Delicious Southern Bean Soup Recipe for Soulful Comfort

Folks, I reckon I got a recipe for you that’ll warm your soul and fill your belly! Now, I ain’t talking ’bout just any recipe. This here is a recipe for southern-style bean soup, and let me tell you, it’s the real deal.

This hearty soup is a staple in the south, passed down from one generation to another on cold winter nights. A blend of navy, pinto, lima, and even 15 bean soup, it’s simmered alongside hocks or ham bone until it’s creamy white and bursting with flavor. Not to mention that smoky aroma that’s sure to make your mouth water.

Now, I could talk about this soup all day long, but the proof is in the pudding. Whether you’re a seasoned expert in southern cooking or a newbie just starting out, let me tell you that this recipe is worth trying out. So grab yourself a pot and let’s get cooking!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Southern Bean Soup
Southern Bean Soup

Folks, if you’re on the hunt for a soup recipe that’ll warm your soul and fill your belly, look no further than this Southern Bean Soup Recipe. With a creamy broth, a medley of beans and ham hocks, and a few secret ingredients, this dish is going to make you fall in love at first spoonful.

First of all, let’s talk about the protein-packed navy beans, pinto beans, and great northern beans that make up the base of this hearty soup. These little legumes are loaded with healthy fiber and will keep you feeling full for hours. But what really kicks this recipe up a notch? A generous helping of leftover ham bone and smoked ham hocks! These savory meats add a rich depth of flavor to the velvety broth that is simply irresistible.

But what we really can’t get enough of is how versatile this recipe is. You can switch up the beans to try out different variations like 15-bean or lima beans. And if you don’t have any leftover ham on hand, no need to fret – you can easily use bacon or sausage instead. Plus, topping it off with a hard-boiled egg and lemon slice makes for an added layer of flavor.

It’s true that this soup takes some time to put together – about 8 hours to cook the beans down perfectly. But trust me when I say that good things come to those who wait. When it’s finally ready, prepare yourself for the ultimate comfort food experience.

So go ahead and give this recipe a try! Whether you’re cozying up on the couch or hosting a family dinner party, The Southern Bean Soup will be sure to impress.

Ingredient List

 A steaming bowl of Southern comfort awaits!
A steaming bowl of Southern comfort awaits!

Get Ready to Gather Up Your Ingredients!

Before we get started with cooking, let’s head to the pantry and make sure we have everything we need. Here’s what you’ll want to gather up:

Navy Beans (1 lb)

Dried navy beans are the perfect start to making a flavorful bean soup. If you can’t find navy beans at your local grocery store, great northern or white beans can be substituted.

Ham Hocks or Leftover Ham (1-2 cups)

The key to achieving that smoky and savory flavor of a southern ham bean soup is using either smoked ham hocks or diced leftover ham.

Onion (1 large)

Onions are an essential ingredient when it comes to enhancing the flavor of soups. Make sure to chop this one up finely.

Celery (2 stalks)

Adding celery gives the soup a nice texture and crunch. You’re going to want to chop them up.

Olive Oil (1 tablespoon)

Using olive oil helps brown the onions and celery, giving the soup an extra boost of flavor.

Flour (1 tablespoon)

Flour is used as a thickener for the soup.

Butter (1 tablespoon)

Adding a bit of butter will give your soup a silky smooth texture.

Chicken Stock or Water (8 cups)

This liquid base will help give depth and richness to your dish. You can use either chicken stock or water depending on your preference.

Bay Leaf (1-2)

Add some flavor by including bay leaves in your soup recipe.

Fresh Thyme (1 small bunch)

Freshly chopped thyme will provide another layer of complexity to the flavor profile of your dish.

Salt & Pepper

Last but not least, you’ll want to add some salt and pepper to taste once you complete cooking.

The Recipe How-To

 One bite of this hearty soup will transport you to the South.
One bite of this hearty soup will transport you to the South.

Let’s start cooking! Now that we have gathered all the necessary ingredients for our Simple Southern Ham Bean Soup, let’s get to it! This recipe is as easy as one, two, three. In this section, I’ll tell you exactly how to make this delicious soup in a few simple steps.

Step 1: Cook the Beans

We are using navy beans and white beans for this soup recipe. First, you need to take 1 cup of dry navy beans and rinse them with water. Then, place them in a large pot or dutch oven and add 8 cups of water along with one bay leaf. Add water to the pot and cover it with a lid. Turn up the heat and bring the pot to a boil. Once it’s boiled, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for an hour or until the beans are tender.

