Lima Bean Soup With Ham

Lima bean soup with ham

The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
212 Calories
10g Fat
21g Carbs
12g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 212
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 13%
Saturated Fat 5g 26%
Cholesterol 42mg 14%
Sodium 773mg 34%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 5g 16%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 12g
Vitamin C 16mg 79%
Calcium 58mg 4%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 588mg 13%
*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.)

Lima beans are a popular ingredient in the southern United States, and you'll find them in many classic Southern dishes, like in our delicious soup. Onion, carrots, and fresh and dried herbs make the flavorful base for the soup, while smoky and succulent ham adds flavor and texture. Serve with cornbread, biscuits, or crusty bread on the side for a belly-warming meal, or pair with a light salad for a nutritious dinner.

Frozen baby lima beans are the best choice for this soup, but cooked dried baby lima beans are a good option as well. If you're using dried baby lima beans, make sure they are soaked and cooked prior to adding them into the soup.

Packed with fiber and protein, lima beans are an easy and nutritious food to add to your weekly menu, and a delicious one, too, when made into side dishes or as part of a main dish, like our hearty and filling soup. Eating a serving of lima beans provides great nutrients: A cup of frozen lima beans has just 216 calories but 12 grams of protein, almost 10 grams of fiber, and 3.6 grams of iron, making for almost a quarter of the recommended daily intake of this mineral.


  • 1/4 cup butter

  • 1 1/2 cups onion, chopped

  • 1 cup carrots, diced

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder, minced; or 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon unsalted garlic-and-herb seasoning

  • 1 1/2 cups ham, diced

  • 10 ounces baby lima beans, frozen

  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

  • 2 teaspoons dried marjoram

  • 4 cups water, or unsalted chicken or vegetable stock

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for lima bean soup with ham recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  2. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or heavy stockpot over medium heat. When the butter is hot and the foaming has subsided, add the chopped onion and carrots. Sauté for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until the onion is soft and just beginning to brown, stirring frequently.

    Dutch oven with butter, carrots, and onion

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  3. Add the garlic, lemon juice, and herb seasoning. Continue cooking for 2 minutes.

    Add the garlic, lemon juice, and herb seasoning to the vegetable mixture in the Dutch oven

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  4. Add the ham, frozen lima beans, parsley, and marjoram. Top with the water or stock.

    Add the ham, frozen lima beans, parsley, and marjoram to the vegetable mixture in the Dutch oven

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  5. Bring the ham and lima bean soup to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    Bring the ham and lima bean soup to a boil

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  6. Taste the soup and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed. Serve hot.

    Lima bean soup with ham in a Dutch oven, seasoned with salt and pepper

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  7. Enjoy!

Substitutions and Add-On Ingredients

  • Add 1/2 cup of diced celery, diced rutabaga, or fresh or frozen corn kernels.
  • Replace the ham with leftover corned beef or diced smoked sausage.
  • Add about 1/2 cup of diced cooked bacon before serving for extra flavor and crunch.
  • Omit the ham or any meat and use water or vegetable stock for your liquid to make a vegetarian- and vegan-friendly version. Sprinkle Parmesan or vegan parmesan on top before serving.
  • Substitute marjoram with dried oregano but use only 1 teaspoon. Or replace the marjoram with about 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried leaf thyme.

How to Cook Dried Lima Beans

For uncooked dried beans:

  • Rinse about 1/2 pound of lima beans and pick them over, removing malformed and damaged beans. Put the beans in a stockpot and cover them with about 4 cups of water.
  • Cover and let stand for about 6 to 8 hours, or overnight.
  • Drain the beans and cover with 4 cups of freshwater.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until tender. Drain and use in the soup.


Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Lima Beans, Frozen. FoodData Central. United States Department of Agriculture.