If you're looking for a comforting meal, you will love this easy recipe for crock pot ham and bean soup. This classic dish is an easy dinner for chilly days and can be made in large batches to feed a crowd or for leftovers throughout the week. With simple ingredients and minimal prep time, this recipe is a great option for busy weeknights or lazy weekends. Plus, it's the perfect way to use up any leftover ham from the holidays!
*This post may contain affiliate links and I’ll earn a commission if you shop through them. You can read my full disclosure here.
Making a delicious crock pot ham and bean soup requires a few key ingredients that come together to create a hearty and satisfying meal. In this section, we'll go over the main ingredients you'll need, as well as some of the seasonings and spices that will add flavor and depth to your soup.
The main ingredients for crock pot ham and bean soup are fairly simple and include:
- Ham: Leftover ham is ideal for this recipe, but you can also use a ham shank, ham steak, ham bone or cubed ham.
- Beans: Dried beans are a great option for this recipe, but canned beans can also be used to save time. Some popular bean varieties for ham and bean soup include navy beans, cannellini beans, and great northern beans.
- Vegetables: Onion, garlic, celery, and carrots are all great options for adding flavor and nutrition to your soup. You can also add diced potato, peas, or green onions for additional texture and flavor.
- Liquid: Water, chicken broth, chicken stock, or vegetable broth can be used to create the base of your soup. Low-sodium chicken broth is a good option if you're watching your salt intake.
Seasonings and Spices
To add flavor to your soup, you'll want to use a variety of seasonings and spices. Some popular options include:
- Salt and black pepper: These basic seasonings are a must for any soup recipe.
- Bay leaf: Adding a bay leaf to your soup can add a subtle, earthy flavor.
- Garlic powder: If you don't have fresh garlic on hand, garlic powder can be a good substitute.
- Italian seasoning: This blend of herbs is a great way to add a complex flavor to your soup.
Overall, the ingredients for crock pot ham and bean soup are fairly simple and consist of mostly pantry staples like dried beans and basic seasonings. With a little bit of prep work, you can create a delicious and satisfying meal that will warm you up on a cold day.
This is an overview of the instructions. Full instructions for making Crock Pot Ham and Bean Soup are in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
Rinse beans thoroughly and place in slow cooker.
Add any leftover ham you have that's been cut into bite-sized pieces.
Top with carrots, potatoes, onions (or minced onion), garlic, salt, and pepper.
Add 1 box of chicken broth. Fill that same box with water and add that as well. This should be enough to cover everything thoroughly but if not, add more water as necessary.
Add the ham bone and bay leaf.
Set the slow cooker to cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours.
The long cook time will allow the flavors to meld together and create a rich, hearty soup.
Remove ham bone and discard. Serve.
For added texture, you can also remove a cup of the cooked beans from the slow cooker and puree them in a blender or food processor. Return the pureed beans to the slow cooker and stir to thicken the soup.
Serve the slow cooker ham and bean soup hot with crusty bread or cornbread for a satisfying family meal. This crock pot recipe is perfect for a cozy winter evening or a holiday gathering with friends and family. If you prefer, you can also make this recipe in an Instant Pot for a quicker cooking time.
Storage and Leftovers
When it comes to storing and reheating your easy ham and bean soup, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure it stays fresh and delicious.
If you have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. It's important to let the soup cool completely before transferring it to the container. You can also store the soup in the crock pot insert if it fits in your fridge.
When reheating, you can do so in a pot on the stove over medium heat, stirring occasionally until heated through. You can also reheat in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until heated through. If the soup has thickened in the fridge, you can add a splash of water or broth to thin it out.
If you have a lot of leftover soup or want to make a big batch for later, you can freeze it for up to 3 months. Make sure the soup has cooled completely before transferring it to a freezer-safe container or freezer bag. Label the container with the date and contents.
To thaw, transfer the soup to the fridge the night before you plan to eat it. Alternatively, you can thaw it in the microwave using the defrost setting, stirring occasionally until thawed. Once thawed, you can reheat using the same methods as above.
