Cheesy Ham and Potato Soup

Learn how to make this Cheesy Ham and Potato Soup on the Stove Top, Crock Pot, or the Instant Pot! It’s thick and creamy, easy and cheesy! A great recipe idea for leftover ham.

Be sure to try my Ham Casserole with Broccoli and Rice recipe next, it’s one of my favorites!

A ladle lifting up cheesy ham and potato soup from a pot.

Ingredients

Unsalted Butter- I love Cabot.

Olive Oil

Yellow Onion

Celery

Garlic– Buy it fresh and mince it at home for best flavor.

Ham

Russet Potatoes– Red potatoes may also be used

All-Purpose Flour

Low Sodium Chicken Broth

Corn- Frozen or canned

Half and Half– Whole milk may be used but I prefer to mitigate the risk of curdling by using dairy with a higher fat content.

Cheddar Cheese– You can also incorporate Gruyere for superb flavor.

Cornstarch– Optional, for thicker soup.

Onion Powder– (Yes, even though we’re using onions. Trust me on this one.)

Ground Sage– Compliments the flavor of the ham well.

Thyme

Bay Leaf

Optional Garnishes: Bacon crumbles, Diced Green Onions, and Freshly Chopped Parsley.

Optional ingredient additions include carrots, mushrooms, and green beans.

A dutch oven with diced onions and celery with ham and potatoes added. A dutch oven with chicken broth, spices, and corn being added. A dutch oven with cheese being added to make cheesy ham and potato soup.

My Secret to Extra Creamy, Cheesy Soups

Have you ever had a cheesy homemade soup come out grainy? Or maybe restaurant soups always just seem to be so much more creamy than homemade?

Here’s how to make sure your soup has restaurant-quality consistency:

1.) Shred the cheese yourself. Packaged cheeses that are already shredded contain cellulose (i.e. powdered wood pulp.) that prevent it from clumping together in the bag. This interferes with its’ ability to melt smoothly into soups and sauces. (It also doesn’t taste as fresh.)

2.) Sprinkle flour over the cheese prior to adding it to the warm base. This helps to thicken the water that separates from the cheese once it begins to heat up.

3.) Let the cheese come to room temperature before you add it to the soup. For the same reason that cold milk can curdle when added to hot coffee, the same caution should be taken when adding cheese to soups or sauces.

4.)  Add the cheese to a warm (not hot!) base.

Using high-quality cheese (such as Cabot), makes a big difference in flavor, and doesn’t cost too much more than purchasing generic brand cheese. The extra cost is worth it.

Ovehead view of a ladle full of ham and potato soup topped with bacon over a soup pot.

Storage

Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

This soup can be frozen, but note that the consistency of dairy based soups aren’t quite the same after being frozen and reheated.

What to Serve With This

A bowl of ham and potato soup with melted cheese on top.

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Did You Make This Recipe?

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Cheesy Ham and Potato Soup

5 from 3 votes
Learn how to make this Cheesy Ham and Potato Soup on the Stove Top, Crock Pot, or the Instant Pot! It's thick and creamy, easy and cheesy! A great recipe idea for leftover ham.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ¾ cup yellow onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups ham, diced
  • 1 ½ cups russet potatoes, diced (2 small potatoes)
  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour, separated
  • 5 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch, optional
  • 2 ½ cups cheddar cheese

Seasonings

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground sage, optional
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt/Pepper, to taste

Optional Garnishes

  • 5 strips Bacon, cooked and crumbed
  • Green onions, diced
  • Fresh Parsley, roughly chopped

Instructions

Stove Top

  • Shred the cheddar cheese. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon flour, toss to coat, and set aside to allow it to get to room temperature. The flour allows the cheese to melt uniformly into the soup.
  • In a large soup pot, heat the butter, onions, and celery over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes, until softened.
  • Add the ham and potatoes, cook for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add 1/3 cup of flour, gently toss to coat and heat for 2 minutes.
  • Increase heat to medium-high. Add the chicken broth, half and half, and the seasonings. Bring to a gently boil and then reduce the heat to medium/medium low to allow the soup to simmer.
  • Add the corn. Simmer for 25 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
  • To Thicken (Optional): Mix 1 Tablespoon cornstarch + 2 Tablespoons half and half (or milk). Bring the soup to a gentle boil and add the cornstarch mixture. Reduce heat and allow to thicken. Repeat if thicker soup is desired.
  • Remove the soup from the heat. Gradually sprinkle in the cheese and stir to combine.
  • Garnish with bacon, green onions, and/or parsley, and serve!

Crock Pot

  • Melt the butter with the olive oil in the Crock Pot over low heat.
  • Add the diced onions celery, garlic, ham, and potatoes. Toss to coat evenly with the butter/oil.
  • Add 1/3 cup flour. Toss to coat.
  • Stir in the chicken broth, corn, and seasonings.
  • Cover and heat over low heat for 8-10 hours.
  • Once the potatoes are tender, increase the heat to high and add the half and half. Heat for 25 minutes.
  • To Thicken (Optional): Mix 1 Tablespoon cornstarch + 2 Tablespoons half and half (or milk). Repeat again for thicker soup. Continue to heat over high heat to allow it to thicken.
  • While the soup heats on high, Shred the cheddar cheese and toss with 1 tablespoon flour. Let it sit to come to room temperature.
  • Remove the soup from the heat. Gradually sprinkle in the cheese and stir to combine.
  • Garnish with bacon, green onions, and/or parsley, and serve!

Instant Pot

  • Shred the cheddar cheese. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon flour, toss to coat, and set aside to allow it to get to room temperature. The flour allows the cheese to melt uniformly into the soup.
  • Set the Instant Pot to sauté mode and add the butter, olive oil, onions, and celery. Heat for 5 minutes, until softened.
  • Add the ham and potatoes, cook for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add 1/3 cup of flour, gently toss to coat and heat for 2 minutes.
  • Add the chicken broth and seasonings.
  • Use a silicone spatula to scrape up the bottom of the pot to loosen anything that might be sticking.
  • Place the lid on the pot and ensure the pressure release valve is sealed. Hit Cancel, then hit Pressure Cook and set the timer for 8 minutes. When the time is up, flip the quick release valve.
  • Once the pressure is released, turn the Instant Pot back to sauté mode. Stir in the half and half and the corn and let it heat through for 5-10 minutes.
  • To Thicken (Optional): Mix 1 Tablespoon cornstarch + 2 Tablespoons half and half (or milk). Repeat again for thicker soup. Continue to heat over on sauté mode to allow it to thicken. Switch to warm if it begins to boil rapidly.
  • Hit cancel to turn off the heat. Gradually sprinkle in the cheese and stir to combine.
  • Garnish with bacon, green onions, and/or parsley, and serve!

Notes

Whole milk may be used instead of half and half but be very careful about bringing the soup to a boil to avoid curdling. It’s also best to temper (heat) the milk prior to adding it to the soup. The lower the fat content, the easier it is for curdling to occur.

Ingredient additions include mushrooms, green beans, and carrots.
2 cups cheddar + ½ cup gruyere tastes great in this soup as well.

 
If you have access to a ham bone, use 3 cups water + 2 cups chicken broth instead and simmer the ham bone in the water/broth first, the longer the better. If you plan to simmer for a long time, add an additional cup of water.

Nutrition

Calories: 511kcal, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 30g, Fat: 32g, Saturated Fat: 17g, Cholesterol: 98mg, Sodium: 954mg, Potassium: 716mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 749IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 410mg, Iron: 2mg