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Contest-Winning Ham and Bean Soup Recipe

Contest-Winning Ham and Bean Soup Recipe

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 YIELD:15 servings


  • 1 pound dried navy beans
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable 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


  • 1. Place beans in a Dutch oven or soup kettle; 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 hour.
  • 2. 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.
  • 3. Remove ham bone; when cool enough to handle, remove ham from bone and cut into cubes. Return to soup. Discard bone and bay leaves. Garnish soup with parsley. Yield: 10 servings.

Nutritional Facts

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

Reviews for Contest-Winning Ham and Bean Soup

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Reviewed Jan. 25, 2017

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

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!!!"

Reviewed Feb. 10, 2012

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

Reviewed 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!"

Reviewed 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!""

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