Hearty Ham and Bean Soup Recipe

Hearty Ham and Bean Soup Recipe

The Spruce / Ali Redmond

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
299 Calories
2g Fat
53g Carbs
19g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 299
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 6mg 2%
Sodium 353mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 53g 19%
Dietary Fiber 16g 58%
Protein 19g
Calcium 185mg 14%
*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.)

This hearty ham and bean soup is the kind of soup you crave on a cold fall or winter day. It's a simple preparation using dried beans and diced ham along with chopped vegetables. The flavor comes from the long simmering. Add a ham bone or ham hock for the extra smoky flavor. It is an excellent way to use leftover ham!

We like hot baked cornbread with the soup, but biscuits slathered with butter or thick slices of crusty homemade bread would be equally delicious.

It's a great lunch soup, too. Serve it in cups with sandwiches or a simple tossed salad.


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  • 8 cups water
  • 1 pound Great Northern beans (or navy beans)
  • 2 cups ham (diced cooked)
  • Optional: 1 ham bone (or ham hock)
  • 1/2 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1 carrot (chopped)
  • 1 or 2 ribs celery (chopped or sliced thinly)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Hearty Ham and Bean Soup Recipe ingredients

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  2. Bring the water and beans to a boil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven; boil for 2 minutes.

    Beans in a pot

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  3. Remove the beans from heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour.

    beans cooking in a pot

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  4. Add the ham and ham bone or ham hock to the beans, along with onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf, and pepper. Bring to a boil.

    meat and vegetables added to the beans in the pot

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  5. Skim any foam from top.

    bean, meat and vegetables cooking in a pot, skim foam off the top

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  6. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until beans are tender - about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. If soup is too thick, add a little more water.

    beans, meat and vegetables cooking in a pot

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  7. Take out ham bone or ham hocks from the soup, if using, and place on cutting board.

    ham hock removed from the pot

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  8. Dice or shred the meat and return it to the soup.

    shredded meat returned to the pot with the beans

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  9. Add the tomato sauce and salt, to taste, and simmer for about 15 minutes longer.

    Hearty Ham and Bean Soup cooking in a pot

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  10. Remove the bay leaf.

    Hearty Ham and Bean Soup in a pot

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond


  • If you soak the beans overnight, use 8 cups of water and skip the first step of boiling the beans and letting them stand for an hour.
  • This soup is good for tailgating. Transfer the finished soup to a slow cooker and take it along to a party or event. Keep it on low or on the warm setting for serving.

Recipe Variations

  • For some extra texture and flavor, add 1 can of diced tomatoes to the soup along with the tomato sauce.
  • For extra color, add a cup of corn kernels to the soup shortly before it is ready.
  • Add 1/2 cup of multicolored chopped bell peppers along with the onions.