Kalyn's Kitchen

Butter Bean Soup with Ham and Cabbage

Butter Bean Soup with Ham and Cabbage can be made with dried or canned beans; use Lima Beans if you don’t find butter beans. 

PIN Butter Bean Soup with Ham and Cabbage!

Butter Bean (or Lima Bean) Soup with Ham and Cabbage found on KalynsKitchen.com

If you’re someone who might be inclined to turn up your nose at the mention of butter beans or lima beans, stay with me for a minute here.  I first made this Butter Bean Soup with Ham and Cabbage with Florida Butter Beans, (a type of heirloom baby lima bean, also known as Calico Pole Beans) that I bought in San Francisco from Rancho Gordo Beans.  The Florida Butter Beans are creamy and delicious, and if you can find those (or something similar) I highly recommend making this soup starting with dried beans that you’ve soaked overnight.

But when I decided this recipe *must* have an updated photo, I decided to try it with canned butter beans from the supermarket, and I was happily surprised at how good it was that way too.  If you still can’t wrap your mind around the idea of butter beans or lima beans, try the soup with a different type of white bean!

I first made this soup when I had a bad cold that hung on for weeks and I needed some comfort food. But it was just as delicious when I made it again recently on one of those cold winter days where nothing sounds as appealing as soup simmering on the stove!

What ingredients do you need for this recipe?

Butter Bean (or Lima Bean) Soup with Ham and Cabbage found on KalynsKitchen.com

How to Make Butter Bean Soup with Ham and Cabbage:

(Scroll down for complete recipe with nutritional information.)

  1. If you’re lucky enough to have some dried Florida Butter Beans or another type of dried butter bean or large white bean, soak them at least 8 hours, then drain the beans.
  2. If  you have canned butter beans, drain them into a colander and rinse well with cold water, until no more foam appears.
  3. Heat the oil in a heavy soup pot and saute the onion and celery a few minutes; then add the Dried Thyme (affiliate link) and cook a couple of minutes more.
  4. Add the beans and 2 quarts water (for dried beans ) or 6 cups water (for canned beans.) 
  5. For dried beans, simmer on low until the beans are tender, probably an hour or more. 
  6. For canned beans, simmer about 20 minutes. (Add more water as needed while the beans are cooking.)
  7. While the beans cook, finely chop the cabbage.
  8. I started with this boneless ham steak from Costco for the ham. Cut up enough ham to make about 2 cups of diced ham. (Depending on how flavorful your ham is, you may want to add a little ham bouillon to the soup when you add the ham.  Goya Ham Bouillon (affiliate link) is my favorite brand, but there are other good brands.)
  9. When the dried beans are nearly soft, add the ham and cabbage and cook about 30 minutes more at a low simmer (or maybe a little longer for dried beans), until the beans are quite soft and the cabbage is completely soft and almost dissolving into the soup.
  10. And here’s how my soup looked after it had simmered more and was ready to eat.

More Recipes Using Butter Beans or Large White Beans:

Ottolenghi’s Fried Beans with Sorrel, Feta, and Sumac ~ David Lebovitz
Spanish Chicken Baked with Butter Beans, Chorizo, and Olives ~ Cook Sister
Southern Butter Beans ~ Never Enough Thyme
Florida Butter Beans with Caramelized Onions and Bacon ~ The Kitchn
Butter Bean Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, Feta, and Basil Vinaigrette – Kalyn’s Kitchen

Weekend Food Prep:

This recipe has been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep  to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!

Butter Bean (or Lima Bean) Soup with Ham and Cabbage found on KalynsKitchen.com

Butter Bean Soup with Ham and Cabbage

Yield 8 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Additional Time 8 hours
Total Time 9 hours 40 minutes

Butter Bean Soup with Ham and Cabbage can be made with dried or canned beans and this tasty soup is warm and comforting.


  • 1 lb. dried butter beans (see notes)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped small
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 quarts water
  • Goya Ham Bouillon, to taste (optional, but recommended)
  • 2 cups finely chopped green cabbage
  • 2 cups finely diced ham (see notes)
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste


  1. Soak dried beans for about 8 hours, then pour into colander, rinse, and let drain. (I think the best way to cook beans is to soak them all day while you’re at work, then cook at night.)
  2. For canned beans, drain them into a colander placed in the sink and rinse well with cold water (until you don’t see any more foam.)
  3. In heavy soup pot, heat olive oil, saute onion and celery 3-4 minutes, until starting to soften, then add thyme and saute 1-2 minutes more. Add beans and 2 quarts water (for dried beans) or 6 cups water (for canned beans).
  4. Cook dried beans at a low simmer until they are starting to soften, adding a little more water occasionally if needed. (This could take an hour or more, depending on how fresh the beans are.)
  5. Cook canned beans about 20 minutes at a low simmer.
  6. When beans feel like they are about 3/4 soft (when you bite down on one) add ham flavor base (affiliate link) if using, finely chopped cabbage, and finely diced ham.
  7. Cook about 30 minutes more (or maybe a little longer for canned beans), until beans are very soft, soup broth is very flavorful, and most of the cabbage has disintegrated into the soup.
  8. Season to taste with fresh ground black pepper and serve hot.


