Crockpot ham and bean soup made easy with a ham bone, dried beans & vegetables. Simple & flavorful slow cooker recipe that uses leftover ham and pantry ingredients.
This is quite possibly the best ham and bean soup recipe that I know of. Of course, I’m a little biased towards it, but I’m sure that once you try it, you’ll see what I mean. It’s super simple to prepare and after a few hours of cooking, this slow cooker ham and white bean soup tastes (and looks) incredible.
Easy Ham and Bean Soup
This ham and navy bean soup is a simple broth soup filled with shredded or chunked ham, a few veggies and a lot of those white beans we like. Every bite is packed with protein, flavor, and blend of texture that work well with one another. You can use leftover holiday ham to create this simple soup recipe or buy ham for the occasion, either way- it’s worth it to try.
What’s in Ham and Bean Soup?
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this soup:
- Ham bone: You can use 1 ham bone with ham or 2 smoked ham hocks depending on what you have on hand. Scroll down to find out just what ham hocks actually are…
- White beans: We need 1 pound great northern beans or white beans, sorted and rinsed.
- Sliced or shredded Carrots: With 3 carrots we can add more vegetables to the pot. They also add a little sweetness and flavor as well.
- Chopped Celery: We need 2 stalks of celery (diced) to add a little green and texture.
- Onion: One diced onion will help to add some great aroma and flavor.
- Water: Creating our own flavorful broth, we need to start with a base of water. You’ll need enough to cover the ingredients in your crockpot, so this amount may vary.
- Salt and Pepper: This is added to taste.
- Leftover Ham: We need any leftover ham that you have, cubed up and tossed into the soup. You can also cut meat off of the ham bone when we finish cooking.
How to Make Ham and Beans in Crock Pot
- Place your ham bone or ham hock in the crock pot. Add the beans, carrots, celery and onion on top.
- Cover the beans and ham bone with water. As it cooks, this will become a naturally flavorful broth.
- Turn the crockpot on high and cook for 6-8 hours or until the beans are tender.
- Take the ham bone out of the pot and then remove all of the ham from it. Shred or dice the ham and then return it to the pot.
- Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. Serve & enjoy!
Best Beans for Slow Cooker Ham and Beans Soup
I used dried Great Northern Beans in this recipe, but you’re welcome to use any type of white bean you’d like! Another great option are Cannellini beans or navy beans. If you’re pressed for time and don’t want to worry about cooking the soup long enough for the beans to soften, you can use canned beans instead. Just rinse three 15-oz cans before adding them to the crockpot.
What can I add to ham and beans?
This simple soup primarily gets flavor from the onions and ham. However, I often find myself perusing my spice cabinet, looking for other ways to add more flavor. Here are some ideas:
- Instead of adding 2 cups of chopped ham, add just 1 cup chopped ham and 1 cup cooked sausage.
- Add 1 bay leaf. Remember to remove it once the 8 hour cooking time is up!
- Add 1-2 cloves garlic. I like to use minced garlic; you’ll just need 1-2 tsp.
- Add 1/2 tsp thyme.
- Top the soup with chopped fresh parsley upon serving.
Can I make Easy Ham and Bean Soup in the Instant Pot?
Yes, you can make this soup in the instant pot! Make sure you use an 8-quart Instant Pot though as you’ll need the space! Add all of the ingredients to your pot, except the baking soda. The beans will cook easily in the IP, no extra assistance needed! Cover & toggle to “Sealing.” Push the “Soup/Broth” button and set the time to 32 minutes. That’s it! Proceed with the recipe.
Crock Pot Ham and Beans Soup
- 1 ham bone with ham or 2 smoked ham hocks
- 2 cups ham cubed
- 1 lb great northern beans* rinsed
- 3 large carrots sliced or shredded
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 6 cups Water or chicken broth
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ tsp baking soda helps beans cook faster!
- Place ham bone in the bottom of the crockpot.
- Place beans, carrots, celery, and onion in the pot.
- Cover beans and ham bone with water or chicken broth. Stir in baking soda.
