Two Ways to Make Instant Pot Ham and Bean Soup

a bowl of Ham and Bean Soup

Instant Pot Ham and Bean Soup

Classic Ham and Bean Soup is quick and easy in your Instant Pot! This soup is hearty and delicious, made from an assortment of dry beans….and that meaty left-over ham bone you saved from your holiday dinner.

Photo collage with two bowls of ham and bean soup.

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Most often, ham and beans are made with white Northern beans. I wanted to switch it up a bit, so I made Instant Pot Ham and Beans using an assortment of dry beans that didn’t include white Northern beans.

And you know what? It’s delicious! I saw a bag of 15 Bean Soup Blend at the grocer and thought how cool it would be to make ham and beans using all those pretty beans.

Then I remembered that I actually had all kinds of different beans at home in my very own pantry! I got out my hand-dandy scale and measured out a 20 oz. assortment that I felt would work. And they did.

I could eat soup most any day, even during the hot months of summer. I’ve found it’s super convenient to keep a pitcher of soup in my fridge for a quick meal. A couple of my all-time favorites are Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Noodle Soup and Chicken and Dumpling Soup, since they are both thick and hearty.

When I’m trying to be good and eat low-carb, I often make Low-Carb Tex Mexican Soup (right in my slow cooker) and also Low-Carb Creamy Fiesta Chicken Soup.

If you live in the Midwest, you probably already know about the tradition of chili served with a side of cinnamon rolls. We love that combo, too, so I’m frequently making Hillbilly Chili and Cinnamon Rolls when the snow is blowing outside.

Things to Love About This Ham and Bean Recipe:

  • Instead of the usual ham and bean soup featuring white beans, this soup is full of lots of different types of dry beans.
  • It’s colorful!
  • It’s fast. Thank you Instant Pot.
  • There’s two easy cooking options for you: Instant Pot or stove top.
  • It’s a great way to use up that leftover ham bone from your holiday dinner.

How to Make Ham and Bean Soup in Your Instant Pot

  1. Saute your veggies in a bit of oil in the Instant Pot until they are softened.
  2. Add the broth, the beans, some bay leaves, and the ham bone to the pot with your veggies.
  3. Bring the Instant Pot up to pressure and cook everything for 35 minutes. When the timer sounds, use a natural pressure release to let the pressure come down gradually.
  4. Remove the ham bone from the Instant Pot, then stir in the diced tomatoes and the cooked ham. Season the ham and beans with salt and pepper (if needed) and serve.
Bowl of ham and bean soup with an Instant Pot.

Easy and Helpful Tips for Making Ham and Bean Soup

What if I don’t have a leftover ham bone? Does that mean I can’t make ham and beans?

  • Great question. If you don’t have a leftover ham bone, it’s no big deal. You can always purchase ham shanks (or even ham hocks) to make a delicious batch of ham and beans anytime.

I don’t know anything about ham shanks or ham hocks. What are they and what’s the difference?

  • Ham hocks and ham shanks both come from the legs of the pig. The ham hocks are more bone-y so that makes them really flavorful but also harder to work with. I always opt for ham shanks instead because they offer more meat for about the same price.
  • You’ll find both the ham hocks and the ham shanks near the other pork products in the meat case at your favorite grocery store.

So I can use any type of dry beans for making a pot of ham and bean soup? I thought ham and beans were supposed to be made using white beans…??

  • Yes! I was kind of thinking the same thing, but once I made ham and beans with an assortment of dry beans, I discovered how much I like the flavors and textures the variety gives. And, doing it this way helps me use up different dry beans I already have on hand, too.
  • My dry bean mixture included black beans, pinto beans, small red beans, red and green lentils, split peas, Lima beans, kidney beans, and white kidney beans.

What if I don’t own an Instant Pot? Can I still make ham and beans?

  • You can make ham and beans in several ways: in a pot on your stove, in a pot in the oven, in a slow cooker, and in an Instant Pot. (And there are probably even more ways that I’m not aware of!)

How to Make Ham and Bean Soup on The Stove

  1. In a bit of hot oil in a large pot of Dutch oven, saute the vegetables until softened.
  2. Add the broth, the beans, some bay leaves, and the ham bone to the pot with your veggies.
  3. Partially cover the pot with the lid and bring to a simmer; cook the beans for 1-3 hours (if using unsoaked beans when you start) or 1-2 hours (if using beans you did soak).
  4. Remove the ham bone from the pot, then stir in the diced tomatoes and the cooked ham. Season the ham and beans with salt and pepper (if needed) and serve.

