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Easy Instant Pot Ham and Bean Soup

Learn how to make my simple ham and bean soup recipe in the Instant Pot! This easy recipe is perfect for cold days when you want a warm and filling supper! It’s great for using up leftover holiday ham. Plus there’s no soaking required!

Close up shot of a bowl of ham and bean soup on a white countertop with the Instant Pot in the background.

Here’s a great recipe for weeknights when you want something warm and comforting.

This hearty soup was something that we ate quite a bit growing up. 

My mom would soak the beans overnight, then make it on the stove top, so it took quite a while to pull together.

But with the Instant Pot, this comes together in a fraction of the time: about an hour and forty minutes. This makes it totally doable for last-minute supper plans.

Okay, let me show you how to make!

 

 

Here’s a quick video tutorial in case you learn better that way. The written tutorial is below!

All of the ingredients needed to make ham and bean soup in the Instant Pot laid out on a white countertop with a subway tile backsplash in the background.

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Ingredients:

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this yummy soup:

  • 2 Tablespoons Avocado Oil: You can definitely use olive oil, coconut oil, or even butter here if you prefer/that’s what you have on hand. 
  • 2 Carrots: I typically use full sized carrots, but I have also used baby carrots. Obviously you’ll need a lot more than 2 if you use baby carrots!
  • 2 Stalks Celery
  • 1 Onion: I use yellow onions, but you could use a red onion or sweet onion for a more mellow flavor.
  • 2 Cloves Garlic: This will lightly kiss the ham soup with garlic flavor. Feel free to add more if you want a stronger flavor!
  • 7 Cups of Water or Broth: I personally like to use chicken broth or chicken stock to make this soup, but you can definitely just use water! Vegetable broth would also be a great option.
  • 1 Pound Dry Beans: See below for a discussion on different types of beans to use!
  • 4 Cups Ham or 1 Ham Bone: You can really use whatever you have on hand/need to use up in this recipe. A smoked ham hock or similar cut will of course impart a more smoky flavor. If you have a bunch of leftover ham from Christmas, Easter, or a roast dinner, you can chop it up and put it in freezer safe containers in 4 cup portions. Then it’ll be ready to use in this soup!
  • 1 Bay Leaf: This is optional, but it will add an extra layer of flavor. If your bay leaves are really old, it may be time to head to the grocery store to buy fresh ones! And then  you can store them in the freezer to keep them fresh longer.
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper: You can increase this amount if you like a stronger pepper flavor. My kids are sensitive to pepper, so I keep it to 1/2 teaspoon.
  • Salt: The reason I’m leaving the salt amount to taste in this recipe is because there are ingredients that can vary in saltiness. For example, the chicken broth you use might be pre-salted, or your ham might be very salty. So use your judgement, and remember that you can always add more, but you can’t very well add less!

Different types of dried beans that can be cooked in the Instant Pot laid out on a white countertop with text labels.

Types of Beans:

Now there are several types of beans that will work in this recipe. I have personally tried it with navy beans, pinto beans, and Great Northern beans.

I’m sure that black beans, Cannellini beans, and kidney beans would also work, but just note that I haven’t personally tried those.

My favorite was probably either the Navy beans or the Great Northern beans. My mom would use white beans growing up, so that’s what I’m used to.

I liked the smaller size of the Navy beans, but the Great Northern beans reminded me the most of my childhood.

Cooking Time of Beans in Instant Pot:

Here are the cooking times recommended in the official Instant Pot booklet. These are for unsoaked beans:

  • Navy Beans: 25-30 Minutes
  • Pinto Beans: 25-30 minutes
  • Great Northern Beans: 25-30 minutes
  • Black Beans: 20-25 minutes
  • Cannellini Beans: 35-40 minutes
  • Kidney Beans: 35-40 minutes

Cooking Time of Soup for Different Beans:

⚠HOWEVER! Since you have other ingredients in the Instant Pot, it will actually take a bit longer to cook the beans. I recommend adding 10-15 minutes onto the longest time. 

So for navy beans, I would recommend cooking them for 40-45 minutes on high pressure for this soup.

For cannellini beans, that would be 50-55 minutes.

And for black beans, it would be 35-40 minutes. 

However, I found that 40 minutes was enough time for the pinto and navy beans, but the Great Northern beans actually needed a little more time.

If you prefer yours beans just done, you could opt for the shorter time. But if you like really tender beans, opt for the longer time.

And you can also taste them and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes if they aren’t quite done!

Please note that the only electric pressure cooker I have experience with is the Instant Pot. If you own a different brand, please refer to the owner’s manual for how long to cook beans!

A ham bone on a white plate on a white countertop.

Now as I mentioned above, you can use a leftover ham bone in place of the chopped ham. This is how my mom made this soup growing up!

It’s a great frugal, low-waste option. Plus it will impart some great flavor to the broth!

Carrots, celery, and onion on a wooden cutting board all chopped up with a chef's knife in the background.

How to Make Instant Pot Ham and Bean Soup:

Okay, now that you’ve selected the type of bean you want to use, let’s get to making this soup!

Start by prepping all of the veggies:

Peel and chop the carrots. Thinly slice the celery. Dice the onion. Mince the Garlic.

The first 4 steps for making ham and bean soup in the Instant Pot.

Cooking the Vegetables:

Next, set the Instant Pot to the sauté function. Let it heat up for a minute or two, then add avocado oil to cover the bottom of the pot.

Then add the carrots, onion, and celery. Give it a good stir and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Finally, add the minced garlic and cook for 1 more minute.

