White Bean Soup with Ham and Rosemary

White Bean Soup with Ham and Rosemary is perfect for dinner when you get one of those cold spring days, and this tasty soup is low-glycemic, gluten-free, dairy-free, and South Beach Diet friendly. Use the Recipes-by-Diet-Type Index to find more recipes like this one.

White Bean Soup with Ham and Rosemary found on KalynsKitchen.com

No matter how much we long for warm weather, Utah always gets some cold snowy days in April (and sometimes even in May.)  When that happens I make something like this White Bean Soup with Ham and Rosemary,  wondering it if will be the last pot of soup before summer changes the menu to salads and grilled foods.

Last weekend when I woke up to snow on the ground I decided it was a good day to update this favorite soup recipe from 2005! I don’t even dare to say out loud that I hope this is the last snow for this spring, but the soup did taste great on a cold spring day.

When I make bean soup I like to use chicken stock instead of water for extra flavor, and I always use homemade chicken stock if I have some in the freezer.  If not I might add a tablespoon of Better Than Bouillon Organic Low Sodium Chicken Base to water.  When I’m using ham with a rind, I simmer the rind in the soup for part of the cooking time. If you want more ham flavor, I like Goya Ham Flavor Concentrate if you can find it (shown below in the step-by-step photos.)  I know some purists would never use these types of product in soup, but I like the extra something they add. 

White Bean Soup with Ham and Rosemary found on KalynsKitchen.com

Soak beans for at least 8 hours or overnight in cold water, then drain and rinse.

White Bean Soup with Ham and Rosemary found on KalynsKitchen.com
Put the soaked beans, 2 quarts water or chicken stock, and dried thyme into a large soup pot and start to simmer.

While the soup is simmering, dice the ham.  (I like small pieces for meat and vegetables in soup, but you can make them bigger if you prefer.)  If your ham has a rind, add it to the simmering soup.

White Bean Soup with Ham and Rosemary found on KalynsKitchen.com

Also finely dice the carrots, celery, and onion.

White Bean Soup with Ham and Rosemary found on KalynsKitchen.com

Add the diced ham, carrots, celery, and onions to the soup and simmer at least 30 minutes more.  (Those dark pieces in the photo are the ham rind.)

White Bean Soup with Ham and Rosemary found on KalynsKitchen.com
After soup has cooked for one hour taste for seasoning, adding some ham flavor concentrate or Better Than Bouillon Organic Low Sodium Chicken Base if you want more flavor. 

White Bean Soup with Ham and Rosemary found on KalynsKitchen.com
Add finely chopped fresh parsley and fresh rosemary to the soup, along with a couple of cups of water if needed.  I had some rosemary that had survived in my garden, but you could use dried rosemary if you grind it in a mortar and pestle.

White Bean Soup with Ham and Rosemary found on KalynsKitchen.com
Continue simmering until the soup is flavorful and the beans are well-softened.  (This can take more than an hour if you’re using old beans that have been sitting in the pantry.  If it does, you may need to add more water again a few times.)  When beans are soft, remove ham rinds (if using), season soup with fresh ground black pepper,  and serve hot.

White Bean Soup with Ham and Rosemary found on KalynsKitchen.com

White Bean Soup with Ham and Rosemary
(Makes about 8 servings, recipe created by Kalyn.)

2 cups dry white beans (soaked 8 hours or overnight, then drained)
2 quarts chicken stock (or 2 quarts water with 2 T chicken stock base.  I like Better Than Bouillon Organic Low Sodium Chicken Base.)
1 tsp. dried thyme
1-2 cups finely chopped celery
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 cups finely chopped ham
1 envelope Goya brand ham flavor base (optional)
about 2 additional cups water
1-2 T finely chopped fresh rosemary (or less if you’re not that crazy about the flavor of rosemary.  You could use dried rosemary if you grind it.)
2-3 T finely chopped fresh parsley (or use 1 T dried parsley)
fresh ground black pepper to taste


Soak beans 8 hours or longer in cold water, drain and rinse well. Put beans, 2 quarts of stock or water/chicken base, and thyme in large soup kettle. Simmer 30 minutes.

