White Bean and Ham Soup

Use ham shanks rather than hocks if you would like a meaty soup.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8


  • 1 lb of white beans—Cannellini or Great Northern—about 2 1/2 cups
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 2-3 lbs of smoked ham shanks or ham hocks
  • 2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence, or Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup of diced onions (about 1 small onion)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (about 2-3 ribs)
  • 2/3 cup chopped carrots (about 1 medium carrot)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Tabasco sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh parsley


1 Soak the dry beans in hot water: Fill a pot large enough to hold the beans with water and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, add the beans and soak the beans for about 2 hours. Drain the water.

2 Make the ham broth: While the beans are soaking in step 1, put the ham shanks or ham hocks in a separate large pot and cover them with 2 quarts of water. Add the herbes de Provence or Italian seasoning. Heat on high heat until the water comes to a simmer, then lower the heat, partially cover and maintain the simmer for about an hour.

3 Sauté the onions: Heat olive oil in a small sauté pan on medium high heat. Add the chopped onions and cook until translucent, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook a minute more.

4 Add vegetables and beans to the ham broth: Once the ham hocks or shanks have been simmering for an hour, add the drained soaked beans from step 1, the onions, garlic, and the chopped celery and carrots. Cook for another 40 minutes or so, uncovered, until the vegetables are soft and the ham meat easily pulls away from the bone. Remove the ham bones from the soup and pull off any meat and return it to the soup. Discard the bones.

5 Season to taste: Add several drops of Tabasco to taste. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with a pinch of chopped fresh parsley.

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  • Danielle

    I thought the recipe was ok. My ham hocks and parsley spoiled so I could not used most of them in the soup. Then it took awhile longer for the beans to get soft. Other than that, it tastes good with salt and pepper. Next time I will used the recipe right away and use half chicken broth in the soup.

  • John

    Awesome recipe. Good alone, but easy to modify. I put a few packs of chicken bullion from the hispanic section of the store in mine.


  • Robyn

    This seriously is the best bean and ham soup ever. The Herbes de Provence take it to another level. The recipe is perfect. No need to substitute or change it.

  • Linda

    Excellent! Thank you for sharing yet another great recipe. I made a slight change in that I used half chicken broth, half water.


  • Alison

    I just thought that it was very bland and fatty. I used smoked ham hocks and there was a lot of fat at the top of the soup and most of the meat was fatty skin. The flavor was kind of bland and the tabasco added little flavor than vinegar.


    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Alison, I recommend using ham shanks for the recipe because they are meatier. If you use hocks, you may want to add additional ham to the soup.

    • Anna

      You need to cool your broth so you can skim the fat from the surface any time you cook with pork or your soup will get greasy. If you do that and use shanks it should come out better.

  • Ron

    Made this early in Jan, did about 1.3x on the vegetables, and it was FANTASTIC. Loved it.
    Planning to make it again later this week. This time I just have leftover ham and not a hock so I’ll follow your recommendation to another person to use chicken stock. But I’m also wondering if I should add a little more flavor given the lack of a hock… so I’m considering adding about 1/2 of a chopped jalapeno to the onions. Thoughts?


    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Ron! The hock would add meatiness and body to the broth, so adding jalapeno won’t be quite the same. This said, I think some spicy jalapeno flavor would be a fun variation on the flavors in this recipe. If you try it, let us know how it turns out!

      • Ron

        Ok, here’s how it turned out. Reminder, I only had about a pound of ham and no shank and I wanted to use a crockpot.
        So following some threads below, I soaked beans for about 6 hours, and finished the whole thing in a crockpot on low in another 4-5 hours. Instead of Step 2, I substituted 32 oz of chicken stock. And I added 1/2 of a diced Jalapeno to the onion to open it up a little. The results were great. I’m not sure it’s quite as good as having a ham hock and making your own broth, but it was great and the small amount of Jalapeno just added another element to it.

  • Lori

    I have a pot of this on the stove bubbling away today, just waiting for dinner to arrive. It smells delicious! I mashed part of the beans to give it a creamier texture. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful recipes — everything I’ve tried so far has been great.


