Ham and Potato Soup

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Easy Ham and Potato Soup is made in one pot on the stove top. It’s thick, hearty, comforting and the perfect way to use any leftover holiday ham!

Use additional leftover ham in this ham and cheese quiche, these ham and cheese sliders, or this delicious ham pot pie.

Image of two bowls of Ham and Potato Soup, ready to be eaten.

Ham and Potato Soup

We’re having a little bit of a cold spell this week and with lots of leftover ham from Easter, nothing sounds better than Ham and Potato Soup! It’s the ultimate comfort food — Ham and Potato Soup is hearty and thick with so much flavor. We’ve got all kinds of veggies, plenty of ham, lots of potatoes, and a creamy soup base that’s been perfectly seasoned with a little bit of cayenne, some thyme, and oregano.

Process shots: sauteeing the ham and veggies; making the sauce base with butter and flour.

How to make Ham and Potato Soup

  • Start by sautéing the ham and then setting it aside on a paper towel-lined plate: this gives the ham a nice crispness which adds a great texture to the soup.
  • Sauté the veggies until they’re golden brown and tender.
  • Melt the butter, and then sprinkle flour over everything; this is our “roux” which will thicken the soup
  • Add milk gradually, stirring until thick; then add in the chicken broth or stock. You can use ham stock if you’d like; I’ll share how to make that below!
  • Mix in the diced potatoes and simmer the soup until thick and potatoes are tender.
  • Add the ham back in, along with corn and stir to warm through.
  • Stir in cheddar cheese and heat until melted.
  • Serve and enjoy.

How to make homemade ham broth

If you’ve got a leftover ham bone, you can make homemade ham broth to use in this ham and potato soup. Here’s how you do it:

  • Add the ham bone to a very large stockpot (or slow cooker) and add enough water to cover the bone halfway. (This is about 7-8 cups of water for me.) Add in 2-3 carrots (cut into chunks), 1 celery stalk (cut into chunks) and 2-3 minced garlic cloves. Add in a few sprigs of fresh thyme or about 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover with a lid, and allow to simmer for about 1 hour or until very fragrant. Alternatively, cook on low for 6-8 hours in a slow cooker.
  • Discard the ham bone and strain out the veggies; you’ve now got homemade ham broth! Replace the chicken stock in this recipe with your ham broth. It also freezes well to use for another recipe later.

Process shots of finishing the sauce base; adding potatoes and broth; adding corn, ham and cheese.

Variations

  • Top the soup with cooked bacon (to keep this a one-pot soup, cook the bacon before beginning the soup).
  • We love this ham and potato soup thick and chunky, but feel free to increase the broth or milk in this recipe to make it a bit thinner. 
  • Add in a few more veggies: a handful of chopped frozen broccoli (add along with the corn) or a diced bell pepper (add with the onion, carrot, and celery) would make nice additions.

Close-up view of a big spoonful of Ham and Potato Soup, garnished with a sprig of thyme.

Ham and Potato Soup tips

  • Make sure to dice the potatoes into small pieces (1/2-inch) so they can cook through in the 8-12 minutes indicated in the recipe. Larger potato chunks will need to simmer a lot longer. 
  • Cut veggies generally the same size for even cooking; if some pieces are a lot larger than others you’ll have some mushy and some crisp veggies in the soup.
  • Use Yukon gold potatoes. While other potatoes will work in this soup, we love the creamy, tender, and buttery flavor Yukon golds deliver. Their skin is also delicate, so you really don’t need to peel them first. Learn a bit about what makes this type of potato so special in this article!
  • As this Ham and Potato Soup simmers and thickens, be sure to stir it often and scrape the bottom as you stir (the flour and butter have a tendency to stick to the bottom–and that will result in a soup that doesn’t thicken properly). 
  • I recommend freshly grated cheese; pre-grated cheese has a cellulose coating that results in a greasier/clumpier soup more prone to graininess.

Overhead view of a bowl of Ham and Potato Soup.

Freezing this soup

Leftover Ham and Potato Soup can be refrigerated for 3-4 days, but I don’t recommend freezing this soup because there is so much dairy in it. The milk solids will separate as the soup thaws, resulting in a grainy texture with a lot of separation.

