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April 18, 2024

White Bean and Ham Soup

Made with dried white beans and a smoky ham hock, this hearty ham and bean soup recipe is rustic and warming, start-to-finish.

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a bowl of white bean and ham soup made with olive oil, onion, carrots, celery, garlic & spices topped with pepper & parsley
Photography by Gayle McLeod

A Hearty, Cozy Ham and Bean Soup Recipe

Simple and warming, with tender creamy White Beans and smoky ham hock this easy bean soup recipe is just so good. Ham hocks are available at the meat counter, but you could also use the ham hock leftover from a Honey Baked Ham. Basic ingredients yield big, cozy flavors here, as is the case with so many of our favorite soup recipes. You can keep this meal as simple as our bean and ham soup itself, served with a healthy Kale Salad or maybe a buttery Chive Biscuit on the side.

cannelini beans, ham, olive oil, onion, carrots, celery, garlic & spices in prep bowls to make white bean and ham soup

White Bean & Ham Soup Ingredients

  • Dried cannellini beans. Cannellini are our favorite, but Great Northern or navy beans would also work here.

  • Yellow onion

  • Carrots

  • Celery

  • Garlic

  • Fresh thyme

  • Oregano

  • Bay leaf

  • Smoked paprika

  • Ham hock. If there is not a lot of meat on your ham hock, add another cup of diced, cooked ham.

  • Chicken broth

  • Parsley

  • Salt & pepper

  • Olive oil

cannellini beans soaking in water in a large bowl
onion, celery and carrots being cooked in olive oil in a large pot
water and chicken broth being poured in a pot with onion, celery, carrots, spices, and ham hock
cannellini beans added to a pot with water, chicken broth, onion, celery, carrots  spices, and ham hock

How To Make Ham And Bean Soup

  1. The night before you make ham and bean soup, soak the dried white beans.

  2. Make the aromatic ham and bean soup base. Cook the onion, carrots, and celery with the garlic, thyme, oregano, bay leaf, smoked paprika, and ham hock in a large pot.

  3. Get brothy! Add 4 cups of water and 4 cups of chicken stock, as well as the soaked and drained beans and bring it to a boil.

  4. Simmer for a nice long time. We’re talking like an hour and a half! The ham hock and the white beans are going to work a little magic together now, where their flavors and textures will meld into a cohesive, almost creamy, smoky-savory soup that’ll change your understanding of how exciting and delicious a bean soup recipe can be. This long simmer time also gives the soup time to thicken from thin and brothy into a rich, creamy, stewy soup. No watery bean soups, please!

  5. Pull the ham off the bone and use your trusty sharp knife to cut into bite sized pieces. Add them to the pot along with a bit more broth. Simmer for a few more minutes.

  6. Serve! Ladle into big, generous bowls and dig in.

a cooked ham hock being cut into bite sized pieces
chicken broth and parsley being added to a pot of white bean and ham soup

How To Freeze Ham And Bean Soup + Tips

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. They’ll reheat beautifully and taste delicious.

  • This ham and bean soup recipe freezes well! Just cool the soup completely, and then store it in freezer-safe containers that are clearly labeled with the “made on” date. It should keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

  • While canned beans are a wonderful pantry item to have on hand, for this ham and bean soup, we really recommend using dried. In this case, starting with dried beans yields a much better texture and helps give this soup a lovely creaminess.

a pot of homemade white bean and ham soup with a ladle scooping some out
a bowl of white bean and ham soup made with olive oil, onion, carrots, celery, garlic & spices topped with pepper & parsley

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White Bean and Ham Soup

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  15 min
  • Cook Time:  2 hrs 30 min
  • Calories: 324

Video

Ingredients

  • ¾ pound dried cannellini beans
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch half-moons
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 large ham hock or 1 cup diced cooked ham (see Note)
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • ⅓ cup minced fresh flat leaf parsley, plus more for serving

Method

  1. Place the beans in a large bowl, cover with 3 inches of water and soak for 8 hours and up to overnight. Drain and rinse well.

    cannellini beans soaking in water in a large bowl
  2. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is glistening, add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring often, until softened 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic, thyme, oregano, bay leaf, smoked paprika, ham hock, 4 cups of water and 4 cups of the chicken stock.

    onion, celery and carrots being cooked in olive oil in a large pot
  3. Add the drained beans to the pot. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the mixture begins to foam, about 30 minutes. Skim the foam off the top, then stir in the salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, adding more water as needed, about 1½ hours.

    chicken broth and parsley being added to a pot of white bean and ham soup
  4. Transfer the ham hock to a cutting board or plate. Pull the ham off the bone and cut into bite sized pieces (you should have 1-2 cups). Return the ham to the pot before discarding the bone. Add the remaining chicken stock and parsley. Simmer until the stock is warmed through, about 10 minutes.

    a cooked ham hock being cut into bite sized pieces
  5. Serve topped with freshly cracked black pepper and parsley.

    a bowl of white bean and ham soup made with olive oil, onion, carrots, celery, garlic & spices topped with pepper & parsley

Notes

If using a ham hock that doesn't have a lot of meat on it, plan to use 1 cup of diced cooked ham as a substitute. A large ham hock will typically have 1-2 cups of ham on it, that will be shredded and returned to the soup.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories324
  • Protein21 g
  • Carbohydrates41 g
  • Total Fat10 g
  • Dietary Fiber7 g
  • Cholesterol21 mg
  • sodium988 mg
  • Total Sugars3 g

White Bean and Ham Soup

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

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  • Corinne

    I couldn’t find a ham hock so bought a bone in ham steak that I’ll dice up instead. Should I add the bone into the soup? Also, at what point should I add the diced ham?

    If you cook it ahead of time you can add the ham in step 4. Hope you enjoy!

  • Sidney

    Hi! Our stores don’t carry dried cannellini beans, only dried great northern white beans. Is that an ok substitution?

    That will be totally fine! Hope you enjoy!

  • Mackenzie

    Could you use canned cannellini beans if you don’t have time to soak beans? I’m thinking 2 cans and add them an hour into cooking ham. Thanks for your help. Found you on TikTok and making two recipes this week.

    Hi Mackenzie, that should work fine! The beans just need to heat through if you're using canned so that should be plenty of time. We are excited you found us, hope you love the recipes!

  • Roger

    This soup was AMAZING. I doubled the recipe because it sounded so delicious. And…… I was not disappointed. Thank you for this easy, delightful recipe.

    Thanks Roger, we are so happy you loved it!

  • JPrince

    This Soup is delicious! I could not find smoked ham hocks but did find a smoked turkey leg - worked like a charm!

    Thanks, so glad you love it!

  • Sarah

    I made this soup for dinner last week and it was a hit. It came together so quickly but I did use canned beans and chopped ham (couldn't find a hock). I also added some fresh spinach for a pop of color. The leftovers just got better with time.

    Thanks Sarah, so happy you love it!

  • Tess

    I made this soup and we’re eating it right now for dinner. My husband and I love it. It’s a large batch for the 2 of us but we’re freezing some for a rainy day and having some again tomorrow. It’s easy to make, nice seasonings- not too salty. I plan to make this recipe again sometime.

    Thanks Tess! We are so happy you both loved it!

  • Keri

    This soup was delicious! Cozy, warm and nutritious! We ate the leftovers as a side with bbq!

    Thanks Keri, glad you loved it!