Ham and Cabbage Soup

This easy cabbage soup with ham is hearty, healthy, easy to make, and tastes fantastic. Jump to the Cabbage Soup Recipe with Ham or read on the see our tips for making it.

Ham and Cabbage Soup

How to Make The Best Cabbage Soup

Cabbage soup may not sound like the most exciting meal, but trust me this version with ham, carrots, and onions is delicious! Cabbage soups are popular around the world and became very popular thanks to the cabbage soup diet. This recipe isn’t necessarily a diet recipe, but it is nutritious, low calorie, and tastes amazing!

Cabbage is underrated. It’s good for you with high levels of vitamin C, is antioxidant-rich, and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory benefits. It’s also tasty. You can roast it, cook it on the stovetop, and add it to soups and stews. (You may enjoy our lemon garlic sauteed cabbage.)

Since cabbage shrinks and softens when it’s cooked, you can add lots of it to the pot. In this easy cabbage soup, we add eight whole cups of chopped cabbage, and to be honest, you could probably stir in quite a bit more.

A pot of the Best Cabbage Soup

We love cabbage in soups so much, that we even add some to our favorite vegetable soup. That recipe is entirely vegetarian, but for this version, we add a little bit of ham for flavor and extra protein.

Have you ever had ham in soup? Oh, it’s delicious. As the soup simmers, the ham flavors and seasons the broth. The soup becomes rich, hearty, and ultra-flavorful.

If you don’t have any ham on hand or do not eat meat, you can leave the ham out. It will still be terrific.

Here are a few reasons we love this cabbage soup recipe:

  • With over 12 cups of vegetables added, this vegetable-packed soup is healthy, easy to make, and tastes incredible.
  • There’s no fancy ingredients and everything needed is affordable.
  • You can take advantage of seasonal ingredients and use whatever cabbage is available. We used green cabbage in our photos, but savoy cabbage, Napa cabbage, and even Bok choy will work in its place.
  • The soup keeps well and tastes even better the next day, making it perfect to pack for lunches or make ahead for dinner tomorrow night. Leftover soup will last about three days in the refrigerator.
  • You can freeze it up to a month, if not more!

Making cabbage soup is simple, and it all happens in one pot!

Here’s an overview of how to make our cabbage soup (the full soup recipe is below):

  1. Sweat onions, carrots, and ham in olive oil. The ham browns a little and adds lots of flavor to the soup.
  2. Add more flavor with garlic, rosemary, pepper, and salt.
  3. Stir in the cabbage, and then pour in some stock, a can of diced tomatoes, and bay leaves.
  4. Simmer until the veggies are tender (about 20 minutes).
  5. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and a few lemon slices to brighten up the soup.
Cabbage soup with ham, tomatoes and lemon

Possible Variations

This cabbage soup has lots of possible variations. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Leave out the ham and use vegetable stock for vegetarian cabbage soup.
  • Swap the ham for bacon or sausage.
  • For a beef and cabbage soup, brown ground beef in the pan before adding the onions and carrots. Leave out the ham.
  • For a turkey or chicken cabbage soup, leave out the ham and stir in cooked and shredded turkey or chicken into the broth.
  • Add more protein by adding cooked, or canned beans — white beans, chickpeas, and black beans would be excellent.
  • For cabbage and potato soup, add potatoes along with the stock and tomatoes.
  • Make it creamy and add a splash of cream, milk, or unsweetened dairy-free milk like coconut. You can also serve with a dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream.
  • We love the combination of rosemary, garlic, and pepper, but you can use other spices. Try Italian seasoning, Za’atar spice blend, Cajun seasoning, or chili powder (here’s our homemade chili powder blend).
  • Add in some extra veggies. The number of vegetables you add to the soup is up to you. Feel free to toss in a handful of other veggies like spinach, cauliflower, summer squash, peas or corn.

More Simple, Healthy Recipes

Ham and Cabbage Soup

  • PREP
  • COOK

This easy cabbage soup recipe is hearty, healthy, easy to make, and tastes fantastic. Before adding to the soup, taste your ham to see how salty it is. Depending on the salt level, you may not need to add any additional salt to the soup. Taste and adjust the seasoning of the soup a few times during cooking.

Makes about 8 cups of soup or 4 to 6 servings

You Will Need

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups chopped onion (1 medium)

2 cups chopped carrot (4 medium)

1 1/2 cups cubed lean ham steak (7.5 ounces)

1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or use 1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

8 cups chopped cabbage (1 1/2 pounds)

1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices

6 cups low sodium chicken, ham or vegetable stock/broth, see our chicken stock recipe

2 bay leaves

Salt, to taste

3 lemon slices or more to taste


    Heat two tablespoons of the olive oil in a stockpot pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and the ham. Cook, stirring every once and a while until the vegetables have softened and the onions are translucent; 8 to 10 minutes.

    Add the garlic, rosemary, black pepper, and the red pepper flakes. Cook, while stirring, for one minute. Stir in the cabbage, and then pour in the canned tomatoes and their juices as well as the stock. Add the bay leaves.

    Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil. Taste then adjust with salt. The ham does add some salt to the soup so you may not need a lot of additional seasoning.

    Partially cover the pot with a lid, and then reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the cabbage, and other vegetables are tender.

    Remove the pot from the heat and remove the bay leaves. Stir in the lemon slices and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Taste and season with more salt and pepper. Serve.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Why lemon slices? While we don’t actually eat the lemon slices, by adding them to the soup, they brighten up the flavors a bit. You can also squeeze in fresh lemon juice or use vinegar like apple cider vinegar or wine vinegar.
  • Use Fresh tomatoes: Substitute about 1 pound (5 to 6 tomatoes) for one (15-ounce can) of diced tomatoes.
  • Store leftover soup up to 3 days in the refrigerator and up to a month in the freezer.
  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values. Calculations included low sodium chicken broth.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving: Serving Size About 1 cup / Calories 157 / Total Fat 7.8g / Saturated Fat 1.5g / Cholesterol 12mg / Sodium 436.4mg / Carbohydrate 13.7g / Dietary Fiber 4.2g / Total Sugars 5.1g / Protein 11.1g
AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter with easy, delicious, and fresh recipes and receive our eCookbook with 16 of our most loved recipes for free! Click Go to signup for free!

16 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Jackie Wishart January 18, 2021, 8:20 pm

    This was a really yummy soup I have to say! I did moderate slightly by using some leftover marinara sauce and the 1/4cup of apple cider vinegar as suggested by Soupman! Definitely a keeper and looking forward to the leftovers tonight!😋

  • Soup Man January 4, 2021, 4:45 pm

    Skip the lemon. Try adding 1/4c apple cider vinegar

  • Elizabeth S November 28, 2020, 6:47 pm

    Excellent soup. The flavor was amazing! 5 Stars

  • Vinnie the Pooh October 15, 2020, 9:24 pm

    I drive an awful lot with my job, and on the way home I usually think about what I’m going to cook for my wife and myself for dinner. I stopped in front of the grocery store in our little small town tonight and bought everything in this recipe, just as written. I had to call my wife on her way home to ask her to pick up a lemon, I forgot that. She came home, we had dinner, and I moved this recipe to the front of my recipe binder with a huge star on it. It’s a little more than amazing, this is Michelin Star worthy. Thank you very much! Very impressive.

  • Marla August 23, 2020, 10:26 pm

    Our weather got too hot & muggy again for soup making, but I’m looking forward to making it soon! ThNK YOU

  • Janet August 17, 2020, 9:56 am

    Think this is the best coleslaw I’ve ever had. Thank you!

  • Rosemarie Hill April 18, 2020, 5:28 pm

    this is wonderful soup! I was a little surprised by the addition of rosemary since I have never thought that cabbage and rosemary would work well together. I was wrong, it was perfect. Did not use the lemon as the soup was delicious on it’s own. thanks for a great recipe.

  • Robin January 2, 2020, 12:18 pm

    Made this recipe yesterday in the crock pot. Followed it almost exactly but added some celery that I had leftover from Christmas and a dash of dry oregano. It was so good! Even my sometimes picky hubby (that doesn’t always like cabbage) loved it! Great way to use up leftover ham!

  • Cécile December 9, 2019, 6:39 pm

    I really meant to follow this recipe religiously but the pantry was bare of tomatoes! I did find a jar of marinara sauce which I used…sorry. Then, I had to adjust the herbs…just reduced the amounts a bit. The end result was awesome! Will definitely make this again using the canned tomatoes. Thank you so much!

  • Patricia Wyvill December 6, 2019, 8:49 pm

    This was a tasty recipe. Followed to a tee except added 1 tbsp minced parsley before serving. I will keep as one of my favorites!

  • Judith A Sage January 25, 2019, 8:42 am

    This looks so good and better than my cabbage soup recipe! I can’t wait to make it myself:)

  • Deb January 11, 2019, 5:53 am

    Doubled this recipe to fill a large crockpot for coworkers, but made the soup at home on my stovetop. The soup was fantastic! Highlights : inexpensive ingredients, lemon slices a unique flavor idea, cooks up quickly ! Loved it.

  • Jen Little November 11, 2018, 5:24 pm

    The whole family LOVED this soup!! It made 3 full meals and the kids took it for lunch, too!

  • Nutritionist Mira November 8, 2018, 10:34 am

    As a Nutritionist, I appreciate this recipe with all healthy ingredients. It is really a healthy and delicious food with full of nutrients. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, I will try at home.

  • Carmen November 1, 2018, 8:58 pm

    I made this yesterday. I left out the lemons at the end because this was so delicious while it was cooking that I didn’t think it needed anything else. The smell alone will make you hungry. Had a piece of old-fashioned corn bread to go with it and OMG, what a meal!


Leave a Comment/Review

All comments are moderated before appearing on the site. Thank you so much for waiting. First time commenting? Please review our Comment Guidelines. You must be at least 16 years old to post a comment. All comments are governed by our Privacy Policy & Terms.

* Required fields (Email address will not be published)

Did you make it? How was it?:


Previous Post: Next Post: