Traditional 15 Bean Soup Recipe with Ham (Easy)

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Traditional 15 Bean Soup with Ham is a hearty soup perfect for a comforting meal. It comes together in one pot (even a crockpot!). Savor a blend of 15 beans and peas, succulent ham, and a medley of aromatic vegetables, all simmered to perfection in a flavorful broth. Enjoy!

Serve with Homemade Cornbread or other Crusty Bread.

15 bean soup mix recipe in a white bowl with slices of cornbread on the side. Parsley for garnish.
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15-Bean Soup Mix Recipe (homemade)

This delicious soup is one our family enjoys on a chilly day. I love it even more the next day, so make a big batch and keep it for an easy leftover lunch. It’s a healthy soup and a great option to make ahead of time. This recipe packs lots of great flavor and comes together in one pot!

15 bean soup mix is a bag with different varieties of dry beans. It doesn’t need to be precisely 15! Hurst’s and Goya are two popular brands of this soup mix, and you can find them at most major grocery stores. Bob’s Red Mill makes a 13 Bean Soup Mix you can use. If your mix comes with a seasoning packet, discard the packet and only use the beans then use this recipe.

You can use leftover ham bone if you made leftover holiday Ham Roast.

wooden ladle showing the cooked 15 bean soup with ham. Ladle in the soup pot.

Simple Ingredients

ingredient shot.
  • 15 Bean Soup Mix: This is a packaged mix of dried beans and peas that typically includes a variety of beans such as navy beans, black beans, pinto beans, great northern beans, baby lima beans, large lima beans, green split peas, yellow split peas, black-eyed peas, small white beans, red lentils, green lentils, brown lentils, and pearl barley. The mix provides a diverse range of flavors, textures, and colors to the soup.
  • Ham Hock or Ham Bone: A ham hock is a cut of meat from the pig’s leg, and a ham bone is a leftover bone from a ham roast. They add a rich, smoky, and savory flavor to the soup. The meat on the hock or bone also provides a meaty element.
  • Onion: Onions are aromatic vegetables that add a sweet and savory flavor to the soup.
  • Garlic: Garlic adds a pungent and aromatic depth of flavor to the soup. It’s minced and often sautéed along with the onions.
  • Carrots: Carrots provide a subtle sweetness and a bright orange color to the soup. They are usually diced and cooked in the soup for added flavor and texture.
  • Celery: Celery adds a mild, earthy flavor and a pleasant crunch to the soup.
  • Tomatoes: Canned diced tomatoes with their juices contribute acidity and a tomatoey essence to the soup.
  • Bay Leaf and herbs: add a subtle, earthy, and slightly floral flavor to the soup. Remove before serving.
  • Chicken or Vegetable Broth: Broth forms the liquid base of the soup, providing flavor and depth. Chicken broth or chicken stock is often used, but vegetable broth is a good vegetarian alternative.
  • Salt and Pepper: Season the soup to taste, as the saltiness can vary depending on the ham used.
  • Olive Oil: Olive oil is used for sautéing the onions, garlic, carrots, and celery, adding a rich, fruity note to the soup.

See the recipe card for a complete printable recipe.

15 bean soup mix- ingredient shot of dried beans.

How To Make 15-Bean Soup Recipe (Step-By-Step Photos)

15 bean soup mix- ingredient shot of soaked beans.

Prepare the Beans: Sort through the beans and remove any debris or stones. Rinse the beans thoroughly under cold water and soak them overnight in a large water bowl.

15 bean soup mix- ingredient shot of rinsed beans.

Alternatively, you can use the quick soak method by boiling them for 2 minutes and then letting them sit, covered, for an hour.

how to make 15 bean soup mix recipe with ham Step by Step: cooking onion, carrots, and celery in a cast iron pot.

Sauté the Aromatics: Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the chopped onion, garlic, carrots, and celery. Sauté for about 8-10 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften.

how to make 15 bean soup mix recipe with ham Step by Step: adding ham hock to the pot.

Add the Ham: Add the ham hock and bay leaf to the pot. Add the water and broth to a large pot if using smoked ham hock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cover.

how to make 15 bean soup mix recipe with ham Step by Step: adding broth and bay leaf to the pot with ham hock and veggies.

