Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup

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.

Ham and bean soup

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

Liz soaking beans

Start your Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup by soaking the bean mix overnight.

Liz cutting carrots

The next day, cut and prepare you produce including the carrots, onion, and celery.

Adding beans to slow cooker

In your slow cooker (I personally use a crock pot), add your soaked/prepared beans.

Adding veggies to slow cooker

Next add the celery, onion, and carrots.

Adding ham to slow cooker

Then add the chopped ham, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf. Cover it all with the chicken stock, and season with salt and pepper.

Spoonful of ham and bean soup.

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.

Slow cooker ham and bean soup.

More Soups

Like It, Eat It, Share It!

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.

Liz eating slow cooker ham and bean soup.

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.

Ham and bean soup

Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup

4.86 stars average
An easy slow cooker dinner recipe for using up leftover ham, this comforting and flavorful ham and bean soup recipe is full of hearty vegetables and smoky aromas.
PREP: 10 minutes
COOK: 4 hours
TOTAL: 4 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 3 carrots (peeled and diced)
  • 2 celery stalks (diced)
  • 1 medium onion (diced)
  • 4 cups cooked ham (diced)
  • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill 13 Bean Soup Mix (soaked overnight)
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • parsley (optional garnish)


  • 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.


Could you use leftover turkey for this instead of ham?

Yes. You are not tied down to using ham. You could use leftover turkey.


Calories: 240kcalCarbohydrates: 25.8gProtein: 24.4gFat: 4.1gSaturated Fat: 1.5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3.6gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 1044mgFiber: 7gSugar: 4.1g

14 thoughts on “Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup”

  1. Amanda Whittington

    Could you use leftover turkey for this instead of the ham? An if so what would I have to do differently ?

  2. I am DEFINITELY making this with ham leftovers! Can you believe this will be my first time making a christmas ham? It’s only for 2 of us since the wife is working, but I’m looking forward to it AND the leftovers. We always keep dried beans around too.

  3. I’m so glad I have a meaty ham bone in the freezer! Such a simple, flavorful recipe. Isn’t this weather crazy—our forecast for the rest of the week is 50’s and 60’s and rain!

  4. We just made a bean soup the other day. So filling and delicious. It’s not going to be a white Christmas for us Michiganders is it?

  5. My father in law used to eat Campbell’s Ham and Bean soup nearly every day. I miss that guy, but his taste in soup could have been amped up quite a bit :) I’ve had a similar recipe in my rotation for a while, but I love the addition of the Bob’s 13 beans! Delicious. And love your new pic contributor.

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