Classic Ham & Bean Soup

Classic Ham & Bean Soup. White beans & ham simmered w/onions, carrots, seasonings and a few secret ingredients until magic happens. Soups on folks! Simply Sated

Classic Ham & Bean Soup must have super powers. Even though it has no arms, it hugs me just like the Boy in Margery Williams’ The Velveteen Rabbit hugs his favorite bunny.

Classic Ham & Bean Soup. White beans & ham simmered w/onions, carrots, seasonings and a few secret ingredients until magic happens. Soups on folks! Simply Sated

I just ate a bowl full of this deliciousness and feel so darn cozy, warm & snuggly right now. I love it and especially love it served over a thick slice of skillet cornbread.



Classic Ham & Bean Soup. White beans & ham simmered w/onions, carrots, seasonings and a few secret ingredients until magic happens. Soups on folks! Simply Sated

That’s what I’m talkin’ about!!

The main reason Classic Ham & Bean Soup affects me so strongly is it reminds me of my dad. My dad made the best Navy Beans & Ham (dad used navy beans). Every time I make bean soup, I picture Dad standing in the kitchen, lifting the ham bone out of the huge soup pot and picking the juicy meat off the bone. I see him tasting it, choosing the perfect seasonings and sprinkling to his heart’s content. He never followed a recipe – he followed his senses and always got it just right. Sadly, I never took notes or watched him as closely as I should have, but I think he would be proud of my efforts.


Classic Ham & Bean Soup. White beans & ham simmered w/onions, carrots, seasonings and a few secret ingredients until magic happens. Soups on folks! Simply Sated

Classic Ham & Bean Soup is an ultimate comfort food for me.   It reminds me of home. It reminds me of my dad.

Classic Ham & Bean Soup. White beans & ham simmered w/onions, carrots, seasonings and a few secret ingredients until magic happens. Soups on folks! Simply Sated


Two of my other favorite Simply Sated bean recipes are White Chicken Chili  and Apple Brown Sugar Baked Beans.

Classic Ham & Bean Soup. White beans & ham simmered w/onions, carrots, seasonings and a few secret ingredients until magic happens. Soups on folks! Simply Sated
4.14 from 166 votes

Classic Ham & Bean Soup

White beans & ham simmered w/onions, carrots, celery, seasonings and a few secret ingredients until magic happens.
Course Entree, Soup
Prep Time 3 hours
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 5 hours
Servings 6 -8
Author Susie Gall


  • *NOTE: Do NOT add salt until soup has cooked for an hour. Taste and add salt if needed.
  • 1 lb Great Northern Beans Navy or Cannellini beans can be substituted
  • Water to cover beans while soaking
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 1-2 lb ham hock or ham bone
  • 1-2 lb ham shank
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 sweet yellow onion peeled & diced
  • 5 carrots peeled cut into 1/8” slices
  • 2 stalks celery cut into 1/8” slices (optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried Parisien Herb or dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1-2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt possibly, but taste first
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4-6 bacon strips
  • Hot sauce - optional
  • Garnish: Chopped parsley or cilantro
  • Corn bread for serving


  1. Rinse beans (remove any that are discolored). Fill a large pot half full with water and bring the water to a boil. Remove water from heat and add the beans. Place the lid on the pot and allow the beans to soak 2 hours, then drain the water.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil & 2 tablespoons butter in Dutch oven or soup pot.
  3. Add carrots, onions and celery and sauté until tender.
  4. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds more.
  5. Add all soup ingredients except the beans to the vegetables and bring to a boil, then reduce temperature to LOW and simmer 1 hour. Stir periodically.
  6. Add the beans to the soup. Bring to a boil, then reduce temperature to LOW and simmer 2 hours or until the meat begins to fall away from the bones. Stir periodically.

  7. Remove the meat from the bones then place the meat back in the bean pot. Discard the bones.
  8. When ready to serve, remove bacon strips and bay leaves.
  9. If desired, add a dash or two of hot sauce.
  10. Serve with corn bread and garnish with fresh cilantro or parsley.
  11. Enjoy!