It's worth noting that if you have leftover holiday ham, you can freeze it separately from the soup and use it to make another batch of ham and bean soup later on. Simply wrap the ham tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil before freezing for up to 3 months. When ready to use, thaw in the fridge overnight before using in your recipe.
- You can use a leftover ham bone as I did, or buy a ham and cut it up and use it fresh or even buy ham steaks at the supermarket and cut those into pieces.
- The Beans - This is my dad's recipe and he liked to use Great Northern Beans but you can use pinto beans, navy beans, lima beans, or a bean combo all available in one package. I chose the bean combo for the recipe I'm sharing today and as far as I can recall, there were 14 (or 15) different beans in the package.
Do You Have to Soak the Beans?
My Dad always soaked his beans overnight and then checked for rocks while rinsing the next day. I'm not sure if you still have to check for rocks?!? but I do still soak mine overnight covering with water. This will reduce the overall cooking time and yield a softer bean. I also still check mine for rocks just in case. I've never found one but embedded in my thoughts is the possibility that there could indeed be a rock that looks like a bean and that could literally wreak havoc!
What are some variations of ham and bean soup?
There are many variations of ham and bean soup that you can try. Some popular additions include diced tomatoes, potatoes, corn, and different types of beans such as black beans or navy beans. You can also experiment with different seasonings such as thyme, rosemary, or cumin to give your soup a unique flavor.
How can I thicken ham and bean soup?
If you find that your ham and bean soup is too thin, there are a few ways to thicken it up. One way is to puree some of the beans in a blender or food processor and then add them back to the soup. Another option is to mix a small amount of cornstarch with cold water to make a slurry, and then stir it into the soup. Be sure to let the soup simmer for a few minutes after adding the thickener to allow it to thicken properly.
What are some common reasons for bland ham and bean soup?
Bland ham and bean soup can be the result of not using enough salt or seasoning. Be sure to taste your soup as it cooks and add more salt or seasoning as needed. Another reason for bland soup could be that the beans were not soaked long enough. Soaking the beans overnight helps to soften them and allows them to absorb more flavor.
What are some tips for making ham and bean soup in a crock pot?
When making ham and bean soup in a slow cooker, it's important to soak the beans overnight before adding them to the slow cooker. This helps to soften the beans and reduce the cooking time. Also, be sure to add enough liquid to cover the beans and ham, but not too much as this can result in a thin soup.
Can I use a ham bone to make ham and bean soup?
Yes, using a ham bone can add richness and depth of flavor to your ham and bean soup. Simply add the ham bone to the soup along with the beans and other ingredients. Be sure to remove the bone before serving.
Is there a difference between making ham and bean soup in a crock pot versus an Instant Pot?
Yes, there is a difference between making ham and bean soup in a crock pot versus an Instant Pot. The main difference is the cooking time. Ham and bean soup can be cooked in a crock pot for 8-10 hours on low heat, while it only takes 45 minutes to cook in an Instant Pot. Additionally, the texture of the soup may be slightly different depending on the cooking method.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
If you click on the number of servings in the recipe card below ⬇️ you can adjust the measurements up or down for the exact number of servings you need.
If you love this recipe please give it a 5 star rating. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Crock Pot Ham and Bean Soup Recipe
- 20 ounces soup beans 1 bag
- 1 cup carrots sliced
- 2 cups potatoes peeled and cubed - optional
- 1 onion minced or 1 tbsp. of minced onion
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 4 cups water
- 1 meaty ham bone or 1 pound of cubed ham
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 bay leaf optional
- Rinse beans thoroughly and place in slow cooker.
- Add any leftover ham you have that's been cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Top with carrots, potatoes, onions (or minced onion), garlic, salt, and pepper.
- Add 1 box of chicken broth. Fill that same box with water and add that as well. This should be enough to cover everything thoroughly but if not, add more water as necessary.
- Add the ham bone and bay leaf.
- Set the slow cooker to cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours.
- Remove ham bone and discard. Serve.
As with any of my recipes, calorie counts and nutritional information varies greatly depending on which products you choose to use when cooking this dish.