How to Make Delicious Ham and Bean Soup At Home

Warm up with “Hearty Harvest: Ham and Bean Soup,” a rustic and comforting dish that’s perfect for chilly days. This soup combines savory ham, nourishing beans, and a medley of vegetables in a flavorful broth, making it a filling meal that’s both nutritious and satisfying. Ideal for using up leftover ham, this simple yet delicious soup is a staple for family dinners, especially during the fall and winter months.


Why You’ll Love Ham and Bean Soup:

  • Rich in Protein: Packed with ham and beans, this soup is an excellent source of protein.
  • Full of Flavor: The combination of ham, beans, herbs, and vegetables creates a deep, rich flavor.
  • Versatile: Easy to customize with whatever vegetables and herbs you have on hand.
  • Great for Leftovers: An excellent way to use leftover ham, and the soup tastes even better the next day.

Ingredients Notes For Ham and Bean Soup:

  • Ham: Use a ham bone, ham hocks, or diced cooked ham for rich flavor.
  • Beans: Navy beans, great northern beans, or cannellini beans work well. Use dried beans for the best texture and flavor, though canned beans can be a quicker alternative.
  • Vegetables: Typical additions include onions, carrots, and celery. You can also add potatoes, leeks, or turnips.
  • Broth: Chicken, vegetable, or ham broth can be used as the soup base.
  • Herbs and Spices: Bay leaves, thyme, and black pepper are common. Fresh parsley is perfect for garnishing.

Recipe Steps:

  1. Prepare Beans: If using dried beans, soak them overnight, then drain and rinse. (Skip this step if using canned beans.)
  2. Cook the Ham: If using a ham bone or ham hocks, simmer them in the broth first to extract maximum flavor, then remove, debone, chop the meat, and set aside.
  3. Sauté Vegetables: In a large pot, sauté onions, carrots, and celery until softened.
  4. Combine Ingredients: Add the prepared beans, chopped ham, and any additional vegetables to the pot. Pour in the broth and add bay leaves and thyme.
  5. Simmer: Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for at least an hour, or until the beans are tender and the flavors have melded. If using canned beans, reduce the cooking time accordingly.
  6. Season and Serve: Remove bay leaves, season with salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with fresh parsley before serving.

Storage Options:

  • Refrigerate: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Freeze: Freeze in sealed containers for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.


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How to Make Delicious Ham and Bean Soup At Home


  • 1 pound dried Great Northern beans (or other white beans), rinsed and picked over
  • 8 cups water (or use chicken or vegetable broth for more flavor)
  • 2 cups cooked ham, diced
  • 1 ham bone (optional, but adds great flavor if you have it)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped for garnish


  1. Soak the Beans:
    • The night before, place the beans in a large bowl and cover with several inches of cold water to soak overnight. If you’re short on time, use the quick soak method: bring the beans and water to a boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour.
  2. Prepare the Soup Base:
    • Drain and rinse the beans after soaking.
    • In a large pot, add the soaked beans, 8 cups of water or broth, ham bone (if using), and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer.
  3. Add Vegetables and Seasonings:
    • Add the diced ham, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf to the pot.
    • Season with a little salt and plenty of black pepper. Keep in mind that the ham may already be quite salty, so adjust your seasoning accordingly.
  4. Simmer the Soup:
    • Cover and simmer for about 1 to 1.5 hours, or until the beans are tender. Stir occasionally, and add more water or broth if the soup becomes too thick for your liking.
  5. Final Adjustments:
    • Once the beans are tender, remove the ham bone (if used). If there is any meat left on the bone, shred it and add it back to the soup.
    • Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper if needed.
  6. Serve:
    • Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with chopped fresh parsley.
    • Serve hot, ideally with crusty bread for dipping.
  • Author: Maria

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