January 24, 2023

Ham, bean, and rivels soup

Serving bowl of ham, beans, and rivels soup with a spoon.

Use your leftover ham to create this family favorite ham, beans, and rivels soup. It's a delicious and budget-friendly meal for a cold day.

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As a kid, my mom made a big pot of this ham, bean, and rivels soup almost every time we had leftover ham. If she didn't make this, then she made a pot of this Pennsylvania Dutch Ham, Green Beans, & Potatoes dish

Since a lot of my mom's family originally lived in Pennsylvania, and in PA Dutch country, some of the family favorites we enjoy come from that region. 

What are rivels? Rivels are a rustic dumpling that are often used in soups and common in Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. Rivels are made from flour, eggs, and milk. 

They are a soup-stretcher like other types or dumplings or pasta. They are very easy to make and are also delicious! 

Top view of finished ham, beans, and rivels soup.

This soup recipe comes from my mom. She shared with me her technique for creating rivels as well based on her memories of being taught. 

I also have a couple Pennsylvania Dutch cookbooks that I will refer to pretty frequently for inspiration. I like this old Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking book. There are several of them out there and there is one that is frequently free as an e-book as well. 

This meal was always a favorite of mine as a kid. It's really flavorful, and it's so comforting on a cold evening. Serve with a loaf of your favorite bread or rolls on the side, and/or with a salad for a complete dinner.

This soup is very budget-friendly as well. It uses dried white beans and leftover ham and the rivels are made from only three ingredients. The broth is made from the ham so it's flavorful from that.

Bowl of ham, beans, and rivels soup.

This is a terrific recipe to try out the next time you have a ham and have leftovers. Save it for your holiday leftovers and anytime you have a ham (we often save the ham bone in the freezer for later as well). 

Just make sure you have some meat left on the ham bone to make a hearty soup. Or save a few hunks of ham that can be added if the bone is pretty free of meat.

Yield: about 6 servings
Author: Amy (Savory Moments)
Ham, Bean, & Rivels Soup

Ham, Bean, & Rivels Soup

Use your leftover ham to create this family favorite ham, beans, and rivels soup. It's a delicious and budget-friendly meal for a cold day.


  • 1 cup dried white beans, rinsed and picked through
  • 1 meaty ham bone
  • water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small-medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • about 3 tablespoons milk
  • dried or fresh parsley, for garnish


  1. Rinse the white beans and then soak the white beans in cold water overnight.
  2. Place the ham bone in a large soup pot with about 6-8 cups of water (enough to cover the bone), the bay leaf, and some pepper. Bring to a boil over medium heat, cover, and let simmer until the meat is falling off the bone, about 3 hours.
  3. Remove the ham bone and set in on a cutting board to cool. Skim any foam/scum off the broth as needed.
  4. Drain the white beans and add them to the soup pot along with the onion. Cover and continue to simmer until the beans are soft and creamy, about 1 hour.
  5. When the ham bone has cooled enough to handle, remove the meat and shred/dice into bite-sized pieces, removing any fat, etc. Get off as much meat as you are able. Return the meat to the pot. Season with salt and pepper as needed (the broth will be salty from the ham).
  6. In a bowl, whisk together the flour with a good pinch of salt. Stir in the egg and then add milk 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring after each addition, until the dough comes together.
  7. Bring the soup back up to a low boil. Use two teaspoons to scoop up the dough into about 1-1/2 inch long pieces that are about 1/2-inch wide (these are approximate and very rustic).
  8. Drop the rivel dough in one at a time into the soup and continue until all the dough is used. Give it a good stir and put the cover back in the pot. Let cook until the rivels float and are cooked through, about 2 minutes.
  9. Remove the bay leaf and serve garnished with the parsley.
Did you make this recipe?
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I hope you give this ham, bean, and rivel soup a try! Let me know in the comments below.

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This post was originally published in 2015 and has been updated in 2023 with a recipe card, new text, and more to improve reader experience.

Check out these other Pennsylvania Dutch inspired recipes:

Shoofly Pie

Old-fashioned Cornmeal Griddle Cakes

Pennsylvania Dutch Ham, Green Beans, & Potatoes 

Chicken, Corn, & Rivels Soup


  1. Great soup full of flavor and perfect for these cold days. BTW your cookies sound great, I always drain of the bacon fat when I cook bacon and use it later for cooking or baking.

  2. I needed this recipe last week. We had baked a huge ham and had leftovers in one way or another all week. This sounds good.

  3. I have not had this soup since I lived back at home but it is a perfectly delicious warming and comforting soup. I could sure go for a bowl now.. It is so damp and nasty in Hong Kong this week. Everyone is coughing and sneezing and just trying to stay healthy. Take Care

  4. I wish I could have a bowl now. It looks hearty and so flavourful.

  5. This will be a good soup for when I have ham leftovers. Looks delicious!

  6. Dear Amy, I have to admit I had to look up the word "rivel", here is what I found "a very small dumpling made of a batter of butter, egg, flour, and seasoning, cooked in broth" - always love to learn something new - thank you for a wonderful recipe - this soup sounds wonderful! You always post fabulous, comfort-style, family-friendly recipes!

  7. Delicious and hearty soup Amy...what an awesome way to use up ham...
    Enjoy your week :)

  8. I'm glad to know about rivel--sound delish to me! Such nice chunks of ham--looks like a delicious bowl of comfort!!

  9. What a delicious and comforting looking bowlful!

  10. I've never heard of a rivel before! But now I definitely want to try one...

  11. Rivels are good! Haven't had one in years, though. This is a great soup -- perfect for the really cold weather we're experiencing. Thanks.

  12. First time to hear of rivel - but it sounds yummy! Willing to try this soup ASAP!

  13. I've never had a rivel or even HEARD of them! I love your recipes and I'm always glad to see them on the Friday Frenzy! Pinned!

  14. This sounds like a delicious, hearty soup! Thanks for linking up on the #Celebrate365 Soup Swap!

  15. Can this soup be frozen?

  16. Very interesting! I always like learning about new foods, especially when they represent a family tradition, like rivels.

  17. I can't believe that I've never heard them called rivels before...especially because of where I grew up. So interesting! No matter what they're called...they look DELICIOUS!!!

  18. How interesting! I need to learn more about Pennsylvania Dutch food.

  19. My husband keeps asking for ham and bean soup and I've yet to make it. Saving this recipe to try!

  20. Pretty sure I'd like rivels better than pasta with the egg! Though you had me at ham!


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