Classic Ham & Bean Soup. White beans & ham simmered w/onions, carrots, seasonings and a few secret ingredients until magic happens. Soups on folks! Simply Sated

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    This is so one of my very favorite foods plus the bonus corn bread. This looks so good to eat I can hardly wait to make it. Thank you for putting it on your blog...oh YUM!
      It's something I'm looking forward to making. It looks so delish. And the cornbread tops it off

    Looks awesome! Planning on making it on Saturday. A sophisticated version from what I grew up with. One question--do I cook the bacon first? And then I take it out before serving? Thanks!
      Greg Hadel
      The BEST bean soup I've had! Awesome recipe & east & fast to make. Except I didn't use the bacon; You'll love it Greg

      J. GRECO
      Do I cook bacon First? Or place uncooked bacon in pot with veggies n Stock? Thank you.
        Susie Gall
        Very good question, do not cook the bacon before adding it to the soup. I add the bacon to add the bacon fat and flavor to the soup, and the bacon strips are removed before eating. Thanks so much.
    I'm making it now. I assume the bacon will cook in the two hour period. So I just put it in raw. :) it's for flavor anyway. So I guess if you're gonna leave it in to eat I'd cook first and add as a topping?

    Very good, thanks for sharing. A little too much pepper for our taste, though.

    Randolph Nelson
    This was a GREAT recipe!!! Didn't feel the need to add the bacon...had plenty enough very well seasoned ham. I added a little red pepper flakes for a mild heat and made jalapeno cornbread to accompany. Can't wait until we have leftover ham again.

    Omg! I am literally going to grab my purse and go to the grocery store right now because of this recipe. Gosh, I sure hope that I can make it as delicious as yours looks and sounded. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Really delicious- this will always be my go to recipe for ham and bean soup
    I have made this several times and it's delicious. I make a Smithfield Brown Sugar Spiral Ham and this is always made next day. I use the bone and the leftover ham and it comes out FANTASTIC! I make it as listed, but I don't add celery (yuck!). Thank you for the recipe.

    Jen G
    Just made this...perfect for a cold, rainy day and the best way to use leftover ham and the bone. Great seasonings. Thanks for a great recipe!
    Dads are the best. Thinking of him as the soup steeps. Your message with recipe meant much. Many thx
    Sonia Jenner
    You can take a short cut with the beans, most stores carry them already cooked , they are sold in a jar--saves so much time and you are assured the beans will be soft which doesn't always happen with my hard water. The soup tastes the same as tho you started with dry beans

      Hi Sonja, I have hard water too. The answer is: Don't add salt or tomatoes till the beans are tender
    LM Dea
    Dear Ms. Susie Gall - This is THE BEST Bean and Ham Soup I've ever made! And I grew up with beans, beans, beans. Flavors in your soup are rich and complex. All the spices! My small changes were using the soak water for part of the water, Rancho Gordo yellow eye beans, my sister-in-law's own Chinese chicken broth, about one quarter of the black pepper (would use less next time), and no bacon (I didn't have any). We had it with cilantro and added sautéed mustard greens. !Que sabroso!
    I made this today and it was absolutely delicious! My mom used to make ham and bean soup but not quite as flavorful. I definitely recommend this recipe.

    Best ham & bean soup I've ever made. I didn't use the bacon. I also substituted Spanish paprika and ¼ t Liquid Smoke for the smoked paprika.

    Wow! Amazingly delicious! A++ Thank you for then recipe. This one is definitely a keeper.
    I made this today, and at the school pick up I joked with one Mum "this takes me back to my childhood. The kids are going to hate it" ....but when it came time for dinner, my eldest boy (7) asked for seconds, and the youngest boy (4) cheered when I said there was enough for dinner the next evening. I made home-made wholemeal bread rolls with it which also went down a treat.

