Don’t throw out the ham bone until you have tried this creamy ham bone soup! This creamy ham and potato soup will let you turn leftovers into the ultimate comfort food! Using leftover ham shank, ham bone, russet potatoes, and a few secret ingredients, you’ll have a new dish that will leave your family wanting more!
I’ll be honest up front. One of my biggest complaints about this recipe is the fact that I crave it all year long. But usually, I can only find bone-in ham shank a few times of the year.
WHY do the stores torment me and only have bone-in hams available around Easter and Christmas?
This is one reason why I love having an extra freezer! When I actually find a bone-in ham shank, I usually buy a few and store 2-3 extra hams in the freezer solely so I can make this soup a few times throughout the year.
Use the Ham Bone for the best Ham and Potato soup
If you can believe it, I was in my late 30’s before I ever cooked my first ham! Up to this point, we had always been visiting my Mother-in-law for holidays and she always made the ham. I brought side dishes, but the actual ham cooking was done by her.
But one year, we couldn’t make it up to visit one holiday. So it was left to me to cook up the ham. Well, after I cooked up that ham, I wondered, “Ok, now what do I do with the bone?” And that is what led me to ask “What is ham bone soup anyway?” I had no idea what I had been missing all these years!
There are SO MANY different ham bone soup recipes out there. Like ham bone and potato soup, stockpot ham soup, ham bone soup without beans, leftover ham bone soup, and so much more! I didn’t know which one I should use.
Each one had something I liked and something I didn’t like about it. One took way too long to make. Another had ingredients I knew our family would never eat. Others included ingredients that weren’t very easy to obtain. Others have so many steps I was exhausted just thinking about it!
So instead I took the basic ideas of how to make the ham bone broth and then just ran with it on my own. I took some ideas from my creamy Chicken Noodle soup, and interestingly enough I was also inspired by this KETO Instant Pot Butter Chicken from Two Sleevers, which is a favorite in our house.
You may be wondering, “How does a butter chicken inspire a ham bone soup?” It’s all about the secret ingredient that makes this creamy Ham bone soup so unique to all the other ham bone soups out there.
Why this is the best Ham Bone Soup you will ever try
The secret ingredient that makes this recipe stand out and taste better than others, I believe, is the Garam Masala! I have never seen a ham bone soup call for garam masala. But a few years ago, I cooked this KETO Instant Pot Butter Chicken from Two Sleevers and it completely rocked my world!
I originally bought a small jar of Rani Brand Garam Masala to try it out to see if we would like it. And now I keep a large jar of Garam Masala spices in my spice cabinet all year long! I never want to run out!
The Garam Masala has such a unique flavor, aroma, and effect on this creamy ham bone soup. Garam, when translated means “warm”, which best describes the properties of the blend of spices and how it affects the soup. It has a warming scent and aroma that uplifts this ham bone soup to the ultimate comfort food.
But don’t worry, it doesn’t make it spicy or hot. With the right portions, my kids enjoy it without any issue of it being too “spicy” for them.
It is important to note that garam masala is often used towards the end of the cooking process as an added seasoning, to accentuate the flavors and the smell. Adding it too early mutes the flavors and you don’t get the appropriate results.
When I was experimenting with this ham bone soup recipe, it was at the end and I just felt like something was still missing. Since I had recently made the butter chicken, I saw the garam masala right at the front of the spice cabinet. I remembered how much our family loved the butter chicken. So I thought, “why not?” and I’m ever so glad I did! It completely took this creamy ham bone soup to the next level!
I have since shared this soup with neighbors, and friends. They have all said they have never had such a delicious ham bone soup before! I totally credit this to adding the garam masala at the end!
So while it is not a super common spice blend, it is definitely one that is worth having around. Even if you only use it a few times a year when you make this creamy ham bone soup!
The best recipe for leftover ham bone soup with a creamy broth
I have been asked over and over again for this recipe, year after year. But since I could only get access to bone-in shank ham a few times a year, I have delayed publishing it. I wanted to test it over and over to make sure I get it right.
Now I am finally ready to share it with you!
