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Ham and white bean soup recipe

Ham and white bean soup recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Soup
  • Bean and lentil soup
  • Bean soup

This rustic ham, white bean and vegetable soup is the perfect comfort food on a cold winter day!

2 people made this

IngredientsServes: 8

  • 275g dried white beans
  • 4 meaty ham hocks
  • 1.25L water
  • 180g sliced celery
  • 150g chopped onion
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf

MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:2hr ›Extra time:8hr soaking › Ready in:10hr20min

  1. Place dry white beans into a large container and cover with plenty of cool water; let stand 8 hours to overnight. Drain water and transfer beans to a large stock pot.
  2. Mix ham hocks, water, celery, onion, carrot, garlic, thyme, black pepper and bay leaf with beans in the stock pot; bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until ham is coming off the bones, about 2 hours.
  3. Remove ham hocks from soup. Cut meat from bones, discarding fat and bones. Return meat to the pot. Continue cooking until beans reach desired softness.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(10)

Reviews in English (8)

by Kim's Cooking Now!

I was looking for a soup to use up a ham bone left from Easter Sunday, and this was perfect! It's similar to the way I usually make my bean soup, except this one has garlic and thyme. I did cut the celery back a bit, as I only had 2-1/2 stalks in the frig. A good hearty soup that we all enjoyed.-07 Apr 2015

Ham and white bean soup recipe - Recipes

OK, maybe you went a little crazy cooking up a glorious, 12-plus pound bone-in ham for a party of six this Easter. Luckily, ham lends itself well to sandwiches, frittatas, hashes, salads and more, but there’s one more part of that ham you need to use in all its glory: the bone. And that’s where the wonderful post-Easter tradition of ham and bean soup comes into play.

After you use all of the big slices of ham for various recipes and snacking, there’s still so much meat left on the bone, and of course, the bone itself. It seems wasteful to just toss this in the trash, but ham and bean soup makes the most of these meat scraps and bone. In fact, it’s one of the all-time best ways to use food scraps.

First, start by making your own ham stock with the bone and aromatics. Like most stocks, let this simmer over low heat for about 2 hours, though you can really keep going for as long as eight hours for a particularly robust flavor. After straining the stock, pick the leftover ham meat off the bone, dice it up and save it for later in the recipe.

After that, the recipe is remarkably easy. Just add onion, carrots and celery to the stock along with diced ham and whatever ham you got off the bone. Add a large jar (or two cans) of drained and rinsed beans (whatever beans you have on hand is fine), some seasoning and let it all cook together. Finish up with some fresh parsley for a bit of freshness, and you're eating well.

For some families, ham and bean soup is as much of an April tradition as a major Easter feast. If you didn’t get a bone-in ham, don’t worry, there are easy ham soup recipes that just use diced meat. There’s also an easy slow cooker take on this soup. And if soup isn’t your thing at all, there are still tons of easy, delicious ways to use leftover ham.

Although this recipe calls for one pound of dried white beans, like navy beans, you can easily swap them for canned beans. Skipping altogether the soaking step.

One cup of dried beans equals 3 cups of cooked beans. And 2 cups of dried beans equals a pound.

If you swap 3 to 4 cans of cooked beans, that should be plenty. Each can of beans contains just under 2 cups.

Ham Shanks vs. Ham Hocks

This recipe uses smoked ham shanks or ham hocks to create the rich broth for the soup. Ham shanks tend to have more meat on them (the photos of the soup show meat from a ham shank).

Think of the hock as the pig's "ankle", right above the feet. The shanks are below the shoulder (front) or the ham (rear leg).

I recommend using shanks for this recipe if you have a choice. If you use ham hocks and you would like a meaty soup, you may want to add some chopped ham steak to the soup.

What You’ll Need to Make Smoky White Bean & Ham Soup

Smoked ham hocks, or pork knuckles, come from the ankle region of the pig’s leg. In Southern cooking, hocks are often used to add a rich, meaty, and smoky flavor to soups, stews, and greens. They are available in most supermarkets and are very inexpensive. If for some reason you can’t find them, pork shank can be substituted.

Recipe Summary

  • 2 cups coarsely chopped yellow onion
  • ¾ cup coarsely chopped celery
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped carrot
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup chopped cooked ham
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (15.8-ounce) can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Combine first 3 ingredients in a food processor pulse 10 times or until finely chopped. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add vegetables saute 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add ham, bay leaf, beans, and broth bring to a boil. Reduce heat simmer 12 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat stir in vinegar and pepper. Discard bay leaf.

Slow Cooker Ham & White Bean Soup Recipe

This warm, hearty crockpot soup is the perfect way to use that leftover ham bone for a bowl of comfort food on chilly evenings!


