This easy Ham and Bean Soup Recipe is hearty, delicious, and filled with fifteen different kinds of beans, healthy vegetables, and tender leftover ham. Easy to prepare with “no soaking required” this slow cooker ham and bean soup is sure to keep you warm all winter long.
Post updated on December 21, 2020
Ham and Bean Soup
The holidays have come and gone. And, if you’re extra lucky, that means that you got stuck with all the leftovers. Hopefully, piled somewhere in that leftover mess is a meaty ham bone because today I’m talking all about this super easy, super delicious ham and bean soup.
Just like split pea soup (another hearty soup and family-favorite), this slow cooker ham and bean soup is cooked low and slow until all of the leftover meaty bits left on the ham bone dissolve into the delicious veggie and bean-filled broth.
It’s hearty, filling, and stretches those holiday leftovers just a little further…always my favorite kind of cooking.
- 15 bean dry soup mix
- leftover ham bone with meat (see recommended substitutions below)
- dried Italian seasoning
- crushed red pepper (optional)
- water or low-sodium chicken stock (turkey stock is great too!)
- fresh thyme
If you’ve never heard of or seen 15 bean soup mix, it’s pretty easy to find at many grocery stores or online- I used this brand.
Considering there are actually FIFTEEN different kinds of dried beans going into this soup (including some well-known favorites like great northern beans, navy beans, black beans, and cannellini beans) the last thing I wanted to do was purchase individual bags of 15 different kinds of beans.
I love beans, but I don’t cook with dry beans often enough to justify the purchase. So, these soup mixes are quite handy.
- NOTE: You will notice that each soup mix comes with a spice packet. I did not include the spice packet in this recipe.
Ham Bone Substitutions
No ham bone? No worries. There are several great alternatives.
- Smoked ham hock. A large smoked ham hock (not raw) is a great way to sneak in that delicious smoked flavor without having to cook an entire ham first.
- Diced ham. Not sliced lunch meat – cooked ham leftover from Christmas or Easter dinner.
- Sausage. Sausage is available everywhere for a reason- it adds flavor to everything! Smoked pork or chicken sausage would make a great addition!
- Ground pork. Fry some ground pork in a skillet with all your favorite spices and make a truly unique pot of ham and bean soup!
- Mix and match! Add a little bit of everything.
- And let’s not forget that there’s always bacon!
- Not a fan of pork? Replace it with leftover chicken or turkey.
How to Make Ham and Bean Soup in the Slow Cooker
One of my favorite parts about this whole recipe is how easy it is to prepare! There’s no pre-soaking of these beautiful looking beans which is good news, you guys because I am always forgetting to soak my beans and it drives me bonkers.
You have two options: add everything all at once, or save the seasoning and tomatoes and add those about an hour before serving. Personally, I’m the lazy sort of slow cooker, so I add it all at once.
This is how I make my ham and bean soup in the Crock-Pot-
- Thoroughly rinse beans in clean, cold water. Discard the seasoning packet.
- Transfer the mirepoix (onions, carrots, celery), garlic, rinsed beans, ham bone, seasoning, and canned tomatoes to the slow cooker. Mix.
- Add the chicken broth (or water) and bay leaves. Mix again.
- Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or low for 7-8 hours.
- Remove any meat from the baked ham bone and return it to the pot.
How to Thicken Ham and Bean Soup
Soup thickness is all about personal preference. Some people like a super thick, blended soup, while others prefer a more watery soup.
I love all soup, so I’m not here to judge.
This Ham and Bean Soup Recipe will naturally thicken over time. Not as much as lentil soups, but it will thicken as it cools and rests overnight in the refrigerator. That said, it will not end up looking “blended” or “mushy”.
If you want a somewhat pureed, less brothy soup, I recommend adding 1-2 cups of cooked soup to a blender, puree until blended. Return to your pot and mix well to combine.
On the other hand, if you prefer a brothier ham and bean soup, simply add 1-2 cups of additional water or broth and season with additional salt and spices to taste.
How to Store Leftovers
Tons of good news here, you guys.
First, this soup is even better leftover the next day (or two days later) than the day it was made. The flavors really have time to marinate and mix together.
If, however, you’re not really into eating the same thing two days in a row, you can easily freeze the leftovers and reheat for a quick family meal or in pre-portioned containers for lunch.
How to freeze Ham and Bean Soup:
- Allow the soup to cool completely before dividing or transferring. I recommend refrigerating overnight, if possible.
- Freeze in either large gallon or quart-sized freezer bags or in freezer-friendly containers.
- Place the soup-filled bags on a baking sheet or on a flat surface in the freezer to freeze, always making sure to leave a small amount of room in each bag for expansion during freezing.
- Freeze completely and stack each on top of each other or side-by-side for easy storage.
More soup recipes,
If you try making this Ham and Bean Soup Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
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Ham and Bean Soup Recipe (Crock Pot)
- 1 (1 pound) package 15 bean soup mix (seasoning packet discarded)
- 1 leftover ham bone with meat ((or ham hocks, diced ham, ground pork, or pork sausage))
- 1 large yellow onion (diced)
- 6 large carrots (chopped)
- 4 stalks celery (chopped)
- 6 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh black pepper
- 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
- 1 (15 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 10 cups water or low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- Fresh thyme and rosemary (to garnish)
- Thoroughly rinse beans in clean, cold water. Set aside.
- Transfer the beans, ham bone, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, salt, pepper, dried Italian seasoning, cumin, crushed red pepper, and canned tomatoes to the slow cooker. Mix to combine.
- Stir in the chicken broth and bay leaves. Mix to combine.
- Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or low for 7-8 hours.
- Once the beans are tender, remove the ham bone from the pot and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before removing any meat from the bone and returning back to the pot.
- Cook for an additional 30 minutes before serving.
- If you don't have a leftover ham bone, substitute with a 1 1/2- 2 pound smoked ham hock, 3 cups diced ham (or more!), 1-2 pounds sausage or ground pork.
- Not a fan of pork? Replace with leftover chicken or turkey.
- I used one package of this 15 bean soup mix but did not include the seasoning packet. There are other mixed bean combos out there including this 13 bean soup mix or this 16 bean soup mix.
- Serve this yummy ham soup with your favorite cornbread recipe.
- I recommend using a slow cooker 6-quarts or larger.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)