Classic Ham and Bean Soup | Renee's Kitchen Adventures

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Classic Ham and Bean Soup

Classic Ham and Bean Soup can be made with a leftover ham bone or a purchased ham hock and cubed smoked ham. It's the perfect ham and bean soup recipe for your leftover holiday ham or when you just have a taste for a delicious, comforting soup!

Ham and Bean soup in white bowl with spoon

Comfort foods...we all know them and love them.  This Classic Ham and Bean Soup is pure comfort food to me.  Smoked ham, white beans, carrots....Such a great deal of flavor!

I normally make this soup after the holidays, when I have a nice big ham bone from a Honey Glazed Ham leftover...but last week I had a taste for it, and wondered if I could duplicate the flavor the ham bone gives to the soup with a few substitutions.

Overhead view of ham and bean soup in white bowl

I picked up a package of Smoked Ham Hocks (used one froze the other...and these things are reasonably priced too!) and a huge slice of smoked ham.  If you can find a slice of ham with the bone section still in the middle, even better!

The ham hock is used just for flavor in this recipe. But, if you like, you can pick off what little meat there is on the hock before discarding it as the recipe card below states.

Ham and Bean Soup in white bowl with spoon

If you are using a ham bone, I would recommend picking off the meat and adding back into the soup when it's time to take the bone out.

And, to give the soup that bit of sweetness from the glazed ham, I added a few TBSP of brown sugar at the end.  Result?  Delicious....and now I know I can make this soup any time I like! 

You will need to give yourself some time to make this soup, as the dried beans do take awhile to cook and you'll need to soak them overnight as well.

The recipe makes about 16 cups of soup...plenty for a meal and extra to freeze for another time.

Ham and Bean soup on spoon in bowl


Classic Ham and Bean Soup, Ham and Bean Soup with ham bone, Ham and Bean Soup
Soup, Pork
Yield: 10 servings
Classic Ham and Bean Soup

Classic Ham and Bean Soup

Prep time: 10 MCook time: 2 H & 30 MTotal time: 2 H & 40 M
Classic ham and bean soup made easy on the stove top. Smoky ham, white beans, and veggies make this soup a family favorite. It's a healthy soup that will warm you right up!


  • 1# dried white beans, such as Navy or Great Northern, rinsed and soaked overnight, then drained
  • 1 med. onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 32 oz. box of low sodium, fat free chicken stock ( 4 cups)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 smoked ham hock (or leftover ham bone)
  • 1 - 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can of diced tomatoes, undrained (no added salt if you can find them)
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • 8 oz. fully cooked smoked lean ham, diced
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 - 3 TBSP brown sugar
  • couple dashes of liquid smoke
  • juice of half a lemon


  1. In 6 quart dutch oven or similar sized stock pot sprayed with cooking spray, on med heat, cook onion until softened ( about 5 minutes) . Add garlic and cook for a minute or so longer. Add beans, chicken stock, water, bay leaves, and ham hocks. ( if you have a smoked ham slice with the bone in...cut around the bone and drop that into the soup with the ham hock, then remove when beans are done) Bring to boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Cover loosely and simmer for about 2 hours, or until beans are tender. Remove ham hock and discard. Skim off any visible fat from top.
  2.  Add in canned tomatoes, carrots, celery, diced ham and thyme. Continue to simmer until vegetables are tender. ( about another 30 minutes to an hour).
  3.  Remove bay leaves and discard. Add in brown sugar, liquid smoke and lemon juice. After testing broth, season with salt and pepper. ( you may not need any salt at all)
  4. Optional....take a potato masher and mash up some of the beans and veggies on the bottom and stir for a thicker soup! ( I did do this!)


This Ham and Bean Soup recipe is great for leftover ham bones too! Just substitute the ham hocks for a ham bone in the recipe.



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Nutritional Information is an estimate and provided as a courtesy.
Created using The Recipes Generator


Ham and Bean Soup has to be one of my favorite soups of all time.  I served this with some Pumpkin Jiffy Cornbread for the perfect accompaniment.

This soup is delicious and with all the beans really fills you up!

And, did I mention how economical this soup is? 

Dried beans are a steal and you don't need much ham to complete the could even ask the clerk at the deli counter to cut you off an 8 oz. portion of your favorite lean smoked ham to use.

Pin Classic Ham and Bean Soup to your Pinterest boards! 

Ham and Bean Soup pin


  1. Delicious! I make something similar to this in my slow cooker but I start with one of those bags of dried multi bean soup ix and toss the flavor pkt. The recipe is on my blog.

    I am so ready for cooler weather so I can start cooking up lots of soup and then freeze some for lunches. I did make a new corn chowder recipe over the weekend that was very good.

    I am not sure how to calculate the smoked ham hock - I have never bought one but I saw a recipe on Cooking Light that called for one. I think I would have done what you did and just leave it out of the calculations.

