Black Bean and Ham Soup
Here is a delicious and satisfying Black Bean and Ham Soup inspired by the soup my mom used to make for me. It has tons of smoky flavor from smoked ham hock and a thick and rich texture that is the perfect hearty meal for a cold winter day lunch or chilly evening for dinner.
I shared this ham and black bean soup on April 29th, 2014. I have updated the recipe slightly and some of the content to share it with you again today.
Table of contents
Why We Love This Recipe For Black Bean Ham Soup
For this rich, hearty ham and black bean soup I cook the dry beans with smoky ham hocks, then puree some of the beans, shred the ham hock meat, and combine the two.
This easy black bean soup recipe is perfect for the weekend or when you’re having guests over for dinner.
- Excellent make-ahead recipe to refrigerate or freeze.
- This recipe makes a large batch so it’s great for entertaining.
- Each serving has a whopping 21 grams of fiber.
Key Ingredients For This Ham and Black Bean Soup
- Dry Black Beans: Make sure to sort them to remove any particles or small stones. Find them with other beans at the grocery store or in the bulk section. (This recipe would also work with navy beans or cannellini beans.)
- Water: You need cool tap water for soaking the beans as well cooking. You could use low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth, but there’s so much flavor in this soup that I recommend just water.
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: to cook the veggies
- Veggies: Sweet onion, garlic, red pepper and scallions. Feel free to improvise here too. Carrots, celery or sweet potato are also a great option to use for the veggie base for black bean soup.
- Seasonings: Dry Italian seasoning, kosher salt, ground black pepper, chipotle chile powder (or use smoked paprika for the chili powder.)
- Dry Sherry: Or use white wine as a substitute.
- Smoked Ham Hocks: Also known as pork knuckles or ham shank, these are cut from the pig’s legs. You can also use leftover ham bone from a holiday ham. If you can’t find any of these options, use a small amount of chopped smoked ham steak instead.
- Red Wine Vinegar: The vinegar adds brightness and perks the whole soup up. Read my guide to vinegar to see what you could use instead if you don’t have red wine vinegar. This is optional! You an also stir in a little lemon juice like I do in this Lentil Soup recipe and this Instant Pot Bean soup. It serves the same purpose.
How to Make This Black Bean Soup with Ham Hocks
Step 1: Soak dry black beans
Combine the black beans and 6 cups cold water in a deep bowl and set aside to soak for 12 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse the beans.
Step 2: Cook beans, ham, and vegetables
Heat oil in a large pot or a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook, stirring often until starting to soften and brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in Italian seasoning, pepper, and chipotle and cook, stirring until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Add sherry, and cook, stirring occasionally until almost completely evaporated, 1 to 3 minutes. Add the drained beans, red bell pepper, ham hock and 8 cups cold water. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer, about medium-low, and cook until the beans are completely tender and falling apart, 1 ½ to 2 hours.
Step 3: Puree Some Soup and Add Ham
Remove the ham hock. Puree a little of the soup with an immersion blender or add a cup or two to a blender and puree. This is optional but really thickens the soup nicely.
Return the soup to the pot and stir in the salt. Remove the ham from the bone, shred the meat, and discard any fat. Stir the ham and vinegar into the soup, and adjust the salt if desired. Ladle the black bean soup with ham hock into bowls and top with scallion greens.
FAQs and Expert Tips
Storing instructions: Store the black bean and ham soup in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat on the stove or heat in the microwave until just warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes. Alternatively, freeze for up to 3 months. Let soup thaw in the fridge overnight, or defrost in the microwave or on the stove.
Make-ahead: This is a wonderful make-ahead recipe! You could either make it a day in advance or make it to freeze. See above for storing instructions. The next day it will be thicker so add a little water or broth to thin to desired consistency as you reheat it.
Why add salt and acidity (in this case, vinegar) to recipes: The best thing about salt and acidity is that you can add these tastes to recipes without any calories. So if you are making a recipe and you think it needs a little something, before adding butter or fat to it, try adding a pinch of salt and a splash of acid. You may be surprised to find that the whole recipe will be transformed.
How to reheat: Stir in a heavy-bottom soup pot over medium heat. Thin with additional water or broth to desired consistency. Heat until steaming hot. Alternatively, heat portions in the microwave in a microwave-safe container for about 4 minutes on high power, stirring half way.
