Ham Stew with Beef and Bacon: Popular with Meat Lovers

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Sneak Preview: This hearty Ham Stew with Beef and Bacon satisfies and warms but won’t leave you weighed down. This is my favorite soup recipe in the world! I love it with cornbread on the side.

Ham Stew with Beef and Bacon in a bowl with cornbread on the side.Pin

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My favorite soup recipe on this website is this Ham Stew with Beef and Bacon. #1!! On a cold and blustery day, nothing warms your innards better than this meaty bowl of soup with a slurpin’ good broth. It’s filling but not heavy on your belly since there is no gravy or cream sauce.

Three Reasons Why You Will Cherish This Recipe

  1. The secret to this ham stew is the broth. Invisible (cooked to smithereens) chopped apples add a subtle sweetness. You can’t see the apples without close inspection, but they work magic. Honestly, I would be content with a piece of hot, crusty cornbread and a bowl of broth alone. Tasty and comforting!
  2. Leave out one (optional) ingredient to make this stew gluten-free and grain-free.
  3. This Ham Stew with Cabbage recipe is packed with beef, ham, and bacon for a most satisfying soup. It’s an unforgettable combination of smoky bacon, tender chunks of beef chuck, cubes of ham, cabbage, apples, and other veggies combined with a delicious beef broth.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Ingredients in this recipe include beef broth, carrots, cabbage, beef chunks, chopped apples, ham cubes, bacon pieces, bay leaves, chopped onions. Not shown are the Worcestershire sauce and Kitchen Bouquet.Pin
Worcestershire Sauce and Kitchen Bouquet are missing from this photo.
  • HAM: This soup is a great recipe for leftover ham. Or plan ahead. Around the holidays is an opportune time to pick up an unsliced ham on sale. Cut it into small half-inch chunks and freeze for this soup.
  • CUBED CHUCK ROAST: Stew meat works perfectly. I try to buy chuck roast on sale, cut it myself, and freeze it for future stew.
  • BACON: Bacon is essential to this stew. If you want to use pre-cooked bacon pieces, be sure to add bacon grease to brown the stew meat. Although you can use oil instead, bacon grease adds a ton of flavor.
  • ONIONS: Yellow onions are the best for most soups, in my opinion. White onions will work, too. Frozen onions are also fabulous and more convenient.
  • APPLES: The best apples will “melt” into this soup while cooking. I don’t want to see apple chunks floating around in my soup.
    • My preferred apple for this recipe is Golden Delicious or Fuji apples. Granny Smith would also work.
    • The recipe calls for 2 cups of finely chopped apples. This usually requires two medium apples or three small apples. A little more or less than 2 cups is fine.
  • CARROTS: Scrape or peel regular carrots and slice them about ¼ inch thick. Save a little time by using baby carrots since you won’t have to peel or scrub. Cut them into about four slices since they are smaller in diameter.
  • CABBAGE: The only important tip to mention about the cabbage is not to let it cook too long at the end. I like it to be slightly soft with a little bit of crunch. Is it appropriate to say the cabbage should be “al dente”? If you prefer, substitute cole slaw mix for cabbage.
  • WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE AND KITCHEN BOUQUET: Both of these condiments add umami, a dark, rich color, and salty flavor to the soup.

Is This Ham Stew Recipe Grain-Free and/or Gluten-Free?

Yes, both, IF you leave out the optional Worcestershire sauce and Kitchen Bouquet (paid links). It’s not a deal-breaker when it comes to this recipe. Your soup will still be delicious but you may need to add salt to bring out the flavors. Taste it first.

Stove-Top, Slow Cooker, or Pressure Cooker?


For the 25-30 years that I’ve been making this recipe, I did it on top of the stove. You can, too. Allow 2-1/2 to 3 hours. See the recipe below for detailed instructions.

Slow Cooker

Sometimes, I like to use my slow cooker (paid link). After frying the bacon, brown the beef. Then, add the onions, apples, ham, and carrots, along with the broth and other seasonings.

After cooking the meat and veggies all day, add the cabbage and bacon for the last 10 minutes before you are ready to serve. This is a good plan if you can’t be home during the day.

Pressure Cooker

Are you a pressure cooker or Instant Pot fan? You can make this hearty soup from start to finish in about an hour. Maybe not the first time. Much of that time is while the stew is in the pressure cooker, giving you time to throw together some cornbread if you like.

With a little practice, this extraordinary Hearty Ham Stew will come together fast. See the video for more details about making this recipe in an Instant Pot.

📌Kitchen Tip📌-If you buy whole cabbage for this recipe, you’ll have leftover cabbage. This recipe for Crunchy Coleslaw with Ramen, is a tasty solution. If you want the cabbage to be less noticeable in the stew, use a coleslaw mix.

How To Make Ham Stew with Beef and Bacon on Top of the Stove

Frying bacon pieces in large pot of Dutch oven.Pin
Step 1: Fry the bacon until it is crispy. Remove from the pot and set aside. Leave the bacon grease in the pot.
Browning beef cubes in a Dutch oven.Pin
Step 2: Brown half of the beef cubes in the bacon grease left behind. When browned, remove them from the pot and brown the remaining beef cubes.
Cooking onions with the beef chuck until they soften.Pin
Step 3: Return all browned beef to the pot, add the onions, and cook until the onions soften.
Chopped apples, broth, water, Worcestershire sauce, Kitchen Bouquet, and bay leaves added to the meat and onions.Pin
Step 4: Add the broth, water, Worcestershire sauce, Kitchen Bouquet, and bay leaves. Simmer covered with a lid.
Add sliced carrots, and ham cubes to the stew.Pin
Step 5: About 30 minutes before you are ready to eat, remove the lid and add sliced carrots and ham chunks. Cover and continue to gently simmer.
Cabbage and bacon bits added to the stew ten minutes before serving.Pin
Step 6: About 10-15 minutes before you are ready to eat, add the chopped cabbage and browned bacon pieces. Simmer until the cabbage is tender but not soggy. Add freshly ground pepper.
Ham stew that is ready to serve. Pin
Serve immediately. Sprinkle with chopped parsley if desired.

Parting Thoughts: I am a soup gal from the word “go”! Some other favorites are my Chicken Tortilla Soup and Leftover Rotisserie Chicken Soup. Both of these recipes are a delicious way to use leftover cooked chicken.

Help at Your Fingertips: For questions or suggestions, email Paula at saladinajar.com. If you need help, I’m happy to troubleshoot via email (faster than leaving a comment). Attach pictures and as many details as possible for the best advice.

Ready to eat bowl of Hearty Ham Stew with cornbread on the side.Pin
Yield: 8 servings

Hearty Ham Stew with Beef and Bacon Recipe

A beef-broth-based soup recipe with ham, beef chuck cubes, bacon, carrots, cabbage, and apples. The directions are for making this soup on top of the stove. See the notes for using a slow cooker. The video shows directions for using an Instant Pot.
4 from 9 votes


Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 25 minutes


  • 4 strips (88 g) bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound (454 g) boneless chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 medium (110 g) onion, chopped
  • 2 cups (236 g) apples, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 cup (227 g) beef broth I like Better Than Bouillon beef base, 1 teaspoon + 1 cup water
  • 4 cups (908 g) water
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Kitchen Bouquet
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 2 cups (256 g) carrots, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup (140 g) ham, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 cups (356 g) cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper


  • Fry 4 strips (88 g) bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces in a large Dutch oven. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Sauté 1 pound (454 g) boneless chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes in two batches in the pot using the leftover bacon grease.
  • Add 1 medium (110 g) onion, chopped to the browned beef chunks (which have all been added back to the pot), and cook until the onions are soft.
  • Add 2 cups (236 g) apples, peeled and finely chopped , 1 cup (227 g) beef broth, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon Kitchen Bouquet, 4 cups (908 g) water, and 1 large bay leaf. Cover and simmer over low heat for 1½ hours.
  • 30 minutes before serving, add 2 cups (256 g) carrots, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces to and 1 cup (140 g) ham, cut into 1-inch cubes. Simmer over medium-low heat.
  • Ten minutes before serving, add 4 cups (356 g) cabbage, coarsely chopped and fried bacon. Add more water if necessary to cover the vegetables. Cook for about 10 minutes. If necessary, add more water to cover the cabbage. Don’t overcook the cabbage. It should still have a slight crispness to it. Remove the bay leaf before serving.


If you prefer, add browned beef, onion, carrots, apples, flavorings, and broth to a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-9 hours. Transfer back to the pot on the stove to finish cooking ham, cabbage, and crispy bacon for about 10 minutes.
I don’t usually add salt. There is plenty from the bacon, broth, condiments, and ham. Suit yourself. 


Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 185kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 416mg | Potassium: 509mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 5403IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 2mg

All images and text ©️ Paula Rhodes for Salad in a Jar.com

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4.34 from 9 votes (9 ratings without comment)

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