Easy Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup is a hearty and flavorful recipe you can make with leftover ham. It's comfort food in a bowl that takes 10 minutes to prepare. The white beans turn out tender and don't require soaking.
If you're looking for an easy and delicious soup, this crock pot ham and bean soup is an incredible recipe. With only a few simple ingredients, you can make a warm, comforting, flavor-packed soup with leftover ham that everyone loves.
Once your soup slow cooks all day, the result is delicious (and healthy) ham and bean soup with soft ham chunks and creamy beans that will taste amazing from start to finish. It's so good on a cold winter day and a delicious way to reuse ham.
Why We Love This Recipe
Besides its incredible flavor, here's why we love this ham bone soup.
- It's so easy! All you need to do is throw everything into the slow cooker (ham, beans, carrots, onions, celery) and let it simmer all day. It's even better the next day!
- The beans don't require soaking. Since the beans slow cook all day, they don't need to soak overnight.
- It's inexpensive. This recipe requires basic ingredients and makes a large batch that feeds a crowd. Plus, you can use leftover holiday ham if you have it.
- It freezes well. This is the perfect Ham Soup recipe to freeze and reheat later.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
Here are the simple main ingredients.
- Dry Great Northern Beans - you'll need to rinse and pick out any broken or misshapen beans before putting them in the crock pot. You can also use Navy Beans in the recipe.
- 1 large smoked ham bone, ham hock, or ham shank - This infuses the soup with a rich pork flavor. It's great to use a leftover ham bone for this recipe. However, you can also ask your local butcher or deli at the grocery store for either ham bones or ham hocks if you need to. Ideally, you'd like a bit of meat on the bone to add to your soup.
- Veggies - you'll need to chop carrots, onion, and celery to cook alongside your ham. This gives the broth a nice balanced flavor.
- Chicken Broth or bone broth - for maximum flavor, we use low-sodium chicken broth instead of water in our ham and bean soup and add salt at the end only if the soup needs it. Because the recipe contains cured ham, it doesn't usually require much salt. You can also use chicken stock.
- Spices - bay leaves, dried parsley, celery salt, dry mustard, and black pepper bring a bit more flavor and round out the recipe. If you don't have any dry mustard powder, stir in about a tablespoon of prepared mustard instead. And if you have fresh parsley on hand, use that instead of dried (but use about 3 times as much).
Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup is a very forgiving recipe. Feel free to adjust the ingredients to your liking. If you don't care for celery or don't have any on hand, leave it out. The same goes for the onion.
Find the complete ingredient list and instructions in the printable recipe card below.
STEP 1 - Prep Beans and Place in Crock Pot
Rinse, drain, and pick out any damaged beans or debris from the dry beans and place them in the bottom of your 6-quart slow cooker.
STEP 2 - Add Ham, Veggies, and Spices to Crock Pot and Cook
Place the ham bone/hock/shank on top of the beans and add the carrots, chopped onion, celery, and garlic. Pour the chicken broth over the ingredients, and then add the bay leaf, parsley, celery salt, mustard powder, black pepper, and hot sauce.
Cover with the lid and cook on LOW for 7 - 9 hours or until beans are tender.
STEP 3 - Remove Ham Bone and Shred Meat
Remove the ham bone/hock/shank from the crock pot. Remove any ham meat from the bone, chop or shred it and then set it aside. Discard the bay leaf and any fat or cartilage left behind.
STEP 4 - Thicken Soup
Use an immersion blender to puree a little of the soup to give it a creamy texture while leaving most of the beans whole. Add the chopped ham (and any other leftover shredded ham) back into the crockpot and give it a stir.
Allow it to cook for a few more minutes until heated through.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- YEILD: This soup makes about 8 - 10 dinner-size servings. Serve it with a side salad, crusty bread, or dinner rolls.
- STORAGE: Store any leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
- FREEZING: This ham and bean soup freezes so well. Cool it completely, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container, label & date, then store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- COOK TIME: The cook time can vary depending on your model crock pot. That's why the cooking time is set between 7-9 hours. Cooking it on high may not soften the beans all the way, so we don't recommend it.
Ham & Bean Soup FAQs
This comforting meal is made for a 6-quart slow cooker.
Because the great northern beans cook all day in the slow cooker, there is no need to soak them beforehand.
You can thicken your slow cooker ham bone soup by pureeing the beans with an immersion blender once they're cooked. You could also use a potato masher to smash the beans. If you want it really thick, adding a cornstarch or flour slurry (mixing 3 tablespoons of cornstarch or flour plus 3 tablespoons of water) to the soup will thicken it.
This is a great recipe to freeze. Place any leftover ham soup in an airtight container and freeze it for up to 3 months. Remember to label and date it.
We recommend Great Northern Beans or Navy Beans for this recipe. Kidney beans, for example, contain phytohemagglutinin, a type of lectin that is very toxic at high levels. Therefore, you MUST pre-soak dried kidney beans and hold them at boiling point (212 degrees Fahrenheit) for at LEAST 10 minutes. This means you should never cook kidney beans in a slow cooker because you won't know for sure if the crock pot reaches boiling temps and held it for 10 minutes. Better to be safe than sorry IMO.
More Slow-Cooker Recipes You'll Love
Homemade crock pot soups cook so well in your slow cooker.
★ Did you make this Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup recipe? Don't forget to give it a star rating below!
Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup
- 6-quart Slow Cooker
- immersion blender
- sharp knife
- 1 pound dried Great Northern Beans (rinsed and picked through)
- 1 large smoked ham bone, ham hock, or ham shank (It's great to use a leftover ham bone for this recipe)
- 2 cups carrots (diced or julienned)
- 1 cup onion (about ½ of a medium onion diced)
- 2 medium celery stalks (sliced or diced)
- 4 cloves fresh garlic (minced)
- 7 cups low sodium chicken broth (or stock)
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon celery salt
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
- freshly ground pepper (to taste)
- several dashes of hot pepper sauce (we use Tabasco)
- 1-2 cups additional diced ham (optional, but gives the soup a rich, chunky texture)
- Rinse, drain, and pick out any damaged beans or debris from the dry beans and place them in the bottom of your 6-quart slow cooker.
- Place the ham bone/hock/shank on top of the beans and add the carrots, chopped onion, celery, and garlic. Pour the chicken broth over the ingredients, and then add the bay leaf, parsley, celery salt, mustard powder, black pepper, and hot sauce. Cover with the lid and cook on LOW for 7 - 9 hours or until beans are tender.
- Remove the ham bone/hock/shank from the crock pot. Remove any ham meat from the bone, chop or shred it and then set it aside. Discard the bay leaf and any fat or cartilage left behind.
- Use an immersion blender to puree a little of the soup to give it a creamy texture while leaving most of the beans whole. Add the chopped ham (and any other leftover shredded ham) back into the crockpot and give it a stir. Allow it to cook for a few more minutes until heated through.