  • Barbara

    Just made this in the slow cooker, on low 8 hours. I like it thicker and creamier so mixed 1/4 cup warmed milk with 2 tsp cornstarch, which I added at end. Mashed the soup a bit with potato masher to get consistency I like. Stirred and put on high for 15 minutes to thicken. Used leftover sausage instead of ham and 3 tins cannelloni beans rinsed. Would consider adding spinach, red pepper or small pasta next time and a little more hot spice.


    • Anna

      Lol so essentially a completely different recipe. Sounds good though!


    Can you make this in a slow cooker?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Nancy! Yes, I think this recipe would work quite well in the slow cooker. I’d just throw everything into the pot at once and cook for 6 to 8 hours on low, or until the meat and the beans are both tender. Let us know how it turns out!

  • Dee

    Much tastier than my old family recipe. The Italian seasoning did it! As a time saver I actually used drained canned white beans but didn’t add them until the last 30 min so they didn’t get mushy. Still very good ! My kitchen smells amazing. Warming up some hearty crusty artisan bread to go with it. Time for dinner

  • Suzanne

    The broth makes this soup, but you MUST soak your beans overnight first!


  • Debbie

    I got a boneless ham this year. Can I just put chopped ham in?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Debbie, in this recipe we are making ham stock from the ham hocks or ham shanks. So you do need either hocks or shanks for this recipe. Otherwise, you could just use 32 ounces of chicken stock and add a bunch of chopped ham in. Won’t be the same, but it will still be a good soup.

  • Heather

    I have a large ham shank on a bone that I will be cooking for Christmas Eve dinner. Will I be able to use it for this soup the next day?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Heather! Sure, you can do that! Since your ham bone might not have much meat on it, you might want to throw in some leftover ham toward the end of cooking for some extra meatiness in your soup. Enjoy!

  • Nancy

    This is the best bean soup I’ve ever had. I cheated in that I just threw everything into the insta- pot. I used Italian seasoning. All I can say is Wow! Splendid. So easy and so good!
    This is the third time I’ve made it, outstanding every time!


  • Kathy

    Can you use canned white beans?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Kathy! Yes, but wait to add them to the soup until the very end. Add them along with the ham you pull off the bones and simmer just long enough for the beans to warm through. Enjoy!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Kathy, this recipe is set up for making the soup using dry beans. If you want to use canned beans, I would add them in step 4, after the vegetables have been cooking for about 30 minutes. You would want to use 3 to 4 cans (15-ounce each) of beans.

  • Karen

    Great !!! Then I found your bean soup with greens…so I added greens and squash to the leftovers and had another great meal….


  • Elaine B

    How would you recommend converting this into an Instant Pot recipe? Would love to use my leftover Thanksgiving ham bone and ham chunks!

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Elaine! Converting this to an instant pot is a great idea! I think I’d start by cooking the beans until they’re fully cooked — 25 to 30 minutes (this method). Then I’d drain them into a strainer and saute the veggies in the pot. Add the ham hocks and cover with 2 quarts of water water. Pressure cook on high for 30 minutes or so. Pick all the meat off the ham hocks and return it to the pot along with the cooked beans. Warm everything on “simmer” until the soup is steaming. Taste, add salt or pepper if needed, and enjoy. Let us know how that works out!

  • Nicole Schumacher

    When I was a kid I had the most incredible white bean soup and have been chasing the high ever since- I can now die satisfied. I used half of the ham broth to cook my Rancho Gordo cassoulet and finished cooking ham hock in the pot. Using good quality dried beans took it over the top! Took longer than anticipated, but the aroma made it worth it. Thanks so much for this recipe!


  • Marra

    How did you get your beans soft with a 2 hour soak and 40 minutes of cooking? It took 3 hours of cooking (lid on) to get them soft…

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Marra, could be I had fresher beans. The older the dry beans, the longer they take to cook. The mineral makeup of the water you are using can also have an effect.

    • Sharon

      Did you add salt to the water? That’ll do it! That, and old beans; you’ve got the perfect storm!

  • Meg

    so amazing- one of our fall/winter staples! I usually just buy a boneless ham and cube it and use chicken broth for extra flavor. And throw in some cabbage at the end- LOVE this recipe


  • Ashley

    My fiance bought a ham without the bone, would this recipe still work even if it’s a full boneless ham?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Ashley! Regular ham is a little different than the ham hocks or shank called for in this recipe, but I think it will still make a delicious soup! The flavor will be less smokey and more…just like plain ham! I’d recommend skipping step two, and instead chopping the ham into cubes and adding them to the pot after you’ve finished cooking the onions. Then continue on with the recipe. Enjoy!

