Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup aka Soup Beans

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Ham and Bean Soup in the Slow Cooker


This was my very favorite meal when I was little.  Actually, it was a toss up between this and homemade spaghetti and meatballs, but this was high on my list.

We call it Soup Beans and it’s best when you’ve got a ham bone to use.  I rarely have a ham bone for making soup, but I came upon a good alternative.

For this, I used a bone-in ham steak.  It’s not quite as rich as if you use a whole bone, but it really enhances the taste to have some bone cooking in there.

There are a lot of ways to make this humble meal.  Some folks use pinto beans.  Some add carrots and celery.  I keep it simple with just the ham and beans.

Here’s what you’ll need to make it:   

Ham and Bean Soup ingr


I did a quick soak on the beans.  Just cover with water and bring to a boil, then turn off and let them sit for about an hour.  I started the soak before breakfast and put everything in the crockpot once I was dressed and ready for the day.

I did trim some of the fat from the edge of the ham.  Then dice it up, leaving the bone and some of the meat around it.  Put it all in the slow cooker and cover with water.

Ham and Bean Soup assemble


I waited until the end of cooking to taste and add salt.  Ham can be salty, so I didn’t want to risk over salting.

One thing didn’t turn out like I expected – the soup was soupier than I wanted.  Soup beans should be thick, but instead mine was too watery.  I think it’s because I just added too much water to the pot.  Next time, I’d reduce the amount (and the reduced amount is what I show in the recipe below).  But it was an easy fix.  I just put the soup into a pot on the stove and boiled them while the cornbread baked.  That made them perfect.  And it was still easier than fixing them entirely on the stove, because that required being attentive to them all day.  Using the slow cooker means you can leave them to cook by themselves.

Serving this soup with cornbread is a must!  You can find my recipe for Southern Cornbread here.

Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup aka Soup Beans

Serves: 6-8 servings

  • 1 lb. Great Northern beans
  • 1.5 lbs Ham steak with bone
  • 6-7 cups of water
  • salt to taste
  1. Soak beans overnight or do a quick soak in the morning (cover with water, bring to boil and soak for 1 hour).
  2. Dice ham.
  3. Place beans, ham and the ham bone in slow cooker.
  4. Cover with 6-7 cups of water.
  5. Cook on high 7-8 hours.
  6. Taste and season with salt.
  7. Serve with cornbread.
If it turns out more watery than you'd like, transfer to a pot on the stove and boil for 15-20 minutes. This will thicken up the soup.

This recipe is part of our Slow Cooker Soup Recipe series.  New recipes will be shared every Friday, October through February. Subscribe to the email list and get them all!

Slow Cooker Soup Series


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  1. I always used a smoked ham hock and packaged diced ham in my soup to give it that extra added flavor. Remove hock prior to serving. 🙂

  2. FYI, if you make it too watery, smashing up some of the beans can add that thickness you’re craving. It still pays to reduce the water, but it’s a quick fix to get it on the table.

  3. MEAGAN COOPER says:

    One thing I always do with my ham and beans is scoop our like a cup of beans, mash them with a fork, then return it to the pot. It thickens and make it super yummy! Added texture.

  4. You can buy ham bones at a Honeybaked Ham store. They sell them for pretty cheap and you can just throw them in the freezer. Would be worth asking your grocery store deli what they do with theirs as well.

    • Well, this may be the best idea ever! I had no idea Honeybaked Ham would sell just the bone. Thanks!

    • The Honeybaked ham bones are selling for just under $4.00 a pound in Ocala, Fl. Just bought a couple. Also, if you beans are a bit watery, add a can of Great Northern beans to the pot. That will thicken them up well….

  5. OldNuffToKnoBtr says:

    It’s a snowy day and a great time to be making this lovely soup in my slow cooker now

  6. Have you ever tried taking about a cup of the beans out and throw them in a blender with lid off and puree it then return it to slow cooker? Works for stew too. Nobody knew it was ever runny.

  7. Laurie Christino says:

    Being a vegetarian from Louisiana, I like to spice this up and make it into more of a cajun white bean soup. No ham. 1 can of Rotel. 1 cup frozen, already diced onion and the same of green bellpepper (Im lazy). 1 Tablespoon of minced garlic then cayenne pepper to taste! Wa! La! If you can find ANY cajun spices…throw them in! Cook same way. Sometimes I even serve over a small portion of rice. I use this same recipe for kidney and pinto beans as well. PROTEIN! NO FAT.


  1. […] got a ham bone available.  But since I figured out a great work-around for that with my Ham and Bean Soup, I decided to use the same technique for this […]

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