Cook for 1 hour. If you are using a ham bone, leftover ham, or smoked sausage, add them at the same time as the beans in step 5 (since they are already cooked) and add the liquids then. 

how to make 15 bean soup mix recipe with ham Step by Step: adding beans, spices, and tomatoes to the pot.

Drain and Rinse the Beans: Drain and rinse the soaked beans.
Combine Ingredients: Add the drained beans and diced tomatoes (with their juices). Add the chili powder, cumin, thyme, red pepper flakes (if using), lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Stir everything together.

how to make 15 bean soup mix recipe with ham Step by Step: taking out the ham from the ham hock and shredding it in a separate bowl.

Simmer: Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours.

how to make 15 bean soup mix recipe with ham Step by Step: adding the shredded ham back into the pot of soup.

Remove Ham Hock/Bone: Remove the ham hock or bone once the beans are tender and the soup has thickened. Shred any meat from the bone and return it to the soup. Discard the bone.

Season and Serve: Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper as needed. Remove the bay leaf. Serve hot and enjoy!

how to make 15 bean soup mix recipe with ham Step by Step: finished soup after it is cooked.

How to Make Bean Soup in Slow Cooker (Crockpot)

  1. Prepare the Beans: Sort through the beans and remove any debris or stones. Rinse the beans thoroughly under cold water and soak them overnight in a large bowl. Alternatively, you can use the quick soak method by boiling them for 2 minutes and then letting them sit, covered, for an hour.
  2. Sauté the Aromatics: Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add the chopped onion, garlic, carrots, and celery—Sauté for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften.
  3. Combine Ingredients in the Slow Cooker: Place the sautéed vegetables in the slow cooker. Add the ham hock or ham bone, bay leaf, drained and rinsed beans, diced tomatoes (with their juices), and chicken or vegetable broth.
  4. Set the Slow Cooker: Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours. The beans should be tender, and the flavors will meld together beautifully.
  5. Remove Ham Hock/Bone: Carefully remove the ham hock or bone from the slow cooker once the beans are tender. Shred any meat from the bone and return it to the soup. Discard the bone.
  6. Season and Serve: Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper as needed. Remove the bay leaf. Serve hot and enjoy!

A slow cooker makes this dish incredibly convenient, requiring minimal attention while cooking. Serve your Traditional 15 Bean Soup with Ham with your favorite bread or cornbread for a satisfying meal.

wooden ladle showing the cooked 15 bean soup with ham.

Substitutions

Here are some substitutions for the main ingredients in a Traditional 15 Bean Soup with Ham recipe:

  1. Ham Hock or Ham Bone:
    • Smoked turkey leg or wing
    • Smoked sausage or kielbasa
    • Bacon or pancetta for a smoky flavor (for a non-vegetarian option)
  2. Beans and Peas Mix:
    • Create your own mix with a variety of dried beans and legumes.
    • Use a specific type of bean or legume, such as black beans, navy beans, or lentils, for a simplified version.
  3. Chicken Broth:
    • Vegetable broth for a vegetarian or vegan version.
    • Beef broth or water for a different flavor profile.
    • Bouillon cubes or paste mixed with water.
  4. Onion, Garlic, Carrots, and Celery:
    • Customize the vegetable mix based on what you have on hand or your preferences. Bell peppers, leeks, or shallots can be good alternatives.
  5. Diced Tomatoes:
    • Fresh diced tomatoes or canned tomato sauce.
    • Tomato paste mixed with water.
    • Salsa for a unique twist.

Substitutions can alter the flavor and character of the soup, so choose options that align with your dietary needs and taste preferences.

15 bean soup mix recipe in a white bowl with slices of cornbread on the side.

