Lima Bean Soup With Ham

Lima Bean Soup With Ham

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 6 servings

Lima beans are popular in the Southern states, and you'll find them in many classic Southern dishes. They're served as a side dish or main dish on their own or as a succotash blend of vegetables. They're also great in a hearty soup or stew.

This lima bean soup includes ham, vegetables, and complementary seasonings. 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 to the soup.

Serve the lima bean soup with cornbread, biscuits, or crusty bread on the side.


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups onion (chopped)
  • 1 cup carrots (diced)
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic (minced, or 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic and herb seasoning (unsalted; e.g., Mrs. Dash)
  • 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 and pepper (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Lima Bean Soup With Ham ingredients

    The Spruce / 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 onions and carrots. Saute for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until the onions are soft and just begin to brown, stirring frequently.

    Dutch oven with butter, carrots and onions

    The Spruce / 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 / 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 / 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 / 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 / Diana Chistruga


  • 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 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 fresh water. 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.

Recipe Variations

  • Along with the diced carrots, consider adding 1/2 cup of diced celery for extra flavor.
  • Diced rutabaga makes a nice addition as well or add some fresh or frozen corn kernels for some bursts of yellow.
  • Feel free to replace the ham with leftover corned beef or some diced smoked sausage. Or make it with the addition of about 1/2 cup of diced cooked bacon.
  • If you're a vegetarian, feel free to omit the ham or any meat and use water or vegetable stock for your liquid.
  • The recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of dried marjoram. Marjoram is similar to oregano but milder. If you are substituting with dried oregano, use only 1 teaspoon. Or replace the marjoram with about 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried leaf thyme.