Why do some recipes say you should soak the dry beans before cooking them?

  • This is a great question. There’s two main reasons to soak dry beans before you cook them: Soaked beans have softened so they don’t take as long to cook. Secondly, when beans are soaked before they are cooked, this removes most of the sugars (as long as you toss the soaking water and don’t cook with it!) from the beans which cause us to have flatulence. In some households, such as my own, soaking the beans is a very worthwhile endeavor!

Can I make ham and bean soup using canned beans?

  • You absolutely can. In a large pot, cook the onions, celery, and carrots in a bit of oil until softened. Add the drained and rinsed canned beans, then stir in the ham broth, bay leaf, chopped or shredded cooked ham and diced tomatoes; simmer until hot throughout. Remove the bay leaf, then season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Can I freeze ham and beans that I’ve cooked?

  • You can, but I have to say that I’m not a fan of it, especially. Freezing the beans changes the structure of the vegetable proteins and to me they are just too mushy after they’ve been frozen and thawed. However, others may feel differently!

What can I serve with Ham and Bean Soup?

Bowl of ham and bean soup.

Other Recipes Your Family May Enjoy –

Printable Directions for Making Instant Pot Ham and Bean Soup

a bowl of Ham and Bean Soup

Instant Pot Ham and Bean Soup

Classic Ham and Bean Soup is quick and easy in your Instant Pot! This soup is hearty and delicious, made from an assortment of dry beans….plus that meaty left-over ham bone you saved from your holiday dinner.
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 191kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 4 ribs celery, chopped
  • 8 cups nice strong ham broth (I use water combined with Better Than Bouillon Ham Base to make my own hearty broth)
  • 20 oz. pkg. 15-Bean Soup Mixed Dry Beans, rinsed (I made up my own assortment of beans from what I had on hand and it worked just great)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 leftover ham bone with meat, may substitute ham shanks, if that’s easier!
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 3-4 cups cubed cooked ham
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

How to Make Ham and Bean Soup in an Instant Pot

  • Using the sauté setting on the Instant Pot, add the oil. When the oil is nicely hot, add the onions, carrots and celery; sauté for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the beans and bay leaves, then add the ham bone; pour in the broth.
  • Lock the Instant Pot lid into place, turning the valve to the sealing position. Choose the High Pressure setting for 35 minutes, bringing the Instant Pot up to full pressure. When the timer sounds, make sure to use a 30 minute Natural Pressure Release to let the pressure gradually release itself from the Instant Pot.
  • Carefully unlock and remove the Instant Pot lid; test a few of the beans to make sure they are tender. (If the beans aren’t as tender as you’d prefer, lock the Instant Pot lid back into place, bringing the pot back to full pressure for an additional 5 minutes. Use a Natural Pressure Release for 15-20 minutes. It will not take long at all to being the Instant Pot back up to pressure, FYI.)
  • Use two large slotted spoons to lift the ham bone from the Instant Pot to a large bowl. Remove the bay leaves from the soup, discarding them.
  • Once the ham bone has cooled enough to handle, pull away any pieces of ham that are still attached, adding them to the soup.
  • Stir in the tomatoes and chopped ham, then season the soup to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at once.

How to Make Ham and Bean Soup on the Stove Top

  • In a bit of hot oil in a large pot of Dutch oven over medium high heat, saute the vegetables until softened.
  • Add the broth, the beans, some bay leaves, and the ham bone to the pot with your veggies. Partially cover the pot with the lid and bring to a simmer; cook the beans for 1-3 hours (if using unsoaked beans when you start) or 1-2 hours (if using beans you did soak).
  • Remove the ham bone from the pot, then stir in the diced tomatoes and the cooked ham. Season the ham and beans with salt and pepper (if needed) and serve.

Notes

**Please note:  the cooking time stated for this recipe does not include the time required to bring the Instant Pot up to pressure since this can vary. This recipe was made using a 6-quart Instant Pot. 
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Keyword: instant pot

Nutrition

Calories: 191kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 1065mg | Potassium: 611mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 3498IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 2mg

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Let’s Get You Cookin’,
Chef Alli

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Chef Alli

Chef Alli is a home-grown Kansas girl on a mission to strengthen families through enabling kitchen confidence, educating the family cook, and encouraging better food relationships. She believes with her whole heart that time spent with our loved ones and our overall quality of life is greatly enhanced by nutritious food made at home with simple, wholesome ingredients. She loves being able to connect and share this passion with others through her website, her social media presence, and her coveted speaking engagements.

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