  • 1 lb dried navy beans
  • 1 ham hock or meaty ham bone
  • 1 c. chopped carrots
  • 1 c. chopped celery
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 c. chopped ham
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp cracked pepper
  • 2 quarts (8 cups) water
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. Rinse beans and add all ingredients except for salt into slow cooker.
  2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  3. Remove bay leaf and stir in salt.
  4. Use a potato masher to mash some of the beans if you would like a thicker soup.
Nutrition Information:

Thursday 5th of October 2017

The recipe looks delicious! I do have a question, though: Do you soak the beans overnight, first? I've found so many recipes that do that but on this recipe it says to combine all the ingredients. I just want to make sure this isn't one of those "Oh, you should know" to soak the beans first. Thanks! Melissa

Thursday 5th of October 2017

Ha! I have definitely had some major meal failures when recipes exclude "obvious" steps. This isn't one of them, though! No need to pre-soak the beans! Some people prefer to do it anyways, so you are more than welcome to, but I'm a big fan of saving time where I can. Just know that it may take them closer to the 8-hour mark than the 6-hour cook time to soften, depending on your slow cooker (mine is usually perfect right about 7 hours).

Recipe Summary

  • 1 (20 ounce) package 15 bean mixture, soaked overnight
  • 1 ham bone
  • 2 ½ cups cubed ham
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 5 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, with liquid
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can low-sodium vegetable juice
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 7 cups low fat, low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Place the soaked beans into a large pot and fill with enough water to cover by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil, then simmer over low for 30 minutes. Drain. Add the ham bone, ham, onion, celery, carrots, tomatoes, vegetable juice, and vegetable broth. Season with Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, chili powder, bay leaves, pepper, parsley and lemon juice. Pour in enough of the chicken broth to cover the ingredients.

Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 8 hours. Add more chicken broth as needed throughout the day. Remove the ham bone and season with salt if needed. Continue to simmer for a couple more hours. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 large white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrot, coarsely shredded
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • Three 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 pound smoked ham in 1 piece
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed (1-inch) baguette
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced crosswise

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large soup pot, melt the butter. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, thyme and coriander and cook the vegetables over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the stock, beans and ham and bring to a boil. Cover partially and cook over moderate heat for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss the baguette cubes with the olive oil and paprika and season with salt. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until toasted.

Remove the ham from the soup and cut it into 1/2-inch pieces. Discard the thyme sprigs. Working in 2 batches, transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Return the soup to the pot and stir in the diced ham. Season the soup with salt and pepper and ladle into warmed shallow bowls. Top with the croutons and scallion and serve.

Ham and Bean Soup: Recipe Instructions

Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat for about 3 minutes or so, until it’s nice and hot. (You can also use a thick-bottomed soup pot, but may need to stir more often to prevent burning.)

Add the oil and the onions. Cook until the onions begin to turn translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.

Stir in the chopped celery and carrots, and cook for an additional 5-6 minutes. Add the beans, followed by the water. Increase the heat to high.

Add the bay leaves, dried thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, white pepper, black pepper, paprika, and chicken bouillon paste. (If you don’t have chicken bouillon paste, simply use chicken stock in place of the water.) Bring to a boil.

Stir in the ham. I like to cut it into big shards/shreds for extra texture. (Sarah likes hers cubed and orderly though. I won’t judge either way!)

If you’re using a ham hock instead of ham, you can add it in now.

Reduce the heat to medium-low. The soup should be at a somewhat energetic simmer. It should always be at a low bubble.

Cook for 4-5 hours, stirring periodically. If the soup isn’t cooking down, you may want to increase the heat to medium. Every stove is different, so don’t just set it and forget it. Periodically check liquid levels.

In the last hour of cooking, add the fresh parsley, and cook for another hour.

It’s done when the beans and carrots are tender, and the soup is thickened.

If you used a ham hock, fish out any bones, and chop up any large pieces of meat and skin (keeping the skin is optional) that don’t break down during the cooking process before serving.

This soup is quite forgiving. If it ends up too salty for your tastes, just add water, and lightly mash some of the beans to release their starchiness and rethicken the soup.

If you are reheating the soup and there is not enough liquid, just add 1-2 cups of water to bring it back to your desired consistency. This soup freezes well too! It’s best consumed within 3 months, but will last up to 6 months.

If you want to use dried beans (AKA, my aunt’s original recipe):

If you’d rather use dried beans, which arguably do result in superior flavor and texture, you’ll need a large pressure cooker. My aunt’s is a 12-quart (11 liter) size.

If starting with dried beans, cook 2 pounds (0.9 kg) of mixed beans with enough water to cover them by a couple inches for 1 hour first to remove any bean skin. Skim off the skin of the beans.

Keep the soaking water, and add 4 cups of low-sodium chicken broth, along with 2 large smoked ham hocks (she gets hers from a specialty German butcher shop), and the large bay leaves. Cook for another hour.

After an hour, release the pressure, and carefully open the lid (safety first!). Then add the fresh garlic, onion, celery, carrots, dried thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, white and black peppers, and 1-2 tablespoons chicken bouillon (to taste), and fresh parsley (she likes to also add an extra 1 tablespoon dried parsley). Cook for another hour. The soup should be very thick. Fish out any ham bones, and chop up any large pieces of meat and skin (keeping the skin is optional but very much recommended) that don’t break down during the cooking process before serving.

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