Ham and potato soup is a rich, creamy and comforting soup that is perfect as cold weather comfort food. This hearty soup is full of soft potatoes, vegetables, flavorful ham, whole milk, and sharp white cheddar cheese!
If you want another great soup to use up some leftover ham, don’t miss my Instant Pot Ham and Bean soup!
The combination of flavorful leftover ham and creamy, soft potatoes makes this hearty soup a family favorite. In the winter months, we have this soup so often, I have to be well stocked on potatoes.
Because this soup features leftover ham, you can enjoy it in less than an hour and only need one pot to make it. But if you don’t have leftover ham, you can get some thick sliced ham at your deli section of the grocery store and dice it at home. (You can even buy already diced packaged ham at the store too.)
Difference Between Potato Soup and Chowder
The difference comes down to consistency. While the flavors are very similar, the textures are pretty different.
Chowder recipes typically have similar ingredients to potato soup, but chowder is much thicker and chunky, almost like a stew. It is often a lot creamier as well. Potato soup, while thick and creamy, has a soupier consistency and made with more broth.
How to Make Ham and Potato Soup
The ingredients needed for this recipe are inexpensive and super simple! It’s a great way to use any leftover baked ham, too!
- Canola Oil – This can be substituted with any neutral flavor of cooking oil.
- Yellow Onion
- Carrot – Fun fact! If you only have baby carrots, 4 baby carrots is equal to 1 medium carrot.
- Idaho Potatoes – These really are the best potatoes for soup. Their neutral flavor adapts so well with the other flavors in the dish.
- Diced Ham – If you’re planning to use ham leftovers, you’ll need 1 1/2 cups of meat for this recipe. If the ham is glazed, you can cut away any crispy parts of skin.
- Chicken Stock – It’s best to use stock, not broth. Stock has a richer, fuller flavor than broth.
- Garlic Powder – Don’t make the mistake of using garlic salt instead. You want to avoid making your soup too salty.
- Salt – This is to taste. I recommend taste the soup often while cooking!
- Cracked Black Pepper
- Whole Milk – you can use 2% to make it less creamy or, if you want to make the soup creamier, add about 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream.
- Sharp White Cheddar Cheese – you want to use cheddar cheese that has a strong flavor. Think Vermont sharp, or seriously sharp, or any other you love.
- Green Onion – great compliment to ham and cheese flavors.
Step By Step Instructions
In just a few steps, you’ll have the best ham and potato soup:
Prepare the ingredients. Before you can really get started, you’ll need to prepare. Once your vegetables and meat are diced and measured, you’ll be ready to go.
Cook the vegetables. Over medium heat, combine the oil and vegetables. Sauté for just a few minutes, until everything is soft.
Add the main ingredients. Add the meat to the pot first and let it warm up. Then, add the diced potatoes.
Pour in the chicken stock. Pour just enough chicken stock to cover the potatoes and stir well.
Season and stir. Toss your seasonings into the mix and stir it all together. Keep stirring and cooking until the potatoes are soft and tender. If you’d like to thicken the texture a bit more, feel free to mash some of the potatoes with your spoon.
Add the remaining ingredients. Pouring in the milk (or heavy cream), cheese and diced green onions is my favorite step! It’s when you really get to see the soup come together.
Serve! Cook long enough for the cheese to melt, then serve your soup hot and fresh.
Storing and Serving Tips
How should I store the soup?
I love making this recipe because of how well it holds up in the refrigerator. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge and the soup can last up to 5 days.
You can reheat the leftovers in the microwave or on the stove – it’ll be delicious either way!
What should I garnish it with?
I love using the fresh ingredients I have leftover to sprinkle on top of my bowl. Cheddar cheese, green onion, and cracked black pepper are all such mouthwatering garnishes!
If you have any, some crispy bacon bits are also tasty on top.
You can always serve this creamy soup with crackers, croutons, or fresh baguette.
MORE HEARTY SOUP RECIPES
Cold weather and hearty soups go together like a needle and thread. If you need more soup options to keep you cozy, try this recipe for the Copycat Zuppa Toscana.
If you made any of my recipes and shared them on Instagram, make sure to tag me @willcookforsmiles and #willcookforsmiles so I can see all the things you tried!
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Ham and Potato Soup
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 1 small yellow onion
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 long celery rib
- 2 lbs Idaho potatoes
- 1 1/2 cups diced ham
- 3 cups chicken stock enough to cover potatoes
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- salt to taste
- 1/4-1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 cup whole milk
- 4 oz sharp white cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup diced green onion
- Prepare the ingredients first: peel and dice potatoes, onions, carrots, ham, and celery and measure the rest of the ingredients.
- Preheat a large Dutch oven or another soup pot over medium heat and add oil. Add onions, celery, and carrots to the pot and sauté until softened.
- Mix in diced ham, let it heat through, and then, add diced potatoes.
- Mix everything well and pour in chicken stock, just enough to cover potatoes.
- Season the soup with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and stir well. Let it cook over medium-low heat until potatoes are completely soft, tender, and falling apart. You can even mash a few with a wooden spoon to created thicken soup texture.
- Stir in milk, grated white cheddar cheese, and diced green onion. Cook long enough for the cheese to melt and serve.