How to Make Ham and Bean Soup in the Slow Cooker

How to make homemade ham and bean soup from scratch using dry beans. Using your Crockpot or slow cooker makes it super easy!

Bean soup is an inexpensive and filling meal - and the addition of a leftover ham bone makes it even more delicious. It's so easy too. Learn how to make ham and bean soup in this post, and how to use your slow-cooker to make it even easier.

How to make ham and bean soup in the slow cooker

I love using my slow cooker on busy days, and what is more perfect in the slow cooker than a big pot of soup?

After our holiday dinner I put the bone from our ham into the freezer, to be made into ham and bean soup on a busy day sometime in the future. 

That was a really good ham, by the way. As well as the meaty bone, there were a few slices of ham left over too. I put them all in a freezer bag and into the freezer.

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Measured dry seasonings for homemade ham and bean soup

Soak beans overnight before cooking

The night before making the soup, put the dried beans into a large bowl and cover them with water. The beans will swell, so be sure there is plenty of water in the bowl. Do not add salt.

For this recipe, I used about half a pound of dried great northern beans. The beans were in a one-pound bag, so I poured in about half of the beans.

Let the beans soak overnight.

Add the beans to the slow cooker

In the morning, pour the beans and water into a colander. Discard the water and add the soaked beans to the slow cooker. 

Add the ham bone and seasonings, and enough chicken stock to cover it all plus an inch or two - or more. 

How much liquid? It's going to be soup, so you can use as much as you like. If you are feeding a large family, you can add more liquid. That's the nice thing about soup: you can add more liquid and feed more people!

I use about six cups to make soup for our family of four.

If you don't have enough chicken stock, add water too. If you have no chicken stock, use water by itself. 

I make homemade chicken stock for free from the bones after we have chicken for dinner, then I freeze it in two-cup quantities, so I usually have plenty on hand. But if I don't have stock available, I use water. 

By the way, if you don't have a ham bone in the freezer, don't let that stop you. This soup is delicious even without the ham flavoring.

Set your slow cooker on medium and let it cook for four hours or so.

A bowl containing chopped celery, carrots, garlic, onions.

Add the rest of the ingredients

After four hours or so, remove the ham bone. Chop carrots, celery, onion, garlic and potatoes and add them to the slow cooker.

Remove all the meaty bits from the ham bone and chop any leftover ham you might have. Add all this to the slow cooker, and discard the bone. 

Set the slow cooker (I use this CrockPot, I love that it's programmable!) on medium again and let it simmer away all afternoon until dinner time.

I like to bake a loaf of homemade bread while the soup is cooking.

No slow cooker in your kitchen? Don't let that stop you, this soup is delicious when simmered on top of the stove too. Just keep an eye on it as it cooks, and add more liquid if needed.

This soup will scent your house and your family will be drooling when they get home at dinnertime!

The beans should be nice and soft but not mushy, and the soup will have a very rich and tasty broth. 

We add salt to taste at the table. I don't know for sure if it's true, but my mother said not to put salt in a bean dish until it's ready to serve, because salt will keep the beans from getting soft. I don't want to find out the hard way that Mom was right!

This thick and meaty soup is perfect for chilly winter days and a great way to make use of a ham bone, if you have one. Pair it with a salad and a loaf of home-baked bread and you'll have a meal fit for a king.

A white bowl of ham and bean soup.

Ham and bean soup recipe

2 cups dry great northern beans (about half a pound)
4 cups chicken stock plus 2 cups water
1 leftover ham bone
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp sage
1/4 tsp savory
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 clove of minced garlic
1 potato, cubed 
Add salt to taste when serving

The night before making the soup, soak the beans in a large bowl of water. In the morning, drain off the water and add the beans to the slow cooker with the ham bone, chicken broth, water and seasonings. Turn slow cooker to medium for four hours.

After four hours, add chopped onion, carrots, celery, garlic and the potato cubes. Remove the ham bone and pull off the meat bits; return the meat to the soup and discard the bone. Cook on medium setting for several hours longer. Add salt to taste and serve with crusty, homemade bread.

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More Soup Recipes:
Split Pea Soup
Roasted Tomato Soup
Broccoli and Cheddar Soup
French Onion Soup

A white bowl of ham and bean soup on an old-fashioned tray with a slice of homemade brown bread.

This post contains affiliate links. If you follow a link and make a purchase, I might receive a small commission but it doesn't affect the price you pay in any way. 
You can read my full disclosure here


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