Easy Slow Cooker Ham And Bean Soup

Originally published: 02/15/2015 Updated 09/13/2023

As the weather begins to cool, there’s nothing more comforting than a bowl of warm, hearty soup. And when it comes to comfort, our Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup delivers!

Ham and bean soup in a dark bowl on a dark surface.
This easy soup recipe is perfect for the busy mom or dad.

Why You Will Love This

We’re all busy, that’s why finding a recipe that requires minimal effort yet delivers maximum flavor is a true blessing.

This Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup is exactly that – a simple, fuss-free recipe that just needs you to dump the ingredients into your slow cooker and let it work its magic. The result?

  • It’s inexpensive and will feed a crowd.
  • You can use leftover ham, ham bone, ham hock, diced ham, or chopped ham steak.
  • It only takes a few minutes of prep time.
  • It’s a hearty soup that’s also healthy and delicious!
  • It also freezes well.

It is a fabulous soup that’s hearty, comforting, and packed with beneficial nutrients and flavors that harmonize beautifully in a symphony of flavors.

For us, soup needs BREAD!

Check out our Cheddar Jalapeño Cornbread, No Knead Skillet Bread, Soft and Fluffy One Hour Dinner Rolls, Sourdough Bread Recipe, or Easy No Knead Overnight Focaccia Bread to go with this banging soup!

Ingredients Needed

This yummy soup is a wide canvas of flavors, each ingredient playing a crucial role in bringing this comforting dish to life. Here’s a look at the simple yet vibrant ingredients that you will need:

Ham and bean soup ingredients.
An easy dinner with easy ingredients. And the flavor is there!
  • Dried Great Northern Beans: These dry beans form the hearty base of the soup, absorbing all the wonderful flavors as they slow cook to tender perfection.
  • Ham bone or diced ham chunks: These add a rich and smoky dimension to the soup, providing a hearty and fulfilling element that pairs wonderfully with the beans. We always have a leftover ham bone or two in our freezer. It’s a great way to maximize the use of a ham.
  • Onion: A cornerstone in many recipes, it brings a subtle sweetness that forms the foundational flavor of the soup.
  • Carrots: These add a touch of earthiness and a splash of color, bringing a sweet note to the medley of flavors.
  • Celery: This vegetable introduces a fresh and slightly peppery flavor, adding a crisp texture to the soup.
  • Garlic: A small but mighty ingredient, it adds a punch of flavor that elevates the dish to new heights.
  • Water: The medium that brings all the ingredients together, helping to achieve the perfect consistency for your soup.
  • Chicken Broth: This ingredient adds a savory and rich depth to the soup, enhancing the flavors of the other components. Chicken stock works, too!
  • Bay Leaves: A subtle yet complex flavor enhancer, infusing the soup with a slightly floral and herbal note.
  • Dried Thyme: This herb introduces a subtle earthy flavor that complements the beans and ham beautifully, adding a layer of complexity to the soup.
  • Salt and Pepper: Essential seasonings to fine-tune the flavors, allowing the natural goodness of the ingredients to shine.

How to Make Ham and Bean Soup

Place the beans in a strainer and give them a good rinse.

Northern beans rinsed and drained.
Ham and bean soup ingredients added to a slow cooker.

Place the cleaned dried beans, ham hock, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, water, chicken broth, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper in the slow cooker.

Cover and cook on high for 2 hours.

Ham and bean soup in a slow cooker.

After 2 hours, set to low and cook another 6 hours until the beans are tender.

To make this soup thicker, I removed the lid from the crock pot at about 6 1/2 to 7 hours of cooking time and let it keep cooking until we were ready to eat.

Immersion blender being used on ham and bean soup to make it thicker.

You can also use an immersion blender (remove the bay leaf). Give it a few pulses to blend some of the beans. This will make the soup thicker as well.

Ham and bean soup in a dark bowl on a dark surface.
Hearty ham and creamy beans make this ultimate comfort food in a bowl!

When you’re ready to eat, serve it up with a garnish of chopped fresh parsley. Season to your taste with salt and black pepper and enjoy!

As the cool fall weather rolls in, there’s nothing like a warm, hearty soup to fill our bellies. This Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup is perfect for these cozy days. It’s easy to make, budget-friendly, and great for feeding a crowd.

