Delicious in-season vegetable ham bone soup recipe is a super easy way to create a healthy and hearty meal using leftover ham, a ham bone, and vegetables you have on hand.
Many people I know think of ham as a holiday meat, just grabbing a whole or spiral ham for Christmas or Easter. The rest of the year it seems to be reserved for lunch meat.
But ham is one of my favorite meats and it can be pretty frugal if you buy a couple when they're on sale and freeze them for later. I'll bake one for dinner and slice off the rest for lunches, frittatas, and casseroles.
What's left after that is a bone with a good amount of meat that makes great broth and is the basis for another of my favorites, a delicious vegetable ham bone soup.
It's so easy to throw this soup together in a pot on the stove, a Crockpot or an Instant Pot. Not only is the cooking method versatile, the soup is, too, using whatever in-season vegetables you have.
If you're not ready to make ham bone soup right away, the bone can be thrown in the freezer with all the meat pieces attached and pulled out when you are ready for a warm and comforting bowl of tasty soup.
Vegetable Ham Bone Soup Recipe
Making soup with a ham bone is pretty simple and to be the most versatile, I use two steps:
- make a ham bone broth
- add vegetables, beans, etc. to make the soup
To make the broth, put the ham bone in a pot, cover the bone with water and add a chopped onion. You can use a slow cooker, and Instant Pot or a stockpot on the stove.
When the meat is starting to fall off the bone (or you get home from work, or the timer dings...whatever), remove it from the liquid (now a wonderful ham broth) and set it on a cutting board to cool. Once you can touch it without burning your hands off, pull the meat off, cut up any big pieces and remove any remaining fat before adding the meat back to the broth in the pot.
Now from this base of broth, onion, and ham you can create lots different soups - split-pea soup, ham and potato chowder, ham and bean soup, or my favorite, a simple harvest vegetable soup using in-season vegetables and whatever else I may have in the fridge.
This time I included:
- chopped cabbage
- small amount of chopped kale
- diced sweet red pepper
- diced jalapeño pepper
- fresh corn cut from the cob (frozen of course is great, too)
- defrosted container of pre-cooked, frozen garbanzo beans
And if you are making this around the holidays, you can even throw in holiday leftovers like mashed potatoes and cooked vegetables! It's a super way to use up what's in the fridge as well as the ham bone.
Add your chosen ingredients to the broth and ham in the pot plus seasonings of garlic, pepper, thyme and basil. Cook until everything's tender - 15 minutes for an Instant Pot, 1 hour on the stove top, or 2-4 hours with a slow cooker, your choice!
This obviously makes a ton of soup which is okay with me since it's just as good warmed up for lunches. It freezes well, too, and freezing some in small portions is super convenient for quick meals on busy days.
It's time to stock up on ham bones, right? (Oh, and once you tell people you like to make soup with bones, they'll be offering them to you at every holiday so don't be shy!)
Harvest Vegetable Ham Bone Soup
- 1 or 2 ham bones, with some meat attached
- 1 large onion chopped
- 3 to 4 cups chopped vegetables: peppers carrots, cabbage, kale, spinach, tomatoes, corn, peas, etc.
- 1 to 2 cups cooked beans* white, red, garbanzo beans, etc.
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- salt to taste**
To Make Ham Bone Broth:
- Add ham bone and chopped onion to the bowl of a Crockpot, Instant Pot liner, or stove-top stockpot (it's okay of the ham bone is frozen). Cover with water (in an Instant Pot don't fill more than 3/4 full, though - it's okay if some of the bone/meat is not covered).
- For Crockpot: cook for 4-5 hours on Low (2-3 High).
- For Stove Top: cook on the stove top for 1-2 hours.
- For Instant Pot: Press manual (high pressure) and adjust cook time to 30 minutes. The pressure cooker will take about 15 minutes to come to pressure - (cooking recipes with more liquid, the longer it typically takes to come to pressure). When cooking is done, let the cooker naturally release pressure for 15 minutes. Then lay a towel over the knob and turn the seal to quick release the remaining pressure.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove all the bone pieces and large pieces of meat to a cutting board. Chop all the meat, removing from bone if needed, and return to the pot.
To Make Soup:
- Crockpot: Add the remaining ingredients and cook in Crockpot for another 3-4 hours on Low (2 hours High).
- Stove Top: Bring to boil, then simmer for about 1 hour until the vegetables are tender.***
- For Instant Pot: Lock the lid to seal. Choose "Manual" for 15 minutes. When the timer goes off, hit Cancel/Keep Warm and let release naturally for 10 minutes. Lay a cloth over the valve and quick release until all the pressure is out.
- Season with salt and serve warm with a crusty bread.
Other hearty soups you may like:
The Best Sausage and Lentil Stew (with a secret seasoning)
Turkey and Rice Soup with Curry and Coconut milk
Cauliflower Cheese Soup (ready in 30 minutes)
Note: this recipe was originally published in February of 2010 and has been updated with all new photos, formatting, and printable recipe. Enjoy!
