Ham and Bean Soup

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Easy, rich, delicious bean soup loaded with chunks of ham, slow simmered to perfection with vegetables for a hearty flavor that will stick to your ribs without breaking the bank!

picture of bean and ham soup on a spoon
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Classic Hearty Ham and Bean Soup

This recipe is a cozy, delicious classic – perfect for snuggling up on crisp, cool fall days, dunking a fresh baked roll into, and warming up with; it is incredibly friendly on the wallet and is very filling even though it comes in just around 300 calories per serving – making this Ham and Bean soup one of my favorite meals.

This soup is really a lifesaver – it is simple to prepare, easy to cook, and reheats like a dream – plus it can feed a family of four for under $15 for two nights.

You can throw this soup in the slow cooker or an Instant Pot, add more vegetables or meat, change up the flavors – it is designed to be versatile. Plus, if you recently had a ham, you can throw the ham bone in to add more flavor, and save even more by using up your leftovers.

We hope you’ll love this soup as much as we do!

picture of soup in a bowl with ham, beans, celery, and parsley on top

How to Make Ham and Bean Soup

To make this recipe, you’ll need:

  • Ham – Ham is the hind legs of a pig, that are curred with salt and often smoked. I used smoked ham for this recipe because it brings a meaty, smoky flavor to the beans.
  • Dried Bean Soup Mix – Dried bean mixes are a great way to easily incorporate a number of interesting flavors and textures into a soup. I used a mix that had navy beans, split peas, black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans among others. The soup mix I used also include a flavor pouch.
  • Onions – Onion is the staple ingredient of the classic mirepoix, a flavor alliance of onions, carrots, and celery that is the foundation of many western dishes. The onion provides a hearty and sweet flavor when cooked. 
  • Carrots – ? of the mirepoix soup base, carrots bring sweetness and texture to the soup, and a contrasting bite to the beans. 
  • Celery – Celery completes the mirepoix, with a slightly salty and fresh flavor. The traditional mirepoix ratio is 2 parts onion, to 1 part celery.
  • Olive Oil – Building the soup base requires a tasty fat to cook your mirepoix in. Olive oil is great for this dish because its mild and rich flavor compliments the vegetable sweetness and starchy richness of the beans. 
  • Garlic –  Garlic brings an umami flavor and brilliance to the finish of this hearty soup.
  • Bay Leaf –  Bay leaves are traditional flavorings for a wide variety of international cuisines. In American and European dishes, they’re more often used whole and then removed before serving. They contribute a herbal and floral nose to your dish and bring a mild earthiness 
  • Beef Stock – No soup is complete without a liquid base. Using beef stock to cook the beans, ensure they’ll absorb much of the beefy flavor from the stock making this dish that much heartier.

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, we will use the following method: 

  • Prepare your ingredients. The French call this step “mise en place” or “everything in its place.” It’s a great way to keep your kitchen cleaner while you’re cooking. Dice up your onions, carrots, and celery. Mince the garlic. Dice the ham. 
  • Saute the vegetables. In a dutch oven or other large, heavy pot brown your onions, carrots, and celery. Cook for 5-6 minutes over medium-high heat, and then add your garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the vegetables are brown and the garlic is fragrant and soft.
  • Simmer. Add in the remaining ingredients, including the beans, ham, beef stock, bay leaf, and seasoning packet from your bean soup mix. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a lower simmer. Cook the soup for 45-65 minutes until the beans are tender.
  • Serve hot. Serve this soup hot with freshly baked bread!
picture of diced ham and bean soup on a spoon

Tips and Tricks to Perfect Ham and Bean Soup:

This Easy Ham and Bean Soup is so easy it’s only three cooking steps! Here are a few tips to make it even easier.

Use leftover diced ham. Got leftover ham from your holiday meal? Use it in this recipe!

Buy pre-diced ham. An 8oz package of ham is comfortably under $5 at most grocery stores, and comes pre-diced – so you can simply add to the soup. This is an economical choice that saves time and your wallet!

Throw in the ham bone. If you had a spiral ham, and have a ham bone, throw it into the soup as it cooks for even more flavor.

FAQs:

How do I store this soup?

Ham and bean soup will keep in your refrigerator for up to a week, and three months in your freezer.

What other vegetables can I add?

Bell peppers, okra, carrots, peas (only add peas at end of cooking), are all delicious in this soup!

Should I use the bean soup flavor packet?

If not using a ham bone to cook your soup, I like to use the flavoring packet in the bean soup bag – it helps to enhance the meaty flavor of your soup.

Can I add more ham?

Yes! Go ahead and load it up – with double or even triple the amount of ham, if desired.

How can I keep my soup from being salty?

Try to use a low sodium stock for this soup and reserve salt until after simmering, as ham is already quite salty.

Can I make this soup in a slow cooker?

Soup can be made in a slow cooker by adding all ingredients to slow cooker and cooking on low for 6 hours, high for 4 hours, or until beans are soft.

picture of soup in a bowl with ham, beans, celery, and parsley on top

What to Serve With Easy Ham and Bean Soup

Soup and freshly baked bread go together well, so I’d pair this with my easy no-knead bread or my cheddar-jalapeno bread

For some more adventurous or sweeter tooth I’d pair this easy Ham and Bean Soup with my delicious and sweet pumpkin bread or my skillet Irish Potato Bread.

Fresh and bright salads are also a healthy balance for this rich and hearty soup. I especially like to pair it with vinegar-based dressings like my easy coleslaw, crunchy parmesan salad, or garden vegetable greek salad.

For more of our bread recipes, find our recent favorites here:

picture of soup in a bowl with ham, beans, celery, and parsley on top

Ham and Bean Soup Recipe

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picture of diced ham and bean soup on a spoon

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Ham and Bean Soup

Delicious meaty bean soup with diced ham, loaded with rich flavor everyone loves!
Course soups
Cuisine American
Keyword bean soup, beans, ham, soup
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 308kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 3 carrots
  • Bay leaf
  • 1 bag 15 bean soup mix
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 8 oz diced ham
  • 15 oz beef stock
  • 2 cups water

Instructions

  • 1 pound dried bean soup mix beans 
  • Heat oil in a dutch oven until shimmery. 
  • Add onions, carrots, garlic, and celery. Cook until lightly browned and fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. 
  • Stir in ham, beans, herbs, and stock. 
  • Simmer 45-65 minutes, until beans are tender and soft.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 308kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 2669mg | Fiber: 17g | Sugar: 8g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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