Ham and White Bean Chowder

ham and white bean chowder in white bowl with bread

5 from 2 reviews

Ham, white beans, and vegetables are sautéed in butter, then simmered in water to form a broth. Cream added at the end provides a silky richness. This is the perfect use for leftover ham, and is ready in 30 minutes or less!


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 pounds cooked ham
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste (see note 1)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cans cannellini beans (or any type of canned white beans)
  • 1 cup half & half, light cream, or heavy whipping cream (see note 2)


1. Peel the carrots. Chop the carrots, onion, celery and ham into roughly 1/2 inch pieces. (If your ham is already sliced, just cut it up into bite-sized squares.)

2. Heat the butter in a stock pot on medium high heat. Add in the vegetables and ham, plus the kosher salt (see note 1), pepper, and dried thyme. 

3. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the ham and vegetables start to give off some liquid and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. (If you have an electric kettle: half way through the cooking time, start heating 2 cups of water in the kettle.)

4. Add 2 cups of water to the pot, either already boiling (see step 3 above), or very hot from the tap. Add the 2 cans of beans, undrained, to the pot.

5. Turn the heat up to high until the soup begins to boil. (You can cover the pot if you want to speed up the boiling process; uncover the pot again once the soup is boiling.) Turn the heat down to medium or medium low to maintain a simmer.

6. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Turn the heat off and add the half & half or cream, stir to combine. Taste the soup and add more salt and/or pepper if needed.


  1.   The amount of salt needed will vary based on how salty your ham is. If your ham is very salty, add only 1/2 teaspoon of salt to begin with. Then, taste the soup at the end and add in more if needed. If your soup turns out too salty, you can add in a splash more cream.
  2.   Using half & half will yield a lighter soup broth and whipping cream will be rich and super creamy; light cream will be in-between. (I prefer using the light cream!)
  3.   You can store the soup in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 3 days. To reheat the soup, heat it in a saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently, and avoid bringing it to a boil.

Keywords: ham soup, ham and white bean soup, ham chowder, ham and white bean chowder, white bean chowder