or dried based on the measurement in the recipe?
This is for dried. Hope this helps!
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 🙂
I hope you enjoy it! Thank you!
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.
Thank you Loy! I’m so happy you liked the ebook! Merry Christmas!