Rich, hearty, and soothing, this ham bone soup is the perfect way to use up a leftover ham bone. It’s loaded with hearty veggies and beans, packed with garlic and herbs, and so easy to make.
Once the cold weather rolls around, I find myself making soup all the time. Is there anything better than a steaming bowl of soup on a cold winter night? I sure don’t think so. This ham bone soup recipe has quickly become one of my favorite soups. The broth is meaty, rich, and full of ham flavor but still light and vibrant.
Why We Love This Leftover Ham Bone Soup
- Easy. This is such an easy soup to make. The flavors are restaurant-quality, but home cooks of all skill levels can follow this simple and straightforward recipe.
- Comforting. Ham bone soup is a soothing recipe filled with the comforting flavors of ham, chicken stock, and herbs.
- Use all of the ham bone. Bones have so much flavor in them, and the broth for this soup is made by simmering the bone in chicken stock for at least an hour. Then, after the broth has been made, you remove the meat from the bone and put it in the soup.
Ham Bone Soup Ingredients
- Ham bone – Make sure to use a ham bone that still has a bit of meat on it. I aim for a ham bone that’s about 3 pounds.
- Chicken broth
- Olive oil
- Onion – A yellow onion is best for this recipe, but a white or red onion will work in a pinch.
- Bay leaves
- Dried thyme – You can substitute fresh thyme if you prefer, or you can use any other winter herbs.
- Canned corn – Make sure to drain the canned corn. Frozen or fresh corn kernels will also work.
- Canned white kidney beans – You’ll need to drain and rinse the beans.
- Pepper – Always use freshly cracked pepper.
How to Make Ham Bone Soup
- Prep the ham bone. Add the ham bone to a large stockpot or Dutch oven, and pour the chicken broth to cover the meat.
- Make the broth. Bring the ham bone and chicken stock to a boil, then lower the heat. Simmer for an hour to an hour-and-a-half. Then remove the bone from the liquid and set it aside to cool. Next, strain the broth and set it aside.
- Sauté veggies. In the soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat, then add the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery. Sauté the veggies until the onions are translucent and fragrant, about 10 minutes.
- Shred the meat. As the veggies cook, remove the meat from the ham bone and shred it into bite-sized pieces.
- Add the meat and seasonings. Once the vegetables are done cooking, add the meat, bay leaves, and thyme, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Pour in the broth. Add the strained ham bone broth, then bring the soup to a gentle boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
- Finish. Stir in the corn and kidney beans, then simmer for another 10 minutes, or until the beans are heated throughout and the soup is the right consistency. Serve the soup hot with an optional garnish of fresh parsley.
Tips for Success
- Keep at a light simmer. It’s important to keep the soup at a simmer rather than boiling it to ensure that the broth is rich, meaty, and velvety.
- Gently sauté. When cooking the veggies, cook them gently. You want them to get tender, but you don’t want them to brown.
- Adjust the consistency. You can cook this soup to whatever consistency you like. If you want the broth a little bit thicker, just simmer the soup for longer. If you’d like the soup to be a little thinner, add some more chicken stock.
- Add more herbs and veggies. You can put just about any type of veggies in this ham bone soup, and you can add other herbs if you want. If you like spice, you can season the soup with some chili flakes.
- Freeze the bone. If you have a leftover ham bone but don’t have time to make soup, you can always freeze the bone for up to 3 months. Then, you can make this soup whenever you have the time. You don’t even need to defrost the bone, as you can start the recipe with a frozen ham bone.
My favorite way to eat Ham Bone Soup is to serve it with a few side dishes. It pairs well with Garlic Butter Roasted Asparagus, Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Radishes, or Grilled Vegetables with Lemon Dressing. Don’t start it without the bread, though! Try my Garlic and Herb Focaccia, Butter Swim Biscuits, or this delicious Cheesy Garlic Pull-Apart Bread.
Storing And Reheating Leftovers
Any leftover ham bone soup can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for 3 months. Reheat the soup on the stove over medium heat until the meat and veggies are warm.
Easy Soup Recipes To Try
I’m always on the lookout for easy soup recipes, especially in the fall and winter. Here are a few more of my favorites for you to make the next time you’re craving a warm bowl of homemade soup.
- Creamy Leek and Potato Soup
- Loaded Baked Potato Soup
- Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
- Slow Cooker Crack Chicken Soup
- Egg Drop Soup
Ham Bone Soup
- 3 pounds ham bone with meat
- 6 to 8 cups chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 carrots, diced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 cup canned corn, drained
- 1 cup canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Put the ham bone in a large stockpot or Dutch oven, then pour in the chicken stock until the meat and bone are mostly submerged.
- Bring the broth to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 1 to 1.5 hours to infuse the broth with ham flavor.
- Remove the ham bone from the broth and set it aside to cool. Next, strain the broth through a mesh sieve and set it aside.
- In a stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery, and sauté until fragrant and the onion is translucent. This should take about 6 to 8 minutes.
- While the vegetables cook, remove the meat from the han bone and shred it.
- When the veggies are done cooking, add the meat to the pot. Add the bay leaves and dried thyme, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Pour in the infused ham broth, then bring the soup to a gentle boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Add the corn and white kidney beans and stir to combine. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the beans are heated through and the soup is to a desired consistency.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and serve while hot.
- Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 days, or in the freezer for 3 months.
- Reheat leftovers on the stove over medium heat until warm throughout, or in the microwave at 80% power in 30-second increments.
- You can store a leftover ham bone in the freezer for up to 3 months in two airtight bags. You can then make this recipe with the frozen ham bone.
- Feel free to add any veggies and herbs that you have around the house.