Ham and Lentil Soup (Instant Pot & Slow Cooker)


If you’re wondering what to do with your leftover Christmas ham, I have the answer! THIS: Ham and Lentil Soup.

Ham and Lentil Soup by Ashley of MyHeartBeets.com

The most delicious soup made with melt-in-your-mouth red lentils and ham! Topped with crispy bits of ham on top – this is going to be your go-to soup this holiday season.


We decided that since this was Tony’s FIRST CHRISTMAS that we would host a Christmas party! After the party, we had a good amount of ham leftover, which was awesome because the truth is that I like ham better as an ingredient in a recipe than on its own. The leftover hambone is worth more to me than the meat itself – it imparts SO much flavor in soup!

I know lentils never really look very appetizing but anyone who has tried them knows how tasty they are. This soup is comforting and filling and the perfect dish to enjoy around the holidays. It makes A LOT of soup too, which is great for those hosting family or for those looking to stash the freezer with tasty leftovers.

Fry up some chopped pieces of ham and top your soup with them – it makes this “nice” dish feel “naughty.” Yes, I definitely just called ham soup “naughty.” I don’t even know… just trust me and try it!

Ham and Lentil Soup by Ashley of MyHeartBeets.com

This Christmas has been a really special one for my family because… we have a little baby in the house! Our little guy isn’t even three months old yet but he has made this Christmas so much fun for us. We put up more decorations this year both inside and outside the house (love these solar power outdoor Christmas lights!). And we decided to have our very first Christmas party, which will hopefully now be an annual event! We invited all of our Pittsburgh friends, and we all crammed into our tiny cozy living room and had a blast. We played Christmas music, served mulled wine and hot chocolate in my two Instant Pots (so people could serve themselves), and catered most of the food (because #newmom). I had my husband dress up as Santa Claus!

Here’s a picture of the three of us from our party:

Baby Tony loved meeting Santa! Well, actually, at first, he pulled on Santa’s beard – probably to make sure he was the real deal. But once he confirmed that Santa was legit, he decided the two of them were cool.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and we wish you all the best this holiday season!!

For more leftover ham recipes, you might like:

Need to make a ham first? Here’s my recipe for ham with a spiced honey glaze (instant pot).

Ham and Lentil Soup by Ashley of MyHeartBeets.com

Ham & Lentil Soup (Instant Pot & Slow Cooker)

Ham and Lentil Soup by Ashley of MyHeartBeets.com

Ham & Lentil Soup (Instant Pot & Slow Cooker)

4.84 from 25 reviews
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  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 2 onions diced
  • 3 stalks celery diced
  • 3 carrots sliced
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 meaty ham bone
  • 1 pound red lentils
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper adjust to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste


Instant Pot Directions

  • Press the sauté button on the Instant Pot, and add the oil, onions, celery, carrots and garlic to the pot. Stir-fry for 5 minutes. (This is an optional step. You can dump everything in at once if you want).
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the pot.
  • Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 35 minutes at high pressure.
  • Allow the pressure to release naturally.
  • Remove the ham bone from the pot. Once cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bone and put it back in the pot.
  • Serve the soup with fried pieces of chopped ham (make sure you do this! It takes the soup to another level!).

Slow Cooker Directions

  • Add everything to the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.
  • Serve the soup with fried pieces of chopped ham (make sure you do this! It takes the soup to another level!).


  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve the soup with fried pieces of chopped ham (make sure you do this! It takes the soup to another level!).
  • If reheating, thin the soup out with water or broth.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @myheartbeets on Instagram and hashtag it #myheartbeets!

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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

About Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.


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  1. Deb says

    5 stars
    Delicious! I only had cubed leftover black forest ham, so I used chicken stock instead of water to make up for flavor lost by not having a ham bone. Also did not add salt and used a smaller amount of dried thyme instead of fresh. Thickens up and tastes even better the next day.

  2. Darin Diehl says

    5 stars
    I made this as my first meal in our new Instapot. So delicious. Really pleased with the texture and how well the flavours combine.

  3. Patty says

    5 stars
    Excellent recipe! I used other lentil I didn’t have any red. And I topped with extra crispy bacon I forgot to take ham off the meaty bone. This soup was gone in less than an hour, for three people.

  4. Stephanie Crum says

    I couldn’t find red lentils and had green ones in my pantry so I am currently making this in my crockpot with green lentils. I’m hoping it comes out tasty with this substitution.

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