Easy Ham and Bean Soup Recipe

Yields: 6-8 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30-45 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or substitute a sprig of fresh thyme)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound cooked ham, cubed (leftover holiday ham, ham steak, or deli ham works!)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt to taste (optional)
  • Fresh parsley for garnish (optional)


  • Prep the aromatics: In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5-7 minutes, or until softened.
  • Enhance the flavor: Add the minced garlic, thyme, and black pepper. Cook for an additional 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
  • Incorporate the stars: Add the cubed ham, both cans of beans (drained and rinsed), and the chicken or vegetable broth. Stir well to combine ingredients.
  • Simmer and season: Add the bay leaf and bring the soup to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the flavors have melded. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt if needed. Important: If using salty ham, you may not need additional salt.
  • Finish and serve: Remove bay leaf. Garnish with chopped parsley if desired. Serve hot with a side of crusty bread for dipping.

Tips & Variations:

  • Ham choices: Use your favorite type of ham. Smoked ham adds a lovely depth of flavor.
  • Make it a meal: Add potatoes or pasta for a heartier soup.
  • Spice it up: Like it hotter? Add a pinch of red pepper flakes or some hot sauce.
  • Different beans: Experiment with other white beans like navy beans or pinto beans.
  • Vegetarian: Omit the ham and use vegetable broth for a hearty vegetarian option.
  • Slow cooker: Adapt for your slow cooker – saute the vegetables first, then add everything to the crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

Enjoy this super simple and satisfying soup!


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