Cuban White Bean Soup

Cuban white bean soup with shredded meat in Dutch oven and in a bowl

The Spruce Eats / Ali Redmond

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 110 mins
Soak: 12 hrs
Total: 14 hrs 5 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Yield: 16 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
337 Calories
26g Fat
16g Carbs
10g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 337
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 26g 33%
Saturated Fat 8g 39%
Cholesterol 30mg 10%
Sodium 670mg 29%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 10g
Vitamin C 1mg 6%
Calcium 77mg 6%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 412mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

When you think of Cuban soups, black bean soup is probably the first one you think of, but you should give this savory white bean soup a try. Cuban white bean soup packs a surprising amount of flavor for such an inexpensive, unassuming dish. The hearty soup is seasoned perfectly with smoky ham hocks, salt pork, garlic, dried oregano, and ground cumin.  It's a satisfying soup your family will ask for again and again.

Cuban white bean soup is an excellent, warming dish, perfect for a chilly fall or winter evening with hot, freshly baked cornbread or crusty bread. Serve the soup over a mound of rice if you like, or add a tossed salad for a well-rounded meal.

"There's nothing like a long-simmering pot of bean soup to warm you up on a fall or winter day! The soup was simple and inexpensive. I served the soup with freshly baked cornbread. You could easily add some diced carrots or another vegetable for extra color and flavor." —Diana Rattray

Cuban White Bean Soup / Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 pound dried white beans, such as Great Northern, soaked overnight

  • 2 1/2 quarts water

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 6 ounces salt pork

  • 2 meaty smoked ham hocks

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1 medium white onion, minced

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Cuban white bean soup recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Ali Redmond

  2. Drain and rinse the soaked white beans. 

    Drained and rinsed white beans in a glass bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Ali Redmond

  3. Place the beans, water, bay leaves, salt pork, and ham hocks in a large soup pot or Dutch oven and bring to a boil over medium heat.

    White beans, water, bay leaves, salt pork, and ham hocks in a Dutch oven

    The Spruce Eats / Ali Redmond

  4. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

    Foam forming on top of white bean soup in a Dutch oven

    The Spruce Eats / Ali Redmond

  5. Remove salt pork and discard.

    Salt pork being removed from the soup with tongs

    The Spruce Eats / Ali Redmond

  6. Remove the ham hocks, shred the meat, and discard the fat and bones.

    Shredded meat from the ham hocks on a plate

    The Spruce Eats / Ali Redmond

  7. Put the shredded meat back into the pot.

    Shredded meat added to bean soup in the Dutch oven

    The Spruce Eats / Ali Redmond

  8. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onions and garlic until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

    Onions and garlic sautéing in oil in a frying pan

    The Spruce Eats / Ali Redmond

  9. Stir the mixture from the skillet into the soup. Add the oregano, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, then serve.

    Fried onions and garlic added to white bean soup in the Dutch oven

    The Spruce Eats / Ali Redmond

Recipe Variations

  • Add a little spiciness to the soup with a few tablespoons of minced jalapeño peppers or a dash of crushed red pepper flakes. Add the peppers or pepper flakes to the skillet and sauté with the onions and garlic.
  • For extra color and flavor, add a peeled, diced carrot to the skillet with the onions and garlic.
  • Garnish the soup with coarsely chopped cilantro.
  • A meaty ham bone is a good substitute for the ham hocks.
  • Add 2 cups of chopped fresh spinach or chard leaves to the soup along with the sautéed onions and garlic.

How to Store Leftover White Bean Soup

  • Refrigerate leftover bean soup within 2 hours and consume within 4 days.
  • To freeze the bean soup, let it cool completely and transfer it to a freezer container. Label the container with the name and date and freeze the soup for up to 3 months. Defrost the soup in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Reheat bean soup in a saucepan over low heat. Alternatively, heat the bean soup in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds or so, until it is hot throughout. According to the USDA, the minimum safe temperature for reheated leftovers is 165 F.

Which white beans should I use?

Navy beans are commonly used in Cuban white bean soup, but feel free to use great northern beans or larger cannellini beans.

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