Ham And Bean Soup Recipe

When you think comfort food, your mind probably wanders to grilled cheese, mac n' cheese, pizza, or maybe even a creamy casserole. However, after you make this fast and filling ham and bean soup, we're pretty sure it's going to redefine comfort food for you. It's actually healthy and full of fresh flavors, yet its extremely hearty and warms you right down to your soul — just as any good comfort food should.

All you need is 20 minutes on a weeknight to whip this ham and bean soup together, and then you can sit back with a glass of wine (or do chores, homework, etc.) and wait while your house begins to smell of savory goodness. Seriously, just leaving this soup on simmer is basically all you need to do!

Though it can easily be made with leftover ham from any holiday feast, Chef Tara Rylie of RylieCakes walks us through how to make this recipe any time of the year with a ham hock — a constantly overlooked, dirt-cheap cut of meat!

Gather you ingredients for this ham and bean soup

The best part about this ham and bean soup is that it utilizes many pantry staples, and there are even a few easy substitutions. If you don't have canned tomatoes, you can always use fresh. Navy, lima, or cannellini beans can be subbed for the Great Northern beans. And of course, you can always use dried rosemary if fresh isn't an option.

The humble ham hock can be found at most grocery stores, even though it's not often sought after. If you can't find it at your regular grocery store, most butchers carry ham hocks on stock for low prices.

Sauté the onions

To start your ham and bean soup, you'll heat up both the olive oil and butter over low heat in a Dutch oven or stockpot. The reason we use both butter and olive oil here is because we want the flavor of butter, but the olive oil allows us to cook at a higher temperature. Once your butter is melted, increase your heat to medium and add your chopped onions. Sprinkle the onions with salt to help them sweat. The salt draws out extra moisture in the onions, helping them cook faster and brown better.

Add your spice and simmer your soup

Next, add the garlic, oregano, black pepper, and red pepper flakes to your ham and bean soup and continue to sauté the onions with the spices until they start to turn golden brown and the spices become fragrant. By adding your spices now rather than later, you'll get really nice, blended flavors throughout. 

Add your ham hock to the pot and cover with your chicken broth and water. Add both bay leaves and rosemary sprigs, and increase the heat to high. Let your soup boil for just 2 minutes, then reduce the heat to low, cover your pot, and let your soup simmer for an hour.

Keeping this ham and bean soup easy

Many ham and bean soups cook for 6-8 hours, in large part because they use dried beans. Though you can always sub dried beans for canned or vice versa, we chose to use canned beans here to make this soup accessible any night of the week!

After an hour of simmering, remove the lid and give your soup a taste test. Season it further if needed. Ham hocks are naturally salty, which is why we chose not to add any earlier. However, if your soup needs salt, add some here. Then, add your canned beans and tomatoes and let your soup simmer another 30 minutes.

This ham and bean soup is all about the ham hock

While your ham and bean soup is in its final simmer, remove the ham hock from the pot and begin to cut off the meat. As ham hocks cook, its fat dissolves into the soup, adding a super savory, smokey, and salty taste to the soup. Additionally, the meat loosens up while cooking and practically falls off the bone at this point. Go ahead and add all the ham hock meat back to the soup and toss the bone.

Serve your soup

Serve your ham and bean soup hot, and top it off with fresh parsley, if desired. If you have any leftovers, let them cool to room temperature before portioning it into airtight containers. Store the leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. This soups tastes just as good the next day, so you can definitely plan on taking some for lunch or eating it again for dinner.

Ham And Bean Soup Recipe
5 from 24 ratings
All you need is twenty minutes on a weeknight to whip this ham and bean soup together, and then you can sit back with a glass of wine and wait.
Prep Time
Cook Time
hot bowl of ham and bean soup
Total time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium/large onion, medium diced
  • 4 large, fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1-½ pounds ham hock
  • 4 cups (32 ounces) chicken broth
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 large rosemary sprigs
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans great northern beans, drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • Handful of parsley, chopped for topping
  1. In a medium stockpot or Dutch oven, heat up olive oil and butter over low heat.
  2. Once butter is melted, increase heat to medium and add onions. Sprinkle with salt and cook until translucent.
  3. Add garlic, oregano, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Continue to cook onions until they start to turn golden brown and spices become fragrant — this should only take a few minutes.
  4. Add the ham hock to pot and cover with chicken broth and water. Add bay leaves and rosemary sprigs. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Let boil for two minutes, then reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer for one hour.
  5. After one hour, remove lid and taste test. Season further if needed, most likely by adding a teaspoon or two of salt.
  6. Add beans and diced tomatoes to soup. Simmer on low for 30 more minutes.
  7. While soup is simmering, remove ham hock and slice off all meat from bone. Add back to soup and discard bone.
  8. Serve hot topped with fresh parsley. Let leftovers cool to room temperature, and then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Calories per Serving 485
Total Fat 18.1 g
Saturated Fat 5.9 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 78.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 42.4 g
Dietary Fiber 9.3 g
Total Sugars 7.4 g
Sodium 1,679.4 mg
Protein 40.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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