Leftover Ham Bone and Bean Soup

Is there a better way to use holiday ham than this leftover ham bone and bean soup? And how about other meals you can whip like a creamy pasta with ham and peas? Ham slices for breakfast or lunch is popular in my house too. Seriously, it keeps on giving. Even my dog gets the bone after boiling it in soup. Except for the fat, I really don’t throw away anything from the ham.

So for this soup I use simple aromatics such as onion, celery, thyme, diced carrots, and bay leaves. For the beans you can use either canned white or cannelini beans or dried ones. If you are using canned beans, it is important to rinse them and let it drain before using. For dried beans, soak them the night before and drain before cooking. This will speed up the cooking time. Sometimes I add a little barley, lentils or mixed dried beans. Really you can be creative with it.

Although the ham bone is from leftovers, it will have bits of meat left attached to it after slicing and will be wonderful with the soup later.

The cooking process is so simple, you just dump everything in a big pot and let it simmer away for 1 1/2 hrs. As you leave it cooking you can do other chores. I’m not opposed to cooking it in a slow cooker but personally I prefer slowly simmering food in a pot. I find that everything I cook in a slow cooker turns out grayish and all the ingredients look shredded. So for the slow cooker lovers out there, please don’t hate me. I like my food retaining its shape and color.

The best part of this comforting ham bone soup is it feeds the whole family and if you are alone you don’t have to cook for days. So I hope you try it and I wish you a Happy New Year!

Leftover Ham Bone and Bean Soup

Servings 6
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute
Total Time 16 minutes


  • 1 leftover ham bone
  • 2 celery stalks chopped
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 2 cans 15 oz. cans cannelini beans rinsed and drained
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  • Place beans in a strainer and rinse with water until the slimy liquid is all washed out. Let it drain. Place onion, celery, carrots, ham bone, thyme and bay leaves in a large pot and add water just enough to cover the ham bone. Season with freshly ground pepper. The ham will be salty so adjust the seasoning later.
  • Cover the pot and cook on medium-high heat until it boils. Once it starts boiling, reduce heat to simmer for 1 hour. After 1 hour, add the drained beans and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Cover and let simmer for another 15 minutes. Turn off heat. Take the ham bone out and dice the meat attached to the bone. Add meat back into the soup. Serve warm.
Author: Elizabeth Segal
Course: Main Course, Main Dish, Soup
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