This easy ham and bean soup is loaded with vegetables, white beans, and ham. It’s made with a combination of fresh and pantry ingredients that cut down on the prep work and cooking time so you can get a delicious soup on the table, even on a busy weeknight.
Ham soup recipes are an excellent way to use up leftover ham after the holidays. Dice it or give it a rough chop and cook it with other ingredients to create a whole new dish. If you need more leftover ham recipes try this creamy ham and wild rice soup. And for a quick weeknight meal make this ham fried rice.
- Produce – Onions (yellow or white), carrots, celery, garlic, potatoes (red, white, yellow, or russet will work in this soup), and frozen peas
- Pantry – Canned cannellini beans (also called white kidney beans) and chicken broth from the pantry make this soup easy and convenient.
- Ham – Use up leftover ham in this recipe, but if you do not have any a ham steak from the grocery store works just as well.
- Oil – We use olive oil, but any oil that is suitable for sautéing is fine.
- Herbs and spices – Dried rosemary, dried thyme, salt (we use kosher salt), and black pepper add extra flavor to the soup. If you have fresh herbs substitute those instead.
Heat the olive oil and cook the onions, carrots, and celery in a large pot over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stir often.
Add the garlic, salt, thyme, rosemary, and black pepper. Cook for 1 minute, stir frequently.
Add the chicken broth and stir well. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the broth to a boil (it will take about 4-5 minutes to start to boil). Then, lower the heat to medium-low, cover the pot and simmer the broth for 15 minutes.
Simmering store-bought broth for a little while will give it that “homemade” taste.
Next, add the ham, cannellini beans, and potatoes. Stir well. Raise the heat to bring the liquid back to a simmer. Lower the heat, cover the pot, and cook for 15 minutes.
Finally, add the defrosted peas, cover, and cook an additional 5 minutes until the potatoes are tender and the peas are heated through.
Stir the soup occasionally. The white beans and potatoes will break down some and will add body to the soup.
Taste and add salt, if needed. As a reference we added ½ teaspoon to ours. Serve with lime wedges and crusty bread, if desired.
Hold off on using too much salt when making this soup. Ham, canned beans, and store bought broth contain a good amount already. If you are sensitive to salt, use reduced sodium ingredients like reduced sodium broth, beans, and ham. You can always add salt at the end if needed.
Keep the peeled, cut potatoes covered in cold water if you are prepping them ahead of time to slow down the browning process.
Have everything prepped and ready to go before you start the soup because things move quickly. I like using glass nesting bowls to keep the prepped ingredients, so everything is at my fingertips when needed.
Storing and reheating
Store the soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. To freeze the soup, store it in an airtight container. Remember to leave enough room to allow for expansion; an inch or two should do it. Freeze for 2-3 months.
Gently, reheat the soup in a covered saucepan over medium-low to low heat until it reaches at least 165°F, stir occasionally – or reheat in the microwave. For more information on food storage and safety guidelines visit U.S. Department of Agriculture and foodsafety.gov.
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Ham and Bean Soup
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Onion finely diced
- 2 Medium Carrots diced or cut into rounds or half rounds (use only one if it is large)
- 1 Celery rib diced or sliced
- 3-4 Garlic Cloves minced
- ½ teaspoon Salt plus extra at the end if needed
- ¼ teaspoon Dried Rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon Dried Thyme
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- 6 cups Chicken Broth
- 12-14 ounces Ham cut into bite sized cubes or roughly chopped
- 12 ounces Potatoes cut into small pieces (we used a small red potatoes)
- 2 (14 ounce) cans Cannellini Beans (also called white kidney beans), drained and rinsed
- 1 cup Frozen Peas thawed (cook to package directions but use only a fraction of the time, just enough to defrost)
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy pot. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the onions, carrots, and celery. Cook the vegetables for 3-4 minutes, stir often.
- Add the garlic, salt, thyme, rosemary, and black pepper. Cook for 1 minute, stir frequently.
- Add the chicken broth and stir well. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the broth to a boil (it will take about 4-5 minutes to start to boil).
- Then, lower the heat to medium-low, cover the pot and simmer the broth for 15 minutes.
- Next, add the ham, beans, and potatoes. Stir well. Raise the heat to bring the liquid back to a simmer (will take about 4-5 minutes). Lower the heat, cover the pot, and cook the ham bean soup for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep it at a simmer. If it is boiling too vigorously, lower the heat a bit.
- Finally, add the defrosted peas, cover, and cook an additional 5 minutes until the potatoes are tender and the peas are heated through.
- Taste and add salt, if needed. As a reference we added ½ teaspoon to ours.
- Serve with lime wedges and crusty bread, if desired.