Ham and Black Bean Soup Recipe

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This ham and bean soup recipe uses a smoked ham hock to give it a rich smokey flavor. This rich and hearty black bean soup is ultra satisfying on those chilly nights.

Black bean and ham soup in a white bowl served with crusty french bread.

Smoked Ham Hock Soup is a recipe that I remember fondly from my childhood

My mom used to make this easy ham and bean soup every year after Easter.

We always had a bone-in ham at Easter. After dinner, my mom would pack up all of the leftovers and start a slow cooker filled with dried navy beans and the leftover ham hock.

The beans would cook in the slow cooker overnight, and the next day we would eat bowls of the ham and bean soup topped with diced white onions and tabasco sauce.

Of course, there was always a side of fresh cast-iron baked cornbread

This simple meal was an easy dinner to put together. It was also a really satisfying meal.

Sometimes I think the simple things are the things that you remember the most.

This easy black bean soup recipe is also simple and satisfying

I got this recipe from my Aunt Sheila. I made a few tweaks to it, as I do with most recipes. But, for the most part I followed the instruction that she told me over the phone.

The foundation of this recipe can just as easily be used with red beans, white, beans, or even split peas. I use black beans for the recipe.

You can also find bags of pre-mixed beans that are intended for bean soup.

I will also give you a few tips if you would rather use canned beans for this recipe.

Making black bean soup with ham bone requires a few easy steps

Buy a smoked ham hock

Where to buy smoked ham hock?

You can usually find a smoked ham hock in the meat department of your grocery store.

I usually buy one ham hock and then ask my butcher to cut it into three pieces.

When I make a smoked ham hock soup, I usually only use one-third of the ham hock.

I use smoked ham hock to make other recipes like collard greens and split pea soup.

ALTERNATIVELY: You can use a leftover ham bone from a bone-in ham to make black bean soup with ham. If you have any lefover ham, dice it nd add it to the soup as well.

How to prepare black beans

Prepare Black Beans by soaking them overnight.

To cook dried beans, you should first rinse the beans and then place the beans in a large bowl or pot. Cover them with 6 to 8 cups of hot water.

Let the beans soak overnight.

In the morning, strain the beans and set them aside.

SHORTCUT FOR PREPARING DRIED BLACK BEANS: You can also cover the dried beans with water, in a large pot. Bring them to a boil once. Drain them and add clean water. Then procede with the recipe.

Make a Mirepoix

Mirepoix on a cutting board. carrots, onions, celery, and red peppers.

Mirepoix is a vegetable mixture that is used in most soup bases.

The French version of mirepoix, which is most commonly used, is made of carrots, celery, and onions.

For this recipe, I’ve added a diced red pepper.

To prepare the mirepoix, dice all of the vegetables approximately the same size.

To start the smoked ham hock soup

Sauté the mirepoix in a few teaspoons of oil or butter. About 5 minutes.

The vegetables should be tender and fragrant.

A staub dutch oven with olive oil and mirepoix, sautéing for split pea soup.

Add the smoked ham hock or ham bone.

After cooking the soup, you can remove the ham hock entirely. The ham hock adds excellent flavor to the soup.

I prefer to pull the meat off of the bone and shred or dice it. Then I add it back to the soup.

Add the smoked ham hock to the mirepoix.

Add the presoaked beans.

Prepare the black beans for cooking by following the directions above.

An overnight soak helps to release some of the chemicals in beans that give you that gassy feeling.

Soaking is totally optional. I have made black bean soup without soaking the beans overnight. I’ve been fine with it.

I leave the decision up to you. No matter what, do make sure you rinse the beans thoroughly.

Add the presoaked black beans to the dutch oven or stock pot.

Add the spices.

Celery Seed, thyme, cumin, crushed red pepper, and then a few bay leaves.

Add the spices to the stock pot.

Cover with water or broth.

You can use plain filtered water for this recipe. The ham hock gives the black bean soup a ton of flavor.

Chicken or vegetable broth is also an option.

I like to use water and Caldo de Pollo, which is a powdered chicken bouillon flavoring.

I have tried making this soup with all of the methods listed above. They are all delicious. The Caldo de Pollo just gives me the flavor that I remember. So, I stick with it.

