15-Bean Soup Recipe ♥ for Hurst’s HamBeens

Hurst's 15-Bean Soup recipe
Today's favorite bean soup recipe: Easy homemade 15-bean soup with a bag of Hurst's HamBeens (skip the seasoning packet!), leftover ham, tomatoes, onion. Low carb. Weight Watchers 2 points.

~recipe updated & republished 2014~
~more recently updated recipes~

Please say I'm not the last cook on earth to know about the 15-bean soup recipe straight from the bag of beans. If so, oops, so sorry! But if Hurst's HamBeens are a new 'convenience product' for readers too, you'll be thanking me! My friend Mary passed on Hurst's 15-bean soup recipe tip while feeding ideas about how to use up pounds of leftover smoked ham. (Literally, pounds. At Christmas somehow the butcher sent me home with a 14-pound ham instead of the 7-pound ham ordered.) [Note to Vegetarians]

Along with a great recipe, the bean package includes northern, pinto, large lima, blackeye, garbanzo, baby lima, green split pea, kidney, cranberry, small white, pink, small red, yellow split pea, lentil, navy, white kidney and black beans. Whew. The big beans stay intact while the smaller ones and the lentils melt into this yummy creamy liquid. The bag also includes a seasoning packet but these are typically salty and filled artificial gunk so I threw it in the trash. (Read the comments below, it seems many of us throw away the seasoning packet.) The beans themselves are so creamy and flavorful, I didn't miss it. Mary substitutes Chef Paul's Vegetable Seasoning for the seasoning packet.

OLD BEANS You'd think that beans would keep but they don't! The trouble is, old beans just don't cook, you can cook them for hours and hours and they just never turn soft and creamy as they should. That's why, come fall, I look in my pantry and throw out any beans from the prior year. That's why, at the grocery, I won't let myself be tempted to "stock up". That's why, when choosing the grocery, I make sure the store has high turnover, so I know the beans are fresh.

2014 Update: Turns out, I turn to a package of Hurst's HamBeens again and again, for soup, for Ham & Beans and for just "plain" beans. I love the color, size and texture variation! Trader Joe's also has a dried bean mix that works well. For readers who have asked about which pantry spices to use, I'd recommend using the spices from this great recipe, Oven-Cooked Lentil Soup.

"Loved the soup without the spice packet." ~ Mahala
"This 15-bean soup is sooo good." ~ Anonymous
"You are right, the lemon seems to be key! Who knew?" ~ Anonymous
"Yum." ~ Juniper
Many ideas, recipe variations and recommendations in the comments below, be sure to check them out!


Hands-on time: 5 minutes the night before, 15 minutes the next day
Time to table: 12 - 24 hours
Makes 11 cups

20 ounces assorted beans,

8 cups fresh water
1 big ham bone (or a couple of ham hocks or about 1 pound chopped ham)
1 large onion, chopped

15 ounces canned diced tomato
1 teaspoon chili powder
Juice of a lemon (don't skip this)
1 - 2 cloves garlic, minced (I used a tablespoon from a jar)
SPICE PACKET - I ignored this

NIGHT BEFORE. Rinse the beans and pick out any dried beans. Cover with 2 quarts of water and leave to soak overnight. The beans will expand about 3X so be sure your pot is big enough. Drain the water.

DAY OF. Put the beans in a very large pot or Dutch oven and cover with water. Add the ham bone (or whatever you're using) and onion. (The Hurst's bag says to add the onion just a half hour before serving. To my taste, the onion was completely raw like that.) Bring to a boil.

TO CONTINUE ON STOVETOP. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 2 1/2 hours. (If a kind of scummy foam rises to the top, scrape it off with a slotted spoon and discard.) Then add the tomatoes, garlic, chili powder and lemon juice and let simmer for another 30 - 60 minutes.

TO CONTINUE IN OVEN. Transfer to a 200F oven for 2-1/2 hours. Then add the tomatoes, garlic, chili powder and lemon juice and let simmer for another 30 - 60 minutes.

SLOW COOKER 15-BEAN SOUP Hurst says that this recipe works well in the slow cooker. They say to skip soaking the beans, then cooking the rinsed beans, ham bone, onion and seven cups water (not eight cups) in the slow cooker on high for five hours (or low for seven to eight hours) until the beans are tender but not falling apart. Then add the tomato, chili powder, lemon juice and garlic and cook for another 30 minutes. Here's more info.

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  1. This sounds so good and wintery! And thanks for sharing the great bean mix--I had no idea!

  2. Oh good, there's at least two of us who didn't know about the bean mix.

    PS So wintry though if you look carefully, can you tell the photo was taken outside? It was 70-something that day. In JANUARY.

  3. I've bought this soup package, tossed the spices (too salty!), and added barbecue sauce to get the smoky flavor that works so well with beans (and that you'd get from adding ham). I also toss in leftover roast chicken, if I have it.

  4. This is a bowl full of good protein.

  5. This looks SO good. I wish they sold those beans in Canada. I'll have to look for a substitute!

  6. This is my dad's favorite kind of soup. Whenever my mom makes it, he always calls to tell me about it. It's the ham bone that always sends him over the top. It's really sweet when you think about it.

