White Bean and Ham Hock Soup Recipe 2023


Servings: 6-8


  • 1 medium package of dried Northern beans (16 ounces)
  • 3 to 4 meaty ham hock shanks or a meaty ham bone
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • Water (enough to cover the beans)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar


Step 1: Prepare the Beans

  • Sort the dried beans for any pebbles and rinse them under cold water.

Step 2: Combine Ingredients in the Crockpot

  • In the crockpot, combine the rinsed beans, diced white onion, sea salt, pepper, and the meaty ham hock shanks or ham bone, chopped into large chunks.

Step 3: Add Water

  • Pour enough water into the crockpot to cover the beans by about 2 inches. This should yield approximately 6 to 8 cups of water.

Step 4: Cook on High and then Low

  • Cover the crockpot and cook on high heat for about 120 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking for an additional 4 to 5 hours, or until the beans are tender.

Step 5: Remove and Shred the Meat

  • Remove the ham hocks or ham bone from the crockpot. Take out all the meat and shred it. Discard any bones and excess fat.

Step 6: Add Brown Sugar

  • Return the shredded meat to the crockpot.
  • Add the light brown sugar to the soup.

Step 7: Adjust Consistency

  • Optionally, drain around 1 cup of the soup juice if needed, depending on the thickness or thinness of the beans. Mix everything gently to combine.

Step 8: Serve

  • Pour the delicious White Bean and Ham Hock Soup into individual bowls for serving.

Optional Additions:

  • Consider adding chopped carrots, celery, or diced tomatoes for extra flavor and nutrients.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley or a squeeze of lemon juice before serving.

Enjoy your hearty and flavorful White Bean and Ham Hock Soup!

Here are some helpful tips to make your White Bean and Ham Hock Soup even more delightful:

  1. Quality Ingredients: Invest in high-quality ham hocks or a meaty ham bone. Quality ingredients make a significant difference in flavor.
  2. Pre-soak the Beans: Consider soaking the dried beans overnight before cooking. This can help reduce the cooking time and improve the overall texture of the beans.
  3. Aromatics: Enhance the soup’s flavor by adding aromatic vegetables such as diced carrots, celery, or garlic. Sauté them before adding to the crockpot for a deeper flavor profile.
  4. Fresh Herbs: Add fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, or bay leaves during the cooking process for added depth and aroma. Remember to remove them before serving.
  5. Customize Seasonings: Experiment with additional seasonings like smoked paprika, cumin, or a bay leaf to tailor the soup to your taste preferences.
  6. Ham Variety: Mix different types of ham for a more complex flavor. Combine smoked and cured ham, or use leftover holiday ham for an extra special touch.
  7. Vegetable Additions: Increase the nutritional content by adding vegetables such as spinach or kale during the last 30 minutes of cooking. This adds color and freshness to the dish.
  8. Fresh Lemon Juice: Squeeze fresh lemon juice into the soup just before serving to brighten up the flavors and add a hint of acidity.
  9. Finish with Fresh Herbs: Garnish each serving with fresh herbs like parsley or chives to add a burst of freshness.
  10. Crusty Bread or Cornbread: Serve the soup with crusty bread or homemade cornbread. The combination of the soup and a hearty bread is a classic and satisfying pairing.
  11. Cheese Topping: Sprinkle a bit of grated Parmesan or sharp cheddar on top of each serving for an extra layer of richness.
  12. Adjust Sugar to Taste: Taste the soup before adding the brown sugar and adjust the sweetness according to your preference. You can always start with less and add more if needed.
  13. Slow Cooking Time: Allow the soup to simmer on low heat for an extended period if time permits. This helps the flavors meld and intensify.

Remember to adjust these tips based on your personal preferences, and enjoy your delightful White Bean and Ham Hock Soup!

Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers related to the White Bean and Ham Hock Soup Recipe:

  1. Can I use canned beans instead of dried beans? Yes, you can use canned beans for a quicker option. Rinse and drain them before adding to the slow cooker. Adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  2. How do I prevent the beans from becoming too mushy? Avoid overcooking the beans by checking for tenderness towards the end of the cooking time. Stop cooking when they are tender but not mushy.
  3. Can I make this soup on the stovetop instead of a crockpot? Certainly! Simmer the ingredients in a large pot on the stovetop, adjusting the cooking time until the beans are tender.
  4. What can I substitute for ham hocks? Smoked turkey legs or bacon can be used as a substitute for ham hocks, providing a similar smoky flavor.
  5. How do I store and reheat leftovers? Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave, adding a bit of water if needed.
  6. Can I freeze the soup? Yes, you can freeze the soup in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
  7. Do I need to soak the beans overnight? While not required, soaking the beans overnight can help reduce cooking time. If you’re short on time, you can skip this step, but the cooking time will be longer.
  8. Can I add pasta or rice to the soup? Certainly! Add cooked pasta or rice during the last 30 minutes of cooking for a heartier soup.
  9. What’s the purpose of adding brown sugar? Brown sugar adds a subtle sweetness that complements the savory flavors. Adjust the amount based on your preference.
  10. Can I use a different type of ham? Yes, you can use diced ham, smoked ham, or leftover holiday ham. Adjust the quantity based on your taste preferences.
  11. What side dishes pair well with this soup? Crusty bread, cornbread, or a simple side salad are great choices to serve alongside this hearty soup.
  12. Can I make this soup in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot? Yes, you can adapt the recipe for an Instant Pot. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cooking times.

Feel free to adjust these answers based on your preferences and any modifications you make to the recipe!

Achieving the perfect White Bean and Ham Hock Soup involves a combination of techniques and attention to detail. Here are some secrets to elevate your recipe:

  1. Choose Quality Ham Hocks: Invest in high-quality, meaty ham hocks for a rich and flavorful broth. The better the ham hocks, the more depth your soup will have.
  2. Pre-soak the Beans: Soak the dried beans overnight or use a quick soak method. This helps reduce cooking time and ensures even tenderness.
  3. Aromatics and Herbs: Sauté the diced onions in a bit of olive oil until translucent before adding to the slow cooker. Add fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary for an aromatic boost.
  4. Layered Seasoning: Season the soup at different stages of cooking. Season the beans with salt and pepper at the beginning, and adjust the final seasoning after adding the shredded ham and brown sugar.
  5. Brown Sugar Enhancement: The addition of brown sugar is a secret touch that enhances the overall flavor profile. Adjust the amount to balance the sweetness with the savory elements.
  6. Drain Excess Liquid for Control: If the soup seems too watery before adding brown sugar, drain about a cup of liquid to control the consistency. This ensures the soup is not overly thin.
  7. Ham Shanks or Bones: If using ham shanks or bones, simmer them in the broth for an extended period to extract maximum flavor. Remove them before adding the beans.
  8. Simmer Slow and Low: Allow the soup to simmer slowly on low heat. This long, slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld and intensify.
  9. Fresh Lemon Zest: Add a touch of fresh lemon zest just before serving. The citrusy brightness can enhance the overall flavor profile of the soup.
  10. Customize Vegetables: Feel free to customize the soup by adding vegetables like carrots, celery, or diced tomatoes for added flavor and nutrition.
  11. Finish with Fresh Herbs: Garnish each bowl with a sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley or chives just before serving. This adds a burst of freshness.
  12. Quality Broth: If using store-bought broth, choose a high-quality, low-sodium option. Alternatively, make your own broth for a richer, more flavorful base.
  13. Serve with Crusty Bread: A side of crusty bread or garlic bread is the perfect accompaniment. It’s great for soaking up the delicious broth.

Remember, these tips are meant to be adjusted based on your preferences. Enjoy creating the perfect White Bean and Ham Hock Soup!

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