Ham and Bean Soup (Slow Cooker)

03.18.2019

Ham and Bean Soup – a homestyle, hearty and delicious soup that couldn’t be easier to make! It requires minimal ingredients including a leftover ham bone, dry beans, some veggies, herbs and broth and the slow cooker does just about all of the work.

It’s one of those dump and go soups that’s perfect for busy days and a great way to use up a leftover ham.

Crockpot full of ham and bean soup.

Easy Ham and Bean Soup

Ham and bean soup was one of my mom’s go-to dinners growing up. Almost every single Sunday she made roast beef or ham and so of course when it was ham that always meant a leftover ham bone.

My mom had to feed 6 kids on a very tight budget so that often meant she made the most of the leftover ham bone and made ham and bean soup the next day. It was also a great option for her because she was a single working mom and it’s a recipe that requires minimal effort.

Here go-to method was on the stovetop but I prefer this slow cooker set-and-forget method and I love how the ham comes out so unbelievably tender.

This soup is so comforting and though it only requires a few simple ingredients it has such a satisfying flavor. Just don’t forget a lot of the flavor comes from the ham bone so I don’t recommend using ham without the bone.

Serve it with fresh bread or crackers and you’ve got a perfectly comforting dinner, just like mom or grandma used to make!

Overhead image of single serving of ham and bean soup in a white bowl set over a white plate with a side of crackers.

What Ingredients go into Ham and Bean Soup?

  • Dry great northern beans
  • Leftover meaty ham bone
  • Vegetables – carrots, celery, onion, and garlic
  • Fresh herbs – thyme and parsley
  • Unsalted chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper 

Ingredients needed for ham and bean soup shown here including meaty ham bone, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, great northern beans, chicken broth, parsley and thyme.

How to Make Ham and Bean Soup in the Crockpot

  • Place great northern beans in a large mixing bowl, add enough water to cover by a couple of inches. Let rest overnight.
  • The next morning, drain beans then add to a 6 or 7 quart slow cooker. Add meaty ham bone, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, thyme, chicken broth and 2 cups water. Season with salt and pepper.

Showing how to make ham and bean soup. Adding all ingredients to a slow cooker including meaty ham bone, broth, garlic, onion, carrots, celery, great northern beans, thyme and pepper.

  • Cover and cook on high heat until beans are tender, about 5 1/2 – 6 hours.
  • Remove ham and shred.
  • Add ham to slow cooker along with 1 cup water and parsley, stir. Serve warm.

Shredded ham on a cutting board.

Can I Freeze Ham and Bean Soup?

Yes this soup should freeze well for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.

What If I Don’t Have a Leftover Ham Bone?

Ham shanks will work as well if you don’t have a leftover hame bone. I like the ham option though because I can usually get about 3 meals from one ham which only cost around $10.

The first meal of ham, mashed potatoes and ham gravy the the second a ham and cheese salad with ranch or a baked Denver omelet with pancakes, and the third this ham and bean soup.

Ham and bean soup shown in a white slow cooker after cooking.

How can I Cook Ham and Bean Soup on the Stovetop?

  • Saute the veggies for 2 minutes in 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large pot.
  • Add remaining ingredients except parsley.
  • Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  • Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, until beans are tender, about 2 1/2 hours.
  • Shred ham then return to soup along with parsley and stir.

Ham and Bean Soup in a serving bowl set over a white plate with a side of crackers.

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Ham and Bean Soup

A homestyle, hearty and delicious soup that couldn't be easier to make! It requires minimal ingredients and the slow cooker does just about all of the work. A great recipe for busy days and great way to use up a leftover ham bone. Makes about 14 cups.

Servings: 9
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (13 oz) dry great northern beans
  • 3 cups water, plus more for soaking beans
  • 1 (3 lb) leftover meaty ham bone, trimmed of excess visible fat
  • 1 cup chopped carrots (about 3)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (about 3)
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 small)
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 4 cups unsalted chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Place great northern beans in a large mixing bowl, add enough water to cover by a couple of inches. Let rest overnight.

  2. The next morning, drain beans then add to a 6 or 7 quart slow cooker. Add meaty ham bone, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, thyme, chicken broth and 2 cups water. Season with 1 tsp pepper and salt to taste*. 

  3. Cover and cook on high heat until beans are tender, about 5 1/2 - 6 hours.

  4. Remove ham and shred. Discard ham bone and excess fat.

  5. Add shredded ham to slow cooker along with 1 cup water and parsley, stir. Serve warm.

Recipe Notes

*Remember ham can be on the salty side so I like to season lightly with salt at the beginning then add more at the end after the salts have soaked from the ham into the soup.

Nutrition Facts
Ham and Bean Soup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 417 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Fat 18g28%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 62mg21%
Sodium 1254mg55%
Potassium 976mg28%
Carbohydrates 30g10%
Fiber 11g46%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 33g66%
Vitamin A 2570IU51%
Vitamin C 5.7mg7%
Calcium 94mg9%
Iron 3.7mg21%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Ham Bean Soup
Calories: 417 kcal
Author: Jaclyn

2 comments

  • Lori Totres: I’m looking for the salmon recipe but can’t seem to find it. March 20, 2019 at 3:09pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Sorry which one? March 21, 2019 at 11:24am Reply

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