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ham and bean soup in a white bowl

Ham and Bean Soup

Ham and Bean soup is the best way to use up leftover ham!  This savory, flavor packed soup can be made easily on the stove top, instant pot, or in your slow cooker!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 320kcal
Author Nichole


  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Large Yellow Onion Diced
  • 1 Ham Bone, SEE NOTE
  • 4 Cloves Garlic Minced
  • 9 Cups Water, SEE NOTE
  • 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon Rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1-2 Cups Leftover Chopped Ham
  • 3 Cans White Beans, drained and rinsed OR 1 Pound Dried White Beans, SEE NOTE



  • Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat.
  • Add in the diced onion, ham bone if using, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally for 3-4 minutes until onion is soft.
  • Pour about 1/4 cup of water into the pot and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the remaining water, brown sugar, bay leaves, thyme, sage, rosemary, and paprika to the pot and stir. At this point if you are not using a ham bone, add in the 2 cups of chopped ham as well. If using dried beans, add them to the pot now. If using canned beans, do not add them yet.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Once the 60 minutes is up, discard the ham bone if using. If you haven't yet, add in your chopped ham, and if using canned beans, add them to the soup now. Simmer over low heat for 20 more minutes until beans are soft.


  • Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat.
  • Cook the onion and garlic, stirring occasionally for 3-4 minutes until soft.
  • Pour the onion and garlic mixture into the bottom of a 6 quart or larger slow cooker. Add in the remaining ingredients, including dried beans if using. If using canned beans, do not add them yet.
  • Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours until beans are tender.
  • If using canned beans, add them to the slow cooker during the last 30 minutes of cooking time.
  • Remove the ham bone before serving.


  • Heat the olive oil and butter in the bottom of your instant pot insert on saute mode.
  • Add the diced onion and ham bone and cook, stirring occasionally just until soft. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.
  • Turn the pot off. Add in all remaining ingredients and cook on SOUP setting for 30 minutes if using dried beans and for 20 minutes if using canned beans.
  • Once the cooking time is up, allow the pot to come to pressure naturally for 10 minutes, then do a quick release.
  • Discard the ham bone if using before serving.


NOTE ON THE HAM BONE:  The ham bone is optional in this recipe.  If not using, I recommend replacing 3 Cups of the water with vegetable or chicken broth for more flavor.
NOTE ON BEANS:  Any type of white beans such as Great Northern, Cannellini, or Navy will work in this recipe.  If using dried beans, make sure to soak them according to package directions before making this recipe.
NOTE ON THICKENING:  If you find that you want your soup thicker, you can simply use a potato masher to mash up some of the cooked beans, then stir the soup well to combine.  If you like a thinner soup, you can add more water.


Serving: 1.5Cups | Calories: 320kcal