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Homemade Bean Soup with Ham Bone

bean soupSlow-simmered bean soup

We often had bean soup on Saturday. Dave’s family did, too. Both of us remember our mothers sorting through the dry beans to take out any dirt, gravel, or bad beans. Tonight I made that bean soup for old-time’s sake. I cooked carrots and celery to add to mine for more nutrition, but left Dave’s as it was. I also used Allspice on top of my bowl, because that’s how we ate it. Since Dave never heard of that, he wasn’t interested.

It’s a simple and inexpensive meal, for sure. Save your ham bones from Easter or Christmas or any other occasion and use it to flavor your soup. You can put the bones in the freezer and take them out later when you’re ready to make this soup.

Since we had ham for Easter, I stored the bone in the refrigerator until I was ready to use it today.

bean soupThe how to

Sort and wash your dry beans, then soak them overnight. I used 8 cups water with 20 oz. dried northern beans.

In the morning, drain the water and add your ham bone, a chopped onion, and beans to the kettle with another 8 cups of water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn it down and simmer for  1 1/2 to 2 hours. Work the meat off the bone and let it float with your beans as they cook.

Since the ham has added salt, you might not need to add any salt. It’s your choice. Keep stirring and keep simmering until the beans are done.

bean soupAt this point, you can turn the burner off and let it rest until you are ready to heat it to serve it. As I said, you can add vegetables (carrots and celery) to the mixture if you’d like. I cooked mine separately because I do like to please my husband and I knew changing the way his mama made it would lessen his interest in this soup.

We always sprinkled Allspice on top of the soup once it was dished into our bowls. Dave never heard of that, so of course he was not interested. If you don’t have Allspice in your kitchen, mix equal parts of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. You can, of course, add any other seasonings you’d like. This recipe follows closely the recipes we both remember from our childhood.

The recipe

bean soup

Homemade Bean Soup with Ham Bone

A simmered bean soup that adds warmth and flavor to your day
Prep Time 8 hours
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 10 hours
Servings 8


  • 8 cups water
  • 20 oz. dried northern beans
  • 1 ham bone
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 cup sliced carrots (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sliced celery (optional)
  • Dash Allspice
  • S & P to taste


  • Soak beans overnight in 8 cups water
  • Drain beans, add 8 more cups water
  • Add ham bone
  • Add beans
  • Add chopped onion
  • Bring to a boil, stirring
  • Turn down and simmer for 1.5 - 2 hours
  • Add celery and carrots (optional)
  • Season with Salt and Pepper


bean soup

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