Ham and Bean Soup

5 from 11 votes
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Wholesome, nourishing, and full-flavored, this Ham and Bean Soup is just the thing for a wintry lunch or dinner. Ham and great northern beans come together in a delicious broth with tender vegetables and savory herbs. Delicious!

overhead shot of spoon in a white bowl filled with ham and bean soup

Easy One-Pot Ham and Bean Soup

There’s nothing quite like a good bowl of hearty soup, is there? This ham and bean soup is especially warm and filling thanks to tender white beans, which cook up with a firm texture and mild, nutty flavor—the perfect partner to smoky bacon and ham, carrots and onions, and classic chicken broth. You’ll love how easy this comforting recipe is.

This delicious soup is similar to my original Tuscan White Bean Soup, but with some adjustments and extra hearty ingredients. This version is a quick recipe, perfect to use up with leftover ham, and it is ready in about 30 minutes.

overhead shot of spoon and bread slices in a white bowl filled with ham and bean soup

Soup Ingredients

  • Bacon: You’ll need 3 slices of bacon, diced.
  • Butter: For sauteing the veggies.
  • Celery, Carrots, and Onion: Thinly slice the carrots and celery, and chop the onion.
  • Fresh Garlic: You’ll need 3 cloves of garlic, minced or put through a garlic press.
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Chili Powder Blend: I like a mild chili powder for this recipe.
  • Ham: This recipe uses 2 cups of cooked ham, cubed. It’s a great way to use up leftovers from a baked ham!
  • Beans: I use canned Great Northern beans for this recipe, but you can use just about any beans you like, including dried beans that you’ve soaked and cooked beforehand. Each type of bean will have its own slightly different flavor and texture.
  • Broth: You’ll need 6 to 8 cups of low sodium chicken broth, vegetable broth, or homemade broth/stock.
  • Bay Leaf
  • Chopped Fresh Parsley: For garnish.

sauteeing ham and vegetables in a dutch oven

How to Make Ham and Bean Soup

You would think a full-bodied soup like this would need to simmer on the stove for hours, but not so! This easy recipe comes together quick. Here’s how to make it:

  1. Cook the Bacon Bits. Cook the diced bacon in a dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Remove the cooked bacon from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Cook the Vegetables. To the bacon grease, add 1 tablespoon butter. Then add celery, carrots, and onion; cook for 4 minutes, or until veggies are crisp-tender. Stir in the garlic and season with salt, pepper, and chili powder.
  3. Add the Ham, Beans, and Broth. Stir in the ham and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until just heated through. Add the beans; stir and cook for 1 minute. Stir in chicken broth and the bay leaf, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Finish the Soup. Discard the bay leaf, and stir in the cooked bacon bits. Adjust the salt and pepper, garnish with parsley, and serve.
  5. Enjoy!

cooking ham and bean soup in a dutch oven

Tips for the Best Ham and Bean Soup

  • Rinse the Beans: Yep, you read that right! Even if you’re using canned beans, which have been rinsed and cooked prior to shipping, you should rinse away the liquid from the can. It tends to have a, well, “canned” taste. Drained and rinsed beans will taste better in the final dish.
  • Acid Test: Sometimes one or more elements of a recipe aren’t as fresh or bright as you’d like. If your soup tastes a little dull, try adding a tablespoon or so of fresh lemon juice, or a teaspoon of your favorite vinegar, to brighten and balance the flavors.
  • Parmesan, Please: Want to enrich the flavor even more? Try adding a piece of Parmesan rind to the soup during cooking, and then discard along with the bay leaf. Super tasty and easy!

