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Dutch Oven Ham and Bean Soup {tomato based}

Spoon-ladle-full of ham and bean soup garnished with fresh thyme.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Rich, hearty, and delicious, this tomato-based Dutch Oven Ham and Bean Soup will be a family favorite and is a great way to use leftover ham.

There’s nothing pretentious or particularly sacred about this humble soup. It’s completely adaptable to whatever you have on-hand and tastes great every time. If you love soups, stews, and chili like we do, give our quick chicken noodle and awesome chili a try.

Branded image of tomato-based Dutch Oven Ham and Bean Soup garnished with bay leaves and fresh thyme.

There’s nothing quite as soul-satisfying as a hearty soup.

Can you cook soup in a Dutch oven?

Yes. If your Dutch oven is properly seasoned, you’ll have absolutely no problem making ham and bean soup, which has a tomato base or any of your favorite soups.

Why this recipe works

This is one of those recipes that I’ve made some version of for years. The ham, white beans, and vegetables remain the same, everything else is changeable. Sometimes we use broth, other times we use water and bouillon.

This year, when we made our Honey Mustard Glazed Ham, we saved the cooking liquid and used that as the base of this soup. Oh my…delicious. The soup broth is a bit sweeter in the end as a result but it really works with the savory of the tomato.

Bowl of tomato based ham and bean soup garnished with fresh thyme.

What kind of beans for ham and bean soup

White beans are the most typical or common bean used in a soup like this. Any white bean will do. They all have slightly different flavors and textures but in the end, your soup will taste great with any of them.

  • Navy Beans but also called pea beans. They’re the smallest, most fragile, and kind of oval in shape. These are most often used in pork n’ beans or Boston baked beans.
  • Great Northern Beans are a medium sized bean with a firmer texture or flesh. This makes them great for using in soups and stews.
  • Cannellini Beans are sometimes called white kidney beans due to their kidney-like shape. These are the largest of the white beans. They’re flavor is also a bit bolder or nuttier than the great northern or navy bean.
  • Baby Lima Beans or butterbeans are small with a creamy or buttery texture, hence the moniker butterbeans.

Recipe ingredients

Ingredients and pot needed to make the soup: Herbs and seasonings, broth, dutch oven, onion, celery, ladle, carrots, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, beans, ham and ham bone
  • Ham and ham bone — we used leftover slices of spiral ham and the bone to make the broth.
  • White beans — use your favorite white bean. We used canned cannellini beans. Drain and rinse them first.
  • Vegetables — the standard three, mirepoix, or the trinity: onions, celery, and carrots. A can of diced tomatoes too.
  • Liquid — You’ll want 8 cups of total liquid, plus 8 ounces of tomato sauce (or 15 for a really tomato-y broth). We used 2 cups of ham cooking liquid as mentioned above, a 32 oz container of low-sodium chicken broth, and 2 cups of water.
  • Herbs and seasonings — oregano, thyme, granulated (or fresh) garlic, pepper, and bay leaves. We used a mixture of dried and fresh, use whatever you have on hand.
  • Optional ingredients — tomato paste for thickening and salt if needed to taste.

Step by step directions

Step 1 — Add the ham bone, onions, carrots, celery, diced tomatoes, and fresh herbs to the Dutch oven.

Step 2 — Add all the cooking liquids except tomato sauce.

Step 3 — Add the dried herbs and seasonings to the pot; stir well. Bring it all to a boil for 15-20 minutes. The liquid should reduce.

Step 4 — After the boiling time, remove and discard the ham bone.

Step 5 — Add the tomato sauce and return the soup to a low simmer.

Step 6 — If you want to thicken your soup broth, add anywhere from 1 tablespoon to the full 6 oz can of tomato paste. Slow add a bit at a time to your desired thickness.

Step 7 — Once the soup has reached the desired thickness, add the diced or cubed ham.

Step 8 — And finally, add the drained and rinsed canned beans. Allow the to heat through, about 5 minutes.

Recipe FAQs and Variations

Can I used dried beans instead of canned?

Yes about 1.5 cups of dried beans. After sorting and soaking your beans, you’ll need to boil with the ham bone for about 2 hours. During the last 20 minutes of that boiling time, begin the recipe by adding the vegetables.

There’s no salt listed, is that an error?

No. Between the ham and the canned ingredients, this dish can be salty all on it’s own. However, sometimes it does need salt. Taste the broth during the cooking process and add salt to taste as needed.

Can I use water and bouillon instead of broth?

Yes, we do this often. We prefer Knorr’s granulated chicken bouillon. Make sure you start with 8 cups of water and add as much bouillon as per the package directions and/or to taste.

Can I still make this if I don’t have a ham bone?

Please do. The ham bone just adds some depth of flavor to the broth, but you can obtain that with herbs and seasonings.

Is this recipe gluten free?

Yes it is.

Is this soup Italian or Italian in flavor?

No, it is not. Some of the ingredients gives that impression but this would not be considered an Italian or Italian-style soup.

A ladleful of the soup garnished with a sprig of fresh thyme.

What to serve with this Dutch oven ham and bean soup

While this soup is fantastic on its own, we can’t blame you for wanting a bit more of something…but what? How about cornbread? Our creamed corn cornbread or sweet cornbread would be wonderful.

Or you could enjoy with a classic homemade white bread.

