The Best Pennsylvania Dutch Ham, Green Bean and Potato Soup – This reboot of an old Pennsylvania Dutch standard will make you a believer – and hungry for a second bowl…
I know it’s a little audacious of me to suggest that my recipe for Ham, Green Bean and Potato Soup is the best. In fact, I think this is the first time I’ve ever made such a blanket-statement claim on this blog, but I really believe that I took this humble recipe and turned it into something awesome!
My husband, being raised in Amish Country, scoffed when I told him that I was making this soup. He seriously questioned my culinary judgement when I then told him that I was making it for the blog. He was raised on this stuff and recalls being forced to eat flavorless watery bowls filled with leftover Easter ham, mushy potatoes, and canned green beans.
I reassured him that my version of this soup would be neither watery, flavorless, nor mushy. Honestly, this soup is super simple and easy to make. All it took was a few additions to the traditional recipe to tie this soup together and make it something you’ll actually want a second bowl of.
The first change was starting with a flavorful base by softening onions and garlic in bacon grease and swapping the water with chicken broth. The second change that obviously had to happen was substituting canned green beans with frozen. Fresh would be even better, but I always end up making this soup with leftover Christmas or Easter ham, when green beans aren’t in season.
The final addition is bowtie noodles (a.k.a. farfalle pasta). This is the change Mr. Simple Seasonal really questioned. I guess in all his years growing up in Dutch Country he had never encountered noodles in his ham soup. Once he tasted the soup he was easily sold on the addition because the starch from the pasta thickens the broth, and the pasta itself added another great texture to the soup.
So if you’ve got some leftover ham on your hands I know you’re going to love this hearty and flavorful version of Pennsylvania Dutch Ham, Green Bean and Potato Soup. It really is the best (and second-bowl worthy)!
- 2 Tbsp reserved bacon grease
- 1 C chopped sweet onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 C chopped ham
- 2 C frozen green beans
- 2 C chopped red potatoes
- 2 C bow tie Pasta (a.k.a. farfalle)
- 7 C chicken broth
- In a large pot or a dutch oven, sauté the sweet onion in the reserved bacon grease for 3 minutes. If you plan ahead you can freeze leftover bacon grease from another meal to use in this soup.
- Once the onions are softened add the 3 cloves of minced garlic to the pot and cook an additional minute.
- Next, dump the remainder of the ingredients into the pot and cook over high heat until the soup comes to a rolling boil and then reduce the heat to achieve a gentle boil. Simmer for 17-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
More Leftover Ham Recipes…
Michelle Barsness says
Mmmmn this looks tasty! No watery flavorless soup there! A great way to use up any leftover ham. I love green beans and potatoes. They go perfectly with the ham in a warm hearty soup.
Dominique | Perchance to Cook says
So many yummy flavors in this soup! I love a comforting flavorful soup and this one fits the bill. I can’t wait to try it!
I’m a southern girl at heart so you had my attention with green beans and ham. I never thought of making it into a soup. I have to try this!!
I love your take on this! A flavorful broth base makes all the difference in the world. And I love the addition of bowtie pasta!
dixya @food, pleasure, and health says
this is such a good idea to use up all the leftovers and great for weeknight.
Patti @Patty Cake's Pantry says
I am so happy to have found this recipe. I literally had everything on hand to use to make this. Simple, delicious, and it used up my leftover ham from Easter. This recipe couldn’t have come at a better time, and it tastes amazing.
Marisa Franca @ All Our Way says
Yum!! Looks and sounds delicious! It’s all in the seasonings, isn’t it? Soup does not have to be flavorless but some people just don’t know how to use simple herbs and seasonings. And bacon? Heavens that would make anything taste better. I bet Hubby said the recipe is a keeper.
You know – classics became classics in the first place because they were good. Not the recipes fault if it gets watered down in the hands of people who don’t cook well, until even those who do only know the degraded version… This sounds fundamentally excellent, as long as it’s made with good ingredients – as you demonstrate!
