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 White Bean And Ham Soup Recipe – a staple for the cooler weather. Could be made with any type of white beans – Kidney, Great Northern, Cannellini or Navy.

Simple to make, hearty and delicious, perfect for hungry families. This soup can be made in the stove top or in a pressure cooker. The meat options are – bone in ham, boneless ham or bacon.

A white bowl with ham and bean soup

This easy ham and white bean soup is one of my favorite ones to make in the winter. Can’t believe I haven’t shared the recipe on the blog yet. I did share another soup with beans, which seems to be pretty popular this time of the year – Bulgarian White Bean Soup.

To be honest, I prefer my bean soup with some meat added. It is tastier and more filling. If I don’t have ham, I usually add bacon, pancetta or even hot dogs cut into small pieces.

Easy Ham And Bean Soup

I was going to name this soup “Navy Bean and Ham Soup”, but the truth is that I don’t always use navy beans to make it. Often times I use Great Northern beans.

Since Navy Beans are smaller, they cook faster.

Other varieties of beans you can use are Cannellini/Kidney Beans (larger, nuttier) or Baby Lima Beans (starchier, great for thick soups).

white bean and ham soup in a pot

Do you have to soak the beans?

Soaking beans is a widely popular method, which cleans them thoroughly, makes them more digestible and helps them cook faster.

No matter if you are using a pressure cooker or cooking the beans on the stove top, I recommend you soak them overnight. Place in a pot, cover with 2 inches of cold water and let them soak.

This helps them cook faster.

Also I like to bring the beans to a boil with just plain cold water (after they have been soaked) and discard the “first boiling water”, then replace it with fresh. This is how we cook beans in Eastern Europe.

If you are using an Instant Pot for the beans, you can use the “Sautee” option to bring the beans to a boil with just plain water, then discard the water, rinse the beans and use in the recipe.

Some recipes refer to this method as “quick soaking”. This way you tenderize the beans further and makes them cook faster.

Still have issues with beans remaining undercooked or taking forever to cook? I’ve had these issues many times. The reason could be that the beans have not been stored properly, before they got into your hands, so they may never get tender enough. I’ve heard a great advice on cooking this type of beans – adding 1/4 tsp of baking soda to every 1 pound of dry beans while boiling will tenderize them.

Canned Beans

Should you take this shortcut? Using canned beans for bean soup? Why not, if you don’t have the time for cooking.

What kind of ham meat to use?

Ham with the bone on will be perfect. But unless I have some leftovers from Thanksgiving, I rarely have bone in ham in my kitchen.

Ham shanks or ham hocks? Both cuts will work. The shanks are meatier. Cooking the shanks with the meat on and the beans and veggies will produce a great flavor. If they are smoked, it will be better.

Any boneless smoked ham will work.

Even bacon or pancetta will be great options. You can add them cooked or raw to the soup (they will cook further together with the beans).

A ladle with white bean and ham soup

Instant pot option (electric pressure cooker):

You can cook everything together on manual high for 45 minutes with 10 minutes of natural release.

Beans don’t need to be pre-soaked. If using a bone in ham, remove the meat from the bone, add to the soup and discard the bone.

If using pre cooked bacon, you can add it to the soup after it is finished cooking.

Can you freeze the soup?

Yes. You can keep this soup in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze in air tight containers for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight or in the microwave.

How to thicken white bean and ham soup?

I rarely thicken bean soups. Since I love the beans in a soup to be soft and mushy, rather than hard and chewy, this soup rarely needs thickening.

Sure, you can use a blender to blend 1/3 of the beans and then add them back to the soup. This will thicken the soup. There is no need to use cornstarch or flour to thicken bean soup.

More Soup Recipes:

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A white bowl with ham and bean soup
5 from 2 votes

White bean and ham soup

White Bean And Ham Soup Recipe - a staple for the cooler weather. Could be made with any type of white beans - Kidney, Great Northern, Cannellini or Navy. Simple to make, hearty and delicious, perfect for hungry families.
Prep: 6 hours
Cook: 1 hour
Servings: 6


  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups navy beans or great Northern beans, white beans, rinsed and soaked overnight
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped ham, or more, bacon or sausage can be used
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 baby leaf
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 vegetable bullion
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp summer savory, optional
  • 1/4 tsp paprika, optional


  • Pick through beans. Soak in water overnight.
  • Heat oil in and add the onion, carrots ad celery. Cook for 4 minutes.
  • Add the beans, ham, slat, pepper, thyme, garlic powder, summer savory and paprika. Add the water and bullion.
  • Bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until the beans are soft and tender.
  • Serve.


Calories: 178kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 14mg, Sodium: 309mg, Potassium: 336mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 3477IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 61mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @cookinglsl or tag #cookinglsl!

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Hi! I'm Mira.

I share simple, mostly low-carb and Keto recipes, that don't take a lot of time to make and use mostly seasonal, easy to find ingredients. I'm a supporter of healthy eating, but you'll also find some indulgent treats too.

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