Great Northern Bean Ham Soup Recipe

Enjoy Great Northern Bean Ham Soup Recipe for an easy weeknight meal or traditional soup night gathering. Delicious made with leftover ham, garnished with a dab of sour cream.

Great Northern Bean Ham Soup Recipe

When I think about my Grandma Friesen, I think about a big pot of her red German beans with bacon (and brown sugar) simmering on the stove. My mom made a different version of beans, with white beans and ham. Today I’m sharing my shortened version: Great Northern Bean Ham Soup Recipe.

But first, my grandma lived in a tiny house before tiny houses were a thing. Her apartment had very little furniture, and was always immaculate and clean. Yes, Grandma lived simply, but not without hospitality, good food, and a whole lot of love. I’m sure if someone would ask Grandma today, how are you,? her answer would not be like most of us: I’m so busy.Instead, it would be something about the day that was beautiful, or relating to God and His blessings.

Like many folks in her generation, she lived through hard times – she lost her mother when she was 18, then later 2 of her own children in early adulthood, plus my Grandpa George, and lots of siblings and loved ones.

Grandma had virtues that I continue to strive for in my life, as an example of inspiration.

Great Northern Bean Ham Soup Recipe

My Grandma’s​ hands were rarely idle. You could say she was a nervous person; hands always in motion ironing, cleaning, cooking, rocking her newborn grandbabies (above, Gma with my sister Linda) and playing her piano.

Her piano that sits in my living room today. Grandma would be so proud to hear how musical her great-grandkids are. Grandma would be tickling the keys with Gospel music, while Grandpa would sing and tap his foot next to her.

Every movement of Grandma’s life spoke of faith and love, patience and endurance, strength and hard work, grace and giving.

Great Northern Bean Ham Soup Recipe

So in her kitchen (my Dad took this shot of her cooking bacon – YAY bacon!), Grandma’s hospitality was not to impress, but it was full of extravagant love (and tasty Mennonite recipes). She was either whipping up a pot of beans, fried chicken, homemade tapioca pudding, or a delicious upside down cake.

Later in life, in my 20’s, I had the pleasure of picking Grandma up once a week and driving her to appointments, the bank, and the grocery store. It was our special time together. She always wanted to know how I was, wanting to know the details of my life.

I remember having a selfish 20-year-old attitude of … I have to go get Grandma today, but then I’d come away so refreshed and happy, because my Grandma made me happy and was so sweet. I then had a grateful heart that I chiseled time out of my not-so-busy schedule to spend part of the day with her.

If I can be even a fraction of what my Grandma Friesen was, I will be grateful. What a gem of a woman to look up to!

Great Northern Bean Ham Soup Recipe

Great Northern Bean Ham Soup Recipe

My Grandma’s recipe, she would cook the beans all day long, but this Great Northern Bean Ham Soup Recipe is super easy using a few cans of Great Northern Beans!

It’s delicious made with leftover ham (or ham hock)–a pure comfort, winter dish – for sure!


Great Northern Bean Ham Soup Recipe

Great Northern Bean Ham Soup Recipe
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Great Northern Bean Ham Soup Recipe

Prep Time15 mins
Total Time1 hr
Servings: 8


  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 ribs green celery diced
  • 2 large carrots peeled and sliced
  • 2 dried bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. thyme whole, crushed
  • 6-8 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 2 cans 15 ounceBush's Great Northern Beans, drained
  • 2 cups cubed cooked ham
  • 1 can 14 ounce diced tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • In large pot, place garlic, onion, celery, carrot sand seasonings. Add enough broth to cover the vegetables (start with 6 cups and add more as needed). Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
  • Add Great Northern Beans, cooked ham, tomatoes and salt to taste. Check seasoning flavor and add more thyme, black pepper or salt, if needed.
  • Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes; serve.
  • Garnish with sour cream and fresh tomatoes (optional).

More ham recipes: Red Lentil Ham Carrot Soup [one of my bestie friend Julie’s favorite on my blog], Hand Ham Leek Pies [RE], Ham and Corn Chowder [Spend with Pennies], Ham and Swiss Monkey Bread Recipe [Lemons for LuLu].

Great Northern Bean Ham Soup Recipe

8 comments on “Great Northern Bean Ham Soup Recipe”

  1. really nice thoughts, I know that generation through my own family, so many similar characteristics, they all seemed to live pretty simply, thank you for this recipe too, have been eating more legumes as part of my diet and this works beautifully!

  2. Oh what a warm and gentle story about your grandmother, thank you for sharing this, Sandy! I love especially your comment about not describing ourselves as being too busy, yet always being productive. What a beautiful contradiction. 
    Your grandmother sounds a lot like you, so I bet she would be so proud. And how cool that the piano your son plays is hers, wow. Love that!

  3. Ham and bean soup is so good. My FIL was raised mennonite, from Indiana. We loved the times we went to visit. My MIL shares stories of going to the mennonite church when they were first married.

    I love the tins to the left in that one picture.

  4. Love the pictures of your Grandma do you have her actual recipe? Would love to have it!

    Thanks Edee

    • Hi, Edee. I’ll have to ask my dad if he has it. Stay tuned … :) If not, look for a Mennonite cookbook and I bet it’s in that! :)

  5. You are so blessed with the examples of loving godly women in your family. No wonder you are such a star!  Love you!

  6. and remembering the soup bowls and silverware did not match and no one got bent out of shape because they didn’t. We just remember the wonderful flavor coming out of those bowls or plates and how much we were in the present at that time. Enjoying life. Grandma was never into herself and worrying what people would think of her. I guess love outshines the material things we think we need to have to look good. Thank you Grandma for the memories and to Grand dude for making it happen

  7. Loved the pictures of your gma. The hair… the dress… just made me smile and remember my own “Bobo” and my aunts who exhibited the same love for us and the delicious, simple things that they cooked!

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