Ham and White Bean Soup
This cozy ham and white bean soup gets tons of rich, smoky flavor from ham hocks. If you happen to have a leftover ham bone from a holiday ham, then use that instead of the hocks.
Table of contents
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Why We Love This Recipe For Ham and White Bean Soup
When the weather is cool, this big pot of soup packed with white beans and meaty ham hocks is true comfort food. It’s hearty enough for dinner with a side salad or some bread. And leftovers are amazing for lunch the next day or even stashed in the freezer for a later date.
- Made with easy-to-find staple ingredients.
- It’s budget-friendly since you start with a bag of dried beans and a ham hock and just add a few inexpensive ingredients like onions, carrots, celery, garlic, herbs, and spices.
- This white bean soup only takes 20 minutes to prep.
- With just 317 calories and a whopping 26 grams of fiber and 24 grams of protein, this soup keeps you full and satisfied.
Key Ingredients for Ham and Bean Soup
- Ham Bone or Hocks: You can use either your leftover holiday ham bone from Easter or Christmas dinner or ham hocks from the grocery store. FYP, ham hocks are are smoked ham shanks and can be found in the smoked meats section near the ham and bacon. Both ham bone or hocks provide a smoky, salty flavor to the soup. As they simmer they enrich the broth and thicken it with dissolved gelatin.
- Beans: Great Northern or Navy Beans are a great choice for this stew due to their faster cooking time and delicate, creamy texture; however, Cannellini beans would also be delicious in this recipe.
- Broth: While we recommend using chicken broth, whether homemade or store-bought, feel free to use vegetable stock or beef broth/stock.
- Sherry: Used to deglaze the soup pot, the sherry can be swapped out with dry white wine or vermouth for similar flavor profiles. If you’d prefer to keep it alcohol-free, apple cider or wine vinegar would be a suitable substitute as well.
- Mirepoix: A combination of diced celery, carrots, and onions and is the main flavor base of any soup.
- Seasonings: A combination of paprika, thyme, oregano, bay leaf, salt, and black pepper is used to add more layers of flavor to the base of the soup.
Tip: Soak the beans the night before. Cover them with cold water and let them soak at room temperature for a minimum of 8 hours. When ready to use, drain well, rinse, and add to the soup!
Step By Step Instructions To Make White Bean and Ham Soup
Step 1: Saute Veggies
In a large Dutch oven or a heavy-bottom soup pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic, carrots, celery, onion, oregano, thyme, paprika, and salt. Stir often and cook until vegetables start to brown and soften.
Step 2: Make Soup Broth
Add sherry and deglaze any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add stock, beans, ham, bay leaves, and pepper. Stir to combine.
Step 3: Simmer Soup
Increase the heat to high and bring it to a simmer. Cover with the lid askew. Reduce to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until beans are tender and ham falls off the bone, about 2 to 3 hours.
Step 4: Shred Ham Meat
Take out the bay leaves, ham bone, and chunks of ham with tongs. Remove any ham that is still on the bone(s). Discard bones and any pieces of fat. If you like thick bean soup you can pulse it with your immersion blender at this point or just mash some of the creamy white beans with your potato masher. This thickens the soup even more!
Step 5: Re-add Ham and Finish Soup
Place shredded ham back into the pot. Stir in with parsley and lemon and season to taste. Ladle into bowls and enjoy hot!
FAQs and Expert Tips
Storage and Reheating
Leftovers: Store any leftover ham and bean soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. When ready to enjoy, reheat the soup on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave until hot all the way through. On the second day the soup will be thicker, so you may want to add a little water or broth to thin it out.
Freezing: To freeze leftover white bean soup, store it in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. You can also portion it into freezer bags to save space! Once they are frozen solid, stack them right up! When ready to thaw, allow soup to defrost overnight in the fridge and then warm on the stovetop or in the microwave until piping hot. Or, to thaw faster, place frozen soup in a saucepan and thaw on the stovetop over medium heat or in the microwave until warmed all the way through.
You can use white beans of any sort to make this soup. We have tested it with navy beans and Great northern beans. But having made dozens of navy bean soup recipes, black bean soups, mixed bean soups, and even soups with heirloom varieties of beans over the last 20 plus years, I know for a fact that you can use whatever kind of dried beans that you have on hand. The key is to soak them overnight and to just keep cooking them until they are completely tender and creamy. The ham will get more and more tender so don’t worry if your beans take 3 hours to get tender! If the beans you chose are not tender after two hours of simmering, simply pour in a little water if the beans are no longer submerged in the liquid.