- Leftover Ham Bone
- 3-4 cups shredded/diced Leftover ham shank
- 8-12 cups water
- 6 Idaho Russet Potatoes, peeled & cubed
- 1/2 Yellow Onion diced
- 2 Large Carrots sliced
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 2 cans whole kernel corn
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 teaspoons Garam Masala
- Place ham bone in a large stockpot and cover completely with water.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat
- Reduce and simmer for a minimum of 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Remove the ham bone from broth, set it aside, and allow to cool on a plate
- Chop onion and add to the broth.
- Peel and chop potatoes into bite-size pieces and add to the broth
- Dice carrots and combine into the broth
- Combine salt, pepper, oregano, garlic, and bay leaves into the broth
- Cook over medium heat until the vegetables are tender
- While the vegetables are cooking remove any ham from the ham bone and dice up any other leftover ham from a previously cooked ham dinner you have around.
- Add the ham and corn into the soup and continue to cook until warm.
- Once the vegetables are tender and ham and corn are warm add in the heavy cream, butter, and garam masala.
- Stir until butter is completely melted and mixed in.
- Remove bay leaves before serving.
- Serve warm
Do not add the cream and butter until the last 20 minutes of cooking. Adding too early will curdle the soup.
Only add in the garam masala at the end. Adding too early in the recipe will mute the flavors and you will not get the right flavor.
You can actually simmer the ham bone for about 24 hours for the best results. This really draws the bone marrow and nutrients from the bone and makes an amazing bone broth for the ham bone soup. Though many busy moms don't always have the time to do this, thus why it is listed only as 2 hours in the main recipe. In 2 hours you can get a great ham flavor into the soup.
If you simmer for longer, set reminders to check the simmering ham bone every few hours to check and add water to ensure that it doesn't run dry, or you risk burning, ruining pots, and possible kitchen fire. DO NOT FORGET the simmering bone!
The amount of ham you include is really up to you. My family loves a lot of meat so I often save about 3-4 big slices of ham from the ham dinner when we cooked up the ham shank the first time, and dice that to go with the ham that is left on the bone. You can add more or less depending on how your family prefers the ratio of meat to soup.
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Serving Size:1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 164Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 724mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 13g
How much Ham for the prefect Ham bone soup?
I don’t use an exact portion for how much ham to add. That is because it is always different. We usually go by how much meat is leftover from when we had our ham dinner.
If I am making the soup the day after a big ham dinner, I will usually add about half of the leftover ham. This gives plenty of ham for the soup and still leaves some leftover ham for ham sandwiches for lunches.
If I am making this leftover ham and potato soup a few days after we had a big ham dinner, then I will use up the rest of the leftover ham. Since everyone is tired of standard leftover ham dishes by the 2nd or 3rd day.
Many people only use the amount of ham that is left on the bone after they cook the ham bone. But for my family that just isn’t enough meat. They like a heartier soup. So I always add about 3-4 cups diced/shredded ham. You can add more or less depending on how your family prefers the ratio of meat to soup.
Secrets to a creamy ham bone soup success
For all that is holy in the kitchen, do NOT add the butter and cream too early! If you add the cream and butter too early into the soup it will curdle. You will add the cream and butter during the last twenty-thirty minutes of the cooking process. Not before.
Also, remember, don’t add the garam masala until the end. It will mute the flavors and you will wonder why you even include it. Save it for the end. It really makes a difference!
Final Thoughts on leftover ham bone soup
There is one negative to this recipe. It’s really not freezable. Well, maybe it is. But I haven’t found a way to freeze it and still have the potatoes taste good after it’s thawed. Curse you potatoes! It would be heavenly to freeze up this soup and save it for a cold rainy day. But alas, I have yet to find a way.
But rest assured, if I ever do find a way to freeze and have it still taste just as good (I’m talking taste and texture here), I will definitely let you know!
I will even thaw and cook up a big ham dinner in the middle of summer, specifically so I can make up this creamy ham bone soup the next day. It really is that good!
This creamy ham bone soup recipe really makes a lot as well! So it is excellent for sharing with others. Maybe you know someone who just had a baby, or you know someone who is sick or is having a hard time. Or maybe you just need an excuse to visit with a neighbor or friend. Bottle some of this soup up into a jar, pair it with some fresh Southern Cornbread or Raspberry Fluff salad, and make a meaningful human connection.