Variations

Traditional 15 Bean Soup with Ham is a versatile dish; there are many ways to customize it to suit your preferences. Here are some recipe variations:

  • Vegetarian or Vegan 15 Bean Soup:
    • Omit the ham hock or bone and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
    • Add smoked paprika, liquid smoke, or a small amount of smoked salt to mimic the smoky flavor of ham.
    • Add extra vegetables like bell peppers, spinach, or kale for flavor and nutrition.
  • Spicy 15 Bean Soup:
    • Add chopped jalapeños, cayenne pepper, or hot sauce to spice the soup.
    • You can also use spicy diced tomatoes or include diced green chilies.
  • Creamy 15 Bean Soup:
    • Blend a portion of the soup towards the end of cooking to create a creamy base. Return it to the pot and mix well.
    • Add heavy cream or coconut milk for a richer, creamier texture.
  • Smoky 15 Bean Soup:
    • Add smoked sausage, kielbasa, and ham hock to enhance the smoky flavor.
    • Smoked paprika and a dash of liquid smoke can also intensify the smokiness.
  • Italian 15 Bean Soup:
    • Use Italian sausage or ground Italian seasoning for a different flavor profile.
    • Add chopped spinach, diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning, and grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Southwestern 15 Bean Soup:
    • Use chili powder, cumin, and coriander for a Southwestern flair.
    • Add diced green chilies, corn kernels, and top with chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.
  • Toppings and Garnishes:
    • Customize your soup with toppings like sour cream, shredded cheese, green onions, or crumbled bacon.
  • Protein Variations:
    • Instead of ham, consider using leftover turkey, chicken, or even smoked turkey legs for a different meaty flavor.
  • Grains and Pasta:
    • Add a handful of cooked rice, pasta, or barley for a heartier soup.
15 bean soup mix recipe in a white bowl with slices of cornbread on the side. Parsley for garnish. close up of bowl and soup.

Equipment

How to Store and Reheat

Storing:

Cooling: Allow the soup to cool to room temperature before storing it.

Refrigerate: Transfer the soup to airtight or large, tightly sealed containers. Divide it into smaller portions if needed. Seal the containers well to prevent air from getting in.

Place the containers in the refrigerator. The soup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Reheating:

Stovetop Method:

  • Transfer the desired portion of soup to a pot or saucepan.
  • Heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking or burning.
  • Once the soup is heated through (usually in about 10-15 minutes), it’s ready to serve.

Microwave Method:

  • If reheating a small portion, you can use a microwave-safe container.
  • Cover the container with a microwave-safe lid or microwave-safe plastic wrap with a vent to allow steam to escape.
  • Heat in the microwave in 1-minute intervals, stirring in between, until the soup reaches your desired temperature.
15 bean soup mix recipe in a white bowl with slices of cornbread on the side. spoon in bowl taking a bite of the soup.

Top Tips

Here are some top tips to ensure your Traditional 15 Bean Soup with Ham turns out delicious and satisfying:

  • Pre-soak the Beans: Soaking the dried beans overnight or using the quick soak method is crucial. It helps reduce cooking time and ensures the beans cook evenly.
  • Sauté Aromatics: Sautéing onions, garlic, carrots, and celery before adding them to the soup can enhance the flavor. This step helps develop a deeper, more complex taste.
  • Choose the Right Ham: Using a ham hock or ham bone with some meat adds a rich, smoky flavor to the soup. You can substitute diced ham or smoked sausage if you don’t have one.
  • Use Good Quality Broth: High-quality chicken or vegetable broth forms the soup base. Homemade broth is ideal, but store-bought options work well too. Low-sodium broth allows you to control the salt content.
  • Season Thoughtfully: Taste the soup as it cooks and adjust the seasoning accordingly. Be cautious with salt if your ham is already salty.
  • Don’t Overcook: Beans can become mushy if overcooked, so keep an eye on them. They should be tender but not falling apart.
  • Slow Cooker Convenience: If using a slow cooker, remember that cooking times may vary based on the brand and size of your slow cooker. Check for doneness periodically.
  • Leftovers: This soup tastes even better as the flavors meld the next day. Store leftovers in the refrigerator and reheat when ready to serve.
  • Accompaniments: Serve the soup with crusty bread, cornbread, or a side salad for a complete meal.
  • Freezing: This soup freezes well. Allow it to cool completely before transferring it to airtight containers. Label and date the containers and store in the freezer for up to three months.
  • If you’re looking for more recipes like this I can definitely recommend my Pasta e Fagioli recipe!
15 bean soup mix recipe in a white bowl with slices of cornbread on the side. Parsley for garnish. Spoon showing the soup.

FAQs

Can I use canned beans instead of dried beans?

