This Ham and Potato Soup recipe is loaded with buttery potatoes, savory ham and cheese for a creamy, hearty, satisfying dinner the whole family will love!
This Creamy Ham and Potato Soup recipe is hearty, rich, creamy and comforting, so easy to make, and reheats like a dream. It’s chock full of tender, buttery potatoes, savory ham, vegetables, herbs and sharp cheddar cheese. It’s the best way to use up leftover ham OR make it with cubed deli ham any time of the year! This recipe is extremely versatile and pantry friendly – swap in your favorite veggies, make it with evaporated milk instead of half and half, gluten free flour, etc. Serve this Potato and Ham Soup with garlic bread and apple salad to complete the winning feast.
We love creamy soups, from chicken pot pie soup, chicken and dumplings, creamy chicken wild rice soup, white chicken lasagna soup, potato soup, corn chowder and clam chowder and of course, this new potato and ham soup!
How to Make ham and potato soup Video
Ham and Potato Soup Ingredients
Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients you’ll need to make the best Potato and Ham Soup recipe (full recipe in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post):
Use waxy potatoes such as Yukon gold, red potatoes, Dutch baby potatoes, new potatoes or fingerling potatoes. Waxy potatoes do not absorb moisture while they cook so they retain their shape despite extended high heat. This doesn’t mean waxy potatoes aren’t melt-in-your-mouth or flavorful! They taste soft, buttery and tender without ever tasting mealy.
I prefer dried herbs in this Cheesy Ham and Potato soup recipe because they get added to the soup at the beginning which infuses the creamy broth with flavor. You may use fresh herbs, but use three times the number of fresh herbs to dried herbs. Take care to add fresh herbs towards the end of cooking so they stay fresh and flavorful.
I do not recommend vegetable broth because it’s not as flavorful as chicken broth. That doesn’t mean you can’t use vegetable broth, but it does mean the soup will not taste as flavorful.
Yes, in place of the half and half, you can use equal parts milk and heavy cream. Or, you may substitute the half and half with evaporated milk (NOT sweetened condensed milk).
No, you don’t have to peel the potatoes, but I prefer to use peeled potatoes because the skin can sometimes be a bit tough and distract from the creamy cohesiveness of the soup.
Everyone has their own opinion as to how thick a soup should be. This recipe is luxuriously rich and creamy, but if you would still like it thicker, you can thicken the soup by adding flour, cornstarch or other thickeners such as mashed potatoes or beans. Here’s how:
-Mash potatoes: Mash more of the potatoes to make it thicker.
-Puree beans: Add cannellini beans to a blender along with some of the soup. Puree until smooth to create a paste. Stir back into the soup and warm through.
-Cornstarch: Whisk 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch with ¼ cup broth or water until smooth then whisk it back into the soup. Simmer for a few minutes to thicken. Repeat if needed.
-Flour: Flour is half as potent as cornstarch so you will need twice as much. Remove about ½ cup soup, whisk in 2-4 tablespoons flour with a fork until smooth then whisk it back into the soup. Simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Repeat if needed
HOW TO MAKE Ham and Potato Soup
This recipe for Potato and Ham soup is quick and easy to prepare, the most difficult part is waiting for the potatoes to simmer! Let’s review the cooking process (full recipe in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post):
- Step 1: Sauté the aromatics. Sauté the chopped onions, carrots, and celery in butter and olive oil until the onions are tender. Add garlic, red pepper flakes (if using), and sauté for 30 seconds.
- Step 2: Make the roux. Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and cook for an additional minute while stirring to cook out the raw flour taste and smell.
- Step 3: Add the remaining ingredients. Add the potatoes, chicken broth, chicken bouillon, and all seasonings.
- Step 4: Simmer. Cover the pot to help bring it to a boil more quickly. Then, remove the lid and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are very tender.
- Step 5: Partially mash the potatoes. Using a potato masher, mash about a third of the potatoes (don’t worry the other veggies won’t really mash that much). This makes the soup so creamy!
- Step 6: Add the ham and half and half. Stir in half and half and ham and heat through. Add cheese a handful at a time until melted.
- Step 7: Taste and serve. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste, if desired. I like to garnish individual bowls with more shredded cheddar and chopped green onions.
Toppings for Potato and Ham Soup
This soup tastes amazing plain, but even better with toppings! Here are a few to try:
possible recipe variations
This Ham and Potato soup recipe boasts the best creamy, comforting broth, which means it is a fabulous springboard to make it all your own with all sorts of add-ins or whatever you have on hand:
WHAT to serve with Potato and HAm Soup
This Ham and Potato Soup is a meal-in-one complete with protein, veggies and starch, so you can call dinner done or serve it with any of these additional sides:
Tools Used in This Recipe
Ham and Potato Soup
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- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
- 3 stalks celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- pinch-1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2” cubes
- 4 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon (see notes)
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp EACH dried oregano, salt, pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup freshly shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 cups half and half or evaporated milk
- 1 1/2 cups chopped ham (1/4-inch chop)
- chopped green onions
- freshly grated cheddar cheese
- Add garlic, red pepper (if using) and sauté 30 seconds. Sprinkle in flour and cook an additional 1 minute while stirring (it will be thick).
- Add the potatoes and all remaining soup ingredients (up to “Add Later).
- Cover and bring to a boil, then uncover and reduce to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are very tender, stirring often so the bottom doesn’t burn.
- Using a potato masher, mash about 1/4- ⅓ of the potatoes (don't worry the other veggies won't really mash that much).
- Stir in half and half and ham and heat through.
- Remove the soup from the heat, then add the cheese a handful at a time until melted. Discard bay leaves. Taste and season salt/pepper to taste as desired.
- Ham: Any type of cubed ham will work in this recipe. If you have leftover ham from Thanksgiving or Christmas, throw it in, otherwise, head to the deli counter and have them slice any ham ¼-inch thick and finish chopping it into cubes at home.
- Chicken broth: Take care your chicken broth is low sodium otherwise your soup will be too salty. Using low sodium broth also allows us to use chicken bouillon which amps up the flavor.
Make Ahead and Storage Instructions
- Make ahead: The flavors of this Cheesy Potato and Ham soup recipe only get better the next day, so it’s great to make 100% ahead of time. You can also chop the onions, carrots, celery, ham and potatoes ahead of time and store in the refrigerator. The chopped potatoes will need to be stored submerged in a bowl of cold water in the refrigerator to prevent oxidization (from turning brown). You can also shred the cheese and prep any toppings ahead of time.
- To store: Let the Ham and Potato Soup cool to room temperature, then cover and store in your Dutch oven or transfer to an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 5 days.
- To freeze: As a general rule of thumb, creamy, cheesy soups do not freeze well because the texture can become unpleasantly grainy as the dairy and fat separate. You can still freeze the soup with these expectations, or swap the half and half for evaporated milk and omit the cheese until reheating. Freeze for up to 3 months.
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