Topping Ideas For Black Bean Soup with Ham
Black bean soup is amazing with all sorts of toppings! Here are some of our favorites:
- Put a dollop of sour cream or a little Greek yogurt on top
- Spoon on salsa and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro
- Add on green onions (or scallions) and drizzle with vinegar (see our note about other options)
- Dice avocado and add to each bowl along with cheddar cheese, and a squeeze of lime juice instead of vinegar
- Add on corn, pico de Gallo and hot sauce.
- Come up with your own black bean soup garnish ideas and let me know below!
What goes with Black Bean Soup?
We love serving bowls of this soup with bread of some sort or a salad on the side. Here are some ideas!
- Serve it with Soft Wheat dinner rolls or homemade Whole Wheat Bread.
- Black bean soup is also great with Cornbread, corn muffins. Or try our maple pumpkin cornbread. If you are gluten-free try our gluten-free cornbread.
- For a side salad this Classic Garden Salad is always appropriate.
- This Chopped Winter Salad is one I recommend for a lot of dinner or luncheon combos. It goes with everything!
- For a heartier salad option this Chopped Salad with Chicken would be nice to serve for a book club or causal buffet dinner for a small gathering.
- For dessert try Black Bean Brownie Batter or these Oatmeal Apple Cookies.
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
Black Bean and Ham Soup
- Total Time: 14 hours
- Yield: 8 cups 1x
Here is a delicious and satisfying Black Bean Ham Soup inspired by the soup my mom used to make for me. It has tons of smoky flavor from smoked ham hock and a thick and rich texture that is the perfect hearty meal for a winter day or evening.
- 1 pound dry black beans, sorted
- 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons dry Italian Seasoning
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon dry chipotle chile powder, optional
- ¼ cup dry sherry
- 1 read bell pepper, diced
- 1 pound smoked ham hocks, about 2 small (or ham bone)
- ½ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- ½ cup sliced scallion greens
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or more to taste (optional)
- Combine black beans and 6 cups cold water in a deep bowl and let soak overnight or 12 hours. Drain beans and rinse.
- Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion and cook, stirring often until starting to soften and brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in Italian seasoning, pepper, and chipotle and cook, stirring until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Add sherry, and cook, stirring occasionally until almost compleltly evaporated, 1 to 3 minutes. Add the drained beans, red bell pepper, ham hock and 8 cups cold water. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer, about medium-low, and cook until the beans are completely tender and falling apart, 1 ½ to 2 hours.
- Remove ham hock. Puree one or two cups of the soup in a blender (use caution) or puree a little bit with an immersion blender. Stir in salt. Remove the ham from the bone, shred meat and discard any fat. Stir the ham and vinegar into the soup, adjust salt if desired. Ladle soup into bowls top with scallion greens. Alternatively, float 1 teaspoon vinegar on top of each serving, if desired.
Storing Instructions: Store the soup in airtight containers in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Reheat on the stove or heat in the microwave until just warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes. Alternatively, freeze for up to 3 months. Let soup thaw in the fridge overnight, or defrost in the microwave or on the stove.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 hours
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1 cups
- Calories: 244
- Sugar: 5 g
- Fat: 7 g
- Saturated Fat: 1 g
- Carbohydrates: 41 g
- Fiber: 21 g
- Protein: 20 g
Keywords: Black Bean Soup
This was a sure hit at my house! So comforting!
This soup is excellent! I love bean soups, but had never thought of puréeing it before. And the vinegar is a total game changer!
We love soup in the fall and I am always looking for new recipes! I love how hearty and healthy this one is!
So happy I found this, my mother in law just have me her ham bone! Love this soup!
Ive been putting vinegar on bean soup for as long as I can remember. Grandpa did it so I did to.
My mother-in-law used to make ham hocks and Lima beans many years ago for her rather large Irish family in New Jersey. My husband is 77 years old. The recipe she gave me was
“wash feet, boil and change water often till tender, add pepper, add saurkraut, a bottle of cinder vinegar. Cook 1 hour, more, summer.
Ham hocks – same as feet
Ham hocks, add Lima beans, onion, bacon.
Have you ever come across anything like this?
I have not heard that before, but it makes sense that they’d want to change out the water to make it less salty. Thank you so much for sharing Maureen.
I love the idea of adding vinegar.. it makes so much sense because black bean soup can feel a little flat at times. Adding the acidity definitely brightens it up. A great trick! Pinning!
Yes I love vinegar as an ingredient. It really balances the salty ham in this well. Who knew?
not only is “smoky” one of my fav descriptive words, but red wine vinegar!! it’s too tart for some palates but for me, I love it! this looks great Katie
Looks awesome! Very nice website!
Thanks so much Cindy