This Ham and Lentil Soup recipe is perfect for chilly weather and cooks up in about an hour; all you need is a loaf of French bread for a cozy winter’s feast. Put your leftover ham to work and make it on the stove, in a pressure cooker, or in your crockpot!

This Ham and Lentil Soup recipe is perfect for chilly weather and cooks up in about an hour; all you need is a loaf of French bread for a cozy winter’s feast. Put your leftover ham to work and make it on the stove, in a pressure cooker, or in your crockpot!

Where can I find a ham bone?

If you don’t have a leftover ham bone from the holidays, go to your butcher and ask for a smoked ham hock or a ham shank.

A ham hock may be a little less meaty, but it will work just fine and still give the soup incredible flavor.

Technically, the hock is the end of a smoked ham where the foot was attached to the hog’s leg.

You could also ask for a ham shank. The shank is from a lower portion of the leg, therefore it’s meatier than the hock.

What kind of lentils for hambone soup?

I recommend any variety of whole lentil for this recipe. Look for a green or brown lentil for making ham and lentil soup.

Red and yellow split lentils will break down into mush, and won’t add any texture to the soup.

The lowly lentil is a pantry staple and a real star on the health front; knowing how to cook lentils will make your soups, salads, and side dishes all the more healthy and delicious. And they cook in just 20 minutes!

How do you cook lentils?

Compared to other dried legumes, lentils are easy to prepare. There is no need to presoak lentils, and they take much less time to cook than chickpeas or beans.

I’ve written about how to cook lentils, if you care to explore this easygoing member of the pulse family; I love adding cooked lentils to almost everything!

For making hambone and lentil soup, cooking lentils is just a matter of adding the rinsed lentils to the cooking liquid and simmering until they’re tender. Pre-rinsing is super important, to remove any dust or grit, and to get rid of any pebbles that may have snuck in with the lentils.

The lowly lentil is a pantry staple and a real star on the health front; knowing how to cook lentils will make your soups, salads, and side dishes all the more healthy and delicious. And they cook in just 20 minutes!

All the ways to make Ham and Lentil Soup:

On the stovetop, in the crockpot, or in a modern pressure cooker, I’ve got you covered! Keep reading.

How to make Ham and Lentil Soup in a Dutch oven on the stove:

  1. Heat olive oil in the Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  2. Next, sauté carrots, celery, and onion until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the broth, water, lentils, ham bone, spices, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil then simmer for 45 minutes, until lentils and ham are tender.
  4. When the lentils are cooked, remove the hambone and the bay leaf. Cut the extra ham off of the bone, chop it up, and return it to the pot along with any additional ham you might be using.
  5. Finally, season the soup to your taste with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley, if desired.

This Ham and Lentil Soup recipe is perfect for chilly weather and cooks up in about an hour; all you need is a loaf of French bread for a cozy winter’s feast. Put your leftover ham to work and make it on the stove, in a pressure cooker, or in your crockpot!

How to make Ham and Lentil Soup in a slow cooker:

  1. Heat olive oil in a pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  2. Next, sauté carrots, celery, and onion until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in broth, water, lentils, ham bone, spices, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil.
  4. Pour into slow cooker and cook on HIGH setting for 3 to 4 hours, or LOW for 6 to 8 hours.
  5. When the lentils are cooked, remove the hambone and the bay leaf. Cut the extra ham off of the bone, chop it up, and return it to the pot along with any additional ham you might be using.
  6. Finally, season the soup to your taste with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley, if desired.

This Ham and Lentil Soup recipe is perfect for chilly weather and cooks up in about an hour; all you need is a loaf of French bread for a cozy winter’s feast. Put your leftover ham to work and make it on the stove, in a pressure cooker, or in your crockpot!

How to make Ham and Lentil Soup in an Instant Pot:

  1. Using the sauté function on your Instant Pot, heat olive oil until shimmering. Sauté carrots, celery, and onion until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Next, stir in broth, water, lentils, ham bone, spices, and bay leaf.
  3. Secure the lid, close the pressure valve, and cook at high pressure for 35 minutes.
  4. Allow the pressure to release naturally. Remove ham bone and bay leaf. Chop ham from bone and return to Instant Pot, along with any extra ham you might be using.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley if desired.