If you’re wanting a bit more to eat than just soup, how about these Hot Italian Sandwiches from Family Fresh Meals?

Branded image of Dutch Oven Ham and Bean Soup in a white bowl on a green charger.
Bowl of ham and bean soup.
Print Recipe
5 from 28 votes

Dutch Oven Ham and Bean Soup {tomato based}

Rich, hearty, and delicious, this tomato-based Dutch Oven Ham and Bean Soup will be a family favorite and is a great way to use leftover ham.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: ham and bean soup
Servings: 8
Calories: 364kcal
Author: Ned Adams

Equipment

  • 5 quart Dutch Oven or larger

Ingredients

  • 1 ham bone
  • 1 cup celery diced, about 3 ribs
  • 1 cup onions diced, about one small
  • 1 cup carrots diced, about 3 large
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes with juices
  • 32 oz low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tbsp granulated garlic
  • tsp dried oregano 3 tbsp fresh
  • tsp dried thyme 6-8 sprigs fresh
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 15 oz tomato sauce 8 oz for lighter tomato flavor
  • 4 cups ham diced or cubed
  • 45 oz cannellini beans drained and rinsed (3 cans)
  • 6 oz tomato paste OPTIONAL

Instructions

  • Add the ham bone, vegetables, diced tomatoes, herbs/seasonings, and liquid (broth and water) to the Dutch oven.
  • Boil for 20 minutes and then discard the ham bone.
  • Add the tomato sauce and return to a low simmer.
  • If using tomato paste to thicken, slowly add a tablespoon or so at a time until the broth reaches the desired thickness.
  • Add the ham and bean and return to a low simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Serve and enjoy.

Notes

Can I used dried beans instead of canned?
Yes about 1.5 cups of dried beans. After sorting and soaking your beans, you’ll need to boil with the ham bone for about 2 hours. During the last 20 minutes of that boiling time, begin the recipe by adding the vegetables.
There’s no salt listed, is that an error?
No. Between the ham and the canned ingredients, this dish can be salty all on it’s own. However, sometimes it does need salt. Taste the broth during the cooking process and add salt to taste as needed.
Can I use water and bouillon instead of broth?
Yes, we do this often. We prefer Knorr’s granulated chicken bouillon. Make sure you start with 8 cups of water and add as much bouillon as per the package directions and/or to taste.

Nutrition

Calories: 364kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 1732mg | Potassium: 904mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 3361IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 166mg | Iron: 7mg

Dutch Oven Daddy is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

Did you try this recipe?Leave me a comment and rating below or Tag @DutchOvenDaddy on Instagram to show us your photos!

Recipe ideas using canned beans

33 replies
  1. Domenik Davis
    Domenik Davis says:

    I actually had a question, I am new to using a dutch oven. How could I change the temperature in the oven to allow this soup to be ab all day simmer?

    Reply
    • Domenik Davis
      Domenik Davis says:

      For clarification, I had not fully read the recipe and had been wanting to use the new enamel Dutch oven we got. I thought this recipe was for that, not a stovetop.

      Reply
      • Dutch Oven Daddy
        Dutch Oven Daddy says:

        You can cook on a low oven setting, 250° or so, unless you’re using dried beans then you’ll want to cook the beans for a few hours on 350° before adding everything else or boil on stove top first. The enameled will go perfectly from the stove top to the oven.

        Reply
  2. Charles
    Charles says:

    5 stars
    Hi,
    Your Dutch Oven Navy Bean Soup is just what the doctor ordered for tonight. It’s actually cold here in Las Vegas.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  3. Tayler
    Tayler says:

    5 stars
    I made this soup for dinner last night for the second time and it was incredible! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

    Reply
  4. Beth
    Beth says:

    5 stars
    I absolutely love this recipe. I made this over the weekend for the family, and it was a huge hit. It’s so flavorful, and I loved how easy it was to make.

    Reply
  5. Michelle
    Michelle says:

    5 stars
    I made this at the weekend and everyone loved it. It’s so full of flavor and very filling too. Added to my favourites list now, thank you!

    Reply
  6. Dana
    Dana says:

    5 stars
    Made this again and had to come rate it again because we just love it so much and it deserves ALL the stars!! The beans and the ham just make it so so filling and cozy.

    Reply
  7. dana
    dana says:

    5 stars
    LOVE how smoky and delicious this is. So cozy and perfect for this chilly weather we’re still getting. Trying to get my soup fill now!

    Reply
  8. Naelle Yoshimura
    Naelle Yoshimura says:

    5 stars
    This recipe saves the day! I have leftover ham and I wasn’t feeling split pea soup. Super easy to follow, very tasty way to use leftovers, thank you!

    Reply
  9. Angela
    Angela says:

    5 stars
    Pure comfort food and absolutely perfect for the cold weather we’ve been having lately. We really enjoyed this meal. Thanks for a great recipe!

    Reply
  10. Holly
    Holly says:

    5 stars
    I am not a huge fan of beans, but my husband is so I made him this soup and he gave it a big thumbs up! It made enough for him to eat for lunches throughout the week. He is a happy camper. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  11. Gianne
    Gianne says:

    The tomato base added a great depth of flavor and the ham was savory and tender. It’s the perfect cozy and comforting soup for a chilly day.

    Reply

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