This ham and white bean soup recipe is hearty, uses pantry staples, and is as simple and quick as it gets to make on the stovetop! It's the best way to use up leftover ham.
I think you'll also enjoy my Ham and Potato Soup or Lemon Chicken White Bean Soup next.
Why you'll love it
This ham and bean soup with canned beans is one of my favorite leftover ham recipes since it's super easy to throw together in no time. One pot, mostly hands-off, a few pantry ingredients, and you're good to go. It's also one of those cozy soups that gets better the longer you leave it. The flavors intensify, and it's even more tasty over time.
You don't even need to use leftover ham for this one and can just buy a piece from any grocery store deli counter, but if you've roasted one for Christmas or Easter, this is a great way to enjoy those leftovers if you're tired of sandwiches. Ok, grilled cheese and ham sandwiches are good, but this leftover ham soup is a little healthier than that. 😉
What you'll need
- Olive oil - for sautéing
- Onion, carrot, celery - a classic flavorful aromatic base for many soups. I like sweet (Vidalia) onion best, but yellow is fine.
- Garlic - use even more than suggested if you're a garlic lover. I like to mince it with a garlic press so there's no peeling or chopping needed.
- Italian seasoning - it's a versatile blend of dried herbs that comes in a single inexpensive jar. I use it to boost so many of my recipes.
- Smoked paprika - this sets it apart from other ham and bean soup recipes you may have tried! It infuses the broth with a delicate smoky, rich quality.
- Chicken broth - to add another layer of flavor. You can use low sodium instead if salt is a concern.
- Ham - I diced up leftover cooked ham for convenience
- White beans - a couple of cans of white kidney beans aka cannellini are always in my pantry to add more protein and creamy, nutty flavor to this soup
Do I need to use canned white beans?
- You can use whatever canned white beans that you've got on hand; e.g. great northern or navy beans instead of cannellini. It's a versatile recipe. For those who are curious, here's a guide to the different varieties of white beans. They're all pretty interchangeable in this soup.
- If you want to use dried beans, soak them overnight. Just cover them in water then rinse them off before adding them to the soup.
How to make ham and bean soup
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil and sauté the onions, celery, and carrots until lightly browned and softened. Stir in the garlic, and cook for 30 seconds.
Pour in the broth, and add the rest of the ingredients apart from the salt & pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes. Give it a taste, then season more if needed (but ham often has enough salt). Mash with a handheld masher or immersion blender if you want a thicker texture.
Can I make it in my Crockpot or Instant Pot?
- We like this ham and bean soup best on the stovetop, but for the slow cooker try 8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.
- In the Instant Pot, do 10 minutes on high pressure with a natural release.
Substitutions and variations
- Try swapping the Italian seasoning for 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme if you prefer, or use a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme. You could also throw a bay leaf or two in here for extra flavor.
- If you're sensitive to salt, use low sodium chicken broth or just water. Ham can be quite salty, so wait until the end and taste before adding any extra salt to this recipe.
- You can definitely throw a ham bone in here! That'll make it taste even better. Or use a ham hock.
What to serve with ham and bean soup
- I like to add a bit of chopped parsley for a little pop of freshness and contrast, but that's totally optional.
- For a soup and salad combo, I recommend mixed greens with my Homemade Ranch Dressing, or you could try this creative Winter Brussels Sprouts Slaw to change it up.
- A big slice of crusty buttered bread, cornbread, or Cheesy Garlic Bread are other comforting options.
Leftovers and storage
- Store leftover ham and bean soup in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.
- This soup freezes well. I like to keep it in individual containers for up to 3 months.
- Reheat on the stove over a low heat until warmed through, or microwave in short intervals.
Hope you enjoy this white bean and ham soup recipe! If the post didn't answer your questions, talk to me in the comments below or leave a review if you made it. You can also find me on Instagram.
Easy Ham and Bean Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion chopped finely
- 1 large carrot peeled & chopped small
- 3 sticks celery chopped small
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups cooked ham chopped (or more to taste)
- 2 (14 fluid ounce) cans white beans drained
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large soup pot. Sauté the onions, carrot, and celery for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally (a little browning is good).
- Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Add the Italian seasoning, smoked paprika, chicken broth, water, ham, and white beans to the pot. Increase the heat to high and bring it to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to medium (or medium low if it's bubbling too much), cover the pot with the lid slightly ajar, and let the soup simmer for 20-25 minutes (the flavor will intensify the longer you cook it so feel free to cook it for a bit longer).
- Season with salt & pepper to taste. Ham can be quite salty, so be sure to add salt after it's cooked if you think it needs it. Optional: Take a potato masher and mash some of the beans right in the pot to create a slightly thicker texture or pulse an immersion blender a few times.
- Use low-sodium chicken broth if sensitive to salt.
- Crockpot method: try 8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.
- Instant Pot method: try 10 minutes on high pressure with a natural release.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
This recipe was originally published on December 19, 2017. It's been tweaked to be even easier, tastier, and has new photos!
We discovered this recipe on Pinterest and I'm so glad we did. We are using up leftover ham and it was perfect for a chilly day. I added some cooked pasta at the end. I will definitely be making this again.
Candie Jensen says
This was delicious! I added bacon to it ❤️
I come back to this often when I have leftover ham! It's a huge hit, even with my picky eaters!! Thanks for the great recipe
That's great!! Thank you!!
Dana Milano says
This soup came out excellent. Only change was I didn’t add ham , kept it ( no meat) . Added fresh spinach and crusty bread to soup. Awesome! I will be making this again
That's great to hear!