Rick Rohan says
Awesome! I've been doing this basic recipe for years and it is always a little different. I do the same as you by adding what ever I have in the fridge or freezer. I just cooked the ham bone yesterday without onions. I separate the bone, meat and fat and add the meat back to the pot. Then the pot goes in the fridge to cool overnight so the fat rises and I can skim it off the next day. Now I can add whatever. I have dry navy beans, turnips, leeks, cabbage and carrots frozen from the garden. Thanks for the recipe.
Perfect, Rick - thank you so much for adding your review!
Susan McCurdy says
Thank you for the post about leggy tomatoes. It has some pretty good spiritual applications, too. I have friends who either trust Christ, or rededicate themselves to Him and they are all excited in the warmth of emotion and spiritual highs that come with long awaited obedience. They overdose on "worship music" (which is a good thing) without getting "planted" in the Word itself and get "leggy and thin" spiritually which is not good. They can't stand high winds, storms, have little "root system" to sustain them. Just wanted to tell you, thanks, for the post. The use of ham after Easter is a good idea. I do have leftover ham from Easter in the freezer. I like the Cheese pie idea. Happy planting season!
Wow, those are some great thoughts, Susan - thank you!
Martha Schultz says
If I place the bone in the instant pot, how long do I cook it? It don't need an exact time, just a ball park.
The instant pot directions are included in the printable recipe at the bottom of the page - follow the bone broth section for IP for the bone.
Does the ham bone make the soup greasy, and does anything have to be skinned from the top before adding the vegetables?
I don't find it too greasy, but if you're concerned, you can always start the broth the day before, refrigerate, and skim off fat you see the next day before proceeding with the recipe.
Courtney Jade says
If I add cabbage to my hambone soup, do I need to boil it on the stove first or just wash it & throw in my slow cooker at same time as the other veggies I’m adding?? This looks delicious! 😍
You can just throw it all in and cook it with the other vegetables, Courtney! And it is so good. 🙂
I've pinned this recipe. Like you, ham is one of my most favorite meats. I'll be making this soup when the weather turns a bit cooler. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe, Jami!
I hope you like it, Mary - thank YOU. 🙂
Angie Rose says
This looks absolutely delicious Jami! It's been rainy and cold here lately. Perfect recipe for the fall season. I'm definitely going to try making it 🙂
Diane Williams says
One of my very favorite ways to use up a hambone and holiday leftovers is to make a hambone soup. So good to use up harvest vegetables this way. I LOVE hambone soup! Thank for sharing this recipe. I can just about taste the yumminess looking at your pics!
Autumn has definitely arrived here, darker in the mornings and evenings damp grass chilly, can't have our heating on yet as boiler broken, so small fires to dry the chimney out and this soup. It looks delicious ????
Yes, time to break out the soup for sure.
Cecile Lowrey says
Yum, soup, soup,soup my favorite thing to make and to eat. If I didn't live with my sister I think I would just eat soup everyday!
Ha! It's funny that it seems some people love soup and others don't.
Sherry St. Mary says
I cannot imagine anyone not loving a good home made soup and this looks so yummy to me. I have a great big hambone with lots of meat on it which I intend to boil today and add what I have in stock, Lots of potatoes, cabbage, a jar of home canned tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, corn off the cob, big ole jalapeno and whatever I come up with. Watching Irma's dreadful news since I have sons and grands on the Gulf Coast. We will more than likely have lots of hurricane damage on our house there. Praying for everyone down there to be safe. God Bless you sweet Jami
That sounds heavenly, Sherry! Yes, I hope the hurricane season passes quickly for all those affected. 🙁
We love soup this time of year and ham soup is one of our favorites. You have me hungry just thinking about it.
Michelle Marine says
This recipe speaks to my heart. Jami, we must be kindred spirits for we share a love of not only Anne of Green Gables, but also Greek flavors and good ole ham-n-bean soup. 🙂 I haven't tried to make this in my Instant Pot yet. Guess I need to get busy. Happy Tuesday!
Yes! Though when you write it out like that, it seems an odd combo, doesn't it? 😉 I'm just glad it works for us!
We had some unusually cool weather this week and I'm so ready for it. I can't wait to start cooking warm yummy dishes like this hearty soup. I'm so glad it's a crockpot recipe as I'm trying to use ours more to save time in the kitchen. Thanks.
I too love the crockpot - the smells it creates, how the food is magically ready at dinner. I hope you enjoy this!
Jami @An Oregon Cottage says
Yum! I made one recently too. 😉
Making the ham-bone soup today (a cold 56 degree cloudy day here in the "sunny south"! I wondered why I had that ham bone in the freezer. Thanks for the recipe. I'm making sweet potato biscuits to go with the soup.
Brings back memories, my Mom used to make soup like that.
A hambone is a glorious thing. This is just what I do. I call it refrigerator-cleaning soup, which is just not elegant 🙂
Mine often ends up minestrone-like, but sometimes it's pea soup, plain and simple. But it's always so good!
Thanks for the pictures and method!
I never would have thought of ading the mashed potatos. Great idea!
Dang girl that sounds good!!! I love it when I can make something from leftovers.