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Ham and Bean Soup

It's easy to make big batches of this healthy ham and bean soup! And, it's a great way to use up leftover ham from your holiday feast.

This delicious ham and bean soup can be made in a slow cooker (crockpot), the stove top, or in an instant pot.

When I was growing up this soup was one of my favorite dinners.

overhead view of a large pot of ham and bean soup

My dad always made this after Christmas using the leftover ham bone and ham from Christmas dinner. He usually froze the ham bone and meat and we had this on a cold January day.

*If you're looking for another way to use up those holiday leftovers, this Ham Pot Pie is delicious and so easy to make!

He also would bake a loaf or two of homemade white bread to sop up the broth. 

My dad taught me how to make it when I was newly married, but unfortunately, I no longer recall all the details of his recipe but this one is as close as I've gotten. 

I don't serve it with fresh bread since I seem to always be watching my carb intake (UGH) but it's still delicious and instead of sopping the broth up, I drink it all down. Yummy!

You can find more delicious Leftover Ham Recipes here.

Bean Soup Basics

Do You Have to Soak the Beans?

My Dad always soaked his beans overnight and then checked for rocks while rinsing the next day. I'm not sure if you still have to check for rocks?!? but I do still soak mine overnight covering with water. This will reduce the overall cooking time and yield a softer bean.

I also still check mine for rocks just in case. I've never found one but embedded in my thoughts is the possibility that there could indeed be a rock that looks like a bean and that could literally wreak havoc! 

Tips for making this recipe

  • You can use a leftover ham bone as I did, or buy a ham and cut it up and use it fresh or even buy ham steaks at the supermarket and cut those into pieces.
  • The Beans - My dad liked to use Great Northern Beans but you can use pinto beans, navy beans, lima beans, or a bean combo all available in one package. I chose the bean combo for the recipe I'm sharing today and as far as I can recall, there were 14 (or 15) different beans in the package. 

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 20 ounce bag of beans
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 2 peeled and cubed potatoes (optional)
  • 1 onion chopped or 1 tablespoon of minced onion
  • 2 cloves or garlic, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 meaty ham bone
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Directions (see below for each alternate method)

Ham and Bean Soup on a Stove Top

  1. After soaking the beans (see above) rinse thoroughly and place in a large pot.
  2. Add 1 box of chicken broth. Fill that same box with water and add that as well. This should be enough to cover everything thoroughly but if not, add more water as necessary.
  3. Place pot on stove top (if not already there) and turn heat to high. Add the ham bone, carrots, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir well, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 60 more minutes.
  4. Remove ham bone and discard. Stir in the chopped ham and simmer for 30 more minutes. Season to taste. Serve.

How to Make this Soup in a Slow Cooker 

  1. After soaking the beans (see above) rinse thoroughly and place in slow cooker.
  2. Add 1 box of chicken broth. Fill that same box with water and add that as well. This should be enough to cover everything thoroughly but if not, add more water as necessary.
  3. Add any leftover ham you have that's been cut into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Top with carrots, onions (or minced onion), garlic, salt, and pepper.
  5. Stir.
  6. Add the ham bone and bay leaf.
  7. Cover and cook on high for one hour. Reduce heat to low and cook for another 5 to 6 hours, until beans are tender, stirring occasionally.
  8. Remove ham bone and discard. Serve

Ham and Bean Soup in an Instant Pot - Pressure Cooker

  1. After soaking the beans (see above) rinse thoroughly and place in slow cooker.
  2. Add 1 box of chicken broth. Fill that same box with water and add that as well. This should be enough to cover everything thoroughly but if not, add more water as necessary.
  3. Add any leftover ham you have that's been cut into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Top with carrots, onions (or minced onion), garlic, salt, and pepper.
  5. Stir.
  6. Add the ham bone and bay leaf.
  7. Stir, close the lid per your cooker's instructions and turn the valve to "SEAL".
  8. Set Instant Pot to pressure cook on high for 30 minutes.
  9. Do a natural release for 10 minutes and then do a quick release.
  10. Open lid carefully after the valve has "dropped" and serve.

Ham and Bean Soup

It's easy to make big batches of this healthy ham and bean soup! And, it's a great way to use up leftover ham from your holiday feast.
Print Recipe Pin Recipe Save Recipe
overhead view of a large pot of ham and bean soup
Prep Time:15 mins
Cook Time:1 hr
Total Time:1 hr 15 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 20 ounce bag of beans
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 2 peeled and cubed potatoes optional
  • 1 onion chopped or 1 tablespoon of minced onion
  • 2 cloves or garlic chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 meaty ham bone
  • 2 cups cubed ham
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 bay leaf

Instructions

Slow Cooker Version

  • After soaking the beans (see above) rinse thoroughly and place in slow cooker.
    1 20 ounce bag of beans
  • Add 1 box of chicken broth. Fill that same box with water and add that as well. This should be enough to cover everything thoroughly but if not, add more water as necessary.
    4 cups chicken broth, 4 cups water
  • Add any leftover ham you have that's been cut into bite-sized pieces.
    2 cups cubed ham
  • Top with carrots, onions (or minced onion), potatoes (if desired), garlic, salt, and pepper.
    1 cup sliced carrots, 1 onion chopped or 1 tablespoon of minced onion, 2 cloves or garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 2 peeled and cubed potatoes
  • Stir.
  • Add the ham bone and bay leaf.
    1 meaty ham bone, 1 bay leaf
  • Cover and cook on high for one hour. Reduce heat to low and cook for another 5 to 6 hours, until beans are tender, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove ham bone and discard. Serve

Notes

Ham and Bean Soup in an Instant Pot - Pressure Cooker

  1. After soaking the beans (see above) rinse thoroughly and place in slow cooker.
  2. Add 1 box of chicken broth. Fill that same box with water and add that as well. This should be enough to cover everything thoroughly but if not, add more water as necessary.
  3. Add any leftover ham you have that's been cut into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Top with carrots, onions (or minced onion), garlic, salt, and pepper.
  5. Stir.
  6. Add the ham bone and bay leaf.
  7. Stir, close the lid per your cooker's instructions and turn the valve to "SEAL".
  8. Set Instant Pot to pressure cook on high for 30 minutes.
  9. Do a natural release for 10 minutes and then do a quick release.
  10. Open lid carefully after the valve has "dropped" and serve.

Ham and Bean Soup on a Stove Top

  1. After soaking the beans (see above) rinse thoroughly and place in a large pot.
  2. Add 1 box of chicken broth. Fill that same box with water and add that as well. This should be enough to cover everything thoroughly but if not, add more water as necessary.
  3. Place pot on stove top (if not already there) and turn heat to high. Add the ham bone, carrots, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir well, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 60 more minutes.
  4. Remove ham bone and discard. Stir in the chopped ham and simmer for 30 more minutes. Season to taste. Serve.

As with any of my recipes, calorie counts and nutritional information varies greatly depending on which products you choose to use when cooking this dish.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 90kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 681mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g
Servings: 16 cups
Calories: 90kcal
Author: Mary Beth

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