  7. I've been making this for years (well - except without the lemon and chili powder and tomatoes). I'm not sure where I "discovered" using as many beans and other legumes as possible to enrich my soup, but it's SO good that way! I just buy the packages of any and all dried beans/peas as I can find at the store and mix my own.

    Also, the old cook at the nursing home taught me this trick: Cover your beans w/water and about a tablespoon of baking soda and bring it to a boil. Drain, rinse and do it again - 3 or 4 times total. On the last rinse, be sure and pour off the skins that have come loose from the beans (use a colander under your stream of water). It's called "de-gasing" your beans and it really works. (I have heard of a lady who just puts the baking soda in the overnight soaking water to de-gas them, but I've never done it that way.) This method was easier for our patients to digest.

  8. Very interesting that so many of us just throw out that seasoning packet! I does make a beautiful bowl of soup.

  9. love this bean soup mix. i used to make it weekly... year round. i don't care for the ham spice packet (i'm vegetarian anyway) but, if you can find the chili flavor bag it's great. if not available, i just add my own spices. but... i do recommend the chili flavor soup mix if you can find it. also, i've found that if you cook the beans for quite awhile, then drain and rinse, and put back into pot, you should have less gas problems. as this also removes some flavor, i always added vegetable broth to the soup. i like combination canned veg. broth with knorr's veg. cube & water. thanks for your blog.

  10. You post saved the day! I had the beans soaking to try the next day, and my daughter threw away the bag and the spice packet, delivering them curbside for pickup. The next day when I realized what had happened I could only remember part of the recipe. Loved the soup without the spice packet. Mahala

  11. This 15-bean soup is sooo good. I love to serve it with corn bread or garlic bread and a side salad. The flavor packet probably is full of MSG so throwing it out is probably a good thing.

  12. Can you make this soup and omit the ham and ham flavoring?

  13. Sure -- but if you do eat meat, I'd recommend using something like bacon (or even just bacon grease) because they do really add flavor.

    1. You can buy a small bottle of "Liquid Smoke" by the BBQ sauces.

  14. interestingly enough, the "ham flavor packet" has no meat or meat derivatives, so its technically a vegetarian soup even with the packet. although i am a veggie, i still throw out the packet. hehe.

  15. Just a note: Rinse the beans and put them in the crockpot (with the water, etc.) and let the whole thing cook on low all day while you are at work. No need to pre-soak the beans! I toss the seasoning packet and use my own spices too!

  16. Hurst also makes a "Cajun" 15 bean soup mix. I used Morningstar Sausage crumbles instead of the recommended Italian Sausage, added a 28oz can of tomatoes instead of 14oz (recommended) and added the spice packet - it's a great, spicy bean soup for the winter!

  17. i learned about this soup when i lived in florida! i have been meaning to make it again - but always forget about it! so happy to find this and remind myself! going to make it this weekend!

    question - if i omit the ham and the seasoning packet - what specifically should i add?

  18. Hi Ellen ~ I'd suggest using the spices from this lentil soup. Let me know how it goes, will you?

  19. You are right the Lemon seems to be key! Who Knew?
    I am enjoying your website!

  20. I stumbled on your blog. Awesome! I have shared it with many friends and family.

    I make the bean soup and use the following variation: I throw in kitchen veggies that need to be used, e.g., celery. I toss in grape or cherry tomatoes at the end of the cooking cycle and let them cook for about 30 mins.

    It is awesome with the burst of color.

  21. Is it safe to refrigerate the soaked raw beans for 24hrs, and then make the soup recipe?

  22. Anonymous ~ I don't "know" for sure but I can't think of any reason why it wouldn't be safe and it's something I would do myself.

  23. love the look of this, thank you! I only just found your blog, you're in my google reader now :)

  24. I love bean soup. One of my favorite things to do is to take french bread, toast it lightly, spread some button on it, put some lettuce on it, and hot sauce if you'd like to, and then put some leftover bean soup on it -- once it's not hot, but not cold yet, and nice and thick -- and make a sandwich.

    Maybe it sounds odd, but it is absolutely DELICIOUS. You have to try it sometime.

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  28. Yum. Just before bed, I covered the beans w water, set to boil, turned off, & covered w a tea towel (on top of the lid) to soak over night. Meanwhile, I poured some boiling water over some smoked turkey necks in a crockpot & set it on low for the night. Next morning, I drained & rinsed the beans, covered them in turkey stock, set the beans to simmer, & went grocery shopping. When I got back, the turkey necks were cool enough to handle, so I picked off the meat, added it to the beans with the flavor packet (yup, I use 'em), a few sprinkles of thyme & sage, a big spoonful of minced garlic, & a frozen package of spinach. Simmered another 15 minutes & dished up. Yum!

  29. I've loved beans since I was little. The melting of the lentils and the smaller beans creates a very creamy and delicious soup.

  30. I love this soup (we call it floor-sweeping bean soup), though I usually skip the meat and the seasoning packet and add a little bit of liquid smoke at the end.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna