Leftover Ham Bone Soup
Use the leftovers from a whole ham to make this delicious Leftover Ham Bone Soup with loads of veggies!
It’s that time of year when everyone is making all kinds of tasty soups and stews. The leaves have turned and the mornings are noticeably crisp.
Days like these make us all start settling in for cool 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 autumn comes around.
Of course, everyone has had chicken-vegetable soup, right? And, beef with vegetables, too. But have you ever had ham soup? That’s a hearty soup made with the broth cooked from a meaty leftover ham bone. If you never have, then please let me introduce you to my Leftover Ham Bone Soup recipe!
🥘 Ingredient Notes
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- Leftover meaty ham bone – You’ll need the leftovers from a big bone-in ham. I always save ham bones. They freeze very well. If you don’t have one on hand, check with your local HoneyBaked Ham store. They’ll sell you one really cheap.
- Celery and onion – The simple aromatics that will flavor the soup.
- Diced tomatoes – Use them along with their juices.
- Baby lima beans – Baby limas (or butterbeans in the south) go so well with ham. If you don’t have them, you could add green peas or green beans.
- Corn – A little corn in the soup gives a nice sweetness and crunch.
- Potatoes – Use whatever you have – russets, yukon gold, and red skinned potatoes are all good.
You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.
🥄 How to Make Leftover Ham Bone Soup
First and most importantly, this recipe makes a LOT of soup, so go find the largest pot or Dutch oven 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 a leftover Christmas ham that I saved in a sturdy ziplog bag and tossed 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! Perfect for any time of year. So, let’s get started.
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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 leftover hambone 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, what you’ll have is 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 by adding so much flavor to the soup pot.
- Now, dice the onion and celery and add them to the pot.
- Add the diced canned tomatoes, petite lima beans (or butter beans 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.
- Bring the whole thing to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for approximately 1 hour or until the vegetables are tender.
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.
🔀 Variations and Tips
- Other very popular soups that make great use of a leftover ham bone are ham and bean soup and ham and potato soup.
- Add other vegetables that you like to this delicious soup. Sliced okra is always a great addition as are green peas and green beans.
- Stir in a handful of fresh spinach, kale, or chopped cabbage near the end of cooking time.
- A can of drained, rinsed cannellini beans is a good optional addition.
- Diced carrots add a nice touch of sweetness.
- Add herbs if you like. I always enjoy fresh thyme and bay leaf.
- Turn it into a creamy soup with the addition of a little half-and-half or light cream.
🍚 Storing and Freezing
Store completely cooled soup in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. To freeze, transfer to freezer-safe containers and keep frozen for up to three months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
❓ Questions About Ham Bone Soup
Yes, you can easily make this recipe in a crock pot! Cook the ham broth first (water and ham bone) on low for about 8 hours. Remove the ham bone and add the remaining ingredients (including any ham that can be removed from the bone). Cook on high for about 2 hours. Serve and enjoy!
You can keep a leftover ham bone refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for up to two months. It should be wrapped tightly in aluminum foil and placed in a freezer container or zip top bag.
HAVE YOU TRIED THIS RECIPE?
I’d LOVE to know what you thought!
Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked it!
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Homemade Ham Bone Soup
- 1 meaty bone leftover from a large ham
- 1 large onion
- 2 ribs celery diced
- 29 ounces canned diced tomatoes
- 1 pound frozen baby lima beans
- 2 potatoes peeled and diced
- 2 cups frozen whole kernel corn
- salt and pepper
- 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.
- 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.
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for approximately 1 hour or until vegetables are tender.
- Store completely cooled soup in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. To freeze, transfer to freezer-safe containers and keep frozen for up to three months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
- To make this recipe in a crockpot — Cook the ham broth first (water and ham bone) on low for about 8 hours. Remove the ham bone and add the remaining ingredients (including any ham that can be removed from the bone). Cook on high for about 2 hours.
Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.
— This post was originally published on September 21, 2009. It has been updated with additional information and new photos.
My mother used to make a soup in the summer when tomatoes, corn and okra were all ripe in the garden at the same time. I THINK that was all that was in the soup – no meat or oil at all. It tasted so fresh – like summer in a bowl. Can you tell me anything about this recipe? Did you ever have it? Thanks!
Sounds like a really tasty vegetable soup, Sharon. Soup recipes are so easy to just “wing it.” I’d start with a flavorful chicken broth and add any fresh vegetables available. Season well with onion, salt, pepper. Great way to use up your leftovers.
I make something like this I use hominy instead of potatoes
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.
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?
This reminds me of my grandmother’s lima bean soup! So delicious!
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!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
This looks so comforting!
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………
We love soup like this! I especially love to add cabbage. :-)
Cabbage would be a great addition!
Tasty lookin’ soup. I guess I know what to do with the left over ham bone I always have from Thanksgiving. Sweet!!
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.
So glad I could help you with those leftovers!
This is a perfect soup for the cooling temps with autumn just around the corner.
Thanks, Chef Ryan! We really like this soup and it’s my favorite for under-the-weather days instead of chicken noodle.