This instant pot ham and bean soup is hearty, healthy and tasty.
It's a perfect use of leftover ham bones (or buy ham hocks from your local grocer).
This is a budget-friendly dinner that your family will love!
During the cold winter months, there is nothing more enjoyable
than a hearty soup that warms the soul.
Here are the top 5 reasons that you will love this ham and bean
#5: It’s cheap! Dried beans and a leftover ham bone
are the main ingredients. You can feed a family of 5 for $5. WIN! (Yeah, my
husband wanted to rate this #1)
#4: It’s a one pot meal! This
makes for easy cooking and clean up.
#3: It’s easy to make! This recipe involves a
little sautéing...then you let the instant pot do the work. Does “Set it
and forget it” ring a bell?
#2: It’s healthy! Beans are
full of protein and complex carbs. As a whole, this soup has tons of
healthy ingredients, like protein, fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients.
#1: It’s full of flavor! The
spices, herbs, and veggies all complement each other to make a hearty dish that is comfort food at its best.
Ingredients for ham and bean soup
I prefer to use navy beans: I find that navy beans break down really well, creating a thicker, more hearty soup.
Leftover ham bones are ideal. Every time I make ham (like my Orange Bourbon Glazed Ham), the next day is mandatory ham and bean soup time in our house.
This gives us two completely different meals with one ham, plus leftovers for sandwiches and delicious snacks like Tangy Deviled Ham & Cheese Spread.
If you don’t have leftover ham bones, simply buy a ham hock from the grocery store.
Hopefully you DO have some top-rate leftover ham. If not, you may want to buy some cubed ham to add in once the soup is done.
I use a mix of water and chicken stock for this soup.
Be aware that ham is salty, so make sure your liquids have low sodium content.
Celery, onion, and carrots are the base to this and most soup. Also, it adds fantastic color to the soup.
Herbs and spices
This soup is awesome with rosemary. I use both fresh, minced rosemary and a rosemary sprig, along with some Italian herb mix, garlic, and a couple of bay leaves.
Of course, we also use some salt and pepper. However, I don't advise adding salt until the beans are tender. Salting too early can result in tough beans.
But proceed with caution: ham is salty to begin with. You can always add salt later, but you can't take it out.
How to make instant pot ham and bean soup
- Set instant pot to saute setting and add olive oil, celery, carrots and onions until softened. This takes about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the garlic, tomato paste, bay leaves, and rosemary. Saute an additional minute.
- Deglaze the pot with white wine.
- Add the dry beans.
- Add your cooking liquids. Make sure the liquid covers the beans by 2-3 inches. This extra liquid will mostly be absorbed by the beans, but you will still have some broth.
- Add the ham bone or hocks.
- Lid the instant pot. Close the valve and set to slow cook on the highest setting.
- Stir the soup after 4 hours.
- When the soup has slow-cooked for 8 hours, check to sure that the seasoning is to your liking. Add salt and pepper if necessary.
- Remove the ham bone or hocks and pull off any meat (be very careful to discard any bones). Combine the meat with leftover chopped ham and add to the soup to heat through.
- Optional: If you want a thicker soup, puree the soup a bit after removing the ham. I use an immersion blender simply buzz it through the pot a few times.
- Serve immediately with chopped parsley, grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, and plenty of fresh-ground black pepper.
Can you freeze ham and bean soup?
Yes! We do this all the time. It's so great to be able to pull a container of this soup out of the freezer when we haven't planned for meals—like when we come back to an empty refrigerator after a vacation.
Just put your leftover soup in freezer safe containers or bags.
Freezing Hack: Always label everything you freeze so you know what it is days, weeks, months later. I use painters tape and a Sharpie to note the contents and the date.
Because even if you tell yourself that you'll remember what was in that freezer container, trust me. You won't.
Slow-cooker Ham and Navy Bean Soup is pure deliciousness. It's a favorite in the Frank family: Phil even asks for it in the middle of the summer. Be sure to make up a batch of my Easy Dinner Rolls to enjoy with the soup!
I hope it's a hit at your house!
Stay safe. Stay well.
P.S. For more ideas for eating up your leftover meat, check out my post on Using up Leftovers! Or, get ideas for using up your pantry staples with Easy Pantry Meals – Living Out of Your Pantry (and refrigerator and freezer).
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into small cubes
- 3 stalks of celery, cut into small cubes
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste
- ½ cup white wine
- 2 tbsp. fish sauce
- 1 lb. of navy beans, rinsed and carefully picked through to remove rocks
- Approx. 2 quarts of liquid (see Recipe Note #1)
- 2 smoked ham hocks, or ½ lb. of smoked ham (optional)
- 1 large piece of Parmesan rind, optional
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 rosemary sprig
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning or Herbs de Provence, optional
- 2 generous pinches of salt, plus more to taste
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper
- grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
- 2 cups chopped leftover ham.
- 1 cup savoy cabbage, shredded
- 3 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
- Heat the olive oil in the Instant Pot, using the saute function (highest setting). oAdd the celery, carrots, and onions. Sauté until softened, 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato paste, rosemary, and bay leaves; sauté for an additional minute.
- Add the fish sauce, if using, and sauté for 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen the browned bits (fond) on the bottom.
- Add the beans, cooking liquid, and herbs. Make sure that the liquid covers the beans by 2-3”. Add the ham hocks and cheese rind (if using).
- Cover the Instant Pot, close the valve, and set to the highest slow-cooking setting (with 8:30 hours on the clock).
- Stir the beans after 4 hours, if you can.
- Add the optional vegetables 1 hour before the end of the slow-cook.
- After 8 hours, check the seasoning and adjust as needed, adding the salt to taste. Remove the ham hocks/bones and cheese rind, if using. Also remove the rosemary stem and bay leaves (see Recipe Note #2). If you’d like to purée your soup, you can do so now (see Recipe Note #3).
- Pull the meat off of the ham bone or hocks, chop roughly, and add back to the soup along with any additional chopped ham you have. Heat through for the last 20 minutes of the slow-cook.
- Serve with chopped parsley, grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, and plenty of fresh-ground black pepper.
- This can be water or vegetable, beef, or chicken stock—or a mix. The liquid should cover your beans, plus an extra 2-3” above the top.
- To remove any bones and the bay leaves/rosemary stem, I suggest running a slotted spoon through the soup. Pay careful attention as you do this: if you feel any "clunks," you know there's a bone to fish out.
- I sometimes just buzz an immersion blender through the slow-cooker a few times: the soup will still be chunky, but it will have a thicker consistency.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 9 Serving Size: 1 bowl, about 2 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 273Total Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gSodium: 1017mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 8gSugar: 3gProtein: 20g
Nutrition data provided here is only an estimate: if you are tracking this information for medical purposes, please consult a trusted external source. Thanks!