Instant Pot Ham and Bean Soup is flavorful as can be, so hearty and filling, and incredibly easy to make thanks to the pressure cooker! It’s the perfect recipe to use when you have leftover holiday ham.
Ham and bean soup is simple but when made just right, it can have such amazing flavors! Most of the flavors here comes from the best part, the ham. Using leftover ham in this bean soup actually infuses the soup with the flavors of the ham. If you glazed a ham for a holiday dinner, make this ham and bean soup with the leftovers. Whatever flavors you baked on the ham will transfer into the soup beautifully.
The main reason that the ham infuses so much flavor into the soup is because it’s cooked in an Instant Pot. Pressure cooking is a great method for infusing a lot of flavor into the dishes.
Besides infusing a lot of flavor into the soup, making it in the Instant Pot will speed up the process. The whole soup will take you less than an hour to make. I’m still amazed that you can get tender, soft beans by pressure cooking it for just about 30 minutes!
PRO TIP: If you cooked ham on the bone for the holidays, you can throw in the bone as well. Cut the meat off the bone and add the bone into the pot while sautéing the veggies. Then, simply dice the meat that has been cut off the bone and add it to the soup as well. This bean soup will be amazing with or without the bone. This will just be a good way to utilize the bone instead of just tossing it away.
Ham – This is an excellent way to use up that leftover holiday ham in your fridge! One of my favorite recipes to make every Christmas is Baked Ham with Cherry Glaze.
Chicken Stock – I love keeping Homemade Chicken Stock on hand for recipes like this.
Vegetables – This recipe uses a simple medley of carrots, celery, and yellow onions.
Navy Beans – These are my favorite beans to use in ham and bean soup because they’re small and cook perfectly every time.
Garlic – Freshly smashed and minced garlic cloves yield the very best flavor.
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes – I like to add just enough to enhance the savory flavor without making the soup spicy. Add more or less as you see fit.
See the recipe card below for the full list of ingredients and instructions.
How to Make Instant Pot Ham and Bean Soup
Prepare. Start by preparing all your veggies and ham. Dice onions, celery, carrots, and ham. Peel garlic and set it all aside. Rinse the beans to get rid of any debris that might be in the bag and set aside to let it strain.
Sauté. Set Instant Pot to sauté and let it heat up. Add oil, onions, celery, and carrots and saute until veggies soften and start to golden (1). If using ham bone, add ham bone to the pot.
Add garlic. Press garlic and add it to the pot (2). Sauté until fragrant.
Add ham and beans. Add diced ham, stir, and saute for a few minutes, then stir in the beans. (3, 4)
Add broth and seasonings. Pour in the chicken broth, thyme, bay leaf, crushed red peppers, and salt (5). Don’t forget to taste to make sure you have enough salt.
Cook the soup. Stir, close the lid and make sure it’s latched. Turn the valve to “SEAL” and set the Instant Pot to pressure cook on high pressure cook mode for 30 minutes.
Release the pressure. Let it do a natural release for about 10 minutes and then do a quick release. Be careful opening the lid. (6, 7)
You can easily convert this recipe to a slow cooker recipe instead! Sauté the vegetables and ham on the stove top first, then transfer it into a slow cooker.
Preheat a medium pot over medium heat and add oil, onions, celery, and carrots and sauté until veggies soften and start to turn golden. Press in the garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add diced ham, stir, and saute for a couple of minutes.
Transfer it all into a slow cooker. Add ham bone if using.
Add beans, chicken broth, thyme, bay leaf, crushed red peppers, and salt. Don’t forget to taste to make sure you have enough salt. Close the lid and set it to cook on LOW for 8-10 hours (until beans are tender).
Add as many of your favorite vegetables as you’d like, or just some extra carrots, onions, and celery. Some good veggies to add include diced tomatoes, bell peppers, corn, and root vegetables.
No, not necessarily. Navy beans are small and cook nicely but you can use any beans you’d like. You can even use a mix of beans, like a 7-bean mix. Just remember to discard any seasoning packets that come with it because you will be using your own seasoning.
30 minutes is a nice average cook time for beans that are about the same size as a navy bean or smaller. If you want to use larger beans, your cooking time will increase. So for beans like cannellini or white kidney beans, you will want to add another 5-10 minutes. Note that some beans may be larger in size but thinner in thickness, they will have a slightly different cook time. You can always consult your pressure cooker manual for exact cook times.
When freezing any food, it’s important to cool it to room temperature as quickly as possible before freezing. Cooling it quickly and freezing it will extend its shelf life by giving less time for bacteria to grow.
To cool the soup, place the pot with soup into a larger container filled with ice and let it cool, stirring occasionally.
Once soup is cooled to room temperature, portion it into freezer zip-lock bags. Get the air out and seal. Label and date each bag and lay them flat on a cutting board. Place it in the freezer.
It’s easier to freeze soup in freezer bags because flat bags of frozen soup can be stacked easily. This will save you a lot of room.
Defrost ham and bean soup overnight in the refrigerator.
Storing and Reheating
Store the soup in an airtight food storage container in the refrigerator. Properly stored, it should last for up to 5-7 days. Make sure you always use a clean ladle when getting a serving out of the container. This will help ensure longer shelf life.
Reheating this soup is simple: you can reheat individual portions in the microwave or in a small sauce pot over medium heat.
More of Our Favorite Soup Recipes
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Ham and Bean Soup
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 2 long celery ribs
- 2 medium carrots
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 1/2 cups diced ham use leftover holiday ham is available
- 1 lb dried navy beans
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- ham bone from leftover whole cooked ham OPTIONAL
- Dice onions, celery, carrots, and ham. Peel garlic and set it all aside. Rinse the beans to get rid of any debris that might be in the bag and set aside to let it strain.
- Set Instant Pot to SAUTE and let it heat up. Add oil, onions, celery, and carrots and saute until veggies soften and start to golden. (If using ham bone, add ham bone to the pot.)
- Press garlic and add it to the pot. Saute until fragrant.
- Add diced ham, stir, and saute for a few minutes. Pour in beans, chicken broth, thyme, bay leaf, crushed red peppers, and salt. Don’t forget to taste to make sure you have enough salt.
- Stir, close the lid and make sure it’s latched. Turn the valve to “SEAL” and set the Instant Pot to pressure cook on high pressure cook mode for 30 minutes.
- Let it do a natural release for about 10 minutes and then do a quick release. Be careful opening the lid.
- NOTE: don’t forget to discard the bay leaf and ham bone if using.