Hearty Ham and Bean Soup is a perfect recipe to use up leftover ham. It is an easy, all-time family favorite soup recipe that I make often.
Whenever I cook a ham I always buy a large size just to have extra ham to make this savory bean soup recipe. Although boneless ham meat will work for this recipe, you will not get the same rich flavorful broth that a ham bone, ham hock or ham shank will add.
Can you make this recipe in a slow cooker or instant pot?
Absolutely, the cooking time if using your instant pot will be about 50 minutes. Cooking time for the slow cooker will be 8-10 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high.
Do you have to soak the dried beans?
I prefer the texture and have always soaked my beans for at least 8 hours or overnight. Alberta Pulse Growers has some great information about preparing dry beans. Whatever method you use be sure to discard any broken or shriveled beans. Store your beans in an airtight container in a cool, dry place and use within one year. Old beans can stay hard and chewy even after cooking.
How to thicken ham and bean soup
Once the soup has almost finished cooking, remove about 1 cup of the soup. Puree using an immersion blender and stir back into the soup.
Method for preparing the soup
How to store leftover soup.
Leftover ham and bean soup stores in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Ingredients for ham and bean soup
Beans - I prefer to use dried Great Northern beans or Navy beans, but you can also use dried white beans or Cannellini beans.
Ham and ham bone - leftover ham has the best flavor, but any kind of ham will work.
Chicken stock or chicken broth - Try my Homemade Chicken Stock recipe or use your favorite brand and adjust the salt to taste.
Vegetables - celery, carrots, onion, and garlic.
Can you add potatoes? Potatoes do not work well in this recipe as they become too mushy. Try my Ham and Potato soup recipe instead.
Seasonings - fresh or dried thyme, parsley and ground black pepper. Add salt as needed.
Post updated October 11, 2023. This post was originally published April 26, 2014. Occasionally I update with fresh tips, content, and photos.
Ham and Bean Soup
- 4 cups leftover ham cubed
- 1 ham bone
- 2 cups dry Great Northern beans or Navy beans
- 2 cups celery chopped
- 2 cups carrots chopped
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic finely minced
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dry
- ¼ cup fresh parsley or 1 tablespoon dry
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 8-9 cups chicken stock or chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil for sautéing vegetables
- salt to taste
- Prepare the dried beans by soaking them in cold water for 8-10 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse, discarding any broken or discoloured beans.
- In large Dutch oven, heat oil and sauté celery, carrots, onions and garlic until tender.
- Stir in the chicken stock, ham bone and ham.
- Add the beans, parsley, thyme and pepper.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 2-3 hours until beans are tender.
- Chop up large pieces of ham before serving
- Once the soup has almost finished cooking, remove about 1 cup of the soup. Puree using an immersion blender and stir back into the soup.