  • Heather

    I have lots of Lima beans dried ones could I use them do,you think?


    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Heather, very good question! I do think the taste of lima beans is pretty different from that of white beans. That said, lima beans taste good with ham, so I’m guessing that you would still have a pretty good soup if you swapped them. If you do make the substitution, please let us know how it turns out for you!

  • Sherry

    Delish! Made it tonight and the family loved it.


  • Alison

    Sounds awesome. Would some peppers go okay with this type of soup?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Alison! If you’re making this for a special dinner or event, I’d recommend making it as directed. If you’re just making it for yourself or your family for a weeknight dinner, then definitely feel free to experiment! I think roasted red peppers would be an interested addition. Green peppers might make it a little to bitter. Broccoli or cauliflower would also be interesting. Enjoy!

  • Earl

    I have a question, My wife brought hame a pork shoulder with which I am making you spicy pork stew. Now I have a pork shoulder bone and I am wondering. How well would this bone work with the white bean and pork soup recipe?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Earl! You could definitely throw the shoulder bone in the soup — it would make it even more deeply flavored and rich. I’d recommend still using some ham hocks or shanks so that you get the meat and the smoky flavor, though. Enjoy!

  • Riddhima Nair


  • Leah



  • Leah

    I also used ham left over from Easter! It smelled wonderful while it was cooking and all 4 of my kids loved it (ages 12, 9, 7, and 2). I will definitely make it again. It wonderful for the d winter days that just don’t seem to go away!!

  • Kelly

    Great! I used the leftover ham bone and meat from Easter rather than ham hocks. Our 8, 6 and 4 year old ate it up. Looking forward to having it leftover this chilly, spring weekend:) Simply Recipes never disappoints!


  • Christine

    Instead of water can you use chicken or vegetable broth?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Christine! Emma here, managing editor for Simply Recipes. Yes, you can definitely use chicken or veggie broth. Let us know how it turns out!

  • Heidi H

    Simmering as I write, broth is awesome, house smells incredible! Can’t wait for this and cornbread tomorrow on a cold day! Love your recipes!


  • Aimee

    I made this last night. Instead of ham hocks, I bought a soup bone from Honey Baked Ham which still had a lot of meat on it. The soup tastes great and is even better the next day. Great recipe!

  • Lisa m

    Can you make this in a crock pot if so do I throw everything in pot and cook at same time or do I need to soak beans first

  • Kim

    Is it possible to substitute kidney beans for the white beans?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Kim, kidney beans have a different taste than white beans. I’ve not made this soup with kidney beans so don’t know what to tell you about how it would turn out. If you do try it with kidney beans, please report back and let us know!

      • Kim

        Thanks Elise for the quick response! We tried the recipe out with canned kidney beans and a few pig feet as well and it turned out quite nicely I think. :) I’ll have to try again with the white beans sometime though.

  • Malik

    Can you substitute ham with smoke turkey necks ?? And if so how would the recipe or cooking time change ??

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Malik! Emma here, managing editor for Simply Recipes! I think turkey necks would make a great substitute in this recipe! I’d probably cut the total cooking time down to 1 1/2 hours, adding the dry beans after 1/2 hour. Does that make sense? Let us know how it turns out!

  • Jeramiah

    If you have to ask,what the calories are. Dont make it or eat it. But oh man its good

    • Anthonie Mills

      I just have to say I Love your response lol!

  • Marihelen

    What are the calories per serving. Or how many smart points? Smart points are a weight watcher tracking system.

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Marihelen! We don’t have specific nutrition info on our recipes. Here’s the nutrition calculating website that I recommend: Very Well.

  • Kim

    Anyone know the weight watchers smart points of this soup?

  • Alex

    I had never heard of a ham hock before, but the picture with this recipe looked good so I bought some. But when it was cooked, I took those things apart looking for meat of any kind and there was nothing but bones and fat skin. I should have just bought a ham. I was so disappointed:(

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Alex,
      Ham shanks will have a lot more meat on them than hocks, so if you want a meatier soup, use ham shanks instead of ham hocks.

