Some soups need to simmer all day long on the stovetop, but this easy ham and cabbage soup cooks in under 30 minutes. You’ll be surprised at how much flavor develops in such a short amount of time! The cabbage melts into the broth and, combined with chunks of carrots and potatoes, creates a light and warming dish.
This brothy soup is the perfect way to satisfy your hankering for comfort food without feeling heavy or weighed down afterwards. As a bonus, you can make this soup in a single saucepan, so cleanup will be a breeze.
Ingredients for Ham and Cabbage Soup
- Fully cooked ham: This is a great recipe for using up leftover ham. If you don’t have any holiday ham in the fridge, pick up a ham steak from the grocery store. You could use sliced ham from the deli, the soup will have a better texture if you use thick chunks of ham.
- Cabbage: You’re missing out if you only use cabbage for coleslaw! This brassica vegetable becomes sweet and tender when it’s cooked. It’s really delicious. Green cabbage is best for this recipe. You could use red cabbage, but the soup doesn’t have any acidic ingredients, which means the red cabbage might turn an unappealing blue as it cooks. Learn more about choosing the best cabbage in our guide for how to cook cabbage.
- Potatoes: We like to use waxy or all-purpose potatoes (like red or Yukon Gold potatoes) for ham and cabbage soup. They’ll hold their shape better than starchy potatoes (like russet potatoes).
- Chicken bouillon: This shortcut ingredient is a fantastic way to make flavorful soup in no time. Feel free to swap in chicken broth or another chicken bouillon substitute.
Step 1: Cook the onion
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, saute the onion in butter until tender.
Step 2: Simmer the soup
Add the water, cabbage, potatoes, carrot, chicken bouillon granules, pepper and garlic to the saucepan. Cover the pan, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
Editor’s Tip: If you have a leftover ham bone, add it to the pan in this step. It will add savory flavor to the soup.
Step 3: Stir in the ham
Stir in the cubed ham, and heat through.
- Use another protein: Ham and cabbage soup would taste great with other meats. Try leftover or rotisserie chicken or cooked sausage or ground meat.
- Add vegetables: Give the soup a little variety with chopped vegetables, such as mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach or sweet potatoes. Just make sure you give them all time to cook through before you add the ham.
- Make it thicker: This is a brothy soup, so it has a thin consistency. If you prefer a thicker consistency, you can add flour or cornstarch when you saute the onion (or use any of these other ways to thicken sauce).
How to Store Ham and Cabbage Soup
Store ham and cabbage soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator. How long leftovers keep depends on whether you used leftover ham in the soup. Cooked ham is only good for three to four days in the fridge, and that timeline starts from the day the ham was cooked—not the day the soup was made.
Ham and Cabbage Soup Tips
How do you add extra flavor to ham and cabbage soup?
If your ham and cabbage soup tastes a little bland, try swirling in a splash of Worcestershire or soy sauce. These umami-rich ingredients add depth to brothy soups like ham and cabbage soup. Or incorporate a little lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Acidic ingredients will add a brightness that perks up all the flavors. And make sure you review these mistakes you may be making with soup.
Can you make ham and cabbage soup in the slow cooker?
To make ham and cabbage soup in the slow cooker, combine all the ingredients (except for the ham) in a 5-quart slow cooker. Cook on low for six to eight hours, until the vegetables are tender. Then add the ham. Cook, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the ham is heated through.