- Turn on high for 6 to 8 hours until beans are tender.
- Take ham bone out of the pot and remove all ham.
- Shred or dice ham and return it to the pot.
- Season with salt and pepper if needed.
Instant Pot Instructions
- Make sure you use an 8-quart Instant Pot though as you'll need the space! Add all of the ingredients to your pot, except the baking soda. The beans will cook easily in the IP, no extra assistance needed! Cover & toggle to "Sealing." Push the "Soup/Broth" button and set the time to 32 minutes. That's it! Proceed with the recipe.
What is a Ham Hock?
A ham hock is essentially a pig ankle! It’s made up of bones, connective tissue, a bit of meat and lots of collagen. All that equals a ton of flavor! This section of pork is usually purchased separately from a ham, and most often to use in soups like this one. Next time you’re at the store, see if you can find them. They might be labeled as “Pork Hocks” and make sure you get the entire hock, bone included. If you can’t find them or rather not use them, you can use a ham bone in this soup instead.
Is Ham and Bean Soup Healthy?
I included the nutritional information at the bottom of the printable recipe card. This soup is both low fat and low calorie, so I would consider it a healthier meal choice. Soup itself is always a good idea as it’s proven to make people feel full faster, so they eat less overall. I also find this soup very flavorful and comforting, so it’s a win-win!
How do you thicken up bean and ham soup?
To thicken soup, ladle out 2-3 TBSP broth from the soup. Stir in 1 TBSP cornstarch. Return broth to soup and stir. Replace lid on slow cooker and let cook until thickened to desired consistency.
You can always take a cup of soup and put it in a separate bowl, then mash the beans with a fork. Then return it to the pot and stir it in. While the appearance will change, the texture changes as well. The crushed beans will help to make the soup feel thicker without any additional ingredients.
Do you have to pre soak beans for crock pot?
You don’t have to soak the beans, but you could. With soaked beans you can reduce the amount of actual cooking time. Whether you choose to soak or not is up to you, just make sure you don’t skip rinsing and sorting beans step because that will help to remove dirt, rocks, and other debris that end up in dried beans.
What to Serve with Ham and Beans
I like to serve a loaf of crusty French bread and a simple salad with ham & bean soup.
Crockpot Ham and Beans FAQ
You can cook raw beans in a slow cooker, as I did in this recipe. Beans will need 6-8 hours on high temperature to fully cook in a crockpot.
Leaving the bone in the slow cooker while cooking bean soup adds a lot of flavor, but it’s certainly not necessary! You can use 2 ham hocks instead of the ham bone, or simply just add another cup of diced ham.
You will need 10-12 hours to fully cook dried beans in a slow cooker on low temperature. Plan accordingly!
How to Store Ham and Beans Crock Pot Leftovers
Leftovers can be transferred to an airtight container and stored in the fridge for about 1 week or in the freezer for 5-6 months.
Can Crockpot Ham and Beans be frozen?
Yes, this soup freezes beautifully! I actually think the flavor is even better after freezing since it’s had a longer time to meld. I recommend storing cooled soup in air tight containers for up to 2 months. Then, thaw and cook or put it in a pot on medium/low until it’s cooked through.
You can store it in a large airtight container, sized for an additional family meal, or smaller, 1-lunch sizes. Just remember the larger the container, the longer it will take to defrost. I freeze family meal portions and generally take the container out of the freezer the night before and let it thaw on the countertop overnight. In the morning, it’s thawed!
More Savory Soups and Stews Recipes To Try:
- Slow Cooker Chicken Alfredo Soup
- Crockpot Sausage Tortellini Soup
- Creamy Wild Rice Soup
- Easy Vegetable Chowder
- Tomato Basil Soup
- Classic Chicken Noodle Soup
- Butternut Squash Soup
- French Onion Tomato Soup
- Lemon Chicken Vegetable Soup
- Zucchini Sausage Soup
- Lasagna Soup
- 20 Minute Loaded Baked Potato Soup
- Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Enchilada Soup
- Slow Cooker Pizza Soup
- 20 Minute Chicken Stew