  • Lynne Rhodes

    Second time making this fabulous soup! I add about 3\4 of catsup and a tsp of garlic powder in addition to the garlic. So good!


  • Gabrielle

    This recipe is delicious and simple enough where I didn’t have to go out and buy a lot of different ingredients! I had left over ham from Christmas and making this soup was the perfect way to use it. Instead of using ham shanks for the broth, I used a “not beef” bouillon cube that worked really well. I bought canned white beans and really only soaked them for about 30-45 minutes and feel they were perfectly tender for the soup (they stew for 40 more minutes). I also added kale for a little extra substance and more veggies. I will definitely keep this recipe in mind and will be making it again!

  • Alyssa

    What is the serving size ?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Alyssa, I estimated that the recipe serves 8 people. I haven’t measured out individual servings so don’t know what to tell you about the serving size.

  • cynthia

    Delicious! Thank you. Much better than my mother’s. I snuck in a bag of baby spinach and put in 1 T of Worcestershire–no tabasco. Ended up cooking it almost double the time. The beans were very slow. You made my husband very happy today!


  • Kathy

    This is my go to recipe for ham and bean soup. It’s so easy and full of flavor without much effort! We love it. Thank you!


  • Janet Greenwell

    This recipe is one of my husband’s favorites. The only thing I do differently is towards the end of the cooking time I add a can of diced tomato and offer raw diced onions at the side when serving. I have never used the slow cooker for this recipe but I do use my pressure cooker.


    • Jessica

      When you use your pressure cooker, do you just throw all the ingredients in at once? or do you still break it up it stages?

  • Sharon Howard

    My mother made white beans and either ham or bacon. She used great northern beans. We had this every Monday as that was her wash day(laundry). Lol. Along with homemade biscuits or corn bread. This was an easy meal for her. It could be cooking as she finished the wash. Tasted so good.

    • Lori

      Sounds like a great memory!!

  • Susan

    I made this two times before and both times it came out awesome! Definitely enjoyed the hot sauce! Yesterday I made it for the third time, again with smoked ham hocks. This time it was soooooo salty!! What did I do wrong?? BTW, I did not add any salt.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Susan, sounds like your ham hocks were especially salty this time. To fix it, you can peel and chop a potato and add it to the soup, cooking it until the potatoes are cooked through. Next time you may want to reduce the amount of ham hocks you add to the soup.

  • Julie

    Is it possible to soak the beans too long? I forgot about them in the pot and they soaked for two days and when I opened the lid the odor was awful! So I’m not sure if they are bad or if this is normal for beans? Lol

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Julie, if the odor is bad then yes, you’ve soaked them too long. You’ll need to throw them out!

    • Marie

      After this happened to me a couple of times, I took to I always soaking legumes in the fridge. I haven’t had spoiled legumes since. Of course it’s best to only soak them overnight, but as i’m not terribly organized they sometimes have fo soak for a bit longer

  • Kevin

    Any suggestion on how to use shanks that have not been smoked? Any suggested spice additions? For some reason I have shanks that are not smoked.

  • Marlene

    Absolutely DELICIOUS!! Would really appreciate the nutritional facts of these recipes.


    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Marlene, I’m so glad you liked it! I don’t have the time or the expertise to do nutritional analysis, but you might try checking over at Yummly for their analysis of this recipe (http://www.yummly.com/recipe/White-Bean-and-Ham-Soup-1069775). Note that some computer somewhere is making this analysis, so who knows if it is accurate, but it is a place to start.

  • Gene Neufeld

    I am getting ready to try this soup. I have lots of ham to use up so I am wondering if I increase the size of the batch, is this soup okay to freeze for another chilly day? I am usually the only one here for meals and am not interested in eating the same thing for days and days! :)

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Gene, I haven’t tried freezing the soup but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work fine. Go for it!

    • Gary

      I freeze it in pint Wide Mouth Mason jars, lid a little loose for expansion. Run water over jar to start to thaw then finish in sauce pan.

  • Daniel Jakubowski

    I used adobo seasoning with the cumin in mine. Added diced potatos and frozen peas towards the end. Used chicken stock instead of water and mixed in 1can each of Campbell’s cream of chicken and cream of celery to reach more of a thicker consistency. It tasted great…

  • Sarah

    Hi Elise: Long time, first time. Adding collard greens you make a delicious caldo
    gallego. Yum!

