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 1 vote
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