Recipe/ Soup

Ham and Bean Soup

January 10, 2020 (Last Updated: February 19, 2020)

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Delicious ham and bean soup made with dried beans is perfect for lunch or dinner. This hearty soup is a perfect way to use up leftover ham and is a perfect way to warm up on a cold day. 

A bowl full of soup with white beans and chunks of ham.

This is an amazing bowl of soup and it is one of the easiest pots of soup I have ever made. You basically throw everything in one pot and cook until done. Easy and delicious. You just can’t beat that combination.

A spoonful of ham and bean soup.

What kind of beans do I use?

I used dried great white northern beans in this recipe. You could also use navy beans or cannellini as well. In a pinch you could use canned white beans. Just drain and rinse beans before adding to the soup. One important thing to remember when using dried beans is to presoak the beans. The soaking allows the beans to begin to soften. It’s best if you can soak overnight or at least for 5 hours. 

Can I quick soak the beans?

Yes, sometimes we forget or don’t have a full 5 hours to soak the beans. Place dried beans in a pot and add water. Add enough water so it is two inches above the level of the beans. Bring beans to a boil. Turn off heat. Cover and let sit for at least one hour.  Drain bean and follow recipe for soup.

Soaked dried beans held in one hand.

What type of ham do I use?

For this recipe I used leftover ham chopped into small chunks. You could also use slick slices of deli ham or a ham bone from a leftover baked ham.

Steps to make ham and bean soup

  • Soak beans
  • Drain beans and add to soup pot
  • Add chicken broth and water
  • Chop onions and celery and add to pot Chopped celery and onions on a wooden board.
  • Add bay leaves
  • Chop ham and place in pot
  • Simmer until beans are soft –  2-3 hours
  • Remove bay leaves
  • Taste and add salt and pepper as needed

A pot of soup filled with ham, beans and fresh onions.

How long does it take to cook the beans?

Cooking beans varies with the amount of time it takes. It depends on the size and age of your beans, how long you soaked them and the temperature in which they are cooked. I always plan for the longest time, but start testing them at the least amount of time.

After two hours of simmering the beans, I pull a bean out and smash it with my fingers. If the bean is still hard or has a hard interior, it needs more cook time. I retest every 15-20 minutes until the are soft all the way through. 

Don’t I need to cook the beans first and then add the other ingredients?

Nope, everything goes into the pot all at once and is cooked altogether. That’s one of the great things about making this soup. You just throw everything into the pot, simmer until done. 

White beans and ham in a broth.

How much salt do I add?

I don’t add any salt to this soup until the very end. The amount of salt needed depends on many factors. I use my homemade chicken broth which has no added salt. Ham has a lot of salt and often it is enough to flavor your entire soup and no added salt is needed. The only way to know if you need more salt is to taste it at the end of cooking time. 

Can I freeze this soup?

Yes, this soup freezes well. Cook the soup and allow to fully cool. Package in freezer safe containers and place in freezer. To use, simply thaw and reheat. 

A bowl of soup with white beans and ham.

I’ve added a lot of beans to this soup. If you prefer fewer beans, reduce the beans to 2 cups of dried beans instead of the 3 cups called for in the recipe. 

Tips for making ham and bean soup

  • Be certain to soak your beans overnight or use a quick soak method
  • Simmer beans rather than hard boiling beans. Simmering helps protect the beans from breaking apart.
  • Don’t add salt until the very end and only if needed. This soup is often salty enough without adding any additional salt

What to serve with Ham and Bean Soup?

Don’t forget to PIN for later!Great northern beans and ham in a soup.

 

If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment below and snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @beyondthechickencoop

Check out all my Soup Recipes!

5 from 2 votes
A bowl full of soup with white beans and chunks of ham.
Ham and Bean Soup
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs
Total Time
2 hrs 15 mins
 

White beans and ham combined in a delicious ham and bean soup.

Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bean soup, great northern bean soup, ham and bean soup
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 271 kcal
Author: Kathy
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Soak beans overnight

  2. Drain beans and add to a soup pot

  3. Add chicken broth, water, ham, chopped celery, chopped onions and bay leaves

  4. Simmer uncovered for 2 - 2 1/2 hours until beans are tender

  5. Taste and add salt and pepper if desired

  6. Remove bay leaves and serve

  7. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley, if desired

Recipe Notes

Tips for making ham and bean soup

  • Be certain to soak your beans overnight or use a quick soak method
  • Simmer beans rather than hard boiling beans. Simmering helps protect the beans from breaking apart.
  • Don't add salt until the very end and only if needed. This soup is often salty enough without adding any additional salt
Nutrition Facts
Ham and Bean Soup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 271 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 17mg6%
Sodium 1038mg45%
Potassium 1028mg29%
Carbohydrates 37g12%
Fiber 11g46%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 19g38%
Vitamin A 23IU0%
Vitamin C 17mg21%
Calcium 118mg12%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    David @ Spiced
    January 13, 2020 at 4:29 am

    5 stars
    We have been on soup overload here in our house lately…and I love it! Not only is soup great for warming up, but it’s helping us watch the calories now that the holidays are behind us. However, with that said, I’ve been looking for some new ideas. This ham and bean soup sounds delicious, Kathy! It might just need to show up in our kitchen soon!

  • Reply
    Dawn - Girl Heart Food
    January 11, 2020 at 6:38 am

    5 stars
    I just want to grab a bit hunk of bread to dunk into that bowl of deliciousness! This looks like the most perfect cold weather soup – easy, hearty and yummy! Love it!

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