  • Oralea

    I cannot believe how reliable your recipes are… here is ANOTHER one I’m adding to my forever collection. This is delicious. And believe it or not, the first ham soup I’ve ever made. And I started with the best!

    Really, everything about it is delicious. I didn’t add any salt at the end tough… seemed salty enough already. Dipped some buttered rosemary bread (really about half a loaf because I just couldn’t stop!) and found my perfect comfort meal. THANK YOU!


  • Patricia B

    Excellent! I read what others wrote and used half water and half chicken broth, and mixed the chicken broth as half regular and half sodium free. Just right about of salt. Also, as I do like a thick broth with a soup like this, I mashed about a cup of the beans (which I soaked much longer than the recipe suggested) and then added 2-3 T of mashed potato flakes to thicken slightly more. Keeper!!

  • Louise Kidney

    Yum, I was so lucky that I had the ingredients I needed to make this (It’s freezing out right now -31F). Substituted some of the herbs, used lemon grass instead. Used left overs from a maple smoked ham (Alberta grown pork with real maple syrup and hickory smoked) – the house is smelling wonderful. Thank-you for sharing this new family favourite soup – love it!


    • Elise Bauer

      I’m so glad you like it Louise; I hope it helps you keep warm!!!

  • Kelly C

    I use nearly a whole honey baked ham (planned leftovers) and bone and simmer it for at least 4 hours until the meat separates easily from the bone. I add all the seasoning mentioned and some special rub I use on ribs (Famous Dave’s). It goes good on or in everything. I make a huge batch. 3 Quarts and I refrigerate it overnight, then separate the top fat the next morning. Then warm it up and divide it into 4 big bowl meals (at least 5-6 zip lock bags). Then, I can make different variations from the stock. Split pea, navy bean are a few favorites.

  • Debbie

    Thanks for this recipe. I made my ham stock first and then took the fat out of it with a separator. I followed the rest of the recipe. It is cooking right now and after 40 minutes the vegetables are done but not the beans. I did soak them for 8 hours. Next time I will add beans first. I will see how much longer I need to cook it. I don’t know why I am the first one to have this problem.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Debbie, cooking times can vary with beans depending on many factors including the age of the beans and the alkalinity of the water.

      • Shelley

        High altitude can change cooking times for beans as well. I live in New Mexico and the elevation is almost 7000ft above sea level, so we always use a pressure cooker when making any type of hard beans.

  • Toni

    Ok, I just ate myself silly…. :(


    • Donnee Komisar

      Ha! Great comment, I can relate.

  • Toni

    Love this soup as well and have made a very similar version many, many times. Sandy, I can relate to your disappointment with ham hocks. I find shanks to be a much better choice…lots of flavorful, tender meat without a large amount of fat and tough skin that is common with ham hocks. I do the overnight soaking method for my navy beans. Use whatever fresh seasoning I have on hand; thyme or rosemary, S&P and pretty much follow the rest of the recipe. Add some fresh buttered cornbread and Its soup nirvana for the next couple of days. Yum.

  • Sandy

    I haven’t cooked with ham hocks before. Are they all created equal? At 1 hour 45 minutes, mine were still very tough and I returned them for another 30 minutes. When they were still tough, I cut off what little meat was between the fat and bone and added it back to the pot. After 15 more minutes we were too hungry to wait any more and the two quarts of low-sodium chicken broth had reduced to nearly nothing. The meat was too salty and tough to be edible, but the cannellini – oh my, those wonderful beans! The vegetables and herbes de Provence transformed them into a near cassoulet! They were still overly salty from the bum ham hocks, but the next day I put a poached egg over some leftover beans and nearly swooned it was so good.

    So – I am eager to try this again but will try smoked shanks next time. Or maybe a different butcher. Elise, thank you to you and your dad for sharing this marvelous recipe.

  • Tia

    I have made so many recipes from your site I can’t believe I’ve never commented befor. But I had to say thank you for sharing this recipe! We were craving white bean ham soup and this is the best one. I didn’t even know it could taste so good! For anyone that did not have as great a first turnout (someone used 10 cups of water as opposed to suggested 8 cups–perhaps the shape and size of the pot didn’t allow for less), really recommend making it exactly as directed. Only thing I had to play with was the herbs in the bouquet as I was a few spices short. The recipe is so ridiculously simple, and yes, those dashes of Tabasco bring an unexpected fullness to the soup. I made it last night and it is almost gone…there are only two of us here!