Now you can skip the sautéing step and just throw everything in the Instant Pot if you’re pressed for time!

Washing beans at the sink in a colander.

Meanwhile, give the beans a good rinse.

You’re looking for any pebbles or sticks. If you see any, definitely remove them!

Adding the chicken broth, ham, beans, salt and pepper, and bay leaf to the Instant Pot.

After the vegetables are done cooking, add the chicken broth or water, ham or ham bones, beans, salt and pepper, and bay leaf.

Please note that the Instant Pot booklet doesn’t recommend that you fill the inner pot more than halfway to allow for expansion. 

So if your pot is smaller than mine, you may need to half the recipe. I own the 6 Quart Duo (available on Amazon), so keep that in mind when planning your soup cooking.

Setting the Instant Pot to sealing before cooking the soup.

Pressure Cooking:

Then place the lid on the Instant Pot in the locked position. Next, set the steam release switch to sealing, not venting.

Setting the Instant Pot to manual, 40 minutes.

Finally, turn the Instant Pot to manual, high pressure, for 40 minutes. 

Remember that the 40 minute cook time is a starting point – make sure to adjust if you’re using larger beans!

The Instant Pot set to venting with the float valve down.

After the cooking time is complete, let the Instant Pot slow release (AKA natural release) the pressure for 15 minutes. Then switch it to venting to quick release the pressure.

Make sure to stand back and don’t lean over the Instant Pot while you’re doing this! Hot steam will start to quickly release from the Instant Pot, and you could burn yourself if any part of your body comes in contact with the steam. 

You’ll know when the Instant Pot is depressurized when the steam stops releasing and the float valve goes down.

Removing the bay leaf from the ham and bean soup before serving.

Now carefully remove the lid (watch out for steam!). Fish out the bay leaf and remove before serving.

Bay leaves are not meant to be consumed!

Picking the ham off of the leftover ham bone to add back to the bean soup.

If you opted to use a ham bone instead of the chopped ham, you’ll need to pick the ham off of the bone. 

Then you can quickly chop it into bite sized pieces on a cutting board, and add it back into the pot.

Scooping up a ladle of ham and bean soup from the Instant Pot.

Taste the ham and bean soup and adjust the seasonings as needed.

If the beans are a bit al dente, you can put them on to cook for an additional 5-10 minutes. 

Two bowls of ham and bean soup on a white counter with napkins and spoons to the side with the Instant Pot in the background.

Serving:

You can definitely serve the soup as-is, or with some extra ground pepper and fresh herbs on top.

Adding sour cream, bacon, cheese, and green onions to the ham and bean soup.

Another way to serve this is with a dollop of sour cream, crispy bacon pieces, shredded cheddar cheese, and sliced green onions.

That’s a bowl of comfort food right there!

This is a great way to add more protein if you opted for the ham bone instead of chopped ham.

A bowl of ham and bean soup on a plate with cornbread off to the side and the Instant Pot in the background.

To make this a complete meal, I like to make up a batch of cornbread to serve alongside the soup. My mom would almost always serve this with cornbread, so it feels incomplete without it to me!

You could also opt for muffins, Focaccia, French bread, etc. 

Variations:

If you want more of a Southwest flavor, you could leave out the bay leaf and add 2 teaspoons of chili powder (more to taste!).

Close up shot of the ham and bean soup with added sour cream, bacon, cheese, and green onions with cornbread off to the side.

So that’s how to make some delicious pressure cooker ham and bean soup! Make sure to check out my other recipes below:

And if you make this recipe and enjoy, please consider coming back and giving it a star rating. It really helps the blog out!

More Soup Recipes:

More Instant Pot Recipes:

Printable Recipe Card:

Yield: 6-8 Servings

Ham and Bean Soup Instant Pot Recipe

Close up shot of a bowl of ham and bean soup on a white countertop with the Instant Pot in the background.

An easy, hearty, and simple soup featuring beans and ham, cooked in the Instant Pot!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Slow Release 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Avocado Oil (or olive oil, coconut oil, butter, etc.)
  • 2 Carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Stalks Celery, sliced
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 7 Cups of Water or Broth
  • 1 Pound Dry Beans (see note for recommendations)
  • 4 Cups Chopped Ham (or 1 meaty ham bone)
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • ½ Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Set the Instant Pot to the saute function. Let it heat up for a minute or two, then add the oil. Add the carrots, celery, and onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
  2. Meanwhile, as the veggies are cooking, wash the beans. Remove any sticks or stones.
  3. Add the water or broth to the cooked vegetables. Then add the washed beans, ham, bay leaf, pepper, and salt to taste. Give it all a quick stir. Make sure it doesn't go about halfway up the inner pot!
  4. Place the lid in the locked position. Set the release switch to sealing. Set the Instant Pot to manual mode, high pressure, for 40-55 minutes (see post above for cooking times for different beans).
  5. After the pressure cooking time is complete, allow the Instant Pot to natural release for 15 minutes. Then switch it to venting and wait for the Instant Pot to completely depressurize.
  6. Open the lid, remove the bay leaf, and taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
  7. If using a ham bone, remove from soup and pick off any meat. Chop it up and add it back to the soup.
  8. See notes for serving recommendations.

Notes

  • I have used navy beans, Great Northern beans, and pinto beans to make this soup.
  • You can serve the soup as-is, or add a dollop of sour cream, some crispy bacon, cheddar cheese, and sliced green onions.
  • If you're pressed for time, you can skip the sautéing step and just throw everything in the Instant Pot and cook it!

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 216Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 1099mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 15g

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