An easy slow cooker dinner recipe that uses leftover ham, this comforting and flavorful ham and bean soup is full of hearty vegetables and smoky aromas.
Winter has taken its sweet time arriving this year in Michigan, not that I’m complaining! I don’t need it to be cold to enjoy a hearty bowl of soup. And with all sorts of holiday leftovers, this Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup is a favorite of mine to make.
- Carrots: Slightly sweet, crunchy, and full of vitamins and minerals.
- Celery: Adds a crunchy, nutritious bite to the soup.
- Onion: A white or yellow onion is mildest in flavor, but still adds necessary flavor.
- Ham: While I developed this recipe as a way to use up leftover ham, you could also use a fresh package.
- Bean medley: Black, white, navy, kidney. The different textures, sizes, and flavors of the different beans make this soup delicious.
- Thyme: Earthy, slightly lemony in flavor that balances out the soup.
- Bay leaf: Although bitter when eaten, when infused in broth, it adds a floral, peppery flavor.
- Chicken stock: The classic broth for any good soup.
How to Make Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup
Start your Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup by soaking the bean mix overnight.
The next day, cut and prepare you produce including the carrots, onion, and celery.
In your slow cooker (I personally use a crock pot), add your soaked/prepared beans.
Next add the celery, onion, and carrots.
Then add the chopped ham, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf. Cover it all with the chicken stock, and season with salt and pepper.
Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4, remove the bay leaf, then serve garnished with parsley or more thyme. Enjoy!
- Switch the protein. You could use leftover turkey or chicken in this soup as well.
- Use fresh or canned beans. Instead of using the bean soup mix, use your own mix of black, white, and red beans either from a can or made from dried.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can I make this in the Instant Pot?
Yes! Follow the directions the same, but then set your Instant Pot to cook on high pressure for 20 minutes, then let the pressure naturally release or quick release before serving.
How do you thicken ham and bean soup?
If you like a thicker broth, you can use a couple teaspoons of flour or cornstarch to create a slurry and stir it into the soup to thicken it.
How do I store the leftovers or freeze?
In an airtight container, it’ll keep for 4 days in the fridge. The best way to freeze this soup is by first letting it cool in an ice bath. Next, pour it into a zip-top plastic freezer bag and then simply lay it flat in the freezer. You can freeze this soup for up to 3 months.
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Did you try this soup and love it? The next time you make it, snap a picture and share it to your socials! Tag @thelemonbowl and #thelemonbowl so we can admire and share your dish.
Whether you have Christmas leftovers to use up or not, be sure to add this Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup recipe to your meal plan. Make a double batch and freeze extra to enjoy on a busy weeknight later!
Your spoon is waiting.
Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup
- Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and heat on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
- Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Garnish with fresh parsley.