Hambone bean soup is the perfect hearty, delicious meal for cold winter days. Filled with tasty ham, beans, carrots, and celery, this will quickly become one of your favorite dishes during the winter and any time of year.
This hambone bean soup holds a special place in my heart because it’s based on my grandmother’s recipe. She was an amazing cook, and she made some of the best food you could ever hope to have.
Growing up, one of my favorite dishes that she made during the cold winter months here in Canada was ham and bean soup.
Whether the weather outside was a raging snowstorm or just that quiet, still cold that seems to seep into your bones. Her soup always warmed me up.
Of course, the delicious ingredients and steaming hot liquid warmed up my belly, but there was something about having it served to me by that wonderful woman that warmed up my heart, as well.
This ham and bean soup is equal parts taste and nostalgia for me, but for you, it will be all about the flavor. This soup is overflowing with ingredients that work so well together, and they always satisfy.
A huge bonus is that it’s not that hard to make. A little sauteing and about half an hour of simmering are all it takes to create this absolutely mouth-watering dish. Plus, there’s a little something extra in the dish to make it even more warming. Keep reading to find out what it is!
Easy, Hearty, and Delicious Hambone and Bean Soup
Hambone and bean soup is a dish that only tastes like it took all day to make. The salty ham, beans, and vegetables all meld together quite quickly in the stockpot to create a dish that needs very little cooking time but tastes like it was on the stove all day long.
The ham and bean soup is an excellent recipe to make when you’d like to skip cooking for the next couple of days because it’s so good reheated. It might even be better the next day!
To make this delicious soup, you’ll need the standard ingredients that you find in most soups. Carrots, celery, onion, and garlic are, of course, part of this dish, creating the flavor base that will meld with the hambone.
You’ll also need canned finely diced ham, cannellini beans, and Italian seasoning. Remember that twist I mentioned before? Well, here it comes. This soup will warm you up even more with the addition of cumin and red pepper flakes.
Don’t worry, this isn’t a five-alarm chili by any stretch of the imagination. There’s just enough in this soup to add some flavor and a touch of heat.
How to Make It
From all the ingredients I just listed, you might be wondering how exactly this hambone and bean soup could be classified as easy. It’s understandable, but hang with me for a few more minutes, and you’ll see just how easy it is.
To make this soup, you’ll saute the hambone, carrots, celery, and onion until tender. Then, you’ll add the garlic and seasonings, and cook just a minute more. From there, you’ll add the diced ham, beans, and water and then just simmer for about 30 minutes.
See? That wasn’t so hard.
Hambone and Bean Soup Tips
Hambone and bean soup is incredibly easy to make, but there are some things to remember before cooking it up. Most of these relate to the speed at which you do your cooking.
While there aren’t many steps to this soup, you’ll still want to take your time with each of them to ensure the best possible outcome for this soup.
In my experience, it’s the easiest recipes that tend to come out poorly because so many of us either take each step for granted or decide to rush things to make a fast recipe even faster.
Don’t Skip the Hambone
This is hambone bean soup. The hambone needs to be there. Of course, you could skip the hambone, but you won’t get the same flavor. Bones are so full of flavor, ladies and gentlemen.
As you saute the vegetables and the hambone, all the great flavor of the meat, veggies, and even the bone begin to meld together, and that will carry over into the simmering process, as well. If you take out the hambone, you’ll end up with a much less flavorful soup.
Don’t Rush Things
I mentioned that earlier, but it bears repeating. Don’t try to make a fast recipe even faster. When sauteeing your hambone and vegetables, don’t try cranking up the heat higher to make everything cook faster.
Likewise, when you simmer the soup, let it be a simmer. Don’t attempt to put this hambone bean soup on a low boil to make it cook faster. You’ll really be short-changing this soup’s delicious flavor.
Slow and steady wins the race, and this race is only about an hour long from start to finish. When you’re spooning up a bite, you’ll be glad you were patient.
Use Quality Ingredients
This is a tip you’ll see me use quite often in my recipe posts. Starting with great ingredients leads to a great finished product. When choosing your hambone, ham, beans, and vegetables, look for the highest-quality items possible.
That doesn’t necessarily mean buying the most expensive. Rather, it means ensuring that the ingredients you choose are as fresh and delicious as possible.