This Ham and Lentil Soup recipe is perfect for chilly weather and cooks up in about an hour; all you need is a loaf of French bread for a cozy winter’s feast. Put your leftover ham to work and make it on the stove, in a pressure cooker, or in your crockpot!

Can you freeze Ham and Lentil Soup?

Since the leftovers are even better the next day, make a big double batch or make the soup a day in advance. And yes, you can freeze the lentil soup in portions for another meal when time is short.

This Ham and Lentil Soup recipe is perfect for chilly weather and cooks up in about an hour; all you need is a loaf of French bread for a cozy winter’s feast. Put your leftover ham to work and make it on the stove, in a pressure cooker, or in your crockpot!

Ham and lentil soup in a white bowl.

Ham and Lentil Soup

This Ham and Lentil Soup recipe is perfect for chilly weather and cooks up in about an hour; all you need is a loaf of French bread for a cozy winter’s feast. Put your leftover ham to work and make it on the stove, in a pressure cooker, or in your crockpot!
5 from 17 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 25 mins
Servings 8 servings
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Calories 242

Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup carrots sliced (2-3 carrots)
  • 1 cup celery sliced (2-3 ribs)
  • 1 large onion chopped (2 cups)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 pound dried lentils picked over, rinsed, stones discarded
  • 1 meaty ham bone or ham hock
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • additional cooked ham chopped (optional)
  • Fresh parsley minced, for garnish (optional)

Instructions 

To make on the stove:

  • In a 3-quart saucepan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Sauté carrots, celery, and onion until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in broth, water, lentils, ham bone, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Simmer until lentils are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Remove ham bone and bay leaf. Chop ham from bone and return to pot. Add additional leftover ham, if using, and cover until heated through, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley if desired.

To make in a slow cooker:

  • In a 3-quart pan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Sauté carrots, celery, and onion until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in broth, water, lentils, ham bone, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Pour into slow cooker. Heat on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours, LOW for 6 to 8 hours, or until lentils are tender.
  • Remove ham bone and bay leaf. Chop ham from bone and return to slow cooker. Add additional leftover ham, if using, and cover until heated through, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley if desired.

To make in an Instant Pot:

  • Press the Sauté button on your Instant Pot and heat olive oil until shimmering. Sauté carrots, celery, and onion until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in broth, water, lentils, ham bone, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, thyme, and bay leaf. Secure the lid, close the pressure valve, and cook at high pressure for 35 minutes.
  • Allow the pressure to release naturally. Remove ham bone and bay leaf. Chop ham from bone and return to Instant Pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley if desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 242kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 16gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 462mgPotassium: 766mgFiber: 18gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 2875IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 62mgIron: 5mg
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Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Comments

  1. This soup was so satisfying and delightfully flavored. I doubled the vegetables and added a chopped fennel bulb because fennel makes the flavor of lentils sing. Also used oregano because I didn’t have thyme. Results were delicious. Thank you for posting.

  2. Wonderful winter soup! I had leftover fresh spinach so I threw that in during the middle of cooking-added a nice little something extra! Recommend this recipe highly!5 stars

  3. This turned out great. The right amount of seasoning, and the flavor of that hambone was wonderful. Thank you for an easy to follow recipe with stuff I have.
    Chuck5 stars

  4. This is an excellent recipe. It is so very easy, quick, and delicious. I followed the recipe as written and will continue in the same manner each time I make it in the future, which will be often!! I will continue to watch for your recipes! Thank You, Ellen

  5. Love, love, love this!!!
    We found this recipe in the spring, so I only made it twice in three weeks, but we love it so much that come fall and winter, this will be made often!!!
    A few slight, ever so slight, variations – an extra cup of water and make sure to keep it covered while it summers; simmered for only half an hour so the lentils did not get mushy; I could only get a smoked ham hock, which was great; I got a ham steak and added ham to it after it was done.
    I cannot tell you enough how much we live this recipe! Yummmmmmmm…5 stars

  6. Made the soup following the stove top instructions and without substitutions except I didn’t have a ham bone but instead had about 3 cups of spiral ham left after the holiday. I used green French lentils and they kept their definition yet melted in the mouth. This is my new go-to recipe for left over ham.5 stars