Skip to Content

Portuguese Bean Soup

This post includes affiliate links. We may earn a small commission (at no cost to you), if you purchase through these links.

Portuguese Bean Soup is a popular local Hawaii soup. The key ingredients are Portuguese sausage, smoked ham hocks, and macaroni. It's a hearty soup that can easily be a meal!

Portuguese Bean Soup, ready to serve and eat.

What Is Portuguese Bean Soup?

Fyi, I’ve included affiliate links below. I may earn a small commission (at no cost to you), if you purchase through the links.

Ahh, Portuguese Bean Soup! This is the stuff of dreams.

Portuguese Bean Soup is an iconic local Hawaii (not Hawaiian - here's the difference) dish made from a stock of smoked ham hocks. You boil the ham hocks in water for a few hours. Then chop off all the meat and skin, and add it back to the pot with other ingredients like Portuguese sausage, red kidney beans, potatoes, onions, carrots, cabbage, and macaroni noodles.

Ingredients for Portuguese Bean Soup (forgot to include the tomato sauce in this photo ^_^)

The red color of the the soup comes from tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, and you're ready to eat. The soup has real nice deep smoky notes thanks to the ham hocks (make sure to use smoked ham hocks).

It's a simple, hearty soup that really warms you up all the way. A bowl of this soup makes for an ideal easy weekday lunch. Make a big batch on the weekend, and you'll have soup for the week.

Four-pack Redondo's Portuguese sausage from Costco

Portuguese Sausage

Portuguese sausage is a type of pork sausage that is popular in Hawaii. It was brought to Hawaii by the Portuguese in the 1800s (where it's still called linguiça), and is an important part of everyday local food in Hawaii. The sausage made from pork and seasoned with paprika and garlic. Redondo's Portuguese Sausage is the most popular brand locally.

You can find Portuguese sausage on breakfast plates at McDonald's Hawaii and Zippy's and even Liliha Bakery. You'll see Portuguese sausage for sale everywhere in Hawaii. There are four-stick packs at Costco (best deal!) and individual sticks Longs Drugs and all the supermarkets. Many families keep a few sticks of Portuguese sausage in the fridge...it often comes in handy.

Outside of Hawaii, you can sometimes find Portuguese sausage for sale at Japanese or Chinese supermarkets. I've seen it at Nijiya in San Francisco.

Line for Portuguese Bean Soup at the Punahou Carnival

Portuguese Bean Soup in Hawaii

Portuguese bean soup is one of those local dishes that everyone makes at home. For example, I just made a giant pot on Sunday, and we'll just warm up a bowl of this soup for breakfast/snack/lunch over the next few days. So while Portuguese bean soup is a popular dish, you won't find this soup offered at many restaurants.

Portuguese Bean Soup from the Punahou Carnival

However there are a few spots that do serve this soup:

  • Punahou Carnival (Oahu) - Punahou Carnival takes places just once a year, but the Portuguese bean soup here so good that people buy many giant containers of the soup to keep in the freezer.
  • Zippy's (Oahu, Maui, Big Island) - Zippy's is a great place to sample all the local Hawaii dishes (it's also a super casual spot good for takeout). They serve the Portuguese bean soup with crackers on the side.
  • Honey Glazed Hams Of Hawaii (Oahu) - This local ham shop has been around forever and for good reason...the glazed hams are amazing! They are extra busy during the holiday season, but you can visit year round for ham, really good sandwiches, and Portuguese bean soup made from their own smoked ham hocks. One of the best in the island, a real semi-hidden gem.

Portuguese Bean Soup Recipe

Ready to make Portuguese Bean Soup? Ok, here are the ingredients you'll need:

1.5 pounds smoked ham hocks (about 4 pieces)
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 large potatoes, diced
15-ounce cans kidney beans
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 10-ounce Portuguese sausage stick
1 small head of cabbage (napa or green), chopped
1 cup macaroni noodles, uncooked

Once you have all the ingredients prepped, we can start cooking:

First, make the ham hock stock: put the ham hocks in a large pot with 2.5 quarts of water. Bring the water to a boil, then turn the heat down to low. Put on a lid on top, and let cook on low for 1.5 hours.