Yes! This recipe is actually based on our Instant Pot Bean and Ham Soup recipe which is one of our favorite soups made in the IP! You can follow the instructions in that recipe (using white beans instead of the 15-bean blend) to make the recipe. You’ll want to cook the soup on high pressure for 50 minutes.
Tips For Soaking Beans For Soup
This recipe calls for the use of dry beans versus canned beans. Cooking with dry beans does involve a little prep work and can be done using one of the following methods:
Overnight Soak: This is the method we recommend and most-often use when preparing soups with dry beans. Overnight soaks involve first sorting your dry beans and removing any debris. Then place the beans in a large bowl and cover them with water allowing them to soak at room temperature for a minimum of 8 hours.
Quick Soak: Similar to an overnight soak, start by sorting and removing debris. Then place dry beans in a large pot and cover with a couple of inches of water. Place the pot on the stove over high heat and allow the beans to boil for a few minutes. Finally, remove the pot from the stove and allow the beans to soften and absorb the liquid for one hour.
In both these methods, after the beans have been allowed to soak, drain, rinse, and use in the recipe.
And finally, if you aren’t interested in soaking, you can add dry beans straight into the recipe, keeping in mind that it will take an additional 1 to 2 hours for your soup to finish as your beans will need this extra time to cook. Add additional one or two cups of water to the pot as they cook so that they don’t dry out.
We love that this soup is not only a pot of pure comfort but when served with a piece of crusty whole-wheat bread or warm homemade cornbread, a side caesar salad, and quick pickled onions, it quickly becomes a complete and satisfying family-friendly meal.
More Bean Soup Recipes To Try
Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free weekly menu plan and the latest recipes right to your inbox. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought!
Happy Cooking! ~KatiePrint
Ham and White Bean Soup
- Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
This thick and hearty bean and ham soup is brimming with tender beans, veggies, and smoky ham. Make it with a holiday ham bone or use smoked ham hocks to add richness and meaty smoky flavor.
- 1 pound bag dried white beans such as Great Northern or Navy Beans
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 ½ teaspoon dry thyme
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¾ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 3 tablespoons dry sherry or white wine, optional
- 8 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 large or 2 small smoked ham hocks or 1 ham bone (optional, see note)
- 2 bay leaves
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Place beans on a sheet pan, and sort them by running handfuls across the pan as you scan. Remove any rocks or foreign debris.
- Place the beans in a large bowl and cover them generously with water. Let soak at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight. Drain well and rinse.
- Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottom soup pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic, carrots, celery, onion, oregano, thyme, paprika, and salt. Cook, stirring often until the vegetables start to soften and brown, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add sherry and stir to deglaze any browned bits from the bottom of the cooking surface. Add stock broth, beans, ham (hock or bone), bay leaves, and pepper and stir to combine.
- Increase heat to high and bring to a simmer. Cover with the lid askew to vent. Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the beans are very tender and the ham falls off the bone, 2 to 3 hours depending on the beans.
- Take out the bay leaves, ham bone, and chunks of ham with tongs. Pick any bits of ham off the bone(s). Discard bones and any chunks of fat.
- Add the shredded ham to the soup. Stir in with parsley and lemon, and adjust seasoning to taste. Ladle into bowls and serve hot.
Leftovers and Reheating
Store any leftover ham and bean soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. When ready to enjoy, reheat the soup on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave until hot all the way through. On the second day the soup will be thicker, so you may want to add a little water or broth to thin it out.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Category: Soups and Stews
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1 1/3 cup
- Calories: 317
- Sugar: 10 g
- Fat: 5 g
- Carbohydrates: 63 g
- Fiber: 26 g
- Protein: 24 g
Keywords: ham and white bean soup, ham and bean soup, white bean soup, white bean and ham soup
Hi Katie. I bought the ingredients to make this soup; however, I purchased fresh port hocks (split). I am allergic to preservatives, so tend to have trouble with pre-cooked items. Will I be able to use these fresh hocks? Do I need to pre-cook them before adding tot he recipe?
That will be totally fine but you’ll probably want to add some salt to taste at the end.