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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:
  • carolynstanek
    Jan 5, 2021

    I appreciated finding this good recipe. Note that if putting the soup in the refrigerator the potatoes tend to come to the top. It is not fat to be skimmed off but needs to be stirred in.

  • juliew73
    Nov 11, 2019

    No comment left

  • 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.

  • cindying
    Jun 24, 2013

    No comment left

  • janetdreiss
    Jan 4, 2013

    No comment left

  • 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!!!