Make ham and beans in your instant pot for a satisfying meal. It’s a great way to use leftover ham and there’s no need to soak the beans!
It is ham and bean soup season! This great pressure cooker recipe allows you to make it much more quickly than ever before.
You can have dinner ready in under two hours with no overnight soak. So get the cornbread ready!
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A Perfect Use for Leftover Ham
Do you only have ham on holidays? That is definitely not our style.
I remember a friend being shocked when he at down at our dinner table one random Tuesday night and a spiral ham was waiting. We do enjoy a good ham, but it’s really about the leftovers!
There are so many great things you can make with what’s left after the first meal. If nothing else it elevates your sandwich game. Lunch meat has nothing on an actual slice of delicious ham!
But the meat isn’t the only valuable part of the ham, the bone just begs to be made into ham and bean soup!
Usually I make my ham and beans in the slow cooker. It is a great recipe because it’s a long slow cook, perfect for a workday. But I usually pre-soak the beans so it takes just a smidge of planning.
I recently upgraded my pressure cooker game and added a 6 quart instant pot to the mix. So I couldn’t wait to adapt my ham and beans recipe to a quicker instant pot version.
It worked beautifully! I started with dry beans, some simple seasonings and a ham hock. No planning needed!
I like to add fresh ham towards the end because I prefer the texture and flavor that way. So after an hour of cooking, I removed the bone and bay leaf and added cubed ham.
What are your favorite ways to use leftover ham? How about favorite instant pot recipes? I plan to give ours a workout this year!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the cook time so long?
You may notice that I am telling you to cook the beans for longer than the instant pot guides suggest for beans. The extra cook time makes the beans buttery soft which is how we like them in this soup.
Some of them will even disintegrate a bit and thicken the broth, which again is just how we like it. Feel free to shorten the cook time a bit if you like your beans to have a little chew left.
In order to make up for the extended cook time, I cook the beans with the ham bone for flavor but reserve the meat to be added in later. That way the meat isn’t overcooked but the beans are flavorful and delicious.
I haven’t tried it yet, but I’d imagine you could shave off some cook time if you did soak your beans first. You could soak them while you work and cook dinner quickly when you get home!
How do you thicken ham and beans?
This recipe usually makes nice thick ham and beans because of the longer cook time. If your broth is thinner than you’d like, just mash a few of the beans.
The starch from the beans will help make the broth thick and creamier! Also, the soup will thicken as it cools a bit and leftovers will be thicker as well.
What if my soup is too thick?
If you open your pressure cooker and the soup is thicker than you’d like, just stir in a little water or chicken stock until you reach your desired consistency.
Can I add carrots or celery to my soup?
Of course! We like our ham and bean soup to really focus on the ham and beans, but feel free to add carrots and celery to the mix if you want. Just toss them in your pressure cooker along with the beans and ham bone and let it do its thing.
You can also add additional herbs and spices if you desire. Some people add a pinch of cloves, a sprinkling of red pepper flakes or a little bit of thyme to the broth.
Can I use different beans in my ham and bean soup?
Sure! If you want to use pinto beans, another kind of white bean or even a 15 bean soup mix of beans feel free. The basic cooking directions won’t change.
Can I make ham and bean soup without a ham bone?
Yes! It is possible to make perfectly delicious soup without the bone.
While the bone adds richness and depth to the broth, it is not absolutely necessary. You can buy cubed ham or dice a couple of ham steaks if you would like.
I would use a rich chicken broth in place of the water if forgoing the bone though. That will help to bring that depth of flavor.
We love this soup as written. It is simple and really allows the ham and beans to shine.
However, you can easily add in more vegetables if you would like. Feel free to toss in some celery and carrots with the onion.
You could also stir in a can of chopped tomatoes if desired to give a 15 bean soup feel. Just wait until the beans are cooked before you stir it in.
Adding acid before the beans are cooked may prevent them from softening. So just be aware of that.
More favorite leftover ham recipes:
Cheesy Ham and Broccoli Noodle Casserole is a twist on one of our favorite dinners. It is loaded with pasta, broccoli and cheese goodness
Cheesy Ham and Asparagus Frittata is a fabulous brunch or breakfast for dinner option. Sub in broccoli if asparagus isn’t in season.
Or check out this collection of leftover ham recipes.
Storing your ham and bean soup
Store leftover soup in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to a week. Ham and bean soup also freezes really well.
For easy lunches later, freeze it in single serve sizes. Defrost the soup overnight and then warm up when you are ready to eat it!
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Ham and Beans in the Instant Pot
- 2 pounds dry great northern beans
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 meaty ham bone
- 8 cups water
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1½ cups ham in about half inch cubes
- Place onion, beans, ham bone and seasonings in instant pot. Cover with water.2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1½ teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1 bay leaf, 1 meaty ham bone, 8 cups water, 1 large onion, 2 pounds dry great northern beans
- Cook on high pressure for 1 hour, then quick release the pressure.
- Remove bone and bay leaf.
- Stir in chopped ham and pressure cook for another 5 minutes. Quick release the steam again.1½ cups ham
- Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Serve with cornbread or beer bread if desired.