This looks like such a warm and comforting bowl of soup, and I love that you used farfalle! Using reserved bacon fat must give it such a great depth of flavor. What a great reinvention of the recipe, and a fantastic way to cook with leftover Easter ham!
Any recipe that has bacon grease listed as the first ingredient sounds like a winner to me 😀 This dish has all of my wife’s favorites, I may just have to make it for her!
This looks really yummy! I can’t wait to try your recipe!
I have never being to Pennsylvania,but if all the food there is as good as this Ham, Green Bean and Potato Soup, oh my! I will come visit!
Eileen Kelly says
I just got home from Pennsylvania and had some pretty amazing Dutch country food. I am stoked to make your soup, especially that your hubs grew up in the area. I am quite familiar with the regional food and I can say, I am excited to make your soup, adding the bacon flavor is an awesome addition and does make this the Best Pennsylvania Dutch Ham, Green Bean Soup
The PA Dutch don’t put pot pie bows in our ham and green beans. Where are you from? Please Stop.
Hey Steven- You should check out the blog post above. This recipe is intended to be a remake of the traditional recipe. Growing up in Pennsylvania, my whole life I’ve thought that traditional PA Dutch Ham and Green Beans is just kind of “meh.” In addition to bow tie noodles I make a couple other minor changes to make the soup more flavorful and fuller bodied. Feel free to hate it because it’s different, but if you give it a try it might surprise you!
Have you ever made this with ham broth from the bone? Was wondering if it may be too strong. Thank you,
Christina Whalen says
I made it with stock made from the ham bon it was amazing.
Thanks Christina! It would be amazing with the ham bone!
I been making recipe this way for 20+years found it in a Pa Dutch cook book found at a flea market.Steven don”t
know what he’s talking about. Flavor is great recipe had bow tie noodles in it.
Haha! Thanks Pete!
We lived in north central PA for several years. I know one thing they had on hand was something called ham base (like a ham bouillon idea.) I make ham broth from my ham and freeze it with leftover meat. I was thinking the same thing, how to make it less watery, and chicken bouillon was my idea as well. I love the thought of the onions and pasta; going to try adding those to ours. Thank you for tweaking this classic great recipe!
Hey Beth! Thanks for commenting! I’ve never made it with ham base before, but it sounds really flavorful. I have been know to throw a ham bone in the pot… Normally how it plays out in my kitchen is a make a ham and I have so many leftovers that I first make Split Pea Soup with my ham bone, but I still end up with leftover ham. With the leftover leftover ham I make this soup! You’ll have to come back and let me know how you like the addition of the onions and pasta!
Goya makes a ham bouillon and its great !!!
Thanks for the tip! I’ll have to check it out!
I’m making this for tonight’s dinner. I grew up in Amish country too. Have lived this soup all my life. I used to eat the sloppy, mushy soup too, but loved it! I wish my mom were here to make it for me. By the way. Thanks for the memory!
Hi Tim! I’m so happy this is the recipe you were looking for. I hope you enjoy it along with lot of happy memories of you Mom!
I made this for dinner tonight per your recipe and it was delicious and brought back memories of my childhood at my German grandmother’s table! My small changes included adding 1 1/2 tsp. of Summer Savory and 1/4 tsp. of black pepper, as my grandmother always did (no salt, the ham has enough). Although she would not have, I was intrigued by the pasta, but not having bow ties, used about 3/4 C of Fusilli pasta. I found the pasta to be a wonderful addition to the soup! Thank you Rachel for sharing this delightful, simple recipe.
Kate- Thank you so much for sharing about how your grandmother used to make this recipe. ❤️ I’m happy to hear you liked the addition of pasta. I think the pasta transforms the soup from a side dish to a complete and satisfying meal. Your grandmother’s use of summer savory is a good idea. I’ll have to give it a try!
Joel Honse says
Instead of farfalle I mark Pennsylvania Dutch pot pie noodles to drop in mine… sorta like dumpings….