Ham, Lentil and Vegetable Soup (Pressure Cooker Version)

Have you ever finished off a spiral cut ham and wondered how to turn it into an amazing soup?  That was me after the holidays.  Use leftover ham and a pressure cooker to make ham stock and then a pressure cooker ham and lentil soup.

Ham Lentil and Vegetable Soup in the Pressure Cooker

If there’s one great comfort food soup, it’s split pea and ham.  In my case, I had a bunch of green lentils and an assortment of vegetables.  The first thing you’ll obviously need is the leftovers of a cooked bone-in ham. You’ll be using this large bone-in chunk to make some amazing ham stock.


Make Ham Stock with a Pressure Cooker

I’m going to strongly recommend using of a pressure cooker , or Instant Pot, for this recipe as it will literally save you hours of cooking time between the stock and the soup.  It’s also going to create an intensely flavored stock that’s difficult to reproduce by simmering alone.  If you’ve read articles about the amazing flavors of Instant Pot Broth, this is the core technique.

Because of the time savings, and flavor intensity, I’ve converted nearly all of my favorite soup recipes into pressure cooker soup recipes (which all work great with an Instant Pot too).

Pressure Cooking Ham Stock for Soup

The ham bone goes directly in the cooker with 8 cups of water, a chopped onion, lots of garlic and whole peppercorns.  After about 20 minutes you’ll have roughly 7 cups of stock leftover, depending on how hot you run your cooker.  Check the stock afterwards though to see about the sodium level.  Many hams, due to the curing process, have an insane amount of salt in them which will transfer to your stock.  In some cases, I dilute the stock with an equal amount of water.
For another fun example of how you can use leftover, yet still flavorful, food scraps to make flavorful stocks, check out my recipes for Parmesan Rind Stock (for soup and risotto) and Toasted Corn Stock from cobs and husks.

Pressure Cooking Lentils

This is basically a variation on split pea and ham soup.  Why?  Because I had two huge containers of Lentils in my cupboard when I went to make this.  Because they look so similar, it did get me wondering, “what is the difference between split peas and lentils?”.  And yes, they are different.  But they taste very similar.

For just about any legume or grain, my go to is to use the pressure cooker.  Of course, if you have an Instant Pot, you’ll use the Pressure setting on it.  They key to turning the lentils into a pressure cooker soup is to increase the water to lentil ratio.  Instead of 2:1, you’ll use 4 cups of water for every 1 cup of lentils inside the pressure cooker.


Making the Ham and Lentil Soup

Clean out the base of the pressure cooker and start to sweat the vegetables in olive oil.  The mix you use is really up to you.  I chose a mix of carrots, red peppers and green beans based on what I had in my vegetable drawer.   I also liked the contrast in colors and textures.
Here I used frozen green beans.  You could do the same with frozen chopped broccoli, or even frozen chopped spinach.  Your Instant Pot won’t really care, it’ll cook them all the same.  However, for maximum flavor, I wouldn’t recommend using frozen onions or frozen bell peppers.

Ham Lentil and Vegetable Soup in the Pressure Cooker

On a bitterly cold Chicago evening, this was a welcome soup.  Warming, hearty and bursting with ham flavor.  I’m looking forward to my next spiral cut ham, and my next big batch of pressure cooker ham and lentil soup.

5 from 1 vote
Ham Lentil and Vegetable Soup in the Pressure Cooker
Ham, Lentil and Vegetable Soup (Pressure Cooker Version)
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 30 mins

Use a leftover bone-in ham to make an amazing ham stock and then a delicious lentil and vegetable soup.  A Pressure Cooker, or Instant Pot, saves a significant amount of time

Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 Bowls
Author: Tony Bailey
Ham Stock
  • 1 Leftover Bone-in ham
  • 8 Cups Water
  • 1 White Onion chopped
  • 10 Cloves Garlic crushed
  • 1 Tablespoon Whole Peppercorns
Lentil Soup
  • 2 Cups Chopped Ham
  • 8 Cups Cooking Liquid Ham Stock and Water
  • 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Cups Lentils
  • 8 Cloves Garlic crushed
  • 1 White Onion chopped
  • 6 Carrots medium dice
  • 2 Red Peppers medium dice
  • 1 Cup Green Beans small pieces
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
Making the Ham Stock
  1. Place the ham bone in your pressure cooker and pour in the 8 cups of water
  2. Add the onion, garlic and peppercorns and bring to a boil. Seal and cook for 20 minutes when pressure has been reached
  3. Strain the liquid into a bowl and reserve. You'll probably have about 7 cups. Add water so that you have 8 cups total.
Making the Soup
  1. Clear out your pressure cooker, bring it back up to medium heat and add the olive oil
  2. Cook the onions for about 10 minutes until translucent
  3. Add the ham, garlic, carrots, red peppers and green beans. Mix in well to cover all with the oil.
  4. Add the lentils, pour in the stock and pressure cook for another 20 minutes


  1. I'm just finishing up making this…. wasn't sure on the setting for the pressure cooker. I used the HIGH setting (15 psi)…. hope it doesn't come out like mush….

  2. I have used the pressure cooker for many years but I have never seen any cooking so interesting. thank you for sharing your

  3. Pamela Fusili

    I made this soup over the holidays with a leftover Honey Baked Ham and it was amazing.

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