This delicious ham and bean soup can be made in a slow cooker (crockpot), the stove top, or in an instant pot.

When I was growing up this soup was one of my favorite dinners.

My dad always made this after Christmas using the leftover ham bone and ham from Christmas dinner. He usually froze the ham bone and meat and we had this on a cold January day.

He also would bake a loaf or two of homemade white bread to sop up the broth. 

My dad taught me how to make it when I was newly married, but unfortunately, I no longer recall all the details of his recipe but this one is as close as I’ve gotten. 

I don’t serve it with fresh bread since I seem to always be watching my carb intake (UGH) but it’s still delicious and instead of sopping the broth up, I drink it all down. Yummy!

Bean Soup Basics

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! 

Tips for making this 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 – My dad 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. 

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 20 ounce bag of beans
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 2 peeled and cubed potatoes (optional)
  • 1 onion chopped or 1 tablespoon of minced onion
  • 2 cloves or garlic, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 meaty ham bone
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Directions (see below for each alternate method)

Ham and Bean Soup on a Stove Top

  1. After soaking the beans (see above) rinse thoroughly and place in a large pot.
  2. 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.
  3. Place pot on stove top (if not already there) and turn heat to high. Add the ham bone, carrots, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir well, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 60 more minutes.
  4. Remove ham bone and discard. Stir in the chopped ham and simmer for 30 more minutes. Season to taste. Serve.

How to Make this Soup in a Slow Cooker 

  1. After soaking the beans (see above) rinse thoroughly and place in slow cooker.
  2. 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.
  3. Add any leftover ham you have that’s been cut into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Top with carrots, onions (or minced onion), garlic, salt, and pepper.
  5. Stir.
  6. Add the ham bone and bay leaf.
  7. Cover and cook on high for one hour. Reduce heat to low and cook for another 5 to 6 hours, until beans are tender, stirring occasionally.
  8. Remove ham bone and discard. Serve

Ham and Bean Soup in an Instant Pot – Pressure Cooker

  1. After soaking the beans (see above) rinse thoroughly and place in slow cooker.
  2. 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.
  3. Add any leftover ham you have that’s been cut into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Top with carrots, onions (or minced onion), garlic, salt, and pepper.
  5. Stir.
  6. Add the ham bone and bay leaf.
  7. Stir, close the lid per your cooker’s instructions and turn the valve to “SEAL”.
  8. Set Instant Pot to pressure cook on high for 30 minutes.
  9. Do a natural release for 10 minutes and then do a quick release.
  10. Open lid carefully after the valve has “dropped” and serve.
Yield: 16 cups

Ham and Bean Soup

Ham and Bean Soup

Easy recipe for a hearty ham and bean soup using a leftover ham bone and holiday ham. It can be made in a slow cooker (crockpot), on the stove top, or in an instant pot. Great make-ahead meal.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 20 ounce bag of beans
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 2 peeled and cubed potatoes (optional)
  • 1 onion chopped or 1 tablespoon of minced onion
  • 2 cloves or garlic, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 meaty ham bone
  • 2 cups cubed ham
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Instructions

Slow Cooker Version

After soaking the beans (see above) rinse thoroughly and place in slow cooker.

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 any leftover ham you have that's been cut into bite-sized pieces.

Top with carrots, onions (or minced onion), garlic, salt, and pepper.

Stir.

Add the ham bone and bay leaf.

Cover and cook on high for one hour. Reduce heat to low and cook for another 5 to 6 hours, until beans are tender, stirring occasionally.

Remove ham bone and discard. Serve

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 90 Total Fat: 2g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 17mg Sodium: 681mg Carbohydrates: 12g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 4g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 8g