Oh So Simple White Bean and Ham Soup Recipe

This is from The Supper Book: 10th Anniversary Edition by Marion Cunningham. Kind of funny–you can buy a hardcover of this on Amazon (used) for $3 (plus shipping) but the paperback version, that I have is $8 (still a deal!). This is so simple, but so delicious. Certainly frugal, let’s see $1 for the beans, two onions for 50 cents maybe. The ham is the expensive part and that’s only because I actually did buy a small piece of ham just to make this. Normally I would have cooked a ham and used a ham bone but that’s hard to do with just the two of us! So I used about $2.50 of ham. Her recipe says 4 servings but I know we’ll get at least 6, likely 8. I’ll likely serve with a small sandwich, like a tuna melt.  So $1 / serving or less.  You’d pay more for a can of ham and bean soup and it wouldn’t be half as good and you’d get two small servings.

White Bean and Ham Soup

  • 1 pound white navy beans or Great Northern beans
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cups or so of chopped ham or smoked pork butt or a leftover ham bone with some meat on it
  • water to cover
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Soak the beans, either overnight or by the quick soak method: cover with water, bring to a boil, cover, turn the stove off, and let the beans sit in the hot water for an hour or so. Then drain and use.
  2. Put the beans, onion and ham in a large stockpot. Cover with water by 1 1/2" . Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover partially and simmer 2 hours or so, until the beans are tender. Watch the water level and add a bit more if needed. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.


This is ham and bean soup at its simplest and it’s delicious. If you want more in it, you could think about adding some carrots and celery (I would saute first in a bit of oil with the chopped onion then add the other ingredients.)  You could also use chicken broth if you wanted. But I think you will be surprised at how delicious this is in its most simple form.




  1. Ham and Bean soup goes really well with corn bread


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.