While soup simmers, chop veggies and ham so that pieces are about 1/4 inch square.  (If you’re using ham with a rind, cut it off and add to the simmering soup.)  Add celery, carrot, onion, and ham to soup pot and simmer 30 minutes more.

Taste soup for seasoning. Add up to 2 cups more water, ham bouillon if needed, rosemary and parsley to soup pot. Simmer one hour on very low heat or until beans are nicely softened and soup is flavorful.  (If you’re using old beans from the pantry the cooking time will be longer, and you may need to add more water more than once.)

When the beans are softened, remove ham rind (if using), season soup to taste with fresh ground black pepper and serve hot.  This freezes well, so you may want to make a double batch and put some into individual containers to take to work for lunch.

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:

Soup that mainly beans won’t work for most low-carb diet plans, but this soup is low-glycemic and would be a great choice for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet. If you want to make it for phase one, leave out the carrots and remember that dried beans should be eaten in small amounts for phase one (recommended serving size is 1/3 to 1/2 cup, so have a small bowl of soup with a nice green salad on the side for phase one.)

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.
Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, you can sign up for a free membership with Yummly and use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information. Another option is entering the recipe into this Recipe Nutrition Analyzer, which will calculate it for you.

More Tasty Ideas with White Beans:
Pressure Cooker Vegetable Soup with Giant White Beans, Ham, and Bay Leaves from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Greek Hummus with White Beans and Feta from The Perfect Pantry

White Bean Salad with Tuna and Parsley from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Cassoulet with White Beans, Sausage, and Turkey from Healthy. Delicious.

Crockpot Recipe for Sausage, Peppers, and Cannellini Bean Stew with Parmesan from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Chicken Sausages with White Beans from In Good Tast

Italian Sausage and Bean Soup with Chard from Kalyn’s Kitchen

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33 comments on “White Bean Soup with Ham and Rosemary”

  1. LOVE the white beans, nearly favorite bean. So yummy, so creamy and tender full of flavor. I’ve usually headed towards the ham shank, big fan of the shank.
    Whaddya mean towards the end of your rosemary? Do it freeze? Or was it just small to begin with? Mine grows like a weed and there’s no way I could kill it. I cut off large branches to feed little amounts to my smoker.
    Sing Yay for BEANS !!!

  2. Yay for BEANS!!! Couldn’t agree more.
    Kalyn, that soup reminds me of my mom’s Navy bean soup (which, when she made it, was so salty I needed a second glass of milk).
    But I got the ham. (In the fridge, Biggles.) And it’s got loads of flavor, so I wouldn’t be needing the Goya stuff (which I’ve never heard of, but…).
    Yeah, and what’s with your rosemary giving out?! (Biggles, of course you use rosemary sticks for skewers? And sprigs of it for applying the basting sauces?)
    Uh-oh. Monster word verification coming up.

  3. I am so sad to tell those of you who live in more temperate parts of the country, that yes, my rosemary does freeze. In fact many years they have not even survived the winter and I have had to plant new ones in the spring, but last winter was mild so the plant is much bigger. Maybe it will make it again this year. Hope so. But it’s close to freezing at night and the rosemary will soon be covered with snow. Sob.

  4. That’s what I figgered. My grandparents have to bring all their goodies inside during the winter. What to do, what to do.


  5. I thought this was the perfect “After Christmas Leftover Ham” recipe. I made it today. YUM.

  6. This is a luscious and QUICK (if one uses cannellini beans in the can instead of dried beans!) filling meal in itself. The only nit I would pose is that the carrots boot it out of Phase 1. Still delish!

  7. Anonymous, you are so right! Thanks for catching that; I'm adding a note right now to the recipe and all the index mentions to leave out the carrots for phase one.

  8. White bean soup is so tasty especially if it also has meat and herbs. I like brothy soups like this one better than creamy ones. Sounds delicious.