I made this in my instant pot, browned the veggies , then the diced ham with the spices & garlic paste that I’m never without doubled the amount of great northern beans, love the recipe the Mr also liked a lot he said you can make this anytime, 15 minutes in the instant pot done 10 minutes NR. THANK YOU for this quick easy bean soup recipe 🙂
Love that! Thanks for your review, Eileen! 🙂
JANICE S MITCHUM says
This recipe turned out so flavorful even though all I had was about 1/3 of a pound of Italian sausage. I have been making soup for years and have done pretty well with that, but something about this recipe worked out perfectly.
Thank you from cold and snowy Ruidoso, New Mexico,
I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Janice!! 🙂 Thanks for your review, and stay warm!
Greg Divine says
Made this for dinner tonight and everyone loved it ! What’s not to love ? Beans , ham , veggies and all seasoned wonderfully. I’ll sure be making this one again . A definite keeper I’d say . On a colder winter night it’s a comforting bowl of delicious but it would be equally as good any time of year. Thanks for sharing the recipe with us.
I'm so happy to hear it!! 🙂 Thanks for your review, Greg!
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
Excellent! So glad you liked it, Susie.
So good!!! This recipe is a keeper 😁
Thank you so much! 😀
This is a delicious soup! I added chickpeas to make it heartier. I'll definitely make it again. Thank you!
Yay! You're welcome!
Claudia Haviland says
Really good recipe. Definitely a keeper. I cut it in half, but will get four servings out of it, I did not have Italian seasoning on hand, and so I substituted dried thyme as suggested. I also used up some of my dehydrated onions, carrots, and celery to rotate them out. I served it with homemade cornbread. It was perfect for a very cold day in the mountains.
I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Claudia!!
Jan A. says
I cooked the easy recipe for ham and beans soup with the hambone from Easter today..
My husband and daughter kept saying how much they liked it. I will definitely make this again. It was delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe.
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
You're very welcome, Jan! Thrilled everyone enjoyed it.
I made this soup for my family. They said it was good! I have to take their word for it because I'm a vegetarian. Haha! Double the recipe if you're feeding a lot of people.
I'm so glad it was enjoyed! 😀
Beth P says
Very tasty. All the vegetables already chopped along with the ham makes this dish so easy to prepare. Will be making this a lot after holiday dinners with ham leftovers.
I'm so happy you enjoyed it!! 🙂
Thank you for this recipe! Easy and delicious! I did add some corn as did not have celery on hand! Made dumplings for top of soup! Delish!
You're very welcome! Love the dumplings idea. Thanks, Judi! 🙂
Tina Geane says
Hi Natasha this soup looks so good! I had the idea & looked up White bean & Ham soup and I found yours. I have a bone ham & I'm making broth by simmering the bone with spices & garlic, onion,carrots & I soaked white beans over night. I'm thinking maybe I will need some can broth sodium free, I'm also thinking a bit of leeks. Definitely gonna mash, puree whatever some b3ans I don't have a immersion blender but I have regular blender or masher. Thanks for the recipe!
You're very welcome!! 🙂
Very good recipe. Added a couple cups of chopped cabbage to make a complete meal.
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
Awesome! So glad you enjoyed it, Dawn 🙂
Made for dinner this evening. Wow! And, it will probably be even better tomorrow. Made cornbread muffins. Great combo. Added extra carrots and fresh Rosemary to the soup. Thanks to reviews, I used low sodium broth. Healthy, filling, and delicious. Thank you!
I'm so pleased you enjoyed it, Mandi!
Maureen Kelly says
Your picture of soup looks creamy and delicious. Is there something missing? Mine looks like chicken soup with white beans and ham
Hi Maureen! So, I believe I blended a bit of it with an immersion blender as I suggest doing in step 4. It's definitely not a thick soup, but that does add a little more texture to the broth.
I initially missed that step too 😉 Delicious!
I made this soup accordingly to the directions. It was very salty. I will try again.does anyone have any ideas for a low salt ham slice?
Don’t add salt or use salty broth, ham is already salty.
Made this last night and it was sooo good!
Fantastic!! Thank you, Angie!!
I made this yesterday in the slow cooker because I work from home and love how the house smells so good while soup is cooking! This was really easy to make. I bought a hickory smoked ham steak which we really liked. I added more veggies and spices. The water/chicken broth ratio was perfect. Mashed 1/2 can of the beans to make the soup creamier. Love that trick!
I will definitely be making this one again!
Wonderful!! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. 🙂
Caroline Brissette says
This soup was delicous! I pulsed an immersion blender a few times and it made it creamy. I will definitely do it again, great recipe! 🙂
Fantastic!! I'm so happy you enjoyed it. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Caroline. 🙂
I made this over the weekend and loved it! Easy to follow recipe and it came out delicious! I couldn't decide on a bean, so I made ham & 3 bean soup - with navy, great northern, and pinto beans. I had fresh rosemary & thyme, so I added them in with some oregano. Yum!
Excellent... I am so happy you enjoyed it. Love the 3 bean idea!
Vivian Johnson-Nuckols says
Yummy soup and super fast to make!
So glad you liked it!
If you want the soup to be a little creamier, put 1-1/2 cans of the drained beans in the soup and mash the rest of them before adding to the soup. It adds a creamier touch without any dairy. I also add a tiny touch of fresh thyme or oregano to the soup just before serving.
Ben Myhre says
I like desserts. There really isn't much in terms of food that I don't like, but I am with you on the savory. I would much rather have a stewing pot of knoephla soup on the stove top or a big fat steak than a pie hanging around. And in terms of baking, I am pretty limited on the amount of Christmas treat cooking I do around here. I already have to be a little careful that I don't balloon up to to the size of Fat Bastard and 15000 calories just laying around my house would not help.
This soup looks perfect!
Hahha I'm totally with ya, Ben. Especially on the steak front. I have one a week as my big treat!