Chunky Ham and Bean Soup

Soup season is already on its way out, but I couldn’t resist one more warm and cozy pot of goodness. For this super easy and deliciously chunky Ham and Bean Soup I took cue from my easy Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup and used a puréed can of beans to thicken the pot, combined that with some chunky and colorful vegetables and a handful of diced ham to round out this meal in a bowl. This is also a great use for your leftover holiday ham, so bookmark this recipe for Easter next month!

Thick & Chunky Ham and Bean Soup

Two bowls of chunky ham and bean soup with torn chunks of bread on the side

What Kind of Beans Should I Use?

I used cannellini beans for this soup because I love their large shape and creamy texture. You can also use a different type of white beans, like navy beans or great northern beans. 

Can I Use Dry Beans?

This recipe is written specifically for canned beans. Using dry beans would require different methods and different amounts of liquids and seasoning, so I would need to develop and test a recipe specifically for dry beans before providing instructions.

What Kind of Ham Can I Use?

You can use virtually any cooked ham. The ham I used is an uncured, fully cooked, thick sliced ham. If using pre-sliced ham, a thicker slice works a little better than thin sandwich slices, which won’t give much texture to the soup. If you have leftover cooked ham from Easter or any other holiday, that can also be used in this recipe.

Can I Freeze Ham and Bean Soup?

Yes, this soup is a great candidate for freezing! Simply chill the soup completely in the refrigerator overnight before transferring to the freezer for long term storage (about 3 months). I prefer to divide my soup into single servings before freezing, so they can be reheated as needed and in the amount needed. Quart-sized freezer bags are great for freezing soup, as are the small blue-top Ziploc food storage containers.

Close up front view of a bowl full of chunky ham and bean soup with a spoon lifting some and a chunk of bread in the side of the bowl.


Two bowls of chunky ham and bean soup with chunks of bread on the side
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4.8 from 10 votes

Chunky Ham and Bean Soup

This incredibly easy and deliciously chunky Ham and Bean Soup features a medley of colorful vegetables, browned ham, and plenty of hearty white beans.
Total Cost: $6.70 recipe / $1.68 serving
Author: Beth - Budget Bytes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Servings: 4 1.5 cups each

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
  • 3 carrots ($0.30)
  • 3 ribs celery ($0.35)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 1 lb. cooked ham ($3.75)
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.04)
  • 3 15oz. cans cannellini beans ($1.47)
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme ($0.02)
  • freshly cracked black pepper ($0.03)
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or more as needed) ($0.26)

Instructions

  • Dice the onion, peel and slice the carrots, slice the celery, and mince the garlic.
  • Dice the ham into bite-sized chunks. Add the ham and cooking oil to a large soup pot. Sauté the ham for 3-5 minutes over medium heat, or until it achieves a decent amount of browning. Remove the browned ham to a clean bowl.
  • Add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic to the pot in place of the ham. Sauté the vegetables for about 5 minutes over medium heat, or until the onions have softened. Allow the moisture released from the vegetables to help dissolve the browned bits of ham from the bottom of the soup pot as you stir.
  • While the vegetables are sautéing, add one of the three cans of beans to a blender, with the liquid from the can, and purée until smooth. Drain the remaining two cans of beans.
  • Add all three cans of beans (one puréed and two drained) to the soup pot with the vegetables. Also add 1/4 tsp dried thyme, some freshly cracked pepper (about 10 cranks of a pepper mill), and 2 cups chicken broth. Stir to combine, then turn the heat up to medium-high and allow the soup to come to a boil.
  • Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to medium and allow the soup to continue to boil for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. As the soup boils it will reduce and thicken. If the soup becomes too thick, add more chicken broth or water to achieve your desired soup consistency.
  • After the soup has boiled for 15 minutes and has thickened, stir the cooked ham back into the soup. Give the soup a taste and adjust the salt or pepper to your liking. I did not add any additional salt, but I did top each bowl with a little fresh pepper. Serve hot!
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Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cupsCalories: 553.83kcalCarbohydrates: 75.33gProtein: 41.75gFat: 9.98gSodium: 2143.8mgFiber: 18.23g
Nutritional values are estimates only. See our full nutrition disclosure here.

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Close up of a ladle full of chunky ham and bean soup being held over the soup pot

How to Make Ham and Bean Soup – Step by Step Photos

Chopped vegetables on a cutting board

Before you begin, dice one yellow onion, peel and slice three carrots, slice three ribs of celery, and mince two cloves of garlic.

Uncured ham pacakge

This is the type of ham I used. You can use any cooked ham, but a thicker slice works better than thin sandwich slices. You can also use cooked holiday ham. You’ll need one pound of cooked ham.

Browned ham in the soup pot

Dice one pound of ham and add it to a soup pot with one tablespoon cooking oil. Cook the ham over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the ham is browned on the edges. Remove the ham to a clean bowl.

Diced vegetables cooked in soup pot.

Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic to the pot in place of the ham and continue to cook over medium for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are softened. Use the moisture released from the vegetables to dissolve the browned bits off the bottom of the pot.

Whole and pureed beans added to soup pot

While the vegetables are cooking, add one of the three cans of cannellini beans to a blender (with the liquid from the can) and purée until smooth. Drain the other two cans. Add the puréed beans and drained beans to the soup pot.

thyme pepper and chicken broth added to the soup pot

Also add 1/4 tsp dried thyme, some freshly cracked pepper, and 2 cups of chicken broth to the pot. Stir to combine. The soup will be fairly watery at this point.

Boiled ham and bean soup

Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring the soup up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down slightly to medium and let the soup boil for 15 minutes, stirring often. The soup will reduce and thicken as it boils. If it becomes too thick for your liking, simply add a little more water or chicken broth to reach your desired consistency.

Cooked ham being poured back into the soup pot

After boiling the soup for 15 minutes, stir the cooked ham back into the pot. Give the soup a taste and adjust the salt or pepper, if needed.

Finished chunky ham and bean soup in the soup pot with bread on the side

Serve the chunky Ham and Bean Soup hot, preferably with crusty bread for dipping!

Two bowls of chunky ham and bean soup with chunks of bread on the side