If you’re craving a comforting soup recipe with a nice kick, this Italian Ham and White Bean Orzo Soup is for you! The rich chicken broth-based broth is amped up with garlic, Italian seasoning, and fire-roasted tomatoes. It’s a super easy dinner recipe that comes together in just 40 minutes!
You all know how much I love soup! This time, I made you one of my favorites — Italian Ham and White Bean Orzo Soup. It’s a super simple Italian soup loaded with flavor thanks to the ham, garlic and fire roasted tomatoes!
This is the world’s best ham and bean soup recipe because it only takes 40 minutes to make! Sauté the onion, orzo and ham then throw everything together in a large pot and bring to a simmer. Cook until the orzo is tender. That’s it! Really! It all comes together in under an hour and in one pot. It doesn’t get simpler than that!
Serve this soup with fresh basil, parmesan cheese, a side salad, and thick crusty bread for dipping, and enjoy!
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Key Ingredients for Italian Ham and White Bean Orzo Soup
- Olive Oil: This is the ideal fat to sauté your veggies in because it’s mild and has a high smoke point, which will prevent the butter from burning. You could also use avocado oil.
- Butter: This adds a rich flavor to the soup. But make sure to use unsalted. This helps you better control the amount of sodium in the soup.
- Orzo Pasta: Orzo is small and easy to scoop up with a spoon, making it the ideal pasta for this soup.
- Onion: One small white, yellow, or Vidalia onion would work best in this recipe.
- Garlic: This is one of the star ingredients of this dish, so you’re going to use four cloves total. You could go up to six if you’re a true garlic lover, but any more than that would overpower the soup.
- Ham: This recipe is a great way to use up any leftover ham you have on hand after the holidays. Just cube it and throw it into the soup! You could also omit the ham entirely if you want to make this soup vegetarian.
- Chicken Stock: Of course, homemade is best, but store-bought is fine. Just go for some that’s high-quality, free-range, and organic since its the foundation of the soup. You can also substitute vegetable stock if you want to make it vegan or prefer it.
- Italian Seasoning: This soup wouldn’t be complete without a heavy sprinkle of Italian seasoning. It brings all of the ingredients together!
- Canned tomatoes: You’ll use one can of fire roasted tomatoes which amps up the tomato flavor!
- Beans: White beans like cannellini beans work best in this recipe because they’re hearty with a mild flavor that takes on and compliments whatever they’re cooked with. Just make sure to rinse them before adding to your soup to eliminate any metallic flavor from the can.
- Salt and pepper: Season to preference after your ham and bean soup has simmered.
How To Make Italian Ham and White Bean Orzo Soup
- Heat oil and butter in a large pot. Add in orzo, onion and ham and sauté for a couple of minutes until onion is tender. Add in garlic and cook for an additional minute.
Wait, you want me to sauté my pasta? Yes! Toasting the orzo, like you’d do with rice or quinoa, helps make it more flavorful and helps it absorb the broth it cooks in better.
- Pour in chicken stock, water, seasoning, tomatoes and beans, and simmer for 20 minutes or until pasta is fully cooked.
- Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm and garnish with freshly chopped basil or parsley if desired. (This soup gets thickened up by the orzo so if it get’s too thick add a bit more water or chicken stock to thin it out.) That’s it! Enjoy!
Best Toppings for This Soup
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes: Spice up your white bean and ham soup with some crushed red pepper flakes. But don’t use a heavy pour! A little goes a long way.
- Fresh basil: Fresh is definitely preferred over dried for this recipe for two reasons — there’s likely dried basil in your Italian seasoning, and dried has a completely different flavor than fresh. Plus, it adds beautiful pops of bright green color to the soup.
- Parmesan cheese: If possible, use freshly grated, but the stuff in the container is fine, too. If you do go with a wedge, save that rind! It’s a perfect flavor booster for future soups, stocks, and broths.
