Best Ham and Bean Soup

Our greatest ever Ham and Bean Soup! Beans are aplenty, carrots in bite-sized pieces, the broth is nicely seasoned and thickened, and there are big hunks of salty ham throughout.

This soup is unlike any other because of its special, undisclosed components. In addition to being delicious at any time of day, it also freezes nicely.

Our Eternal Ham and Bean Soup Recipe

Possessing a reliable collection of recipes for traditional American comfort food has always been a need. You want THE ideal recipe for a dish like meatloaf, beef stew, spaghetti, meatballs, or banana bread. That which can be accessed from one generation to the next.

My aunt, who has always been a pro in the kitchen, is responsible for this dish.

It’s loaded with veggies, a variety of beans, and a hint of smoke from ham hocks, making for a hearty and satisfying stew.

You should use a smoked ham hock if you can get your hands on one. If you can’t find any, use smoked ham of high quality.

Soaking thick slices of bread in it or spreading it on cheese toast and eating it with a cup of coffee is the finest way to enjoy it. After taking our first bite, we knew we had to document this dish for future generations.

Smoked ham hocks are an integral ingredient of my aunt’s original recipe. Unfortunately, I was unable to locate them at any of the local supermarkets. Several locations were checked! A good piece of ham and some liquid smoke is my makeshift solution.

THE ROLE OF THE DUTCH OVEN: A Dutch oven is crucial to the success of this dish. It will give the soup plenty of time to bubble gently without scorching.

I switched between medium and medium-low temperatures. The soup was reduced sufficiently, but beans didn’t get scorched on the bottom of the pot because the heat was kept at a moderate simmer.

It was early in the afternoon when I began preparing my soup. By the time we completed dessert that day, it was ideal.

This recipe uses canned beans, so you’ll need a pressure cooker for dried beans. My aunt’s pressure cooker instructions are at the end of the recipe. Also, if you have a surplus of dry beans that you haven’t been using, this is a great recipe.


  • 4 large garlic cloves; chopped
  • 14 ounces of roughly shredded or diced ham (or 2 large smoked ham hocks)
  • 5 15 oz. cans of assorted beans
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 9 cups of water
  • 2 1/2 cups of diced carrots
  • 2 cups of diced celery
  • 1 1/2 cups of diced onions
  • 1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons of chicken bouillon paste
  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons of onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons of dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of liquid smoke (not needed if using smoked ham hocks)


  1. It takes about three minutes or so to get a Dutch oven nice and heated over medium heat. Put in the oil and the onions. To achieve a transparent onion effect, cook for approximately 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic, and simmer for a further minute or two.
  2. Cook celery and carrots for 5-6 minutes. First, the beans, then the water. Tend the fire to high.
  3. Put in the chicken bouillon paste, paprika, white pepper, black pepper, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, and bay leaves. Start a boil with this.
  4. Blend in the ham. For added crunch, I prefer to shred it into large pieces. If you’re using it, the ham hock should be added now.
  5. Turn the heat down to medium-low; soup should be kept at a gentle bubble but not a rolling boil.
  6. Stir every so often while cooking for four to five hours. You may need to raise the heat to medium if the soup isn’t reducing. Don’t assume that a single temperature setting will work for every stove. Maintain a routine inspection schedule for fluid levels.
  7. Mix in the fresh parsley an hour before the dish is done cooking. When the beans and carrots are soft, and the soup has thickened, it’s ready. Before serving, remove any remaining bones from the ham hock and coarsely slice the flesh and skin (the skin can be removed if desired).
  8. It’s easy to make mistakes and still enjoy this soup. If the soup is overly salty, simply dilute it by adding water and mashing a few beans slightly to release their starch. To get the soup back to the right consistency after reheating, just add another cup or two of water.
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