Hambone Soup

by Lana Stuart on September 21, 2009 · 21 comments

Hambone Soup

It’s getting to be that time of year when everyone starts to think of soups and stews. The leaves are just on the verge of turning. There’s even an occasional morning when the temperature is noticeably cooler and the air less humid. Days like these make us all start wanting to settle in for cooler weather, don’t they? And one of the best things about cool weather is the change in menu. Now, I really, really enjoy all the fresh veggies and wonderful salads that are so great in hot weather, but I always look forward to changing gears a little bit when Fall comes around.

Of course, everyone has had chicken-vegetable soup, right? And, beef with vegetables, too. But have you ever had ham soup? Yes, that’s right, soup made with the broth cooked from a meaty leftover ham bone. If you never have, then please let me introduce you!

1 bone leftover from a large ham
1 large onion
2 stalks celery
1-2 cans diced tomatoes
1 pkg baby lima beans
1-2 potatoes
1 pkg whole kernel corn
salt and pepper


First and most importantly, this makes a LOT of soup, so go find the largest pot you have in your kitchen. Really. You know the one that’s in the very back of the cabinet because you never use it but you know you’ll need it one day? Yes, that one. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Now, see the hambone in the picture up there? That was the leftovers from either Easter or Thanksgiving or maybe last Tuesday, I don’t remember. Whenever it was, I just threw that whole thing in a sturdy ziplog bag and tossed it in the freezer. Why? Because to me the soup from a leftover ham bone is way better than the ham was the first time around! It’s so homey, warm and satisfying. Perfect for any time of year. So, let’s get started.


This is by no means an exact recipe where you have to count out or measure every little ingredient. Just play with it! Use whatever you like best, but this is my basic recipe. Place your ham bone in a large pot with enough water to come 1/2 to 3/4 up the hunk of meat (well, I don’t know what else to call it!). Bring it to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours.


At the end of the cooking time, this is what you’re going to have. A pot full of very tasty, very fragrant ham stock. Remove the bone from the stock and let it cool enough so that you can handle it. Then cut all the ham that you can off the bone and return it to the pot with the stock. You can throw away the actual bone now. It has done its duty; given up its essence to the soup pot.


Now, dice the onion and celery and add them to the pot. Add the diced tomatoes, lima beans (actually butter beans are better if you have them), potatoes and corn. Add salt and pepper to taste. I used a good tablespoon of salt because that’s a huge pot of soup to season. (Note: Thanks to my friend Kay for sharing with me how to construct the storyboard you see above! Isn’t that so much better than scrolling past eight individual pictures of each step?)

Bring the whole shootin’ match (he he…always loved that phrase) to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for approximately 1 hour or until vegetables are tender.

p.s. – I would have put some frozen sliced okra in this for the last 30 minutes, but the pot was too full!

I like to serve this with some good garlic bread or corn muffins.


Hambone Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Use the leftovers from a whole ham to make a delicious homemade soup full of veggies!
Serves: 8-10 servings
  • 1 bone leftover from a large ham
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1-2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 pkg baby lima beans
  • 1-2 potatoes
  • 1 pkg whole kernel corn
  • salt and pepper
  1. Place ham bone in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours.
  2. Remove the bone from the stock. Cut ham off the bone and return the ham to the pot with the stock. Dice the onion and celery and add them to the pot. Add diced tomatoes, lima beans, potatoes and corn. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for approximately 1 hour or until vegetables are tender.
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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cajun Chef Ryan September 21, 2009 at 5:43 pm

This is a perfect soup for the cooling temps with autumn just around the corner.


2 Lana September 22, 2009 at 3:24 pm

Thanks, Chef Ryan! We really like this soup and it’s my favorite for under-the-weather days instead of chicken noodle.


3 Cookin' Canuck September 21, 2009 at 6:17 pm

This looks like such a hearty, flavorful soup. I’m so glad that I now I have a soup to make, other than split pea, with leftover ham bones.


4 Lana September 22, 2009 at 3:52 pm

So glad I could help you with those leftovers!


5 jenn (Bread + Butter) September 21, 2009 at 7:54 pm

Tasty lookin’ soup. I guess I know what to do with the left over ham bone I always have from Thanksgiving. Sweet!!


6 HoneyB September 21, 2009 at 8:19 pm

We love soup like this! I especially love to add cabbage. :-)


7 Lana September 22, 2009 at 3:19 pm

Cabbage would be a great addition!


8 Miss P September 22, 2009 at 8:37 pm

This is always the very best served the next day. Allowing one day for the flavors to develop just does wonders. And, corn muffins on the side are the only way to go.
Now, if the temperature here would just dip below 90………

Miss P


9 Kay September 23, 2009 at 5:57 am

This looks so comforting!


10 Jessie September 23, 2009 at 9:31 am

now that is what I call a comforting and hearty soup!


11 Cooking Like Mom October 5, 2009 at 9:25 am

My Mom and Grandma used to make ham bone soup and now I also make it at least once every fall. You’re right… it is the perfect soup to welcome in the cool Autumn weather. Root vegetables from the garden are being harvested now, and they go perfectly with this ham bone stock. We actually used to call this soup “Boiled Dinner”… don’t ask me why. ;) It included cabbage, rhutabaga, potatoes, and carrots, along with the onion and celery. I think a lot more people will think twice about throwing out that ham bone once they get a look at that beautiful picture you have of the stock a ham bone makes! Thanks for this wonderful reminder of just how gorgeous Ham Bone Soup can be.


12 Miss P October 12, 2009 at 11:35 am

I made ham bone soup yesterday. You are right. It makes a LOT of soup. Now, I am looking for recipients! Hey, it ‘s an easy way to keep friends happy.

Miss P


13 Rachael December 19, 2009 at 3:46 pm

I’ve made this soup twice now and it’s always so delicious. I add a few more veggies, here and there. I also let it simmer for nearly 3 hours. I find this makes everything so silky and tasty, especially the lima beans and potatoes.

I find this makes enough soup for at *LEAST* three nights for our family of 5 and nobody gets sick of the leftovers. Thank you so much for the recipe.


14 Morgan December 14, 2010 at 8:47 am

Every year at Thanksgiving, Christmas or anytime we have a ham bone, there is a fight over who is taking home the ham bone just to make this soup! It’s awesome!!


15 Lana December 14, 2010 at 8:50 am

Thanks, Morgan. We love it. I never throw away a ham bone. It’s either made into soup right away or stashed in the freezer for later.


16 Nicole April 19, 2011 at 1:08 pm

This reminds me of my grandmother’s lima bean soup! So delicious!


17 Wendy December 30, 2012 at 5:27 pm

I can’t wait to try this!!! Well at least until this comment is done…off to raid the vegetable garden…How did you know I grow all that?


18 Ashley April 8, 2013 at 5:52 pm

One generous pot of ham stock quickly became two heaping dutch ovens of soup once the veggies were added. I followed the recipe but allowed some room for fresh cut carrots and frozen cut green beans. It’s a wonderful soup. This is Ham Stew to my family.


19 gloria patterson January 8, 2014 at 6:45 pm

I make something like this I use hominy instead of potatoes


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