overhead shot of spoon in a white bowl filled with ham and bean soup

Serving Suggestions

  • So Fresh: I’m a big fan of salad and soup together. So healthy and the contrast in texture, color, and even temperature is a culinary delight! A classic Mediterranean Cobb Salad makes a super accompaniment to this hearty soup.
  • Classic Cornbread: Beans and cornbread are just a delicious combination, so a simple batch of my Light Skillet Cornbread is a wonderful side. Or you can take it up a notch with Cranberry Orange Cornbread Muffins! Flavor for days!
  • Soup Trio: Maybe you’re having guests and want to do something easy and different for dinner. How about a soup trio, with breadsticks and salad on the side? Serve up this bean soup, a perfectly creamy Asparagus Soup, and a vegetable-packed Instant Pot Chicken Zoodle Soup for options that will make everyone happy!

close up overhead shot of bean soup with ham and vegetables

How to Store and Reheat Leftover Soup

  • To refrigerate leftovers: Cover tightly or store in airtight food storage containers and refrigerate for 3 to 4 days.
  • To reheat: Place portion(s) of soup in a saucepan over medium heat, and cook until heated through, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

Can You Freeze Ham and Bean Soup?

  • Yes! Place portions of the cooled soup in freezer bags or food storage containers, and freeze for up to two months.

More Bean Soup Recipes

ENJOY!

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5 from 11 votes

Ham and Bean Soup

A wholesome and hearty soup with Great Northern beans, bacon, ham, and tender vegetables.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients 

  • 3 slices bacon,, diced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 celery ribs,, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots,, sliced into thin coins
  • 1 small yellow onion,, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic,, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper,, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder blend
  • 2 cups cubed, fully cooked ham
  • 2 cans (15.5-ounces each) great northern beans,, well rinsed and drained
  • 6 to 8 cups low sodium chicken broth,, or vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Chopped fresh parsley,, for garnish
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Instructions 

  • Cook diced bacon in a dutch oven or soup pot set over medium-high heat to a desired crispness.
    Remove cooked bacon from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • To the bacon grease add 1 tablespoon butter to melt.
  • To the melted butter, add sliced celery, carrots, and onion; cook for 4 minutes, or until veggies are crisp-tender.
  • Stir in the garlic and season with salt, pepper, thyme, and chili powder.
  • Stir in the ham and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until just heated through.
  • Add the beans; stir and cook for 1 minute.
  • Stir in chicken broth and add the bay leaf.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to a steady simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Discard bay leaf.
  • Stir in previously prepared bacon.
  • Taste for salt and pepper and adjust accordingly.
  • Garnish with parsley.
  • Ladle in soup bowls and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 255kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 517mg | Potassium: 724mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2659IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 100mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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16 Comments

  1. Ivory says:

    I love soups, especially in the wintertime. This now is one of my go to soups. Yummy! Thanks for sharing

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      That’s great! I hope you’ll love it! Thank YOU! πŸ™‚

  2. Gwen says:

    This was delicious. I would make again.

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank YOU! I’m very glad you enjoyed it! πŸ™‚

  3. Catalina says:

    These are two ingredients that I love a lot! It looks so good!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank YOU! I hope you enjoy it! πŸ™‚

  4. Haley Williams says:

    Not only is this dish delicious, but it’s easy to make! Love all the flavors.

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      I am very glad you enjoyed it! Thank YOU! πŸ™‚

  5. Kevin says:

    WOW! This has the perfect flavors to warm you up any day of the week! Cannot wait to make it again!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      That’s great to hear! I am very glad you enjoyed it! Thank YOU! πŸ™‚

  6. Toni Dash says:

    This is really a huge hit at my house! Can’t wait to make it again!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      That’s wonderful! I am very glad you enjoyed it! Thank YOU! πŸ™‚

  7. Jen says:

    This is one of my favorite soups when it’s cold and dreary outside. Paired with cornbread and I’m one happy girl.

  8. Katie says:

    Ham and bean is one of my favorite cold weather meals. Can’t wait to try this one!

  9. Betsy says:

    So wonderfully hearty and comforting! This ham and bean soup is awesome.

  10. Allyson Zea says:

    Wow this was hearty and majorly delicious!