What To Serve with This Ham and Bean Soup
This soup is decadent and delicious as it is, but it is even better with some bread to dunk into it. Any of these homemade bread recipes would pair beautifully with this ham and bean soup recipe:
- 1-hour focaccia bread
- The BEST dinner rolls
- Bacon cheddar biscuits
- Pretzel rolls
- Garlic cheese biscuits
If you’re more of a cracker-and-soup person, oyster crackers or Saltines offer pleasant pops of crunch and saltiness that go well with this recipe, too. However you choose to eat this white bean and ham soup, you’re sure to love it!
How To Make Instant Pot Italian Ham and White Bean Soup
Are you a fan of the Instant Pot? Me too! It is perfect for achieving cooked-all-day flavor in a matter of minutes!
While I chose to make this soup on the stovetop in a large pot, like a dutch oven, you can easily make it your pressure cooker. Just follow these steps to make your own Instant Pot ham and bean soup:
- Set your Instant Pot to the sauté setting, and allow it to preheat with the lid on and locked.
- Add the butter, olive oil, orzo, ham, and onion, and sauté for a couple of minutes until the onion soften.
- Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or so, until aromatic.
- Pour in chicken stock, water, seasoning, tomatoes, and cannellini beans. Scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the inner pot to avoid burning and to maximize flavor. Set to pressure cook on HIGH with the lid on/locked and with the knob pointed to “sealed.”
- Set cook time by pressing pressure cook or manual (be sure pressure is set to HIGH) and use the +/- keys to adjust the time to 5 minutes.
- After that cook time, allow the pressure release naturally. Resist the urge to do a quick release, as the Instant Pot is filled with starchy liquid that may spew all over your kitchen, and you risk burning yourself. The natural release of steam is also a critical part of the cooking process, so don’t rush it. This usually takes 10 minutes for the pressure to fully release.
- Remove lid, and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve and garnish with crushed red pepper flakes, parmesan cheese, and fresh basil. Enjoy!
That’s it for turning this ham and bean soup recipe into an Instant Pot-friendly version!
Storage, Freezing, and Reheating Instructions
- To store: Keep leftover Italian Ham and White Bean Orzo Soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
- To freeze: Place leftover soup in a freezer-safe airtight container and freeze for up to six months. You could also use a Ziplock bag to freeze; just squeeze out as much air as possible and lay flat to freeze thoroughly It’ll be easier to store this way after it has frozen solid.
- To reheat: Zap refrigerated leftovers in the microwave at 30-second intervals until desired warmth is reached, or simmer in a small post over medium-low heat. Avoid boiling. If using frozen leftovers, allow them to thaw in the fridge overnight. Then follow instructions for reheating on the stovetop. You can also microwave, but you do run the risk of leaving “cold pockets” in the soup; so simmering on the stove is best and ensures it is evenly heated throughout. Add a bit of stock or water if needed to thin it out, and enjoy!
More Soup Recipes To Try
If you liked my Italian Ham and White Bean Soup, then you’ll love these other soup recipes!
- Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
- Easy Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
- Easy Italian Meatball Soup
- The BEST Stuffed Pepper Soup
- Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup
- Italian Gnocchi Soup with Kale and Sausage
- Turkey Meatball Vegetable Soup
- Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup
Italian Ham and White Bean Orzo Soup
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 1/2 cups ham, cubed
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 cups water
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 15-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes, with juice
- 2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- salt and pepper to taste
- crushed red pepper flakes for serving, if desired
- grated parmesan for serving, if desired
- basil for serving, if desired
- Heat oil and butter in a large pot.
- Add in orzo, onion and ham and saute for a couple of minutes until onion is tender.
- Add in garlic and cook for an additional minute.
- Pour in stock, water, seasoning, tomatoes and beans.
- Simmer for 20 minutes or until pasta is fully cooked.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve warm and garnish with freshly chopped basil or parsley if desired.