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Contest-Winning Ham and Bean Soup

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 (3-3/4 quarts)


  • 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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Nutrition Facts
1 cup: 231 calories, 7g fat (2g saturated fat), 33mg cholesterol, 680mg sodium, 25g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 6g fiber), 17g protein.

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Average Rating:
  • Angel182009
    Jan 25, 2017

    This was good but I wouldn't use two Bay leaves. I think it overpowered the other flavors in the soup.

  • kbussey
    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.

  • Chessiegal
    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.

  • katlaydee3
    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.

  • happyian
    Oct 19, 2013

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

  • scotchcat
    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!!!

  • Pinstripes
    Feb 10, 2012

    This originally didn't have much flavor, but after the leftovers sat a day or two it was much better!

  • anp131s
    Dec 17, 2010

    Delicious! Perfect for a lazy day at home to have sitting on the stove simmering. Very economical and good for you too!

  • jharcler
    Nov 1, 2009

    We LOVED this Ham and Bean Soup; it is the best we've ever had. It was a bit spicy, so the next time we make it we will probably only add 1/4 tsp. pepper. We didn't have celery or leftover mashed potatoes. I added about 3/4 cup of instant potato flakes, and used the dried Great Northern beans. This recipe is definitely a "keeper!"