Next, take another 1 cup of dry white beans and rinse them with water. Add them to a pot covered with 8 cups of water along with another bay leaf. Once it’s boiled, reduce the heat but keep it simmering until they are soft.

Step 2: Prepare the Ham

Ham adds flavor to this soup recipe. We’re using leftover ham from last night’s dinner around one pound. You can also use ham hocks if you don’t have any leftover ham.

Chop the leftover ham into small cubes and set aside.

Step 3: Prep the Vegetables

Now we need two main veggies; onion and celery. Chop one large onion into small pieces or use a food processor to rapidly chop it fine. Do the same thing with four celery sticks in case you like their taste. Optional: You can also use one chopped carrot stick to add more color and flavor to the soup!

Heat olive oil in a pan on medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until it’s soft for about 5 minutes. Then, add the celery and cook for another 2 minutes.

Step 4: Combine

Now it’s time to bring everything together! Take the beans from Step 1 and drain out the excess liquid from it. Remove bay leaves. Then, pour everything into the pot including the chopped ham, onions, celery, carrots (if used), and any liquid that is remaining in the pan.

Add two cups of chicken stock and two cups of water. Stir everything together and let it cook over low heat for an hour.

Step 5: Serve

After an hour, your Simple Southern Ham Bean Soup is ready to serve! Ladle into bowls, and garnish with some hard-boiled eggs and a

Substitutions and Variations

 Soups don't just warm your belly, they also warm your soul.
Soups don’t just warm your belly, they also warm your soul.

Folks, sometimes when we cook, we don’t always have every ingredient at hand. That’s why we’ve got to learn how to substitute or vary things up! Let me tell you about some variations and substitutions for my hardy southern-style bean soup recipe.

First off, if you don’t have navy beans or great northern beans, try using lima beans. Or if you’re looking for something heartier, swap out those beans for pinto or black beans.

Now, let’s talk about the meat. If you don’t have any leftover ham or a ham hock readily available, you can use smoked ham instead — it’ll still give that delicious flavor and smoky aroma that we love in traditional southern bean soup.

If you’re hesitant to use ham altogether, try chicken stock instead. Although it won’t be as meaty and rich as the ham-based versions of the soup, it’ll still give the base a great depth of flavor.

How ’bout the veggies? If onions aren’t your thing, try substituting with leeks or shallots for a more delicate flavor. And if celery isn’t your go-to veggie, diced carrots work well too!

Lastly, don’t forget about adding some acid to cut through the richness of the soup. If you don’t have any lemon slices on hand to serve on top of your bowl of soup, add a tablespoon or two of vinegar or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice into the soup while cooking.

No matter how you mix it up folks, I’m sure your version of the classic southern bean soup will turn out just fine!

Serving and Pairing

 This soup is perfect for a family dinner or a cozy night in.
This soup is perfect for a family dinner or a cozy night in.

Well, friend, you’ve made it to the most exciting part – serving and pairing your Southern Bean Soup Recipe. This soup is hearty and filling, perfect for a cozy night in with friends or a lazy Sunday afternoon. There are so many ways to enjoy this delicious dish, so let me share some of my favorite tips.

To serve, ladle the soup into deep bowls and top it off with some hard-boiled egg slices and a lemon slice to add a refreshing twist to this savory recipe. I also recommend pairing this soup with some fresh bread, maybe even homemade cornbread, dusted with flour and butter for that extra southern flavor.

If you’re looking for a bit more variety or want to make this meal a little more filling, you can serve it over white rice or with sweet cornbread muffins. It’s also delicious with a side of collard greens or black-eyed peas.

If you’re serving this to guests, don’t be afraid to add some fancy garnishes like chopped parsley or smoked paprika on top of the soup for an extra touch of flavor and texture. This dish is very versatile and can pair well with any side dish or salad; pick your favorite sides and relish away!

Finally, when enjoying leftovers the next day or two or freezing parts for later, I suggest storing it in an airtight container in your refrigerator or freezer. A glass container would work best but use what you got! In case you’re reheating leftovers from the fridge, warm it slowly over low heat in a saucepan until warmed through.

There you have it – Southern Bean Soup Recipe for all occasions! Don’t hesitate to experiment with flavors and add your twist to make it yours uniquely.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Curl up on the couch with a good book and a bowl of this soup.
Curl up on the couch with a good book and a bowl of this soup.

Once you’ve prepared this delectable Southern Bean Soup Recipe, you may want to store it for later consumption or make extra for the week. This recipe may be made ahead of time, and leftovers are great to have on hand for those days when you don’t feel like cooking.

