Crock Pot Ham and Bean Soup is a classic winter favorite that is perfect for using leftover ham or ham bones from Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. This hearty and warming soup recipe is easy to make and can be thrown together in minutes!
Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup makes a comforting lunch or dinner that is loaded with flavor and keeps you full and satisfied for hours. Carrots, celery, fresh herbs, beans, and lots of ham make this soup a family favorite. I can’t tell you how much I love this soup! It not only tastes amazing but it is also so easy to make.
A perfect meal to make the days after Thanksgiving or Christmas when you have leftover ham or a ham bone from your big dinner on hand and are looking for an easy recipe that doesn’t involve a lot of hands-on work. Just throw all the ingredients together in your crockpot and come back to a delicious, cooked meal!
This bean soup with ham can be made with canned beans or dried beans. I always have dried beans on hand but I also give instructions for using canned beans. You can also make it with either leftover ham, a ham bone, or packaged ham from the grocery store – a perfect soup for any cold winter day!
Tips for making Crock Pot Ham and Bean Soup
- Be sure to cut the celery, carrots, and onion as uniformly as possible for the most even, tender results.
- You can use leftover ham and a ham bone, leftover ham and no bone, or buy pre-packaged cooked ham from the grocery store and use it instead.
- If you don’t have fresh herbs on hand you can also use dried herbs.
- I prefer to saute the onion and the veggies before I add them to the crockpot because I’m not the biggest onion fan and I feel like they taste better when they are a little browned and soft but you can skip this step if you don’t mind
- Depending on your slow cooker this soup might be done after 5 hours or 6 hours. I recommend tasting the soup after 4 hours and reducing the temperature to low or medium depending on the texture of the beans.
- Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for 2-3 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove over low heat.
Do I need to soak the beans?
No, you don’t need to soak the beans before adding them to the crockpot. Soaking is usually done to decrease cooking time but it will actually only shorten it by about 10 minutes so it is not necessary especially not when you use a slow cooker.
Can I make ham and bean soup with canned beans?
Yes, instead of dried beans you can also use canned beans. Two 14-oz cans should be enough but feel free to use more. Rinse and drain the beans and add them to the slow cooker. The cooking time will be shorter because the beans are already cooked. You should also reduce the chicken stock to about 4 cups and add more liquid as needed.
Can ham and bean soup be frozen?
Yes, it can be frozen. Let the soup cool completely then transfer to a ziplock bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw in the fridge overnight until completely defrosted then reheat in a saucepan over low heat. Don’t try to reheat from frozen without thawing first, the soup won’t have the same texture this way.
How do you make ham and bean soup thicker?
To thicken the soup you can mash some of the beans with a fork or potato masher after cooking or make a slurry with 1/4 cup water or broth and 1 Tbsp (or more) cornstarch and add it to the soup 30 minutes before the cooking time is up (increase temperature to high).
What goes with ham and bean soup?
Ham and Bean soup tastes great with cornbread on the side but you could also serve it with biscuits or bread.
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Crock Pot Ham and Bean Soup
- 1 small yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 tsp minced garlic, 2 cloves
- 3 celery stalks, diced (about 3/4 cup)
- 2 large carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
- 6 cups unsalted chicken stock
- 1 pound dried Navy or Great Northern beans, sorted of debris and rinsed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped or 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped or 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp salt, more to taste
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 cups diced or shredded ham
- 1 meaty ham bone, optional
- 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped for serving
- For extra flavor and softer onions: In a skillet or in the insert of your slow cooker you can brown in over medium-high heat, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil. Saute the onions for 3-4 minutes until softened and lightly browned. Add the garlic and saute for 20 seconds. Then add the chopped celery and carrots and saute for 4 minutes. Transfer to crockpot.
- Stir together all the ingredients (except the parsley) in your slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on high for about 5 hours or until beans are tender. If using a bone take the bone out, remove the meat, stir it into the soup, and discard the bone. Take out the bay leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve garnished with parsley.
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