Basic Ham and Bean Soup Recipe -
Basic Ham and Bean Soup Recipe
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Basic Ham and Bean Soup
See how to make a hearty bean soup with leftover ham. See more
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Basic Ham and Bean Soup

Recipe by  

"Hearty ham and bean soup. Easy to make and a great way to use a leftover ham bone. This soup also has lots of mixed vegetables."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 8 to 10 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    30 mins
  • COOK

    2 hrs 30 mins

    3 hrs


  1. Rinse the beans, sorting out any broken or discolored ones. In a large pot over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Add the salt and the beans and remove from heat. Let beans sit in the hot water for at least 60 minutes.
  2. After the 60 minutes of soaking, return the pot to high heat and place the ham bone, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, mustard and bay leaves in the pot. Stir well, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 60 more minutes.
  3. Remove ham bone and discard. Stir in the chopped ham and simmer for 30 more minutes. Season with ground white pepper to taste.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Jan 07, 2004

Mmm ... good. My husband made this for dinner tonight, changing only the quantity of water. (He used less 'cause he doesn't like soupy beans.) Oh, and he didn't know we had ham, so he only used the ham hocks. Still, this was deee-lish. I actually had seconds, which I hardly ever do. Oh, and you have to cook them longer than 2 1/2 hours. Just test them every half hour or so after that, and throw the ham in when they're about done. BTW, if you cook dried beans to death and they are still gritty or mealy, it's because they're too old; even dried beans don't last forever. They have a moisture content that lessens with age. No recipe can make old beans taste good.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Aug 01, 2011

This is a good basic recipe with one improvement. The secret to any good soup is the stock from which it is made. So first, the ham stock should be made separately from any other ingredients because it takes a few hours to get the ham flavor fully out of a ham bone. I would also use ham hocks in addition to (or in lieu of) the ham bone, because ham hocks have many joints and contribute a lot of protein richness to the stock. A properly done stock will actually gel if stored in fridge - the gel is the protein not the fat. Once the stock is made, you can strain it and toss the ham hocks and bone out because if done correctly, the flavor from the hocks and bones has now been transferred into the stock. Once the stock is done, add the beans only, and cook till done. Finally add the more tender ingredients like veggies and ham meat. Cook as long as you like for your veggie tenderness. Like any soup, it benefits from a night in the fridge before eating!

Jan 12, 2004

This soup turned out terrifically, but that's because I read all of the other reviews before making it, and attempted to fix the problems other people had noted: (1) to get tender beans, I soaked the dry beans overnight, discarded the water, and made the soup with fresh water, simmering for 2 hours--the beans were nice and tender; (2) to make the soup less watery, I used 6 1/2 cups water instead of 8--the soup turned out thick and hearty; (3) to avoid saltiness, I didn't add any salt, and used turkey ham instead of the traditional stuff, eliminating the ham hock as well (this may not have affected the saltiness, but it sure cut down on fat and calories). It's an easy recipe to experiment with--have fun and enjoy!

Jan 17, 2006

Yep... this is pretty good (it's how I make mine). But, why stop with Northern beans? I use every kind of bean and dried pea I can get my hands on. And I never take the time to soak my dried beans. I "de-gas" them by just covering them with water, adding about a tablespoon of baking soda, and bringing them to a rolling boil - about 3 times. After each boil, drain and run clean water over them to remove the husks. Then add the rest of your ingredients and cook away! You'll find the other beans/peas give your soup a much more "full" flavor. And the "de-gassing" ... well... de-gasses them! LOL Try it - I think you'll like it.

Jan 17, 2004

Excellent, excellent soup! Use chicken broth (mostly), leave out the salt (my ham had enough), and cook in the crock pot (that's the easiest way, since the beans do have to cook a while). I soaked the beans overnight, then put EVERYTHING in the crock pot and cooked from 9 - 5 on HIGH. Puree about 4 cups of mixture in blender around half way through and put back into pot (makes it creamier). Add more broth/water if it's too thick. Take out bay leaves and bone at the end, and cool for a little while if you want (will be really hot if you don't). Husband and kids 8 and 11 loved it. 6 yr old...well, she's still picky.

Jul 02, 2003

Oh my gosh! I followed other reviewers advice and subbed 4 cups of chicken stock for water and was so surprised by how much flavor this soup has. I let it simmer several hours on super bowl sunday and it thickened up great. Even better next day. This is THE best recipe I've tried here.

Jan 16, 2004

For years I've been craving the bean soup I used to get at a deli on the town square in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. I saw this recipe and had to give it a try. After reading the reviews, I decided to use the crockpot method recommended earlier. The result? A delicious, hearty, bean soup that my whole family enjoyed and has rated "a keeper". One note here: instead of ham hocks I used the bone from a spiral sliced ham (honey flavor). Enough meat was on the bone that I didn't need to add anymore, and it had a nice, smokey flavor.

Apr 25, 2003

Taking note of some of the comments on this soup, I soaked my beans overnight first, and did not add salt. I do think it was plenty salty, and would have been too salty with added salt. This is one of the best bean soups I have ever had, and was very easy to make. I am not the best at soups, so I was thrilled with how simple this was, and how well it turned out.


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  • Calories
  • 257 kcal
  • 13%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 29 g
  • 9%
  • Cholesterol
  • 30 mg
  • 10%
  • Fat
  • 8 g
  • 12%
  • Fiber
  • 9 g
  • 36%
  • Protein
  • 18.1 g
  • 36%
  • Sodium
  • 771 mg
  • 31%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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