  9. Nisrine, I'm also not a big fan of creamy soups, but I love bean soups (especially when the beans start to break down just a little and thicken the soup!)

  10. The soup looks delicious – I especially like the rosemary addition. Those diced veggies look perfect – I believe you may have used that cutting board :-).

  11. This recipe says comfort in a bowl to me, Kalyn! I make my own chicken stock most of the time, but also love having the Better than Bouillon products on hand. When I want extra ham flavoring, I use their ham base. It works great. Glad you are bringing back these old recipes for folks like me who haven't been reading your blog as long!


  12. I think that, as much as anything, I love comparing the old photos to the new. Soup is especially hard to photograph, but the new photos really give me a sense of how beautiful this soup would look on the dining table.

  13. Big Dude, hmmm. Maybe I'm enough of a cutting perfectionist that I don't need the cutting board!

    Shirley, thanks. So glad you're enjoying seeing some of the earlier recipes.

    Lydia, I'm really glad I decided it would be fun to keep the old photos (gruesome as some of them are!)

  14. Kalyn,
    I've got white bean and brat soup on my list for the next day or so.

  15. Kevin, that sounds like a great combination!

  16. Deja Vu. I just made the soup yesterdy, but added 2 kale leaves, thyme and diced an aging tomato on the counter, but no rosemary. Rosemary would have been good. Next time.

    Bonus- I have two ham bones in the freezer, so next time I can skip the boullion.

    We've had some horribly wet and cold weather here. That soup looks extra delicious.

  17. Kalyn, this hearty and delicious-looking soup would be happily accepted in our house today as it is raining and only 3c (25f)! Brrrrr!

  18. Hi CJ and Heather,
    I guess it's comforting to know I'm not the only one dealing with the cold spring days. It's a perfect day for soup here again today.

  19. This soup looks so warm and comforting. I think I will soak some white beans tonight and make a soup tomorrow.

  20. Divine – what a wonderful, comforting, hearty soup! I adore beans in my soup – in my opinion they're much tastier and provide more texture than pasta, and are generally also better for you too (providing more nutrients etc). I've never seen ham concentrate here in Australia, but good to know that chicken stock can be substituted 🙂

  21. Tami, it definitely helped warm me up when the weather wasn't doing it.

    Ellie, I agree about the love for beans in soup. Probably my favorite soup ingredient.

  22. I need to go through my recipes and update big time. This one def looks like a keeper! Love this classic dish, thanks for the recipe.

  23. Healthy Mamma, updating old recipes has turned into a full-time job for me. (Most of my photos were pretty gruesome for the first 3 years!) But it's worth the time for a favorite recipe like this one.

  24. Yum Yum Yum, that is all.
    I can't believe I JUST found your blog!
    excited to explore it!

  25. Sweeney, thanks. Hope you have fun looking around!

  26. My Mom makes soup like this and I love it, rosemary and white beans are an amazing combination.

  27. Meg, lucky you. My mom never used rosemary in anything.

  28. My grandmother used to make something similar, except that she was using only white beans and big pieces of bacon. This new recipe sounds even better. I can't wait to taste it.

  29. Thanks Sarah; hope you enjoy it!

  30. Hey Kaylan! Fabulous recipe. I made it tonight with a few minor adjustments for our family along with some homemade cornbread. My kids loved it and any soup recipe my husband enjoys is a keeper for sure!!

  31. Nisha, so glad you enjoyed it!

  32. Just wondering how the cooking time would change if you bought a can of white beans, rather than using dried white beans. Have you tried cooking this recipe using a can of white beans before?

  33. You could make this with canned beans, but you'd need about 4 cans of beans to equal the amount of beans used in the recipe. I do think beans that are cooked with the seasonings and ham will be more flavorful than white beans. Also dried beans are much more economical.

    I can't say for sure how long you'd need to cook it with canned beans since I haven't done it that way, but probably at least about 45 minutes.

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