This delicious and easy ham and bean soup starts with canned beans, combined with leftover cooked ham and carrots for a quick and hearty soup.

bean and ham soup in white bowl with spoon

This Easy Ham and Bean Soup relies on easy canned beans, a healthy bit of carrot and some of that leftover ham, all cooked up in a lightly tomato-flavoured broth. Since the ham is already cooked and canned beans are just drained and added easily, you can enjoy this delicious soup in no time.

This is one of my favourite hearty soups. No need to wait for left-over Easter ham. Buy a little ham steak to cut up and enjoy it anytime!

What you’ll need

  • Chicken broth – or substitute vegetable broth, if you prefer
  • Canned navy beans – be sure to rinse the beans thoroughly before use.
  • Cooked ham – this can be left-over cooked ham or I often like to pick up an economical ham steak and cut it up to use in soup.
  • Tomato Paste – I love to buy tubes of tomato paste, which are particularly handy when small amounts of tomato paste are needed. Look for them in with the canned tomato paste at the grocery store.
  • Liquid Smoke or Worcestershire sauce – to add a bit of smokey taste to the soup. This is optional.

Step-by-step photos

step by step making ham and bean soup
  • Step 1: Soften onions in a bit of oil
  • Step 2: Add carrots and cook a few minutes
  • Step 3: Add flour and cook for 1 minute
  • Step 4: Add broth
  • Step 5: Cook carrots in the broth for 5-10 minutes
  • Step 6: Add cooked ham
  • Step 7: Add beans, tomato paste
  • Step 8: Add seasoning (liquid smoke or Worcestershire and a bay leaf, if you have one)
  • Step 9: Once the carrots are tender, if you like, blend the soup very lightly with 4-5 pulses of an immersion blender, to thicken slightly.

Recipe tips!

  • If you don’t have ham, substitute bacon or sausage. Simply sauté either until cooked through, drain off most of the fat, then proceed with the recipe as written.
  • Adjust the amount of chicken broth added depending on the size of your can of navy beans, to ensure a nice, thick soup. See the recipe notes for specific adjustments.
  • Cut your carrots into a fine dice, so they will cook more quickly and thoroughly. Be sure to taste-test your carrots to be sure they are tender before you stop cooking. They take a surprisingly long time to cook to tender and there is nothing worse than a soup with hard carrots :)
  • You shouldn’t need too much extra salt with this soup, as the chicken broth and ham are both salted. Definitely don’t add any extra salt to the pot before the very end of cooking. At the end of cooking, taste your soup at the end of cooking and add salt as needed to round out the flavours.
ham and navy bean soup in white bowl with spoon

Making ahead, storing and freezing

This soup can be made ahead, though it does thicken a bit in the refrigerator. It can easily be thinned when reheating with a bit of additional broth or water.

Store leftover soup in the refrigerator for about 3 days.

This bean soup will also freeze well for up to 3 months.

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bean and ham soup in white bowl with spoon

Get the Recipe: Easy Ham and Bean Soup

This easy and delicious ham and bean soup starts with canned navy beans and cooked with diced cooked ham and carrots.
5 stars from 8 ratings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, or other neutral cooking oil
  • 1/3 cup onion, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, or more cooking oil
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup carrots, finely diced *See Note 1
  • 3 – 3 1/2 cups chicken broth, low salt recommended
  • 18 oz canned navy beans, rinsed *See Note 2
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked ham, diced
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • A drop or two of Liquid Smoke, or a splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Bay leaf , (optional)
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped (optional)
  • Salt and Freshly ground pepper *See Note 3


  • Heat olive oil in a large pot on the stovetop over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened. Add the carrot and cook, stirring for another minute. Add the butter (or more cooking oil) and stir to combine. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring, for 30-45 seconds (it will be quite dry, but just keep it moving so it doesn't scorch). Add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat slightly and simmer for about 5 minutes, to give the carrots a little head start cooking. Add the navy beans, ham, tomato paste, the liquid smoke (or splash of Worcestershire) and a bay leaf, if you have one. Stir to combine.
  • Simmer soup for 10-15 minutes, or until the carrots are tender (taste test them to be sure). If you like, use an immersion blender to blend the soup slightly (4-5 pulses). This is optional but will create a thicker soup. Stir in the parsley.
  • Taste the soup and add additional salt, if needed and some freshly ground pepper. REMOVE BAY LEAF and discard. Serve warm immediately. Leftovers keep fairly well, though the beans will soak up the broth as it sits. You can thin with a splash more chicken broth or water to thin, if you like.


1. Be sure to dice your carrots quite finely, so they don’t take as long to cook to tender. A 1/4-inch dice or so is best.
2. Cans of navy beans range from 15-18 oz. If you have a smaller can, adjust the amount of chicken broth use just 3 cups of chicken broth to keep the soup thicker. For the large can go with the 3 1/2 cups of broth.
3. Don’t salt your soup until the very end, as the ham will lend some saltiness to the soup as it simmers. Taste at the very end and add salt as needed.
Be sure to read the Tips section for more tips for making this soup.
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Course: Soup
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 357kcal, Carbohydrates: 40g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 39mg, Sodium: 1321mg, Potassium: 1081mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 5934IU, Vitamin C: 21mg, Calcium: 101mg, Iron: 4mg
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