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There’s nothing cozier than a warm bowl of this creamy ham and potato soup on a chilly day. Use leftover ham from a holiday meal, or pick up a package of diced ham or ham steaks at the grocery store. The comfort food classic is delicious alongside cornbread muffins, buttermilk biscuits, or a loaf of crusty bread!

Hands eating ham and potato soup from a vintage bowl
Table of Contents
  1. Potato and Ham Soup
  2. Ingredients
  3. how to add cream to soup without curdling
  4. How to Make Ham and Potato Soup
  5. Serving Suggestions
  6. Preparation and Storage
  7. Recipe Variations
  8. tips for the best ham and potato soup recipe
  9. Ham and Potato Soup Recipe

Potato and Ham Soup

If you’ve got some leftover ham in your fridge or freezer, or if you’re just looking for something a little bit different than the typical chicken noodle soup, this ham and potato soup recipe is the perfect solution! It comes together quickly and easily, it’s full of satisfying and hearty potatoes and smoky ham, and it only requires a handful of very basic ingredients. Stir together a pot on a busy weeknight, or prep a batch on the weekend. This cozy meal is old-fashioned comfort food at its finest!

Sauteing vegetables for soup

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a pot of ham and potato soup with vegetables. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Butter and olive oil: to sauté the veggies.
  • Onion, carrots, celery, and garlic: savory vegetables that create the flavorful base of the soup.
  • All-purpose flour: to create a roux that thickens the broth.
  • Thyme and bay leaf: add earthy flavor to the soup. Feel free to use fresh thyme or fresh bay leaves if you have them available.
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper: to enhance the other flavors in the dish.
  • Chicken broth: the base of the soup. Start with low-sodium chicken broth or homemade broth if you’re looking to cut down on the salt in the meal.
  • Potatoes: I use peeled and diced russet potatoes. You can use red potatoes or Yukon gold potatoes if you prefer. If using the thin-skinned red or gold potatoes, you don’t need to peel them first.
  • Ham: take advantage of leftover ham if you have some. Otherwise, pick up a package of diced ham or ham steak at the grocery store.
  • Half and half cream: gives the soup a rich, creamy texture and flavor. You can sub with whole milk for a lighter option (it just won’t be quite as thick and rich), or try heavy cream for a more decadent mouthfeel.
Adding flour and seasoning to a soup pot

What can I add to ham and potato soup?

Get creative and make this soup your own! You can add just about any herbs and spices that you enjoy. Good options include parsley, chives, and rosemary in addition to the thyme. You might want to make it spicy with some cayenne or crushed red pepper flakes, or add some cheddar cheese or Velveeta cheese for a cheesy ham and potato soup.

Process shot showing how to make ham and potato soup in a dutch oven

how to add cream to soup without curdling

There are a few ways that we avoid curdled milk or cream in this soup:

  • First, start with room temperature half-and-half or cream. Don’t add cold dairy straight from the fridge into the hot pot.
  • Next, don’t let the pot get too hot too quickly. Add the cream at the end, gradually warming the mixture over low heat. Do not let it boil once you’ve stirred in the cream.
  • Finally, the starches in the flour-based roux help to stabilize the creamy emulsion and prevent it from separating.
Bowl of diced ham

How to Make Ham and Potato Soup

Starting with cooked ham and store-bought broth makes grandma’s creamy ham and potato soup quick and easy. It’s cold weather comfort food!

  1. Cook the veggies in butter and olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the flour, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook for 1 minute.
  3. Gradually add the broth, bay leaf, and potatoes.
  4. Boil, and then reduce the heat. Simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 10-15 minutes, stirring regularly.
  5. Add the ham and half-and-half, and warm over low heat.
  6. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if necessary.
Square overhead image of ham and potato soup in a red and white vintage bowl

Serving Suggestions

A warm bowl of this cozy, easy soup goes well with any of these sides:

Side shot of ham and potato soup in bowls on a dinner table

Preparation and Storage

The leftover soup will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

How to Reheat

Place the soup in a saucepan over low heat. Warm just until heated through — be careful not to let the soup boil or the cream may curdle.