  • Kati

    I love this recipe but I have 1 simple question and 1 hard one. The easy question is: do you put a lid on the pot at any time for this recipe? I didn’t see where it said to cover the pot ever. Now the harder one: I REALLY want to try it in a slow cooker. I noticed one woman said it could be done but didn’t elaborate on the process. Does anyone know if it would be best to make the ham broth part of the recipe in a stock pot and then add it to the crock pot in the beginning of step 3 with the veggies and soaked beans and cook several hours or if there’s a way to do step 2 of the recipe in the slow cooker as well and cook the ham on high for an hour or so and then proceed to step 3 by adding the beans and veggies into the slow cooker with the ham and stock I just cooked in said crock pot? I know opening a crock pot during cooking is usually a no no but I think it could be done just to add all the final stuff and then cook it to completion without opening it again. Thank you for your amazing recipes and for any tips in advance!
    I’m such a big fan of your recipes and I can definitely say my fiancé loves them too!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Kati, great questions, both! I will answer the first question and leave it to someone else more experienced with slow cookers to chime in about your second question.

      To cover or not to cover? It doesn’t really matter, though if your liquid is evaporating too fast, then you would want to cover it. So I’ve adjusted the recipe to say partially cover while you are making the ham broth, and then uncover when you add the beans and vegetables. But you could really go on feel on this one. Covering or partially covering allows you to maintain a simmer with less heat, so you don’t use as much gas or electricity. If you cover or partially cover early in the cooking, then you may end up having too thin of a stock because not enough moisture evaporates, so then you would uncover it in the second part of the cooking. It’s all up to you. :-)

    • laura

      I made this in a crockpot. I used a leftover hambone and put it and the herbs in the crockpot on low for about 6 hours. Then added the veggies and beans and cooked for another 2 hours. Most of the meat had fallen off the bone by then but I picked off what had not. It turned out well. It is almost impossible to overcook something in a crockpot so I think you could let the hambone simmer in there for about as long as you want

    • Becki Wright

      I made a white bean and ham cassoulet version of Elise’s soup in a crock pot today. Used the ham bone from the Honeybaked ham we had for Easter dinner. Sauteed the vegies first (used pepper strips instead of celery cuz that’s what we had around). Added 2 cups liquid – I used 2 cups chicken stock but would use 1 cup water and 1 cup stock next time. Then added 1 drained can of cannelloni beans. Last put in the ham bone and about 2 cups chopped up ham. Cooked it for 5 hours on high – then added seasonings (Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary – next time I’ll add dill per one reader’s suggestion) and cooked for another 30 minutes. Then took out the ham bone – the meat just fell off the bone.
      It was delicious – my husband had a cold and said it was a perfect meal for a sick boy!

  • Carolyn S.

    I make a similar dish known as “Congressional Bean Soup”. I like to put the ham shanks in my slow cooker on low and ignore them for about 8 hours. Then fish out the shanks and put the stock in the ‘fridge. The fat rises and hardens so I can just lift it off. I’m convinced that the slow cooked stock improves the flavor of the soup. This also works well with red beans & rice.

  • lily

    Hi on these ham recipes ,can I use chicken ,so then if yes do I still use same spices like herb de province???

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Lily, If you like cooking with chicken, I suggest looking at the chicken recipes! You can sometimes make substitutions like this, but there are so many changes you have to make that it’s just better to get a recipe designed for chicken if that is what you want to cook.

  • Gloria

    Had Ham and Bean Soup at a Greek restaurant and it had just a hint of Dill in it . Something I’d never thought of, but was so good, I want to try it, but not sure what else was in it.

  • Connie

    I want a bowl of this RIGHT NOW…don’t want to wait! You mention garlic in the ingredients list, but I don’t see when to add it per the directions. Do you add it at the beginning when making the ham stock, or when all the other veggies are added?
    Thanks for an always hunger-generating website!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Connie, in the step with the onions. Don’t know how I missed that! It’s there now. Thanks!