Just gather the simple ingredients, toss them in the slow cooker, and let the magic happen.

Ham and bean soup in a dark bowl on a dark surface.

Before you know it, you’ll have a delicious soup that everyone will love. It’s the perfect meal for any busy weeknight or relaxing weekend as the leaves change color.

This easy crockpot ham and bean soup is sure to become a fall favorite your whole family will love!

Using A Dutch Oven For This Ham And Bean Soup

If you prefer using a Dutch oven, no worries!

Begin by sautéeing the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic in a bit of olive oil over medium heat until the onions are translucent.

Add the beans, ham, water, chicken broth, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper, stirring everything together. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, covering the Dutch oven.

Let it simmer for about 2 to 3 hours until the beans are tender, checking occasionally to ensure there’s enough liquid.

For a thicker consistency, blend some of the beans with an immersion blender or let it simmer with the lid off until it reaches your desired thickness. Adjust the seasoning, serve warm, and enjoy!

Tips And Variations

  • Fresh Herbs: For an extra flavor boost, consider adding fresh herbs like fresh rosemary or fresh thyme during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
  • Bean Variety: While Northern Beans are recommended for this recipe, feel free to experiment with other types of beans like cannellini beans, pinto beans, or navy beans to find what you enjoy the most.
  • Broth Flavor Boost: Consider using a homemade chicken or vegetable broth for an extra rich flavor. Store-bought broth works fine, but homemade broth can elevate the taste significantly.
  • Vegetable Add-Ins: Make the soup heartier by adding diced potatoes, turnips, or greens like kale or spinach during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
  • Meat Mix-up: You can switch from ham flavor and make it with smoked turkey smoked sausage.
  • This is a perfect way to use up that leftover holiday ham. Freeze up that meaty ham bone and make this soup on a cool/cold day!


Can I make this ahead?

You can make this up to 3 days ahead.

What other meats can I use if I don’t have ham?

Smoked turkey, sausage, or even leftover roasted chicken could work well in this recipe. The key is to have a meat that will impart flavor to the soup as it cooks.

Can I add other vegetables to this soup?

Absolutely! Feel free to add other vegetables like potatoes, turnips, or even greens like spinach or kale during the last 30 minutes of cooking to add more nutrition and flavor to your soup.

How can I thicken the soup if it’s too thin?

Blending: Use an immersion blender to blend a portion of the beans right in the slow cooker. This will give your soup a creamier texture without altering the flavor.
Mashing: You can also mash some of the beans with a potato masher or the back of a spoon.
Reducing: Remove the lid from the slow cooker and set it to a high setting, allowing the soup to simmer and reduce to a thicker consistency.
Cornstarch Slurry: Mix 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch with an equal amount of cold water until smooth, then stir this slurry into the soup and let it cook until it thickens up.

More Delicious Crock Pot Recipes

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Ham and bean soup in a dark bowl on a dark surface.

Slow Cooker Ham And Bean Soup Recipe

Easy to prep, set and let it cook! Creamy, comforting healthy ham and bean soup perfect for those cold nights.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner, Entree, Lunch, Main
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 7 hours 45 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours
Servings: 8
Calories: 409kcal
Author: Leigh Harris


  • 32 oz Dried Northern Beans
  • 1 Ham bone or diced ham chunks
  • 1 medium Onion diced
  • 4 medium Carrots diced
  • 4 stalks Celery diced
  • 1 clove Garlic minced
  • 4 cups Water
  • 4 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 tsp Dried thyme
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  • Sort beans and remove any debris or rocks.
  • Rinse beans under cold water.
  • Add all ingredients to slow cooker.
  • Cook on high for 2 hours.
  • Then cook on low for about 6 hours (until beans are tender)
  • Remove bay leaf and serve.


Leftover Ham And Bean Soup
Allow the soup to cool to room temperature before transferring to an airtight container. It can be refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 2 months.
To reheat, microwave on high for 2-3 minutes or warm on the stovetop over medium heat until heated through. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed, serve warm, and enjoy!


Calories: 409kcal | Carbohydrates: 76g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 474mg | Potassium: 1785mg | Fiber: 24g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 5095IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 225mg | Iron: 7mg

Recipe adapted from raininghotcoupons.

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