Leftover Ham and White Bean Soup

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Leftover Ham and White Bean Soup is a clean-out-the-refrigerator type of meal. Boil your leftover ham bone for flavor, and add tons of veggies, canned beans, and leftover ham.

Soup Season is my favorite season, and I’ve got plenty for you to choose from. Try a creamy Autumn Squash Soup, a spicy Turkey Taco Soup, or this healthy Anti-Inflammatory Chicken Ginger Soup!

Bowls of leftover ham and white bean soup, with spoons.

Old Fashioned Ham and Bean Soup

Over the holidays, we make turkey, honey-glazed ham, brisket, and pork butt until the cows come home. These massive cuts of meat are paired with creamy mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, brioche dinner rolls, French silk pie, butter pecan ice cream, and various other indulgent things.

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So when you cook a ham and are tired of eating ham sandwiches, it’s time to make some lean and mean soup.

Why we love this recipe

  1. It’s chock full of veggies. This soup is a great one to make after all that butter and cheese!
  2. It uses up leftover ham. A great solution to avoiding waste, and it’s simple too.
  3. The taste is amazing. Simmering the ham bone adds amazing flavor.
  4. The leftovers are great. Yup, you heard it here. Use your leftover ham to make this soup, and then enjoy the soup leftovers too!
A bowl of the bean and ham soup, with crackers.

Ingredient Notes

  • The veggies. This recipe includes a ton of veggies – leek (or onion), cabbage, celery, carrots, and cabbage.
  • Beans – I prefer this with white beans. Use cannelloni or great northern.
  • Ham bone. Boiling the ham bone will add incredible flavor to the broth base of this soup.
  • Flavor enhancers. Using fresh thyme and bay leaves adds even MORE flavor!

Simmering the ham bone is key to flavor, but if you don’t have one, you can still make this recipe using the ham only.

How to make this soup

Step 1
Cook the ham bone. Add the ham bone to a pot of water and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes. Strain the broth and add back to pot.

Step 2
Prep veggies. Chop the veggies. Make sure you rinse the leek in some cold water as it will contain some dirt in between the layers.

Step 3
Cook veggies. In a cast iron skillet (or other pan), sauté the veggies in some olive oil until they start to soften. Add the garlic, onion powder, and black pepper toward the end.

Step 4
Combine ingredients. To the broth, add the sautéed veggies, the rinsed and drained beans, the chopped ham, thyme, and bay leaves. Stir and add more broth as needed to cover the soup ingredients.

Step 5
Simmer soup. Cook the soup on medium heat until everything is nice and hot. Taste to see if additional seasonings are needed.

Step 6
Serve. Serve the soup with some crackers or crusty bread.

My mother used to add some vinegar to her ham and bean soup. I’ve never had success doing that (i.e. we didn’t like it), but if that’s your thing then go for it!

A stockpot of the ham and bean soup.

Expert Tips

  • You can use any beans you like in this soup. I like the mild cannellini beans to go with the salty ham.
  • Don’t skip the bay leaves for full depth of flavor.
  • If you don’t have a ham bone, it’s ok. Just follow the recipe after step one.
  • Since we aren’t using much salt in this soup (ham is naturally salty), test it to see if it’s needed toward the end of the cooking time.

For more ideas on using leftovers, head to this post –> 9 Delicious Ways to Use Thanksgiving Leftovers!

Enjoy your leftovers!

Two bowls of the ham and bean soup.

Kitchen Tools used: (affiliate links)

Make this soup next: Italian Wedding Soup

xoxo ~Sue

A pot of white bean and ham soup.

Leftover Ham and White Bean Soup

Using a leftover ham bone gives this soup an amazing flavor, along with leftover ham, white beans, and lots of vegetables!
4.75 from 12 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 305kcal
Author: Sue Ringsdorf


  • 1 leftover ham bone – with some ham on it
  • 8-10 cups chicken broth + water
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium leek (or one onion) – white part only, chopped
  • 4 large carrots – chopped
  • 4 large celery stalks – chopped
  • 2 cups cabbage – slivered
  • 3 cloves garlic – diced
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoon fresh thyme – or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 6 cups leftover ham – chopped
  • 2 cans cannellini beans – rinsed and drained
  • 2 whole bay leaves


  • In a large stock pot, combine ham bone with chicken broth. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 45 minutes. Take ham bone out of pot and remove any visible ham. Strain broth and then add pack to pot.
  • Meanwhile, In a separate skillet, heat olive oil to medium heat. Add chopped leek, carrots, celery, cabbage, and spices (pepper, onion powder, and a little bit of salt). Sauté for approximately 5-6 minutes, or until veggies are starting to soften. Add garlic during the last 30 seconds. 
  • Pour all veggies into large stock pan. Then add remaining ham, cannelloni beans, thyme, and bay leaves. Simmer for another 20-30 minutes, or until flavors are well combined and the soup is hot.
  • Serve with crackers or some crusty bread.


  1. You can use any beans you like in this soup. I like the mild cannellini beans to go with the salty ham.
  2. Don’t skip the bay leaves for full depth of flavor.
  3. I used a Hormel ham. Mom and Dad always bought that brand, and it’s the best.
  4. If you don’t have a ham bone, it’s ok. Just follow the recipe after step one.
  5. You can make this in a crock pot as well, by combining everything after step two.


Calories: 305kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 1909mg | Potassium: 626mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 8510IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 150mg | Iron: 6mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @Suebeehomemaker or tag #suebeehomemaker!


  1. Best ways to use leftover ham!! Love this soup 🙂

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Thanks Josh!

  2. So delicious and a great way to use up your leftover ham!!!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Thank you so much or your feedback, Kristin!

  3. Can I freeze this soup?

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Hi Alexis. I haven’t froze this soup, but I believe you could. The veggies and beans could possibly get a bit mushy, but I can’t be certain. Good luck!

  4. What a great use for that ham bone and any leftover ham you have. So easy and delicious!! Especially good if you happen to have a sick husband who needs a healthy brothy soup!!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      I’m so glad you both enjoyed the soup, Shari!

  5. Hi Sue-
    I had leftover ham in the freezer from Thanksgiving and this recipe was perfect! I love soup during the cold months. This recipe is simple and loaded with veggies and fiber. Thank you for sharing it with us!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Thanks for trying it, Saemi! And I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

  6. I love it when the high nutrition foods taste so gooood! It makes eating healthy so much easier.

4.75 from 12 votes (7 ratings without comment)

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