Reheating this soup

Reheating a dairy-based soup made with cheese can be tricky; we want to avoid separation and a grainy texture. To reheat, add the leftover ham and potato soup to a pot and slowly increase the heat while stirring frequently. Don’t boil the soup or reheat it at a high temperature; this will likely cause the ingredients to separate.

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Ham and Potato Soup

5 from 2 votes
This easy Ham and Potato Soup is made in one pot on the stove top. It's thick, hearty, comforting and the perfect way to use any leftover holiday ham!
Print Recipe

Ham and Potato Soup

5 from 2 votes
This easy Ham and Potato Soup is made in one pot on the stove top. It's thick, hearty, comforting and the perfect way to use any leftover holiday ham!
Course lunch, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword ham and potato soup
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 336kcal
Cost $6.72

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, separated
  • 1 and 1/2 cups cubed leftover (fully cooked) ham
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced (~1 cup)
  • 1 large carrot, diced (heaping 1/2 cup)
  • 1 stalk celery, diced (heaping 1/2 cup)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic (~2 cloves)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons white flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon EACH: dried thyme, dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, optional
  • Seasoned salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 3 cups milk (1%, 2% or whole; whole will be creamiest and what I typically use)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 2 cups Yukon gold potatoes, diced (peeled if desired) (See Note 1)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • Optional: fresh thyme or fresh parsley

Instructions

  • HAM: Add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to a large cast iron pot over high heat. Once oil is shimmering, add in the chopped ham and sauté for 1-2 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from the pan onto a paper towel lined plate. Quickly dry the pot and return to the stove top.
  • VEGGIES: Over high heat, add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and once shimmering, add the 1 cup diced onion, heaping 1/2 cup carrot, and heaping 1/2 cup celery. Sauté for 4-5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add in the 1 and 1/2 teaspoons garlic and stir for another minute.
  • THICKEN: Add the butter to the pot and stir until melted. Once melted, sprinkle in the flour. Stir for 1 minute to cook off the raw flavor of the flour. Add the seasonings: the 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme, 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (if desired). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir seasonings for 30 seconds. Pour in 1 cup of milk and whisk until it starts to thicken (~1 minute); then pour in the remaining two cups of milk. Whisk until it thickens (~2-3 minutes) and then add in the 1 and 1/2 cups chicken stock. Whisk until slightly thickened (another ~1-2 minutes). (See Note 2)
  • POTATOES: Bring the soup to a boil, slightly lower the heat to medium, and add the potatoes to the soup. Cook for 8 to 12 minutes, stirring often. The soup will thicken as it cooks and the potatoes should be fork tender after 8-10 minutes. (If the soup has thickened too much, add in a splash of additional chicken stock; I usually add up to 1/2 cup extra).
  • HAM AND CORN: Once the potatoes are fork tender, stir in the corn and the ham you set aside earlier. Heat through. Decrease the heat to low and add in the freshly grated cheese. Stir until just melted and then taste for seasonings. Remove from heat.
  • SERVE: Serve bowls of soup garnished with fresh thyme or parsley if desired.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Make sure to dice the potatoes into small pieces (1/2-inch) so they can cook through in the 8-12 minutes indicated in the recipe. Larger potato chunks will need to simmer a lot longer, which will result in too much liquid being absorbed.
Note 2: As the soup simmers and thickens, be sure to stir it often and scrape the bottom as you stir (the flour and butter have a tendency to stick to the bottom which will result in a soup that doesn't thicken properly).

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 6servings | Calories: 336kcal | Carbohydrates: 25.6g | Protein: 16.6g | Fat: 18.7g | Cholesterol: 62.7mg | Sodium: 744.6mg | Fiber: 2.1g | Sugar: 9g

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6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This potato soup has SO MUCH flavor! My husband said it’s the best he’s ever had. And what a great way to use up leftover Easter ham. We loved it.

  2. I totally needed to use up left over ham from Easter tonight, and of course I hopped into your website, and found this. Chelsea! It’s got the BEST flavor! Our family loved it.

  3. 5 stars
    Fantastic soup! I used 1% milk and found it worked great. Also, I used 3/4 cup corn and added 3/4 cup peas to recipe, plus I hit the soup with a couple tbsp of lemon juice. Really wonderful rainy day soup. Thx Chelsea!

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