Cover with 8 cups of water or broth.

Simmer with the lid on for 2 hours.

Simmer until the beans are tender and the ham is falling off of the bone.

After simmering in the dutch over for at least two hours, serve up a steamy smoky bowl of ham and bean soup.

How to make Ham and Bean Soup In the Slow Cooker

Making black bean and ham soup in a slow cooker or crockpot is super easy too!

Follow the instructions on how to prepare the black beans.

Add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on low overnight or all day while you are at work.

When you are ready to eat, you can pull out the smoked ham hock. Pull off and shred or dice as much meat as possible and then add it back to the soup.

How to make Ham and Bean Soup In the Instant Pot

Ham and bean soup in the Instant Pot takes no time at all.

Follow the instructions for preparing black beans.

Add all of the ingredients to your instant pot.

Seal it and set the manual pressure for 30 minutes.

When you are ready to eat, you can pull out the smoked ham hock. Pull off and shred or dice as much meat as possible and then add it back to the soup.

To thicken your black bean soup

If you want a thicker black bean soup, you can add half of the soup to a blender and puree. Then add the pureed part back to the soup pot.

It’s best to ladle out the half portion of soup before you add the smoked ham back into the soup.

Add vegetables, broth, and all to the blender, it doesn’t have to be an exact measurement.

Some people like to have a completely smooth black bean soup and use an immersion blender to blend the entire batch of the soup.

Blending is entirely optional.

What to serve with Black Bean Soup


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Bowl of Smoked ham and black bean soup in a white bowl.

Smoky Ham and Black Bean and Soup

Easy black and ham soup. I make this soup with a ham hock. But you can also used leftover ham.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Course Soup
Cuisine Comfort Food
Servings 8
Calories 235 kcal



  • 1 smoked ham shank, Cut into 3 pieces by you butcher.
  • 12 ounces dried black beans
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (affiliate link), or butter
  • 1 medium onion, 1 cup diced
  • 3 large carrots, 1 cup diced
  • 4 stalks celery, 1 cup diced
  • 1 tbsp Knorr caldo de pollo, Optional: It's okay to leave this out.
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dried cumin
  • 2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 cups water, Optional: Use chicken broth


  • Soak the beans in water overnight.
  • Rinse and then set aside.
  • Add the olive oil or butter to a large stockpot or dutch oven.
  • Add the mirepoix vegetables to the pot and sauté until fragrant.
  • Add the spices, including the bay leaves, the cracked ham shank, and the Knorr caldo de pollo.
  • Add the beans and water to the pot and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the temperature and let the soup simmer covered for several hours, until the beans are tender and the pork is falling off of the ham shank.
  • Remove the ham shanks, preserve as much meat as you can and add it back to the soup. Toss the bones.
  • Serve with crusty bread or cornbread.

Laura’s Tips + Notes

Use any type dried beans that you prefer. You can even use a mix of beans. 
Split peas are another option for making this soup. 
Using canned beans:
If you want to use canned beans, follow the instructions for the soup except for the step where the beans are added. 
Add the ham hock, simmer the soup covered for at least an hour, or until the meat is falling off of the bone. 
Remove the bone, add the meat to the soup and discard the bone. 
Add the canned beans and heat until the soup is hot. 
If you are using a ham bone:
Add the ham bone to the soup at the same time as you would add the smoked ham hock. 
If you have any diced ham, add it in the last 30 minuts before you serve the soup. 


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Serving: 1cupCalories: 235kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 14gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 246mgFiber: 8gSugar: 3gCalcium: 95mgIron: 3mg
Keyword beans, soup, Stew
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  1. 5 stars
    This is delicious! Used two cans of drained and rinsed black beans and a heaping tablespoon of roasted chicken flavor bullion paste and about three cups of water. The combination of spices is perfect. Didn’t have a red pepper (it’s not listed in ingredients). Pinned and will be my go-to from now on.

  2. 5 stars
    Family really enjoyed this soup. I used canned beans as I could not find any in the stores currently. It was very easy to make and very flavorful.

  3. 5 stars
    We made this soup today and it was amazing! Such great flavors and super simple to make. Definitely a keeper for the season!

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