  • Sandy S

    One day well into the fall, you would find my mother making a pot of white beans and ham. This was as dependable as the leaves turning red and gold. She would use a cast iron pot that was put in the oven at a low setting once everything was combined. As at your home Elise, we would enjoy the pot of beans and ham over a few days. About the only thing that changed was the bread or crackers we had with it. Mom loved saltines, while I liked a crusty roll or grilled cheese sandwich. It was not unheard of, to pass a pepper grinder and a bowl of finely chopped white onions to sprinkle on top of the fresh served-up bowls. (I can see the Food Network judges fainting at the thought!) Thanks for reminding me that it’s time to make White Beans and Ham!

  • Sonya

    How can I substitute canned beans for dried and pancetta (or similar) for the ham hock? Cook’s Illustrated recently had a report that many dried beans were not better than canned and I don’t care for the taste of smoked ham hock (I have a hard time finding fresh ones where I live).

  • FoodJunkie

    This soup sounds amazing and will be a good use for the smoked hocks I made recently. In your recipe you specify hocks but not that they need to be smoked and cured. While that is implied in ham hock around here they are rarely available and all you get are fresh hocks. To avoid confusion I would suggest specifying smoked hocks as the fresh ones sure wont produce the depth of flavour you want in a ham and bean soup.

    • Elise Bauer

      Excellent point, thank you! I’ve adjusted the ingredient list to say “smoked ham hocks or shanks”.

  • Nikki

    Can I use soldier beans instead? I got some from our CSA and have no idea what to do with them. Thanks!

  • Randi Lynne

    I used a leftover ham bone with some meat left on it to make this soup. I used large lima beans and threw in a few kale leaves with the onion and carrots. It turned out far tastier than I imagined. With some Tabasco it was perfect!! Your recipes and tried and true and never disappoint. :)


  • Matt Canvas

    wow made this for a special Easter treat, what a treat it was thank you!


  • Betty Crockerpot

    Made this last yesterday. Soaked my beans for 2 hours then simmered with Ham and Vegs another 3 hours. I sauteed the vegs in olive oil for a few minutes prior to adding the mto the pot. This was wonderful. I usually do the overnight soak but this turned out fine. Accompanied with some mexican cornbread and a cold beer and it was a meal to remember. Thanks for the recipe

  • jasi

    This came out great. I mashed the veggies with my spoon a bit near the end. Dislike intact bean texture. Fantastic soup though. Thanks.


  • Debbie

    I printed off this recipe and tried it. My husband and I both loved it. In fact, we just had it for lunch today and it’s delicious. I had made a ham a week ago and I used the ham bone in this one. Normally, I would just toss it but when I read this recipe, I decided to try it. No more ham bones in the garbage, that’s for sure. Thank you.


    • Nancy Long

      I always freeze my ham bone for later use, never ever throw one away!

  • Barbara

    Terrific recipe for autumn, and thanks for introducing me to Herbs de Provence. I used a cut-up ~1-lb ham steak (with bone) instead of the intact shank and added a can of chicken stock to the water. With the ham and stock, definitely taste before you salt.

    P.S. Several drops of Tabasco per serving is the way to go.


  • Otty

    Made this yesterday afternoon. This is very good! My son loved it so much that he had it for dinner last night and breakfast this morning. I did not put tabasco though cause I was not sure my son would like it. Also, I added a little beef bouillion.


  • Dank

    WOW. This was so good! I didn’t have any Herbes de Provence and couldn’t find any in the local grocery, so I looked it up on the Internet and made my own. Was missing a couple of the herbs for it, but the soup still tasted great. This is one I will definitely make again.


  • SD

    Thanks for the great recipe. Your version of White Bean and Ham Soup is the closest I’ve found to what my mom used to make! Minus the tabasco which I will try on half! :) Oh and I had to look up Herbes de Provence but I guess now I’ll always know what they are!


  • Nicki Green

    I absolutely love your recipes and I always recommend your site. However, for me, this was a complete failure. My house stunk so bad the first hour of simmering the ham hocks. I was doing a friend’s taxes while making this and her son walked into the kitchen and asked why it smelled dirty. Needless to say, I didn’t even try it. Plus, mine looked nothing like your picture. Oh well. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes. Also, would love for Hank to share more Venison recipes. We just got a bunch of deer meat from my husband’s co-worker. Thanks again!

