Contest-Winning Ham and Bean Soup Recipe
Contest-Winning Ham and Bean Soup Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Contest-Winning Ham and Bean Soup Recipe

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4.5 8 18
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I learned to make this soup when we lived in Pennsylvania near several Amish families. It’s a great way to use up ham and mashed potatoes. It freezes well, too. —Amanda Reed, Milford, Delaware
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + soaking Cook: 1-1/2 hours
MAKES:15 servings
Contest Winning Test Kitchen Approved
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + soaking Cook: 1-1/2 hours
MAKES: 15 servings


  • 1 pound dried navy beans
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 10 cups water
  • 4 cups cubed fully cooked ham
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes (without added milk and butter)
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 meaty ham bone or 2 smoked ham hocks
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

Nutritional Facts

1 cup equals 231 calories, 7 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 33 mg cholesterol, 680 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber, 17 g protein.


  1. Place beans in a Dutch oven; add water to cover by 2 in. Bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for 1 to 4 hours or until beans are softened. Drain and rinse beans, discarding liquid.
  2. In the same pan, saute onions in oil for 2 minutes. Add celery; cook until tender. Stir in the beans, water, ham, potatoes, carrot, Worcestershire sauce, salt, thyme, pepper and bay leaves. Add ham bone. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until beans are tender.
  3. Discard bay leaves. Remove ham bone; and set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove ham from bone and cut into cubes. Discard bone. Return ham to soup; heat through. Garnish soup with parsley. Yield: 15 servings (3-3/4 quarts).
Originally published as Ham and Bean Soup in Taste of Home December/January 2006, p29

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Reviewed Jan. 31, 2015

"I love making and trying different soups. Overall I wasn't impressed with the end result and won't be making it again."

Reviewed Dec. 3, 2014

"After eating Ham and Bean Soup for 66 years and from not only my own kitchen, but a multitude of others, including my Grandmothers, which was wonderful as was my Mothers. But this recipe has beat all the others hands down..I've never eaten a bean and ham soup this good ever..... I'm going to keep the recipe forever. It's spectacular."

Reviewed Feb. 7, 2014

"This was okay but not great. I can only describe the flavor as too "hammy". It seemed kind of greasy even though I trimmed the fat off the bone. I did notice that the leftovers (2 days later) were much improved."

Reviewed Oct. 19, 2013

"So very good! Everyone enjoyed this hearty soup! Especially the next day."

Reviewed Apr. 18, 2012

"Excellent soup!!! I used 3/4 cup instant potatoes as suggested below and cut the pepper to 1/4 tsp. Very easy to make - I'll be making this again!!!"

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