You can use canned beans for a quicker version of this soup. Rinse and drain the canned beans and add them during the last 30 minutes to 1 hour of cooking to allow them to heat through and absorb flavors.

What are some vegetarian alternatives to ham for flavor?

You can achieve a smoky flavor without ham using ingredients like smoked paprika, liquid smoke, or smoked salt. Additionally, mushrooms or sun-dried tomatoes can add depth and umami to a vegetarian version.

Can I make this soup in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker?

Absolutely! You can make this soup in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cooking dried beans, then add the sautéed vegetables, ham hock, and other ingredients. Cook on high pressure for about 20-25 minutes, with a natural release.

Why do you put lemon in bean soup?

Adding lemon to bean soup can enhance its flavor by providing a bright and acidic contrast to its richness, making it more balanced and refreshing.

How can I thicken my 15-bean soup?

To thicken your 15-bean soup, you can use an immersion blender to partially puree a portion of the soup, creating a thicker consistency while maintaining some texture.

Can I make this soup ahead of time?

Yes, you can make this soup ahead of time. It often tastes even better the next day as the flavors meld. Refrigerate it for 3-4 days or freeze it for longer storage.

What can I substitute for ham hock?

Smoked ham, diced or cubed, is a direct flavor match. Bacon, when cooked until crispy and chopped, adds a smoky, salty taste. Smoked turkey leg or wing, with skin and bones removed, offers a leaner option with smoky notes. Adjust the quantity to match the original recipe’s recommended ham hock amount.

Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:

What to Serve with 15-bean Soup

These are my favorite dishes to serve with this hearty soup.

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cover photo.

15 Bean Soup Mix Recipe (with Ham)

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5 from 2 reviews

Traditional 15 Bean Soup with Ham is a hearty soup perfect for a comforting meal. It comes together in one pot (even a crockpot!). Savor a blend of 15 beans and peas, succulent ham, and a medley of aromatic vegetables; all simmered to perfection in a flavorful broth. Enjoy!

  • Total Time: 2 hours 40 min (3 hr 40 if using ham hock)
  • Yield: 810 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 package (567 gr) of 15 Bean Soup Mix (includes a variety of dried beans and peas- see notes)
  • 1 smoked ham hock or ham bone with some meat on it
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon ground chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 4 cups water
  • Optional: red pepper flakes for added heat
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for serving

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Beans: Sort through the beans and remove any debris or stones. Rinse the beans thoroughly under cold water and soak them overnight in a large water bowl. Alternatively, you can use the quick soak method by boiling them for 2 minutes and then letting them sit, covered, for an hour.
  2. Sauté the Aromatics: Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the chopped onion, garlic, carrots, and celery. Sauté for about 8-10 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften.
  3. Add the Ham: Add the ham hock and bay leaf to the pot. Add the water and broth to a large pot if using smoked ham hock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cover. Cook for 1 hour. If you are using a ham bone, leftover ham, or smoked sausage, add them at the same time as the beans in step 5 (since they are already cooked) and add the liquids then. 
  4. Drain and Rinse the Beans: Drain and rinse the soaked beans.
  5. Combine Ingredients: Add the drained beans and diced tomatoes (with their juices). Add the chili powder, cumin, thyme, red pepper flakes (if using), lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Stir everything together.
  6. Simmer: Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the beans are tender. Stir occasionally and check the water level to ensure the beans are covered with liquid. Add more broth or water if needed.
  7. Remove Ham Hock/Bone: Remove the ham hock or bone once the beans are tender and the soup has thickened. Shred any meat from the bone and return it to the soup. Discard the bone.
  8. Season and Serve: Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper as needed. Remove the bay leaf. Serve hot and enjoy!

This traditional 15 Bean Soup with Ham is delicious on its own, but you can also serve it with a side of cornbread or crusty bread for a complete and satisfying meal. 

Notes

15 bean soup mix is a bag with different varieties of dry beans. It doesn’t need to be precisely 15! Hurst’s and Goya are two popular brands. Bob’s Red Mill makes a 13 Bean Soup Mix you can use. If your mix comes with a seasoning packet, discard the packet and only use the beans then use this recipe.

  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 10 min
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian American

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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