    Sharon Evans
    Can you freeze bean soup once its done??????
      Susie Gall
      Yes, the soup can be frozen and I have done so many times. I do notice a slight change of texture in the beans, but it is so slight it doesn't bother me. I would say the soup is best when eaten fresh, but it is still delicious after freezing (if that makes any sense). Thanks so much for dropping by.
    Jackie Huffman
    I have not been able to print this recipe. Do you know why?
      Susie Gall
      No, I don't know why you are unable to print the recipe. I tested it a few minutes ago, and it worked well. Good luck, I hope you get things figured out.
    Jackie Huffman
    are chicken stock and water considered when it says to add vegetable ingredients?
      Susie Gall
      Hello Jackie, add chicken stock and water where the recipe says, "Add all soup ingredients except the beans..." Thanks for visiting Simply Sated. I hope you enjoy the soup.
    I made this soup just the way you have it !!!! Complaiments for days !! This was my first time . I think your dad would be proud !! Happy New Year !!

    Karen Nimietz
    Love this soup! You have to make it using the ham bone though otherwise the real flavor just isn't there. My husband claims it's the best I ever made.

    Debbie Luedtke

    This recipe looks delicious, and I'm making it now. I do have one suggestion though, even at this early stage in cooking. The recipe ingredients aren't in order of when they're used. A recipe is much easier to follow if the ingredients are in order of use.

      Susie Gall
      Hello Georgia, Thank you for letting me know. I do try to do that with all my new recipes, but have neglected to revise my older recipes. I do appreciate you your input, and I totally agree with you. I will correct the recipe soon. Thanks!!
    Is the soup ruined if I added salt in the beginning? Is there anything I can do?
      Susie Gall
      Hello Danielle, please forgive me for not responding more quickly. As far as the salt is concerned, it depends how much salt was initially added. If you added one teaspoon or less, the soup should be okay. If more, you won't know until the soup is made and cooks for awhile before knowing if it is too salty. If the soup is too salty, my one recommendation is to double the recipe, but don't add anymore salt until after cooking both batches and combining them into one pot. If you need to make a double recipe, it will be good to know the soup freezes beautifully. Good luck and thanks for stopping by Simply Sated.
    Leta Bez-Wogen
    Best ham and bean soup ever. The blend of herbs really brought it alive.

      Susie Gall
      Hello Lisa, You are absolutely correct, and I appreciate you letting me know. I have corrected the recipe. The beans need to be drained only once. Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Simply Sated, and thank you for letting me know my error. Susie Gall | Simply Sated
    okay I reread the instructions. i understand. duh. never mind previous message. can't wait till it is done
      Susie Gall
      No problem, Lisa, I actually think the recipe needed clarification, but maybe I read it wrong. hahaha. Please let me know how it turns out for you.
    OMG! Make this now! Sooo good. I left ouT bacOn and used half smoked paparika, half regular paprika and it was perfection!! Thank you! The whole family loved it. Ive searched for a good ham and beans Recipe and none of them even sounded right to make. Search no more, this is the one! Also, do Follow the advice of noT adding salt UNtil the end. ThankS, again!!
      Susie Gall
      Thank you - it was so sweet of you to take the time to comment.
    Just finished putting it all together, waiting for the end results...looks delishes..will let you know when its done...canT wait to taste it..thanks foR the recipe...
    I love this soup. 2 comments. Watch the meat tgat goes in. Like the note says, tou may not need any sale. I “mash” some of cooked beans to make the siuo thicker.

    Mary Waybright
    This bean soup is the bedt ive ever had. The smoked paprika and fresh gsrlic set is apary from other recipes. Is therw a crock pot method As an alternative to stove top?
    Hi Do you soak the beans over night first?
      Susie Gall
      Hello Michele. Although beans can be soaked overnight, it isn't necessary with Great Northern, Cannellini or Navy Beans. It is necessary, as stated in Instruction #1, to let them soak, covered, in a large pot of water that has been brought to a boil. Thank you for taking the time to ask and I hope you enjoy the soup. Have a terrific day.
    I made this recipe this weekend and it turned out really good! My husband doesn’t care for garlic, so i just used a little garlic powder instead of the 3 cloves. Also, since my smokey ham bone was so large and meaty i didn’t feel the need to add bacon. I had some leftovers of a really great soup for later too! Thanks for sharing.

    This was so good! this will be my go to recipe!

    Orange Creamsicle Granita-made w/freshly squeezed orange juice, a touch of sugar & vanilla ice cream. It's even better than an ice cream truck Creamsicle. Simply Sated

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