Smoked ham hocks, after boiling in water for 1.5 hours

After 1.5 hours, remove the ham hocks from the pot and place in a bowl (keep the stock on the stove at low heat). Let the ham hocks cool for about 5-10 minutes. You don't want to burn you fingers, the meat is hot inside.

Meat and skin chopped from the boiled, smoked ham hocks. This all goes back into the soup.

Once the ham hocks have cooled, cut off the meat and skin from the bone (it should pull off pretty easily). Dice all the meat and skin into small pieces and set aside.

All the canned items you'll need for Portuguese Bean Soup

Skim the fat off the top of the ham hock stock. Bring the stock back to a boil and add the cans of diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.

Bring the soup back to a boil, and add the diced ham hocks back in. Then add the diced onions, carrots, and potatoes.

Bring the soup back to a boil, and add in the kidney beans, Portuguese sausage, cabbage, and macaroni noodles.

Let the soup cook on medium-low heat for another 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and lots of pepper. Enjoy!

Portuguese Bean Soup

Portuguese Bean Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. First, make the ham hock stock: put the ham hocks in a large pot with 2.5 quarts of water. Bring the water to a boil, then turn the heat down to low. Put on a lid on top, and let cook on low for 1.5 hours.
  2. Remove the ham hocks to a cutting board and let cool. Once cooled, cut off the meat and skin from the bone. Dice the meat and skin into small pieces and set aside.
  3. Skim the fat off the top of the ham hock stock. Bring the stock back to a boil and add in the cans of diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.
  4. Bring the soup back to a boil, and add the diced ham hocks back in. Then add the diced onions, carrots, and potatoes. 
  5. Bring the soup back up to a boil, and add in the kidney beans, Portuguese sausage, cabbage, and macaroni noodles.
  6. Let the soup cook on medium-low heat for another 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and lots of pepper. Enjoy!
← Previous
Manoa Restaurants (Oahu)
Next →
Donuts in Hawaii
Mahalo for Reading!

Jeanie

Tuesday 2nd of March 2021

Try to get smoked ham shanks instead of hocks. They have so much more meat on them.

Michelle

Sunday 3rd of January 2021

I do not like kidney beans. What other kind of bean would you recommend? Thank you for the recipe.

Jeanie

Tuesday 2nd of March 2021

@Michelle, I think black beans would be wonderful.

Kathy

Monday 4th of January 2021

Aloha Michelle - Kidney beans are traditional for Portuguese Bean Soup, but you can try make it with cannellini beans ^_^ Enjoy! - Kathy

Brigid T Wolff

Wednesday 30th of December 2020

What kind of sausage can be substituted for the Portuguese sausage for those of us on the mainland? I had this in Hawaii when staying at a friends home and have never forgotten how good it was! I hope I can recreate it in Chicago!

Jeanie

Tuesday 2nd of March 2021

@Brigid T Wolff, I think Andouille sausage would be good. Little bit spicer but still very good.

Kathy

Sunday 3rd of January 2021

Aloha Brigid! You can use chorizo or even Spam! It won't be quite the same, but better than nothing ^_^ Enjoy! Hope you can bring back Portuguese sausage (they freeze super well) on your next Hawaii trip :) - Kathy

Catherine Rojas

Wednesday 23rd of December 2020

I live in Sioux Falls, SD and have been feeling a little homesick lately for Maui Hawaii. I haven't made this in years. I cook a lot of local style foods. It's what I grew up on. I'm going to make it for New Years Day with some homemade crusty French bread.

Carol

Monday 14th of December 2020

What if there is no smoked ham hock available at grocery store? What’s the next best substitute?

Kathy

Tuesday 15th of December 2020

Hi Carol! You can use regular (unsmoked) ham hock, or ham shanks :)

- Kathy