    Hi Nicki, well that’s weird. We’ve made this soup a gazillion times without a problem. Here’s an idea about what might be contribution to the stink. There is a season every year where bacon just smells bad when you cook it. My parents tell me it has something to do with what the pigs were eating before they were processed. Maybe this is happening with your ham hocks? Who knows. All I can tell you is that this recipe is one of our family standbys. ~Elise

    • Brenda

      Another thing could be the the Ham Hocks were from boar meat or male pig. My ex brother in law used to raise pigs back in the 80’s and we would buy a pig from him and the meat cutting plant would give us the wrong pig. Pork from a male pig tastes and smells terrible

  • Emily

    Made this today for dinner. Made just a few minor adjustments to the recipe and it turned out great. Used a little more water and more veggies (another couple carrots and 3 large ribs of celery). Used a few more beans (navy beans because it’s what I had) than called for so that I could put about 2 cups or so through the blender to thicken the soup. Used an Italian herb blend since I do not have Herbes de Provence. Used 2 large ham shanks. Didn’t use Tabasco because I was out, but will try it next time. Had done a lot of searching for just the right recipe for Ham and Bean soup. Glad I settled on this one!! My husband and young children all liked it too.

  • Georgia Fuller

    Can anyone tell me a good, easy way to degrease Navy Bean & Ham soup ?

    Let the soup chill overnight in the fridge. The next morning, scrape off any fat that has solidified on the top of the soup. ~Elise

  • John

    Serve over a slice of corn bread – yum!

  • Sharon

    This recipe is almost exactly the way I have been making beans and ham hock for years. I love it most when I have a nice meaty leftover ham bone to use.I cook the ham bone and beans together from the start, cooking the beans longer over low heat-approx 2-4 hours until the beans really soften and thicken a bit. Sometimes I add a small can of tomato sauce as well. I like to soak the beans overnight if possible to enhance their cooking time. Love your blog.

  • David

    My mom used to make this when I was growing. I make it now and have with garlic bread. Very Good!

  • Erin

    Just HAD to post: I just made this recipe on Christmas Day, using the leftover ham from our Christmas dinner. It took no time to make and was a hit! It was sort of like “dinner–round two” for us! Thank you!


  • Robert Rajchel

    Very simialar to my recepie. Only thing I like to do is add two 5.5 oz. cans of v-8 cocktail juice or tomato sauce, and try using beef boulion instead of chicken stock. I think you’ll be pleased

  • Pat Hoffman

    Great recipe…
    I used chicken stock instead of water but would recommend low sodium chicken stock instead.

  • Dave Hubbard

    This recipe could be made better by using ham stock instead of water.

    I would also soak the white beans in water and white wine for 6 hours.

  • Jackie DeSmyter

    I’ve made this receipe but use the great northern beans that can be purchased in a glass container already cooked. (Can be bought ahead of time to be used at a later time).
    Also I use approximately 2-3 cans of chicken broth instead of water.
    Instead of a ham bone I purchase packaged diced ham from the lunch meat area in the grocery store. This ham can be frozen before hand to be used when necessary.
    Besides the carrots, celery, onions, I add a small amount of chopped potatoes and a small can of diced tomatoes drained and salt and pepper to taste.
    By having the beans and diced ham on hand I can make this bean soup any time as I usually have the other ingredients in the fridge.

  • RD

    Made this Sunday afternoon for dinner during
    the week. Had to use smoked ham hocks as
    Safeway didn’t have shanks. Cooked them in
    10 cups of water. The beans took 1 1/2 hours
    to cook. The end result tasted a little
    bland so I added salt to compensate. The
    next time I think I’ll try 5 cups water and
    5 cups low-sodium chicken broth.

    • Santa Bernacchi

      I use Better Than Boulllion or Penzeys soup base for added flavor to all my soups.

  • David Reid

    This is very close to the white bean and ham soup that I’ve made for years. For those of you who don’t have several hours to make this soup, you can also make it in the pressure cooker. (I own an automatic electric one from Farberware.) You just soak the beans for 1 hour then put the ingredients into the pressure cooker (making sure you have enough water to make the soup) and cook on HI (15lbs) of pressure for 20 minutes. Voila! Ham and white bean soup in short time.

    For those who want to come home to a meal ready to eat, you can, indeed, make this classic in a large crock pot. You may find that you want to use a little extra water.