Can you freeze ham and potato soup?

I do not recommend freezing this soup. When thawed, the cream in the broth may “break,” giving the soup an odd texture. Dairy-based soups just aren’t very freezer friendly! Also, the potatoes have a mushy texture after freezing and thawing.

Hands holding a bowl of ham and potato soup

Recipe Variations

  • Swap out the ham for diced or shredded chicken (such as the meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken) or leftover turkey.
  • If you’d like to make your own ham stock using a leftover ham bone or ham hock to use in this recipe, follow these directions.
  • I use russet potatoes, but you can substitute with Yukon gold potatoes or red potatoes. If using the thin-skinned red or gold potatoes, you do not need to peel them before adding them to the pot.
  • Add sliced mushrooms, corn, peas, broccoli, or other veggies to the pot.
  • Mix up the herbs and use your favorites. In addition to the thyme, good options include rosemary, parsley, sage, and chives.
Bowls of ham and potato soup served with cornbread muffins and a side salad

tips for the best ham and potato soup recipe

  • If you have leftover honey baked ham, pineapple ham, or glazed ham from Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Easter, the sweet and smoky flavor of the meat is delicious in the savory soup. If you don’t have leftovers, store-bought diced ham or ham steaks will work fine.
  • Dice the potatoes into uniform pieces. This will ensure that they cook evenly.
  • Allow plenty of time for your half-and-half to come to room temperature before adding it to the pot of soup. Stirring cold dairy into a hot pot could cause the cream to curdle.
  • Gradually add the broth to the pot, whisking constantly. Similar to making a gravy, this gives the flour time to absorb the liquid and helps to prevent lumps in your broth.
  • Taste and season as you go. The total amount of salt necessary will vary depending on the saltiness of your broth and ham, and on personal preference. Add extra salt for more flavor, and feel free to increase the other herbs and seasonings as well.
Overhead shot of two bowls of ham and potato soup on a dinner table
Square overhead image of ham and potato soup in a red and white vintage bowl

Ham and Potato Soup

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 325 kcal
There’s nothing cozier than a warm bowl of this creamy ham and potato soup on a chilly day!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated or minced
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cups peeled potatoes, cut into ½-inch dice (I used 2 russet potatoes)
  • 2 cups cooked, diced ham
  • 2 cups half-and-half cream, at room temperature
  • Optional garnish: additional chopped fresh thyme or chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  • In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat until the butter melts. Add the onion, carrots, and celery; saute until tender, about 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, flour, thyme, salt, and pepper until blended. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  • Gradually add the broth, bay leaf, and potatoes.
  • Bring to a boil; then reduce the heat so that the broth is at a gentle boil. Cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 10-15 minutes, stirring regularly.
  • Reduce the heat to low; add the ham and half-and-half. Stir just until warmed through (do not boil). Discard the bay leaf. Season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Ladle into bowls, garnish with fresh herbs, and serve!

Notes

  • If you have leftover honey baked ham, pineapple ham, or glazed ham, the sweet and smoky flavor of the meat is delicious in the savory soup. If you don’t have leftovers, store-bought diced ham or ham steaks will work fine.
  • Dice the potatoes into uniform pieces. This will ensure that they cook evenly.
  • Allow plenty of time for your half-and-half to come to room temperature before adding it to the pot of soup. Stirring cold dairy into a hot pot could cause the cream to curdle.
  • Gradually add the broth to the pot, whisking constantly. Similar to making a gravy, this gives the flour time to absorb the liquid and helps to prevent lumps in your broth.
  • Taste and season as you go. The total amount of salt necessary will vary depending on the saltiness of your broth and ham, and on personal preference. Add extra salt for more flavor, and feel free to increase the other herbs and seasonings as well.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the recipeCalories: 325kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 13gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 1369mgPotassium: 551mgFiber: 2gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 3813IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 118mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: creamy ham and potato soup, ham and potato soup, leftover ham recipes, potato and ham soup
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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