A ham bone with some meat still on it sitting in a metal pan. A knife and fork are visible near the ham bone.

What Do You Do with that Leftover Ham Bone?

What do you do with that leftover ham bone? Make Ham Broth! I was lazy. I didn’t cut super close to the ham bone during our Easter dinner, so there was still a fair amount of meat on the bone.

Don’t throw away your leftover ham bone.

For those who have been around for a while, it’s probably not a surprise that I didn’t want any part of that ham to go to waste,. There are several ways to use up the ham bone. Some years, I throw it into a pot of beans as they cook, allowing it to flavor the beans and the broth as the meat remnants fall of the bone to create a one pot meal. This year, I wanted to extend the ham even further, so it could flavor more than just one pot of beans. Besides, did I mention that there was still a lot of meat left on the bone?

What did I do with the ham bone?

I decided that my best course of action for this particular bone was to turn it into Ham Broth using my pressure cooker. After I finished making the broth, it was much easier to get the last of the meat off of the bones. In fact, most of it fell off of the bone in the process. These ham pieces and the broth help to extend the flavor of the ham into future meals.

A ham bone with most of the meat falling off sits on a white plate with green holly leaves and red holly berries as trim around the edges. There is some ham broth that has oozed out of the pressure cooked ham bone in a puddle on the plate.

Making broth from a leftover ham bone, helps you to save money.

Ham broth is a great way to add flavor to other dishes. You can use it in place of water when cooking beans or to add flavor to soups and stews. The extra meat that falls off of the bone during cooking can also be used as an addition to fried rice, omelets, or soups.

Putting everything into the pressure cooker was simple, the straining and sorting took a bit of time and effort. I strained the broth from the solids and discarded the bone after making sure no more meat was attached. I allowed the solids to cool in the fridge until everything was cool enough to touch, then I sorted it into two piles. One pile was the pieces of skin and fat which I added to my dog’s dinner. The other pile was the pieces of ham that had fallen off of the bone.

There’s more meat left on a bone than you might think.

The sorting was a little time consuming, but the process was well worth it. I ended up with 3 cups of ham pieces, and about 8 cups of broth.    That’s enough meat for at least two meals from a bone that might have been thrown out. I froze some of the broth for later and used the rest of the broth and the remnants of ham to make some pressure cooker collard greens and ham, as well as some  Ham, Green Bean, and Potato Soup. 

An insert from the pressure cooker full of golden broth with a thin layer of fat visible on the surface.

What if you don’t have time to make ham broth?

It’s simple. All you have to do is stick the bone in either a plastic container or a ziploc bag and store it in the freezer for a month or two before you make the ham broth. This is a great tip whether you lack time or lack ambition to make the broth. (Sometimes, I lack both.)

Two photos melded together.  On top a ham bone.  On the bottom a pot full of broth.  A banner goes across the center with "Ham broth in the pressure cooker" written in a cream colored font againt a maroon background

Making broth from the ham bone was a great way to get more life out of our Easter ham. If you’ve never made ham broth from the bone, you definitely need to give it a try and let us know what you think by leaving a comment below? If you’re already a pro and make use of your ham bone let us know in the comments what’s your favorite way to use it up. We love to hear from our readers.

Thanks for visiting Patty Cake’s Pantry.

What Do You Do with that Leftover Ham Bone? Make Ham Broth!
Recipe type: Broth
Serves: 8
Cooking your leftover ham bone in water in the pressure cooker is a great way to create some delicious ham broth to add flavor to different dinner dishes.   This makes 8 cups of broth and yielded 3 cups of diced ham because I didn't try to strip super close to the ham bone.  I consider this to be free food since I already paid for the ham and used the meat.  This was a bonus. . 
  • 1 ham bone with whatever meat, skin, and fat is still attached
  • Enough water to fill pressure cooker to the 4 quart line. (For my pressure cooker, this was about 8 cups of water)
  1. Place ham bone with whatever meat, skin, and fat is still attached in pressure cooker
  2. Cover with water to the 4 quart line.
  3. Seal Pressure Cooker and allow it to come to pressure.
  4. Cook ham bone for 60 minutes, then allow natural pressure release.
  5. The ham meat will fall off of the bone.
  6. Strain ham broth and reserve bone and meat.
  7. Separate meat from bone, fat, and tendons.
  8. Reserve broth and meat for use in other recipes.


We apologize that nutrition information not available for this recipe. Our online nutrition calculators couldn’t help us to calculate the nutrition information for ham broth.

4 thoughts on “What Do You Do with that Leftover Ham Bone?

  1. I love this! I actually love making split pea soup from my left over ham bone and broth. I have not used the pressure cooker, so the soup usually takes me all day to cook, but it is wonderful! Next time, I will definitely start the process with the pressure cooker!

  2. If you have no pressure cooker, can the ham bone be cooked on the stove and if so, how long should it take?

    1. Patricia, you can do the ham bone on the stove top or in your slow cooker. On the stove top, I would cover and simmer it for 2 – 4 hours, watching it closely, to make sure the water doesn’t evaporate. In the slow cooker, just cover it with water and turn it on low for 8 – 12 hours.

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