  2. Wow, yums! I feel left out for never having tried this classic!!

  3. mmmm! Cornbread is the perfect soup side! I loveeeee soup-favorites are split pea, chili, and cauliflower

  4. Yumm! Sounds very similar to a recipe I have from my mother. Used to be that you could buy a ham hock with lots of meat still left on it but not anymore! You really need it though to get that authentic ham & bean flavor! Thanks for the reminder! Your site is my new favorite cooking site and I love the WW points too!

    1. They sell ham hocks at Honey baked ham after all the Holidays real
      Cheap- so much meat on them. You actually can buy them anytime

  5. awe...thanks Marilyn! I agree with you about the Ham hocks...and while they are still relatively inexpensive, they too have gone up in price...but you cannot beat the flavor they impart!

    1. Honey baked ham hocks are the best plus you get the extra yummy meat

  6. Yeah, I don't count points for ham hocks, because by the time you divide it between the servings, it ends up being not that bad.

    I just made an Irish potato soup for lunch today - I am posting the recipe tomorrow, but its 6 points for 1.5 cups - nice!

  7. Hi Renee. I was just thinking that I needed to make some soup soon. Soup season has arrived here in Vancouver!!! Thanks as always for your wonderful (and bookmarked) recipe! Hope you are doing well!!!

  8. This looks like a great comforting winter soup, Renee! Gotta try this!

  9. Thanks for linking up this week! Definitely comfort food at its best.

    Amy @ A Little Nosh

  10. How much beans did you use in your recipe? It just says 1# dried white beans. I am guessing you meant 1 cup but I’m not sure. Thanks!

  11. I noticed that you have potatoes in the picture of the soup but I don’t see when you add them. I’m doing my in the crockpot and it’s been on for about two hours on high and I’m gonna turn down the low but I don’t know when to add the potatoes They are baby that yellow potatoes

    1. Hi Cheryl! There are no potatoes in this recipe. There are no potatoes in the image on this blog post. Hope your soup turned out wonderful! You could certainly add potatoes if you like!

  12. I've made bean soup before, but this recipe is really good. I think it's the liquid smoke flavor. The only thing I'd do different is wrap a cheesecloth around the ham bone I had leftover from Thanksgiving. As I was trying to get it out of my Dutch oven, it kind of fell apart & dropped back into the soup. So I've been sifting thru the soup and picking out bits and pieces that were part of it.

    1. I'm glad you enjoy this soup recipe! That's a great tip about using cheesecloth. Thanks for adding that! Have a wonderful day!!

  13. Replies
    1. Hi Christie! No you do not drain the tomatoes. Put the entire can in with the juices.

  14. All I have is fat free chicken stock. Will that be too salty or should I buy salt free?

    1. Hi Sandy! Yes, fat free chicken stock is fine to use! Just adjust the salt at the end to your linking.

  15. not being able to find ham hocks at my local meat market the owner suggested using thick cut smoked pork chops and will never use hocks again. What good flavor and lots of meat (cold rinse and use for another meal with scalloped potatoes for example) What a wonderful suggestion

    1. What a wonderful suggestion! Thanks for sharing.

  16. If I can't find liquid smoke, what can I use as a replacement? Or does it still taste good without it? Thank you!

    1. You can just leave it out. It won't be as smoke flavored but still delicious.

  17. I was looking at the nutritional information for a serving or portion size but don’t see one. If you could provide that info it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. this recipe!

    1. Thanks for your comment. If you look at the very top of the recipe card, the nutritional information is calculated out using 10 servings as a guide. I hope this helps.

  18. The nutritional information doesn’t provide serving or portion size. Could you please provide that or a close estimate?
    Love this recipe! Thanks

    1. Hi Stcylndsy! Thanks for your comment. If you look at the very top of the recipe card, the nutritional information is calculated out using 10 servings as a guide. I hope this helps.

  19. Could you substitute canned beans? I have some on hand I'd like to use up.

    1. Hi Sylvia! Sorry this reply is a bit delayed but yes, you can use canned beans. Just adjust the cook time as needed and add them last. Cooked beans only need to be heated and not cooked.

  20. If I don't soak the beans over night is there an alternative? Either cook them longer in the crock pot or use canned beans?

    1. Hi Laura! Thanks for your question. Yes, you can follow the directions on the package of dry beans for a quicker method. Also, you can use canned beans. Just adjust the cook time and add them last.

    2. Can I use canned beans instead of dry

    3. Yes, you can use canned beans. Just adjust the cook time.

  21. I made this soup yesterday. It's absolutely delicious but I did add a couple additional items to the recipe. I added a couple diced potatoes and I had some kale in the fridge leftover from a soup that I made earlier in the week. I added about 2 cups of bite sized pieces towards the end of the cooking time and it was delicious. My husband loved it along with a batch of sweet cornbread.

    1. Thanks for your review! Great delicious additions! I love that you customized this recipe for your needs! Thanks for sharing!


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