Lentil Soup with Ham

Lentil Soup with Ham is our favorite way to use up leftover ham from the holidays! No leftover ham? No worries, just grab some thick sliced ham from the deli counter!

We love serving this lentil soup with crusty bread or a buttery Garlic Bread! A light tossed salad like this Escarole Bistro Salad will finish off the meal!

Lentil soup recipe with ham and vegetables

Lentil Soup With Ham Recipe

Of course we make this lentil soup with ham with our leftover ham from Thanksgiving or Christmas, but we love it so much we find ourselves grabbing ham at the deli counter just so we can make a batch.

Lentils are hearty and filling, and also very nutritious so this soup recipe is a home run in many ways! Our boys love grabbing crusty pieces of bread slathered with butter for eating this soup.

Lentil soup freezes beautifully, too! Lentils retain their shape and texture really well after a few days in the refrigerator and even after freezing. So this leftover ham recipe will not only make you a couple of dinners, but create even more leftovers that you can freeze for another easy dinner!

How To Make Lentil Soup with Ham

Start by cooking down your aromatics. Carrots, onion and celery for this lentil soup recipe, followed by a good amount of chopped garlic. Once the vegetables have softened, pour in your favorite, dry red wine to deglaze the pot.

If you’re not a red wine drinker, you still can grab a decent, inexpensive bottle to cook with – as long as it’s not cooking wine. Use the rest to make a delicious Beef Stew or many other recipes that use red wine as an ingredient.

Carrots, onions and celery in a pot for making lentil soup

Why Do You Add Wine To A Soup Recipe?

When you add wine or any kind of alcohol to deglaze a pan, it not only works wonderfully but it adds  ton of flavor to whatever you’re making. See how perfectly clean the bottom of the pot is after adding the wine?

All of those delicious brown bits add so much flavor to this lentil soup with ham recipe, so you really don’t want to skip this step. If you really don’t want to cook with wine or alcohol, you can always use beef broth or water instead.

Red wine deglazing a pot with carrots, onions and celery

After you have deglazed the pot, stir in the dried lentils and leftover ham. I like adding the ham at this step because it adds flavor to the broth as it cooks. Some lentil soup recipes call for adding the ham at the end, but I feel like you’re missing out on all that ham flavor!

Lentils in a soup pot with vegetables and ham

Simmer the soup for about 35-40 minutes until the lentils are nice and tender. Adjust the seasonings in the soup at this point if needed. Our trick to thickening this lentil soup is to take out about a cup of the lentils and mash them in a bowl. Add the mashed lentils back to the soup and stir to combine.

Mashing the lentils will thicken the base of the soup slightly without adding any flour or cream and it’s oh so tasty.

Lentil Soup with Ham in a white bowl with bread on the side

How Do You Serve Lentil Soup with Ham?

Like you see here in our pictures, we love serving this soup recipe with lots of good quality grated parmesan cheese and extra fresh thyme and black pepper. I’m not really sure if parmesan cheese is traditional for lentil soup or not…but I can tell you that it’s super yummy. So we add it.

Lentil Soup with Ham in a bowl with a spoon and parmesan cheese

In addition to garnishing our soup, we like to slice and toast some good, crusty bread like a French baguette or ciabatta bread. Slather that bread with lots of salty butter and you’ve got edible utensils for eating this lentil soup with ham.

At least that’s how our boys eat it. The more bread and butter the better.

Lentil Soup with Ham in a bowl with spoon

Can You Freeze Lentil Soup?

Yes! Lentil soup freezes perfectly! Especially since there’s no pasta in this soup recipe, all you have are the lentils, ham and vegetables, all which are perfect for freezing. We often make a double batch of this soup, especially if we have a lot of leftover ham, then freeze it in small portions to pull out for an easy meal.

Looking For More Delicious Soup Recipes?

Lentil Soup with Ham in a bowl with spoon

Lentil Soup with Ham

  • Author: Dan
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x

This comforting Lentil Soup with Ham is not only a delicious leftover ham recipe, but you can freeze it for more easy dinners! No leftover ham? No worries! Just grab a ham steak or thick sliced ham from the deli counter!



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 16 ounce bag lentils, rinsed
  • 2 cups cooked, diced ham
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 5 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 11 1/2 teaspoons cumin (start with 1 and then you can season with more at the end)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Grated parmesan cheese and fresh black pepper for garnish


  1. Add the oil to a dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, salt, pepper and thyme, and then cook for 5-7 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Stir in the garlic and cook for one minute more.
  2. Pour in the wine to deglaze the pot, scraping up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Let the wine reduce for a minute or two until it’s just about evaporated, then add the lentils and ham to the pot, stirring to combine the ingredients.
  3. Next add the crushed tomatoes, beef broth, water , cumin and bay leaves and bring the soup to a boil. Skim the foam off of the top of the soup and then stir so that the lentils don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered for 35-40 minutes until the lentils are soft. Stir the soup occasionally while simmering.
  4. Remove the bay leaves. Take about a cup of the lentils out of the soup and add to a bowl. Mash the lentils with a fork or a potato mashed and then stir back into the soup. Taste for seasonings and adjust if needed and then serve.
  5. Garnish the soup with grated parmesan cheese, more black pepper and fresh thyme if desired.
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: mantitlement, lentil soup recipe, lentil soup with ham, leftover ham recipe, leftover recipe, comfort food recipes





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