To store the soup, allow it to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. When reheating from the refrigerator, simply transfer the desired amount of soup to a pot and heat it over medium-low heat until it is hot all the way through. If reheating from frozen, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

One thing to keep in mind when reheating this soup is that as it sits, the liquid will be absorbed by the beans and vegetables, making it thicker than when freshly prepared. If you find your soup has become too thick for your liking, simply add more liquid – chicken stock or water work best – about ¼ cup at a time until you reach your desired consistency.

Whether you make this soup fresh or as a make-ahead meal, be sure to store any leftover hard-boiled eggs and lemon slices separately from the soup to prevent them from becoming mushy. And trust me, you’ll want some leftover hard-boiled eggs to enjoy with this delicious soup.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Make a double batch and freeze it for an easy weeknight meal.
Make a double batch and freeze it for an easy weeknight meal.

Now, don’t y’all worry, I’m here to help you achieve a flawless result with your Southern Bean Soup. Here are some tips that will take your soup from good to great:

1. Soak your beans: Before cooking your soup, it’s a good idea to soak the beans overnight. This will help reduce the cooking time and make them easier to digest.

2. Sauté the onions and celery: In my opinion, sautéing the onion and celery before adding them to the soup is key. This will give them a delicious flavor and aroma that will bring out the best in the beans.

3. Use fresh herbs: Nothing beats using fresh herbs to enhance the flavor of your soup. Try adding some fresh thyme or rosemary to take your soup up a notch.

4. Don’t be shy with salt and pepper: Be sure to season your soup well with salt and pepper. It’s important not to be too heavy-handed but keep tasting as you go so you get it just right.

5. Let it simmer: It’s important to let this soup simmer low and slow for several hours so that all of the flavors can mingle and become fully developed. You’ll know when it’s done when the beans are tender and everything has melded together.

6. Serve with toppings: Once you’re ready to serve, feel free to add toppings for a little extra pizazz! I like to top my bean soup with crispy bacon bits, hard-boiled eggs, or a spritz of lemon juice.

By following these tips, you’ll have a delicious Southern Bean Soup that’s bursting with flavor in no time!

Bottom Line

Now that you have all the information you need to make a delicious Southern bean soup, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get cooking! Whether you’re a fan of classic navy bean soup, smoky ham bean soup, or creamy white bean soup, this recipe has got you covered.

But let me tell you, the real magic of this recipe lies in its versatility. You can swap out any type of beans or meat that you like, and the results will be just as delicious. And if you don’t have any leftover ham on hand, don’t worry – a few slices of bacon or even a smoked turkey leg will do just fine.

So go ahead and give this Southern bean soup recipe a try. I guarantee that it will become a staple in your kitchen, whether you’re whipping up a quick lunch for yourself or feeding a crowd on a chilly day. Just don’t forget to top it with some hard-boiled eggs and a squeeze of lemon juice – trust me, it’s the perfect finishing touch!

In conclusion, this simple yet delicious recipe is the perfect representation of classic Southern cuisine. From the comforting flavors to the hearty ingredients, this soup is sure to win over any crowd. So next time you’re in need of some comfort food, look no further than this Southern bean soup recipe!

Southern Bean Soup

Southern Bean Soup Recipe

Substitute black-eyed peas for a wonderful alternative soup. From the Southern chapter of the United States Regional Cookbook, Culinary Arts Institute of Chicago, 1947. Overnight soaking not included in preparation time.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Appetizer/Side dish
Cuisine Southern American
Calories 113.7 kcal


  • 1 cup dried beans, covered with cold water and soaked overnight
  • 6 cups ham stock or 6 cups ham stock
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 3/4 cup onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon slice
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced (optional)


  • Drain beans; place in stockpot and add ham broth.
  • Add celery and onion;p cook slowly until beans become soft.
  • Strain; press beans through a sieve or mash.
  • If necessary, add more water in order to have five cups of soup.
  • Blend butter, flour, salt and pepper; stir into hot bean broth slowly and simmer until thickened.
  • Serve hot with slices of lemon and hard cooked eggs.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 68gCalories: 113.7kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 1.2gFat: 8.8gSaturated Fat: 5.5gCholesterol: 22.9mgSodium: 97.6mgFiber: 1.1gSugar: 1.8g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Beans, Easy, Free Of..., From Scratch, Inexpensive, Kid-Friendly
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Recommended Recipes Just For You