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Ham and Beans Recipe served in a white bowl.

Ham and Beans Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 5 reviews

  • Author: Glenda Embree
  • Total Time: 7 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


An easy, delicious ham and beans recipe that will warm & comfort on chilly nights.  Ham and Bean Soup is a budget-friendly and healthful meal that is easy to make and loved by everyone.  Allow time to soak the beans and three hours of hands-off cook time.


  • 1 lb. Dried Great Northern Beans (sorted, rinsed and soaked)
  • 2 lbs. Smoked Pork Neck Bones (or ham hocks, or leftover ham bone)
  • 2 quarts Vegetable Broth (or Chicken Broth or water)
  • 1 large Red Onion
  • 3 large Carrots
  • 2 Large stalks Celery
  • 1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
  • 5 to 6 stems 2 Fresh Thyme
  • Bay Leaves
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • optional: leftover ham (cut into bite-size pieces) and apple cider vinegar


Sort and Soak the Dry Beans

  1. Sort and rinse the dry beans. Watch for pebbles and field debris and discard any that you find.
  2. Bring the beans to a boil in about 8 cups of water. Boil for 10 minutes.
  3. After 10 minutes, shut off the heat and allow the beans to sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour. (Short Soak Method). Or allow the beans to soak for four hours. (Hot Soak Method.) Or allow the beans to soak at room temperature for four hours, cover, and refrigerate overnight or until ready to use. (Long Soak Method)

Assemble the Ham and Beans Recipe


  1. Mince the onion, celery, and carrots very finely. I actually use my food processor to quickly grind them. (I like them small enough that they will mostly melt away into the broth. If your family likes bigger pieces of veggies in their soup, you can certainly use larger pieces. However, after three hours of cooking to flavor the broth, they will be VERY soft and won’t have much flavor left in them. I choose tinier pieces so the flavor goes straight into the broth and the veggie fiber just melts into the ham and bean soup.)
  2. Drain and rinse the soaked beans.
  3. Place soaked beans, smoked pork neck bones, minced veggies, minced garlic, bay leaves, and fresh thyme in a soup pot with vegetable broth or water. (I didn’t have any homemade vegetable broth ready the day I made my Ham and Beans recipe, so I used boxed broth from the store and the bean soup was still spectacular.)
  4. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for three hours or until beans are tender.
  5. Remove the smoked pork neck bones (or ham hocks) along with the fresh thyme stems and bay leaves. Discard them.
  6. Taste the soup. Add salt and pepper now, if it’s needed. Oftentimes, it isn’t as the ham is already salty.
  7. If the budget is tight, stop here and your soup will be fantastic! Serve it and enjoy the savory deliciousness.
  8. However, if you have leftover ham in the fridge or freezer like I try to do, now is the time to add it. Cut it into bite-size pieces, add it to the pot, and allow the delicious bean soup broth to warm it through.
  9. And the finishing touch is 1 Tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Again, the vinegar is not required, but it brings a nice acidic balance to the rich soup broth.
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Soak Time: 4 hours
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Category: Soup, Main Dish, Pork
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American