Ham and Potato Soup

SoupFavorite WinterComfort FoodHamPotato

This hearty Ham and Potato Soup is made with a ham shank or leftover ham bone and russet potatoes. Perfect for chilly weather!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Is there anything better on a cold winter day than a big bowl of hearty ham and potato soup?

True, there is some close competition from white bean and ham soup. Come to think about it, they’re both great!

Use a Ham Shank or Leftover Ham

This recipe is for soup made with ham and potato. You can use either a leftover ham bone and some ham from a glazed ham, or you can use a meaty ham shank.

You could even use a ham hock, but the hocks aren’t as meaty as the shanks, so if you use hocks, you’ll likely need extra ham.

The Best Potatoes for This Soup

For this recipe, I’m using Russet potatoes. They become soft and creamy during cooking, absorbing all the wonderful flavors in the broth. Russets are also really starchy, which helps thicken the soup.

For firmer, chunkier cubes of potato that hold their shape during cooking, you can swap the Russets for the same amount of red-skinned potatoes or Yukon golds.

Save Time by Using Chicken Stock

I’m using chicken stock for this soup, along with the broth that the ham bone or shank naturally creates while it cooks. I’m doing this to save time.

If you want to make the soup entirely with the broth that comes from a leftover ham bone, you can easily do that. Just cover the ham bone with water and pot, bring to a simmer, cover and let cook for an hour before starting the recipe.

You could probably also just put the bone in a slow cooker with some water overnight to make some ham stock.

Whether you use chicken stock or not, both methods work fine, you’ll save an hour if you use chicken stock, and you will likely need to add less salt.

Ham and Potato Soup

Salt to Taste

Speaking of salt! Potatoes need more than a little salt to taste good. Ham has plenty of sodium. So, good match right?

Yes, this is one of the reasons they taste so good together. But you do need to taste and adjust for salt, every time. If the soup seems bland, add salt until it is no longer bland. If the soup is too salty for you, add more potatoes.

Want More Cozy Winter Soups?

Updated January 8, 2019 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle. No changes to the recipe itself.

Ham and Potato Soup Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6

You can either make this soup using leftover ham and a ham bone or you can use a meaty ham shank. If you use a ham bone, you'll add the chopped ham at the end of cooking. If you are using a ham shank, after the soup cooks with the ham shank, you'll need to remove it, cut away the meat, chop the meat, and return it to the soup.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped parsnips or carrots
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1 meaty ham bone from a ham, or a meaty ham shank
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled, and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed ham (if using a ham bone), 3/4-inch dice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • Salt to taste


1 Cook onions, parsnips or carrots, celery, garlic in olive oil: Heat olive oil in a large, thick-bottomed pot or Dutch oven on medium high heat.

Add the onions, parsnips or carrots, celery, and sauté for 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more.

2 Add ham bone or shank, stock, bay leaves, thyme: Add the ham bone or ham shank to the pot. Add 6 cups of stock. Add bay leaves and thyme. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to maintain a simmer. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

3 Add the potatoes and simmer for 15 more minutes, until they are cooked through.

4 Remove ham bone or shank, purée half the soup: Remove the ham bone or ham shank from the soup. Purée half of the soup so that some of the potatoes get puréed to give the soup body, and there are still whole chunks of potatoes for texture.

5 If using a ham shank, cut away the meat and chop into 3/4-inch cubes. Add the chopped ham and black pepper to the soup.

6 Stir in the cream. Taste for salt and pepper and add more if needed.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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36 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Marie Silfies

    Everyone loved it! I did add 2 cans of great northern beans. Do you have nutritional info on this soup. I am dieting and would like to count this on my NuMi app.


    Show Replies (1)
  2. Jan

    2nd time making this ham and potato soup; sooo good. We use 2% milk for lower calories rather than cream , but taste is still super. Pinned several other recipes to try. Thank you!

  3. JoeW

    Made this last night.

    One of the best soups that I’ve ever had.

    I bought what Safeway termed “Smoked Pork Femur”. There were 2. Basically, a pork bone, no meat at all.
    I covered them with 8 cups of water, and simmered for about 3 hours, adding the bay leaves and thyme for the last hour.
    The result was about 5 cups of ham stock, which I augmented with chicken stock to make the recipe’s 6 cups. The ham stock was borderline “too salty”, but that was tempered by the cream that was added at the end.
    For meat, I bought some kurobuta ham, which is rather lightly salted and not very smoky.
    I then added the stock to the sauteed veggies from step one, and continued the recipe from step three.

    (Wow, that was a long comment. Sorry about that.)

  4. Amanda

    I’ve made this soup before and it’s delicious. This time, I’m grappling with the instructions for some reason. I have a ham bone and want to make stock from it. Could you confirm that I’m first to simmer the ham bone (only) for an hour. Then in a different pot I do Step #1 and then Step #2 using the bone and the broth that I’ve just made?

    Show Replies (1)
  5. Pamela

    Turned out just like the picture and tastes great. Thanks for such a great recipe.


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