Use Rancho Gordo Florida Butter Beans, other dried butter beans, or baby lima beans to make this soup. Or use three or four 15-oz. cans of butter beans if you can’t find dried beans. If you have a ham bone or some pieces of rind, by all means use them and remove when you serve the soup. This recipe was created by Kalyn when she had Rancho Gordo Florida Butter Beans.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 272Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 485mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 12gSugar: 7gProtein: 21g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Dried beans are approved for all phases of the South Beach Diet, but the serving size is limited for phase one. Since this soup has other things besides beans, you could eat a small bowl for phase one or a larger bowl for phase two or three. Soup with beans like this is too high in carbs for a low-carb diet plan.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Soup Recipes to find more tasty soups like this one! Use the Diet Type Index to find recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Pinterest image of Butter Bean Soup with Ham and Cabbage

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    37 Comments on “Butter Bean Soup with Ham and Cabbage”

  1. The Rancho Gordo beans are really amazing!

  2. I don't think I've ever eaten butter beans. I'm going to order some from Rancho Gordo and give them a try.

  3. This is a true "coeur du Sud" of recipes. The heart of the South. Garden fresh butter beans, thick dices of ham, and giant cabbages just picked peppered every summer day I can remember. Abundance. Thank you for jarring my memory. Now I must go and recreate this…

  4. Minda, I haven't cooked this type of beans in the pressure cooker so I wouldn't be able to give you an exact recipe without experimenting with it, but you might read the directions for this pressure cooker soup with beans, ham, and vegetables which has similar ingredients. I'd love to hear how it turns out if you do try it.

  5. How would you modify this for the pressure cooker? Thanks!

  6. I just did a butter bean soup with ham and leeks that I think you would love!! It has no cream or butter (so it’s South Beach friendly) but pureeing the leeks gives it a creamy texture.


    Thanks again for being such an inspiration!

  7. Thanks everyone for the get-well wishes. I’m a little better, but not great, and counting the days until Christmas vacation.

    Laurie, I love all the Penzeys soup bases, but my favorites are ham and turkey. Both are very tasty.

  8. Kalyn, I’ve always wondered about those Penzey’s soup bases. You clearly like the ham version because you’re using it here. Do you use it often? How about the other Penzey soup bases, do you like them too??

  9. Never heard of these beans here, but on our farmers´market there appear more and more heirloom apples, potatoes and so on.
    Must be delicious and heart warming, Hope you are feeling better soon.:)

  10. I hope you feel better soon. The soup looks great. Perfect for our -12 degree weather!

  11. I love this soup, can almost taste it. We grow this type of bean in the South, but harvest them when they are very young and small. They are incredibly tasty, the best bean in the world.

  12. So sorry to hear you’re not feeling well, Kalyn, and wish you a speedy recovery.
    This bean soup looks delicious. Aren’t Gordos beans just the best? We’ve got a bean grower up here in my neck of the woods who’s going to give Steve a run for him money though. I’ll be writing about them this winter.
    Thanks for the link!

  13. I love, love, love bean soup! Actually, I’d happily eat soup every meal all winter long. We have a a few different kins of beans here – no lima or butter beans, though. The local comfort food is Mogettes, which is a type of bean that I think would be perfect in this…I’ll let you know – next time I buy a cabbage

  14. oh yum — i have been all about soup lately too! it’s the perfect dinner when it gets cold outside. this one looks wonderful!

  15. Bean and ham soup sounds both tasty and hearty. Get well soon!

  16. I’ve been all about the soup lately too (trying to find other things to post about!) but I don’t have the excuse of illness, just that I like eating with a spoon, I suppose. Hope you’re feeling better soon.

  17. Hi Kalyn,

    Soup looks so tempting , perfect for winter days 🙂 . thanks for sharing .
    As being away from blog world since last couple of month , i am sure i missed many good dishes here… will take a look to all of it soon . Keep on sharing 🙂

  18. I love the color of the soup and the nice bowl in which you put it: the ensemble looks delicious and healing. I didn’t know about this kind of beans: they sound interesting. I hope you’ll get well soon.

  19. This sounds delicious and so warming. I can’t wait to try it – I’m sure it will make the house smell amazing.

  20. This soup looks so satisfyingly warm and hearty, Kalyn. I never, ever tire of bean soup, and with cooler temps coming to San Diego, it looks like I’ll be making some soon.