Skip to Content

Leftover Ham and Bean Soup – A Delicious & Easy Recipe For Two

Once of the best recipes to make with leftover ham is Leftover Ham and Bean Soup. A thick and hearty soup packed with vegetables, beans and ham.

It is a warming recipe that is perfect to serve on a cold winter day. Not to mention that it is a great way to use up some of those leftover vegetables from the holiday relish tray.

Best of all it is easy to make and is ready to eat in only 30 minutes! And after the holidays I bet you can agree that a simple recipe is a welcome sight!

leftover ham and bean soup
A bowl of ham and bean soup made with the leftover ham from Christmas dinner. A warm and comforting soup that is ready to eat in only 30 minutes!

Although many people use the leftover ham bone to make soup, for this easy recipe for two we are using only the leftover meat. However, if you would like to make a bigger batch using the ham bone so that you can enjoy the soup for a few days follow this Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup Recipe.

This slow cooker recipe not only uses the ham bone but it also calls for dried white beans. Just like when making Instant Pot Ham and Bean Soup, the dried beans are transitioned into plump, tender and flavorful beans when the soup is ready to eat.

However, because we are looking for a quick and easy meal, this soup recipe calls for canned white beans. And if you have a ton of ham to use up, be sure to make Ham and Potato Casserole. It is another delicious and easy to make recipe!

What Type of Beans To Make Leftover Ham and Bean Soup

This recipe works well with any variety of canned white beans. However there are three classic types of white beans that all taste delicious in this soup.

1. Great Northern Beans

Named for the cold climate that they grow well in, Great Northern Beans are a medium size white bean that has a very mild nutty flavor.

The outer flesh is somewhat firm and therefore hold their shape well when cooked. Although the inside of the bean is quite tender and literally melts in your mouth.

Because of their mild flavor the Great Norther beans take on the flavor of whatever they are cooked with. Which is why they are a great choice when used in recipes.

Cannellini
You can use whatever type of white bean that you prefer. Just be sure to drain and rinse before adding them to the pot.

2. Navy Beans

Known for their small oval shape Navy Beans often get the term pea beans. They are a quick cooking white beans that have a very mild flavor.

Because they cook so quickly they often get mashed in other recipes to thicken soups, stews and sauces. Although they are most often used to make Baked Beans, they are also found in many soup recipes, including this leftover ham and bean soup.

3. Cannellini Beans

Cannellini beans are the largest of the white beans. They are shaped like a traditional kidney bean, therefore they are also called White Kidney Beans in some parts of the world.

Because of their size they are meatier than the other white beans. They also have a more nutty and earthy flavor.

Although the flesh of cannellini beans are quite tender. Therefore, they are my bean of choice when making Minestrone and Ham and Bean Soup.

However, no matter which bean you choose simply drain and rinse the can of beans and then add them to the recipe. It doesn’t get much easier than that!

leftover ham
Leftover ham diced and ready to be added to the soup!

Leftover Ham and Bean Soup

*A printable recipe card is located at the bottom of this article which contains the specific measurements, temperatures and cook times. However, continue reading below to learn about more helpful tips about this specific recipe.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup onion diced
  • 1/4 cup large carrot peeled and diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped celery
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup cooked ham, diced
  • 1 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • salt, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

In a medium size pot or saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot add the onion, carrots and celery.

Cook the vegetables until the onions are tender. This will take approximately 4-5 minutes.

Next, add garlic to the pan and stir and saute just until the garlic becomes fragrant. This will take only 30 – 60 seconds. Make sure that the garlic doesn’t brown too much as it will become bitter.

Quickly pour the chicken stock into the pan and then add the leftover diced ham. Heat for 5 minutes over medium-high heat.

Add the bay leaf and parsley and bring the pot to a boil. Then reduce the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

soup simmering
Let the soup simmer so that the flavors have time to meld.

Next add the drained and rinsed beans and season with fresh ground black pepper and cayenne pepper (if using). Let simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes.

Remove bay leaf and serve warm.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Make The Ham and Bean Soup Thicker?

For a thicker soup, mash or puree some of the beans right before serving. You can do this with a potato masher or to make it even easier use an immersion blender.

However, you can also add a slurry of cornstarch and water to thicken the broth. Use 1 tablespoon of corn starch and mix it with 1 tablespoon of cold water until smooth.

Then slowly add it to the soup. Let it cook down and thicken until the desired consistency is reached.

How Do I Store The Leftovers?

Because this is a small batch recipe, you may not have any leftovers. However, if you made this ahead of time for the week ahead, it is easy to store.

First let the soup cool completely. Then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

cooked ham and bean soup
Ham and bean soup that is hearty and delicious!

Can I Freeze The Soup?

This is a great soup recipe that stores well in the freezer. This way if you are tired of ham right at the moment, you can still enjoy it later.

To store in the freezer allow the soup to cool completely. Then store the soup in an airtight container.

Label the package and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. It is best to thaw the frozen soup in the fridge overnight before reheating.

Enjoy! Mary

winter soup banner ad

To receive FREE recipes delivered directly to your email, be sure to sign up for the iCookfortwo newsletter. A sign up form is located in the middle of this article. If you have any questions, comments, or want to submit an idea for a recipe for two, feel free to email at mary@icookfortwo.com

leftover ham and bean soup

Leftover Ham and Bean Soup Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

An easy ham and bean soup recipe that is made with leftover holiday ham and a can of white beans. Add in a few veggies for a thick and hearty meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup onion diced
  • 1/4 cup large carrot peeled and diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped celery
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup cooked ham, diced
  • 1 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a medium size pot or saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots and celery. Cook until onions are tender, approximately 4 minutes.

  2. Add garlic to the pan and stir and saute just until fragrant (30 - 60 seconds) to prevent the garlic from becoming too brown and bitter.Sauté the garlic until fragrant (30 seconds - 1 minute). 
  3. Pour the chicken stock to the pan and then add the ham. Heat for 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Add the bay leaves and parsley and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and allow the mixture to simmer for 5 minutes.

  4. Add the drained and rinsed beans and season with fresh ground black pepper and cayenne pepper (if using). Let simmer for 15-20 minutes.

  5. Remove bay leaf and serve warm.

Notes

Recipe provided by iCookfortwo.com

Nutrition Information
Yield 2
Amount Per Serving Calories 237Total Fat 6gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 26mgSodium 1447mgCarbohydrates 29gFiber 7gSugar 4gProtein 18g

Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.

Skip to Recipe