This Ham and Bean Soup Recipe is hearty, delicious, and so easy to make! Filled with your favorite types of beans, healthy vegetables, and tender leftover ham, this delicious slow cooker soup is cozy, flavorful, and loved by the whole family.
Easy Ham and Bean Soup Recipe
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 my split pea soup (another hearty, family favorite soup recipe), this crock pot 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 comforting, filling, and stretches those holiday leftovers just a little further…my favorite kind of cooking.
What is 15 Bean Soup Mix?
If you’ve never heard of 15 bean soup mix, it’s widely available at many grocery stores and online – I used this brand. It contains 15 different types of beans – great northern beans, pinto beans, large lima, yelloweye, garbanzo, baby lima, green split, kidney, cranberry, small white, pink, small red, yellow split, lentil, navy beans, white kidney, black bean. It also comes with a spice packet, however, I chose not to include the spice packet in this recipe.
Ham Bone Substitutions
There are several great alternatives to ham bone for this soup.
- 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: Cooked ham leftover from Christmas or Easter dinner (not sliced lunch meat) or chopped-up ham from a ham steak which is available year-round.
- 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!
How to Make Ham and Bean Soup
- Thoroughly rinse the beans in clean, cold water. Discard the seasoning packet.
- Next, transfer the mirepoix (onions, carrots, and celery), garlic, rinsed beans, ham bone, dried herbs and seasoning, and canned tomatoes to the slow cooker.
- 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.
Cooking with Dry Beans
It is not necessary to soak the beans before cooking. This is true even if you only plan on using just one type of dried bean.
How to Thicken Ham and Bean Soup
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, as written, this is not a blended bean soup.
For a more pureed, less brothy soup, I recommend adding 1-2 cups of cooked soup to a blender and pureeing until blended. Return the blended soup 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.
This soup tastes even better the next day (or two days later). Keep it stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days, reheating it on the stovetop or in the microwave before serving.
To freeze Ham and Bean Soup:
- Allow the soup to cool completely before dividing or transferring it to freezer-safe containers or ziplock bags. I recommend refrigerating overnight, if possible.
- 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 the other or side-by-side for easy storage.
What to Serve with Ham and Bean Soup
- Crusty bread
- Buttermilk biscuits
- Leftover dinner rolls
Try These Next
- Creamy Potato Soup Recipe
- Pho Recipe; How to Make Vietnamese Noodle Soup
- Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe
- Bone Broth Recipe (How to Make Bone Broth)
- Easy Minestrone Soup Recipe (Stovetop + Slow Cooker)
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.
Ham and Bean Soup Recipe (Crock Pot)
- 1 (1 pound) package 15 bean soup mix - seasoning packet discarded (see notes)
- 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 ribs 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 the dry beans in clean, cold water.
- Transfer the beans, ham bone, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, salt, black pepper, dried Italian seasoning, cumin, crushed red pepper, and canned tomatoes to a large slow cooker.
- Stir in the chicken broth and bay leaves, mixing well 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 it to cool for 5-10 minutes before carefully removing any meat from the bone. Add the meat back to the soup and discard the ham bone.
- 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 of diced ham (or more!), or 1-2 pounds of 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. Feel free to use any of the previously mentioned, or stick to just one type of bean (any type of white bean work really well in this recipe).
- Serve this yummy ham soup with your favorite cornbread recipe.
- I recommend using a slow cooker that is at least 6 quarts or larger.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)