Opt for name-brand beans, as house brand canned goods can often taste odd. Be choosy with your vegetables. Always look for carrots and celery that are as pristine as possible and onions and garlic that are firm with no softness.
I cannot stress this point enough. Quality ingredients make a quality dish.
How to Serve Hambone Bean Soup
With a recipe this classically simple, there’s no need to get fancy. In fact, simpler is better. After all, this hearty soup is already a complete meal in a bowl. I love to keep things simple and just serve up this soup with some crusty bread on the side.
The saltiness of the ham, the earthy flavor of the beans, and the warmth of the cumin and red pepper flakes pair perfectly with a big chunk of warm crusty bread. Leave the butter in the fridge, though.
You’ll be using your bread for dipping with this recipe!
I don’t recommend substituting any ingredients in this soup. The flavors in it work so well together, it feels like trying to make perfection even better. You can’t do it.
The only thing you might want to try substituting is the beans. I love the way cannellini beans work in this hambone bean soup, but you could use any white bean you like.
I wouldn’t recommend going with any kind of dark beans like pinto or kidney, as these flavors can be too strong for ham and bean soup.
Speaking of beans, you can also use dried beans in place of the canned beans if you prefer. Just remember that if you use dried beans, you’ll have to pre-cook them so that they’ll be fully cooked and have the proper texture when the rest of the soup is finished simmering.
Unlike substitutions, which I don’t recommend, there are some great additions that you can add to this hambone bean soup. Potatoes are always a welcome addition to any ham and bean soup.
You could also use sweet potatoes in it, as well. Parsnips are also a lovely idea. However, it’s important to use a light hand with the parsnips, as they can be quite strong.
How to Store Hambone Bean Soup
This soup will last for about 4 days in the refrigerator when stored in an air-tight container. You can also freeze this soup for up to a month in an air-tight, freezer-safe container or a heavy-duty freezer bag.
It’s important to eat the soup within a month. While it won’t go bad if it stays in the freezer longer, it will lose some of its flavor.
Hambone Bean Soup FAQ
We’ve covered just about everything there is to know about this hambone bean soup, but before you go, let’s go over the highlights and answer some questions. A little refresher is always good to ensure that your recipe comes out as delicious-tasting as possible.
Do I have to use a hambone?
If you want this soup to be as flavorful as possible, you should use the hambone. You don’t have to use it, however, your soup will miss out on a lot of flavor.
Can I use different beans?
You can absolutely use different beans, providing they’re white. White beans have a milder flavor and are more suited for this soup. Dark beans like kidney and pinto beans are a bit strong for this hambone bean soup.
I don’t love heat. Can I leave out the cumin and red peppers?
You sure can. The cumin and red pepper give this soup a little kick, but it’s still so, so good without them.
What else can I put in this soup?
If this soup isn’t full of enough deliciousness for you, potatoes make an excellent addition. You can also try adding parsnips in moderation. They add a nice flavor. Don’t put in too many, though, as they can overpower a dish quickly.
How long will this hambone bean soup keep?
This soup will be good for about 4 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container. You can store it for up to a month in the freezer if you use an air-tight, freezer-safe container or heavy-duty freezer bag.
Hambone Bean Soup is the Perfect Cold Weather Dish
This hambone bean soup is one of the best dishes you can serve on a cold, winter day. Delicious, salty ham, earthy beans, and classic soup vegetables like celery, carrots, onion, and garlic all combine to create a soup that will fill you up, warm you up, and leave your body and soul feeling all warm and toasty.
Who knows, years from now, your kids might look back on you serving them this recipe as fondly as I do when I think of my grandmother serving it to me.
Other hearty recipes to try
Ham and Bean Soup
- Stock pot
- 1 ham bone
- 2 carrots chopped (about 2 cups)
- 2 celery stalks chopped (about 2 cups)
- 1 cup onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Tablespoon italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 15 oz cans cannellini beans rinsed and drained
- 2 cups finely diced cooked ham
- 6 cups water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Get out and measure all of your ingredients.
- Spray a large stockpot with cooking spray and place the ham bone inside.
- Place the carrots, celery and onion around the ham bone and saute until tender.
- Add the garlic, italian seasoning, cumin and red pepper flakes. Cook for one additional minute.
- Add the cannellini beans, ham and 6 cups water to the stock pot. Cover and bring to a simmer.
- Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove ham bone.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve and enjoy every bite.