dinner, Recipes, Soups, Chili & Stew

cranberry bean & smoked ham soup

This ham, bean and veggie soup is easy to make and packs a ton of flavor.

In some aspects, I’m a terrible blogger. Here I am posting a recipe on how to use up leftover smoked ham slices and turkey stock…in March. The truth of it is that I don’t have a content calendar (though I work in eCommerce in my real life and am always pushing calendar organization) – I just dig this blog being driven by whimsy and impulse. You all will just have to stick with me and my weird ways.

This recipe also came about now because we recently replaced our downstairs fridge that was busted in the great basement flood of 2019. So now I happily freeze this and that, especially stock. Having a giant freezer bag of turkey stock and a big hunk of frozen leftover smoked ham from Thanksgiving is what inspired me to whip up this little ditty. So hopefully you have this at the ready too? LOL. I’ll remind you all next December.

The ingredients are so simple, but using really GOOD ingredients is what makes this tasty bowl shine. So, yes – I’m pulling an Ina Garten here. Store bought aint really fine. I promise this ham soup is incredibly tasty, hearty and perfectly rich if you stick as closely as possible to the ingredients I describe below – homemade stock (yes chicken stock is great too), fresh green beans and some heirloom cranberry beans.

Smoked Ham and Bean Soup

Do I have to use homemade stock?

Yes. Well, okay I’m not your mom or your boss lady, so I can’t really tell you what to do. But we all know what a difference homemade stock makes! And because of how I flavored the stock and let it cook and cook getting all fired up with aromatics and herbs, I barely had to season this soup. I am also a nerd who thinks stock is kind of fun to make, just toss a poultry carcass into a large pot with what’s in your veggie drawer – celery, onion, carrots, leeks, garlic – some peppercorns, a bay leaf and some fresh herbs like parsley, thyme, sage and rosemary. Cover it all with water and simmer away for hours. SO GOOD.

Girl, what’s the deal with Rancho Gordo beans?

Rancho Gordo beans are just an absolute dream. I’ve posted a couple of recipes using different varieties – my Corona Bean Salad with Thyme & Pickled Onions and the delicious Smoked Turkey Stew with Yellow Eye Beans. They are heirloom beans from Napa, California and are just insanely high quality. Once I had a Rancho Gordo – I never bought another canned bean. And I won’t. You can’t make me.

Of course, if you can’t get your hands on Rancho Gordo, I’d encourage you to at least find a dried white or pink bean as a replacement. The canned stuff just has so many additives and are too smushy.

And yes, I’m a soaker. I typically soak my gordos over night, this only really lessens the cook time – so your call. I mean, look at these beauties!

Rancho Gordo Cranberry Beans Soaking

Whether you soak the beans or not, or have to make a substitution here or there, I hope you give this recipe a try. Dave and I really loved it and ended up with zero leftovers after just a couple of days. Since we’ve still got a few cold, rainy days before spring really springs, this is a great dish for those few cozy nights we’ve got left!

Smoked ham + cranberry bean soup
Smoked Ham & Cranberry Bean Soup

Smoked Ham + Cranberry Bean Soup

A simple but delicious soup that is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Prep Time 12 hours
Cook Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time 13 hours 45 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American


  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • 1 Large Carrot
  • 2 Stalks Celery (with leafy greens)
  • 6 Cups Turkey Stock Can Substitute with Chicken Stock
  • 2 Cups Chopped Smoked Ham Good quality store-bought is A-Okay!
  • 1 Cup Fresh Green Beans
  • 1 Cup Rancho Gordo Cranberry Beans
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper


  • Add the oil to a large dutch oven and turn the heat to medium.
  • Chop the onion, celery (and their leafy greens!), and carrot and add to the pot. Cook these until tender, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • While the veggies are cooking, chop the ham into bite-sized pieces and trim the beans, and cut into one inch pieces.
  • Once the veggies are cooked, throw in the ham, beans, chicken stock, green beans, salt + pepper, and bring the soup up to a boil, then turn down to simmer.
  • Cook for 1.5 hours, or until the beans are tender.
Keyword Dinner Idea, Easy Soup, Easy Soup Recipe, Ham + Veggie Soup, Ham Soup, Soup Recipe, Turkey Stock Soup

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