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15 Bean Soup with Ham
A hearty, stick-to-your-ribs kind-of soup.
15 Bean Soups with Ham is loaded with heart healthy beans, diced tomatoes, fresh onions, celery and carrots with plenty of spice and flavor. And, this soup freezes beautifully!
Ham and bean soup has been a staple in our house for all the years we’ve been married. Every time we buy a bone-in ham we make this giant pot of soup. Sometimes I think we look forward to this soup more than the actual ham. It’s that good.
It may look a little overcooked and mushy, but that because I add extra red lentils. The lentils breakdown and give this soup a thick, creamy texture. The vegetables are added at the end so they stay crisp tender.
Overview of ingredients:
- 15 bean mixture, soaked overnight
- red lentils
- ham bone, smoked sausage, diced ham or ham hocks
- diced ham
- canned fire roasted diced tomatoes
- chili powder
- juice of 1 lemon
- chicken broth or vegetable stock
- fresh ground black pepper
- fresh thyme sprigs
This soup will be great even if you don’t have a ham bone.
If you don’t have a leftover ham bone, no worries. Use plenty of ham and the flavor will be there. When we have a ham for the holidays, we often leave a lot of ham on the bone so our soup will be on the meaty side. Once it’s cooked for a few hours, the ham just falls off the bone.
If you don’t have the ham bone you can purchase smoked sausage or ham hocks from some well stocked grocery stores or butchers. While ham hocks are different than ham bones, you can use them much in the same way.
My mom always made ham bone soup but she only used navy beans. We like the variety of the 14, 15 or even 16 bean soup packages. You can find packages of bean soup mixes in the dried bean section of your local grocery store. But no worries – use a package of navy beans if you can’t find the mix.
Some packages include a great variety of beans like pintos, baby limas or large lima beans, garbanzo, white kidney beans and black beans. We usually purchase a well known variety like the Hurst’s HamBeens brand.
Many 15 bean soup recipe packages include a seasoning packet. This seasoning packet is not used in this soup recipe so it can be discarded or reserved for another use like seasoning a pot of plain beans.
Overview: how to make 15 Bean Soup
1. Soak the bean overnight
Place the beans in a soup pot and cover with clean cool water by 3 to 4 inches. Cover the pot and soak the beans overnight or at least 8 hours.
2. Cook the beans with the ham bone
Drain the beans in a colander and discard the soaking water. Rinse the beans under cool water and pour them back into the large soup pot along with the lentils. Add enough water to cover the beans by at least 2-inches. Add the jam bone and bring the soup to a boil.
While the soup beans and ham are cooking you’ll need to skim any foam that forms on top and discard. Use a very large serving spoon to make this task fast and easy. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for two hours.
3. Remove the ham bone and add the vegetables
Add the onions, tomatoes, chili powder, lemon juice, garlic, celery, carrots, broth, thyme, pepper and any additional chopped ham, if using. Simmer another 30 minutes until the vegetables are crisp tender.
While the vegetables are cooking trim any meat from the jam bone. Return the ham to the pot and stir to combine. Discard the ham bone.
Taste the soup to check the seasoning and salt if needed. We also like to add hot sauce to individual bowls of soup.
Can you freeze this soup?
Yes indeed! This soup freezes beautifully and will last about 6 months in your freezer. When you’re ready to serve thaw overnight in the refrigerator then warm gently on the stove top. There’s no need to boil the soup.
Can you make this soup in the slow cooker?
This soup is great in the slow cooker. Just make sure you set it on low and don’t cook it too long and turn all the beans to mush. You’ll need about 4 hours on low to cook the beans and ham bone.
What to serve with 15 Bean Soup
Finally, this soup is great served with our southern buttermilk cornbread or cornbread muffins, but crackers work well in a pinch too!
Pass a bottle of your favorite hot sauce when serving.
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15 Bean Soup with Ham
- 1 package 15 bean mixture soaked overnight (20 ounce package)
- 1 cup red lentils
- 1 ham bone fat removed (feel free to meat on the bone)
- 1 cup ham cut into cubes (if there is enough ham left on the bone – no need to add additional chopped ham)
- 1 large onion diced
- 14.5 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes with juice (regular diced tomatoes are fine too)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 stalks celery chopped
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth (8oz)
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- several sprigs of fresh thyme
- Place the package of 15 beans in a large soup pot and cover with clean cool water by 3-4 inches. Cover the pot with a lid and soak the beans overnight or at least 8 hours.
- Pour the soaked beans in a colander and discard the soaking water. Rinse the beans and place them back in a large soup pot along with the lentils. And add enough clean, cool water to cover the beans and lentils by two inches. Add the ham bone and bring the soup to a boil over medium-high heat.
- While the soup is cooking, you may need to skim any foam that forms on the top. You can use a very large serving spoon to make this easy. Discard the foam.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for two hours, stirring occasionally.
- Next, remove the ham bone and set aside to cool.
- Add the onion, tomatoes, chili powder, lemon juice, garlic, celery, carrots, broth, thyme and pepper (and additional chopped ham if adding). Simmer another 30 minutes until the vegetables are crisp tender.
- While the vegetables are cooking trim any meat remaining on the ham bone. Return the chopped ham back to the soup and stir to combine. Discard the ham bone.
- Serve soup with corn muffins, cornbread, or crackers and a dollop of sour cream if desired.
- We don't add salt to this soup as ham typically is salty enough. Better to be on the safe side with this dish.
- This soup freezes very well.
- Ham bones become brittle when cooked so they are not suitable for dogs. The bones splinter easily and can damage their mouth and teeth.
- Preparation time does not include soaking overnight.
- We discard the ham flavoring package that comes with the beans as the soup is flavored and seasoned with the ham and ham bone
Classic 15 Bean Soup with Ham
If you’re looking for a few more ways to use up leftover holiday ham, don’t miss our Ham and Cheese Breakfast Soufflés. We also love to stir in leftover ham with our homemade Macaroni and Cheese.
If you have a good bit of ham leftover you must try these Hallelujah Ham Loaves (a/k/a ham and cheese sliders). They are so good and easy to make too!
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