If you have leftover ham or ham bone from your holiday meal and are looking for a recipe to use it, this Crock Pot Ham and Bean soup is the answer. Not only is a great recipe for leftover ham, but it is also simple and easy to make.
Ham and bean soup is a classic comfort meal that is delicious, heart warming, and is a meal that will keep you feeling full for hours. And if that wasn’t enough, when made in the slow cooker, it takes only minutes to prepare!
For me, after spending a lot of time over the past few days preparing a large meal to share with the family, I am ready for a little break away from the kitchen. However, with leftover ham sitting in the refrigerator, I knew that I needed to come up with a creative, but easy way to use it.
So that is why I decided to put my 6 quart Programmable Crock Pot to use! It is the perfect way use both the leftover ham and ham bone with very little work.
When I make my Brown Sugar Pineapple Ham for the holidays, I always purchase a bone-in ham. The flavor that the bone provides during the cooking process just can’t be beat.
However, at the end of the day I always end up with a big chunk of meat around the bone that can’t easily be sliced and served for dinner. Therefore, instead of throwing the bone and chunks of meat attached away, I use it to make this Crock Pot Ham and Bean Soup!
Option: Freeze The Ham Bone Until You Are Ready To Make Soup
Even if I don’t think I will be making the soup within the next few days after the holiday, I will store the ham bone in the freezer. I simply wrap the entire bone in aluminum foil and place in a resealable freezer bag or Food saver bag.
Then whenever we crave a thick and hearty soup, I can simply pull it out of the freezer. Best of all, there is no thawing required. Instead, you add the frozen bone directly in the the slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients and let the soup cook as instructed.
What Type Of Beans To Use For Ham And Bean Soup
Although there are many variations of this recipe, most often, some sort of white bean is used when making this soup. I prefer to use dried Great Northern Beans in my recipe.
However, sometimes I will substitute Navy or Cannellini beans instead. It really just depends on what I have in my pantry at the time. Although, all three varieties hold up well during the slow cooking process.
White beans are the preferred bean of choice because once cooked they have creamy texture with a mild, delicate flavor. This mild flavor pairs perfectly with the other ingredients in this recipe which makes them the preferred bean variety for this soup.
However, you can use just about any bean or bean mixture for this recipe. The texture may be sightly different and you may have to adjust the cook time, but the taste will still be delicious.
Whichever bean or bean mixture that you choose, be sure to rinse and sort through the dried beans. Look for any broken or discolored beans and toss them.
Then rinse them several times before adding them to your slow cooker. For this recipe, the beans do not have to be soaked before adding them into the pot.
What Vegetables To Add
Traditionally, this crock pot ham and bean soup calls for a trio of classic soup vegetables: carrots, onions, and celery. However, many people will also add in additional vegetables, including peeled and diced potatoes.
Feel free to add in whatever leftover vegetables you have in your refrigerator. However, for best results, cut your vegetables in uniform sections for even cooking.
I like to use 1/2 inch as a guideline when preparing the vegetables. This way the vegetables are perfectly cut into bite size pieces and will cook evenly.
Whatever beans and vegetables you choose, I am sure this soup will become one of your favorite ways to use your leftover ham and/or ham bone!
Crock Pot Ham and Bean Soup
*Complete recipe instructions including specific measurements, cook temperatures and times are located in a printable recipe card at the bottom of this article. However, be sure to keep reading for helpful tips and tricks when making this recipe.
- Dried Great Northern or Navy beans
- Yellow onion
- Celery stalks
- Chicken broth, unsalted
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Garlic cloves, minced
- Bay leaf
- Ham hock/leftover ham bone
As stated above, the first step in this recipe is to rinse the beans and remove and discard any debris or damaged beans. Continue to rinse the beans until the water that runs underneath the colander comes out clear.
Then drain the dried beans and add them into the slow cooker. Set the beans aside as you prepare the vegetables.
Start by cutting the carrots, onion, and celery stalks into ½ inch sections. Then add the cut vegetables to the crock pot with the rinsed and drained beans.
Now pour the broth into the pot and then add the thyme, salt, pepper, garlic, and bay leaf. Stir the mixture until the ingredients are evenly distributed.
Now dice any leftover ham and/or place the ham bone inside the crock pot with the beans and vegetables. Cover and cook on HIGH for approximately 6 hours or until the beans are tender.
One the beans are soft and tender, carefully remove the ham bone and place it on a cutting board. When cool enough to handle remove any meat from the bone and dice the ham into small, bite size pieces.
Discard the bone and place the ham back into the crock pot. Stir and serve immediately. If you aren’t ready to serve the soup, place the slow cooker on the Keep Warm setting so that the beans and vegetables don’t get too mushy.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How Do I Get The Soup Thicker? – If you want a thicker soup, remove the lid during the last hour of the cooking process. At that time, remove 1 cup of the beans and smash them and return them to the pot.
- Can I Use A Slow Cooker Bag Liner? – If you prefer, you can use a slow cooker bag liner for easier clean up later.
- How Do I Store Crock Pot Ham & Bean Soup? – Store the soup in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Just like with most soups, this one only gets better with time!
- Can I Make This In The Instant Pot? – If you are looking to get the soup on the table even faster, you can use this pressure cooker recipe: Instant Pot Ham & Bean Soup.
Mary and Jim
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- 1 pound dried Great Northern or Navy beans
- 2 large carrots
- 1 small yellow onion
- 3 celery stalks
- 6 cups chicken broth, unsalted
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 ham hock/leftover ham bone
- Rinse the beans and pick out the bad ones, drain and set aside.
- Cut the carrots, onion, and celery stalk into ½ inch pieces, set aside.
- In a large slow cooker add the drained beans, carrots, onion, celery, broth, thyme, salt, pepper, garlic, and stir.
- Place ham bone in the slow cooker and cover and cook on HIGH for approximately 6 hours or until beans are tender.
- Carefully remove the ham bone to a cutting board. When cool enough to handled remove any meat from the bone and cut into small pieces.
- Stir ham pieces back into soup and discard the bone.
Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms
Serving Size:1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 141Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 462mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 7gSugar: 2gProtein: 12g
Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.