Ham and Bean Soup in bowl

While they say chicken soup cures what ails ya, I have to put in a good word for Ham and Bean Soup. It’s become a real go-to when we’re feeling under the weather. Each bite is hearty and satisfying; it’s the kind of soup that makes you feel cozy, warm, and cared for. 

Sick or not, your whole family will devour this nourishing meal that’s made with minimal ingredients and canned beans—which means there’s no soaking required.

Oh yes you CAN get a full-flavored, thick and creamy bean soup using canned beans. Tell the others!

What How to Make It

Easy Ham and Bean Soup

My easy Ham and Bean Soup starts with a flavorful base of sautéed vegetables, garlic, and pinch of dried herbs. Add chicken stock, canned beans, and cubed ham steak, then simmer for just 20 minutes. Between the rich stock and salty ham, which kind of self-seasons the dish, this soup is BURSTING with savory, slow cooked flavor. Not to mention it is packed with protein and fiber.

I find myself sneaking off with a portion of ham after our Christmas and Easter dinners each year, just so I can make this savory soup!

(For more savory ham recipes, check out my Brown Bag Baked Ham, 5-Ingredient Cheesy Ham and Broccoli Rice Skillet, and Mini Ham and Cheese Quinoa Cups. All are reader faves!)

Ingredients Needed

Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

  • Extra virgin olive oil – If you’re fresh out of EVOO use another cooking oil that you have on hand.
  • Carrots, celery and onion – This cozy trio adds tons of flavor to each bite of Ham and Bean Soup.
  • Salt and pepper – Freshly ground pepper is best.
  • Garlic – Mince it with a knife or push it through a garlic press.
  • Dried thyme – If you happen to have fresh thyme in your garden, snip off a sprig or two and use that instead.
  • Gluten free flour blend – Use a measure-for-measure baking blend vs a single gluten-free flour like almond or coconut flour. If you don’t need to eat gluten free, use all-purpose flour.
  • Chicken stock – I prefer using chicken stock over chicken broth for a full-flavored soup that tastes like it’s been cooking all day long.
  • Great Northern BeansUsing high-quality canned beans will give you a smooth and creamy soup – I promise nobody will know you didn’t go to the trouble of soaking then cooking dried beans!
  • Ham steakI find ham steaks near the eggs and breakfast sausage in the grocery store. You can also ask the deli department for a thick-cut slice of ham. 

Overhead view of Ham and Bean Soup in bowl

How Do You Thicken Ham and Bean Soup?

One option to thicken Ham and Bean Soup is to blend a portion of it in a blender or with an immersion blender. That said, I find it makes the soup kind of muddy. Alternatively, I like to add a dash of gluten free flour (or all-purpose flour if you don’t need to eat gluten free) to the soup which gives it a luxurious, velvety thickness.

Can I Make Ham and Bean Soup Without a Bone?

Absolutely! If you’ve got a leftover ham bone, shank, or ham hock laying around, especially after the holidays, absolutely toss it into the soup to simmer, but truly you can get TONS of flavor simply by using a diced ham steak. 

What Kind of Beans Do You Put in Ham and Bean Soup?

I use Great Northern Beans in this recipe, which are creamy and not too large. Two other options are Cannellini beans, which are larger and a touch more firm, and white navy beans, which are the smallest and creamiest of the three. I prefer to use Bush’s canned Great Northern Beans, draining and rinsing them before adding to the soup.

Spoonful of Ham and Bean Soup over bowl

How to Make Ham and Bean Soup With Canned Beans

Let’s make some soup!

Step 1: Cook the vegetables. Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, and onion or shallot, then season with salt and black pepper. Saute until the vegetables are tender, 8-10 minutes then add a couple fresh cloves garlic and dried thyme, and then cook until the garlic is very fragrant, 1 minute.

Sauteed vegetables in soup pot

Step 2: Thicken the soup. Sprinkle in flour then cook for 1 minute stirring constantly. The addition of flour to the Ham and Bean Soup will give it a nice velvety texture. 

Flour added to sauteed vegetables in pot

Step 3: Add the stock. Slowly add glugs of chicken stock while stirring until a smooth, creamy sauce forms. Pour in the remaining stock then increase the heat to high to bring the soup to a boil. 

Ham and bean soup simmering in pot

Step 4: Simmer. Stir the beans and ham into the pot then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. That’s it!

Bowl of Ham and Bean soup with green onions on top

Serving Suggestions

See the recipe card below for my easy crostini recipe, which are fantastic for pairing with a bowl of soup to soak up all that rich broth. Gluten Free Focaccia or Gluten Free Cornbread are delicious as well!

Of course, you can never beat a classic soup-and-salad combo—I think my Ham and Bean Soup recipe pairs especially well with my Everyday Kale Salad.

If soup-and-a-sandwich is more your style, try this soup with my Apple Orchard Panini or a classic grilled cheese.

Side-by-side crostini photos, showing before and after baking

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

Transfer leftover Ham and Bean soup to an airtight container and refrigerate for 3 to 4 days. It can be reheated in the microwave or on the stove top.

Can Ham and Bean Soup Be Frozen?

This recipe freezes beautifully. Cool the soup completely then ladle portions into Souper Cubes or Ziplock freezer bags and freeze flat. Thaw the soup in the refrigerator for 12 hours prior to meal time, then reheat in a pan on the stove top.

Dipping crostini into Ham and Bean Soup

More Satisfying Soup Recipes

Ham and Bean Soup


This Ham and Bean Soup with canned beans is an easy bean soup recipe that's hearty, satisfying, and quick to make. No ham bone needed!


serves 5-6

  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large carrot, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/2 onion or 1 large shallot, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • big pinch dried thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2, 15oz cans Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1lb ham steak, cubed


  1. Heat extra virgin olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, and onion/shallot, season with salt and pepper, then saute until tender, 10 minutes. Place a lid on top with a splash of chicken stock or water if the vegetables are taking a long time to soften. Add garlic and dried thyme then saute until garlic is extremely fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle in flour then cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  2. Slowly add glugs of chicken stock while stirring until a smooth sauce has been formed then pour in remaining stock. Turn heat up to high to bring broth to a boil then add beans and ham. Turn heat down to medium-low then simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Scoop into bowls then serve with crostini (directions below.)


  • To make crostini: slice a gluten free baguette (or a regular baguette if you don't need to eat GF,) into 1/4" slices then arrange on a silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush both sides with extra virgin olive oil then season lightly with salt and pepper. Bake for 8-12 minutes at 350 degrees, rotating the baking sheet once, or until crostini are golden brown.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.


Ham and Bean Soup