This ham and beans recipe is the best way to use up leftover ham! Creamy white beans cook with diced ham, vegetables and seasonings to make a simple, yet totally satisfying dish that is sure to get rave reviews.

After the holiday, I make sure to use up any extra ham in dishes such as ham salad, scalloped potatoes with ham, and this super flavorful ham and beans.

This ham and beans recipe is the best way to use up leftover ham! This ham and beans recipe is the best way to use up leftover ham!

A pot of ham and beans garnished with parsley.

Ham and beans is a comfort food classic for good reason. It’s inexpensive, hearty and full of savory flavors. My version uses dried beans, and leftover ham to make a meal that is a total crowd pleaser. Add a side of cornbread and dinner is served!

How do you make ham and beans?

Start by soaking a pound of dry white beans overnight. Saute onions, carrots and celery in a large pot, then add the beans, a ham bone or hock, and an assortment of herbs and seasonings. Bring to a simmer, and cook until the beans are tender. Stir in chopped ham and cook for about 10 minutes more, then season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

A bowl of beans in water.

Do you have to soak beans?

It is not absolutely necessary to soak your dry beans before you use them. That being said, I prefer to soak my beans for this particular dish. Typically, beans that have been soaked cook more quickly than beans that have not been soaked. This matters here because we want the beans to get tender, but we don’t want the vegetables to overcook. So in this case, I do recommend doing the soak if you have the time.

Bowls of ingredients such as ham, vegetables and seasonings.

Tips for the perfect dish

  • You can use a leftover ham bone or a ham hock. If you use a leftover ham bone, reserve diced ham to add to the finished dish. If you go with a ham hock, you can cut the meat off the bone, then add it to the mix.
  • This dish can also be made in the slow cooker. Place the ham bone, soaked beans, water, seasonings and herbs in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours, then stir in the ham and cook for another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then top with parsley and serve.
  • Cut your carrots and celery into larger pieces so that they’ll hold up during the long simmering time.
  • If your beans come with a seasoning packet, you can add it towards the end of the cook time if you like.
  • Any size dry white bean will work, so feel free to choose your favorite.

Beans in a pot with a ham hock and herbs.

Ham and beans flavor variations

This recipe is great as-is, but you can add other ingredients to customize the flavors to your tastes.

  • Meat: You can add other meat to this dish such as smoked sausage or bacon.
  • Vegetables: Feel free to add other vegetables such as leeks, green bell pepper or a can of tomatoes.
  • Beans: While this dish is often made with white beans such as the Great Northern variety, you can use other types such as a soup bean mix, lima beans, pinto beans or red beans.

A bowl of ham and beans in broth with carrots and celery.

More great ways to use leftover ham

Ham and Beans Video

5 from 11 votes

Ham and Beans

AuthorSara Welch
A pot of ham and beans garnished with parsley.
This ham and beans recipe is the best way to use up leftover ham! Creamy white beans cook with diced ham, vegetables and seasonings to make a simple, yet totally satisfying dish that is sure to get rave reviews.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes
Soaking Time8 hours
Total Time9 hours 50 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Serves 8


  • 1 pound dry white beans such as Great Northern
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup onion diced
  • 2 large carrots peeled, halved and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
  • 2 stalks celery sliced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced
  • 1 ham bone or ham hock
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cups diced ham
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons parsley chopped


  • Place the beans in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Soak for 8 hours or overnight.
  • Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery and cook for 5-6 minutes or until softened.
  • Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Return the soaked beans to the pot.
  • Place the ham bone, thyme, rosemary, brown sugar and bay leaf in the pot.
  • Pour the water into the pot and bring to a simmer.
  • Cook for 60-90 minutes or until beans are tender.
  • Discard the bay leaf and herb sprigs.
  • Discard the ham bone. Stir in the diced ham. If you're using a ham hock, remove the hock, cut the meat off the bone and return the meat to the pot.
  • Cook for another 10-15 minutes, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Sprinkle with parsley, then serve.


Calories: 378kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 431mg | Potassium: 120mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 637IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This is such an easy and tasty recipe, and what a great way to use leftover ham, indeed! Easily, a new favorite dish; my whole family loved it!

  2. 5 stars
    I hadn’t had ham and beans since I was a kid. It was so good! I love sharing these classic recipes with my kids.

  3. 5 stars
    I’m a huge ham hock fan so I whipped this up for the fam as I loved all the veggies in it too. Garlic bread on the side to soak up all the goodness and everyone was happy 😉

  4. 5 stars
    I KNOW that this recipe will come in handy during thanksgiving when I have so much leftover ham! Bookmarked for then, thank you so much for the recipe 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    Yummy! Such a great way to use up leftover ham. Absolutely delicious and packed with so much flavor! The family loved this recipe and I can’t wait to make this again!

  6. When I cook beans with ham hock, I cook the ham hock in water to cover on simmer for a couple of hours the day before. I refrigerate the stock and hock separately. After cooling overnight I cook the soaked beans the next day in the stock from the ham hock . Always start cooking the beans in cool liquid and not too hot , or they Start to lose their coating. Add the cut up meat after the beans are cooked.