The Cozy Cook

Lentil Soup with Ham

This traditional Lentil Soup with ham is so flavorful and easy to make! Use a ham bone for more hearty flavor or keep it simple. Optional additions include potatoes, spinach, sausage, and more!

Be sure to try my super popular Split Pea Soup recipe next!

A white bowl full of lentil soup with ham and spoon scooping it up.

Lentil Soup with Ham

Guys, I can’t even take credit for this. This is my mom’s lentil soup recipe. (The best recipes come from mom, it’s a fact.)

love making this with a big meaty ham bone and homemade chicken stock, but both are optional. Technically, you don’t even need the ham, but it adds a lot of delicious flavor.

You can make this recipe in 55 minutes flat, or cook it low and slow with a ham bone all afternoon. (Just wait on adding the lentils until the time is right- read on for what you need to know!)

Ingredients

See bottom of post for ingredient quantities and full written instructions.

  • Ham bone (optional)
  • Ham
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Olive Oil
  • Butter
  • Garlic
  • Tomato Paste
  • Chicken Broth- Homemade is always best!
  • Beef Broth
  • Thyme

Lentil Soup with a Ham Bone- (Optional)

Ham bones add tremendous flavor to soup broths. If you have one on hand, follow these instructions for using it:

Use an uncleaned ham bone. When you remove the bone from the soup at the end of cooking, use two forks to shred the delicious pink meat from it and add it to the soup.

-Use 3 cups chicken broth, 1 cup beef broth, and 3 cups water.

-Add everything to the pot except for the lentils. No need to soften the vegetables first. They float to the surface of the soup and cook/soften in the fat from the ham bone

-Bring to a rapid boil, then decrease to a simmer.

-Simmer for as long as you can, at least 2-3 hours. The longer, the more flavorful your soup will be.

Add the lentils during the last 45 minutes of cooking.

-Remove the ham bone, add in the ham, and serve.

A meaty ham bone in a pot next to the ham bone in broth vegetables, and seasonings to make Lentil soup with ham. A pot with a cooked ham bone being removed for Lentil Soup with Ham recipe.

Ham Bone Substitutes

  • Bone-in Picnic Shoulder or smoked ham shank

The following substitutions work well, however I recommend you use 1 cup of water instead of 3 for these:

  • Ham hock.
  • Chopped salted pork and/or chopped smoked bacon can also be substituted.

Can You Overcook Lentils?

Yes, cooking lentils for too long will cause them to become mushy.

Cooking them at a rapid boil will also cause them to get mushy. Simmer them slowly to keep them intact.

A metal spoon full of cooked lentils in a bowl of lentil soup with ham.

What to Add to Lentil Soup

  • Diced Potatoes– Add when you add the lentils.
  • Cooked Sausage
  • Spinach or Kale
  • Cooked & Crumbled Bacon– Good alternative to ham
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Parmesan Cheese-To Garnish

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A close up view of a spoon filled with lentil soup with ham.

Lentil Soup with Ham

5 from 7 votes
This traditional lentil soup recipe has perfectly cooked lentils along with vegetables and ham in a simple and flavorful broth.

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup diced ham
  • 1 cup Lentils
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, or 2 sprigs fresh

Instructions

Lentil Soup with no Ham Bone

  • Heat the butter and the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the vegetables and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the ham and tomato paste. Cook for additional 10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add stock, lentils, water, and thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce heat let gently simmer, covered, for about 45 minutes.

Lentil Soup with a Ham Bone

  • Note: Use an uncleaned ham bone. When you remove the bone from the soup at the end of cooking, use two forks to shred the delicious pink meat from it and add it to the soup.
  • Use 3 cups chicken broth, 1 cup beef broth, and 3 cups water.
  • Add everything to the pot except for the lentils. No need to soften the vegetables first. They float to the surface of the soup and cook/soften in the fat from the ham bone
  • Bring to a rapid boil, then decrease to a simmer.
  • Simmer for as long as you can, at least 2-3 hours. The longer, the more flavorful your soup will be.
  • Add the lentils during the last 45 minutes of cooking and simmer gently.
  • Remove the ham bone, add in the ham, and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 379kcal, Carbohydrates: 46g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 14mg, Sodium: 837mg, Potassium: 1148mg, Fiber: 16g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 5480IU, Vitamin C: 8.4mg, Calcium: 69mg, Iron: 5mg

 

 

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Recipe Rating




19 comments on “Lentil Soup with Ham”

  1. This soup was so delicious. I used a ham bone, and the broth had so much flavor. I added more water which didn’t dilute the taste at all. Will definitely make this again. Thanks for another fab recipe!

    • Hi Gail! I am so happy that you enjoyed this soup, this recipe and I go wayyyyy back, lol. It was my moms! 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on the recipe. So glad to hear that it was a success! -Stephanie

  2. Excellent recipe; I cook large batches of soup for a group of elderly people in my community. This has received rave reviews and I have printed out this recipe for others who wish to make it. Thank you!

    • Hey Deb! I am super happy to hear that Deb, what a nice thing that you’re doing for the people in your community! Thank you so much for taking the time to to share what you thought of the recipe!! 🙂

  3. I made it, per recipe, its so good. My husband an I both really enjoyed it, will definitely make it again.

  4. I wonder if yu cld. do this in instapot

  5. if i use a ham bone how much liquid do i use?

    • Hi Bonnie, you’ll use Use 3 cups chicken broth, 1 cup beef broth, and 3 cups water. See the recipe card right at the bottom of the post, there is a section that says “Lentil Soup with a Ham Bone” 🙂

  6. Can you use can lentils 

  7. Thanks for the post. I’ve been looking for a way to get more lentils into my diet for a while. This is gold.

    • Hey Rosalina! I’m so happy that you can use this to get those lentils in, they are so good for you! I absolutely love this recipe, my mom has made it for a zillion years and I’m happy to carry on the tradition! 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to rate and comment!! -Stephanie

  8. Hi I made your pea soup and it was amazing. I want to try the lentil soup. Did you use dry lentils and soak overnight. 

    • Hi Randi! I’m so glad that you liked the pea soup, and even happier that you’re going to have lentil next! No need to soak the lentils overnight! Enjoy, and Happy New Year!

  9. I made your Lentil Soup this afternoon, it is the one of the best soups I have made. I love soup because it freezes well and I live alone. It’s a healthy dinner for me. I also made your Crock Pot Chicken and Stuffing for myself and my daughter a couple of months ago. We both love it and it was very easy to put together. Thanks you your excellent recipes.

    • Hi Paulette!
      That is AWESOME to hear, I’m soooo happpy. I actually had this Lenil soup for lunch today and it was just amazingly good, I have to agree, haha! The crock pot chicken and stuffing recipe is another HUGE HIT in our house and I’m so happy to hear that it is in yours too! It means a lot that you took the time to comment and let me know, so thank you!

  10. I found your blog while browsing around on Pinterest. I was clicking through your recipes and found this. I happened to have some leftover ham and a bag of lentils on hand, so I made some lentil soup! Wow! This is amazing, and it does not require any expensive or fancy ingredients. Everyone at my house likes it. Thanks for the post.

    • Hi Michelle,
      I’m SO glad you tried it and liked it as much as I did- it’s always nice when you just happen to have what you need on hand and the recipe is easier than you’d think! 🙂 I’ll have to make this again myself soon actually, thanks for reminding me about it (and for taking the time to comment!)

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