This Southern Crockpot Ham and Bean Soup is a family favorite and passed down from my Grandma. This classic old fashioned recipe is warm, comforting and topped with homemade cornbread.
This is literally comfort in a bowl. Really though, this soup has been a staple in my family and is one of my favorite family recipes. This Crockpot Ham and Bean Soup is very simple to make and is perfect for family dinner. The soup features tender bone-in ham, white beans, veggies and lots of black pepper. Top is all off with some classic Southern cornbread and hot sauce for the perfect bowl.
If the slow cooker isn't your jam, no worries this ham soup can be made on the stove-top the traditional way. Another reason to love this soup is that it can be prepped ahead of time and frozen. I can't tell you how many times this soup has saved dinner time for me.
- Ham: For this soup I recommend getting either a ham shank or ham hock. Both of these will yield tender and juicy ham and give lots of flavor since they are bone in. As a backup you could use ham steaks, but try and find one of the above options. If you cannot find it on the shelf, make sure to ask the butcher.
- Bacon: You can fry the bacon on the stove top along with the veggies, or make the bacon ahead of time in the air fryer. This will save on some prep work, but you will just sauté the veggies in some butter. Also check out my friends over at Naked Bacon Co. for all your bacon needs!
- Beans: I used canned Great Northern Beans for my soup and recommend using these or another white bean like Navy Beans or Cannelloni Beans. Fresh or canned can be used just make sure to soak fresh beans overnight before adding them to the ham soup.
- Broth: Chicken or Vegetable stock can be used and you can make your own or use store bought.
Why You'll LOVE It!
Family Favorite: Loved by both kids and Adults
Warm & Comforting
Set it & Forget It: Great for Making in the Morning
Frying the Bacon
Chop 6 slices of bacon into large chunks and fry in a large skillet until crispy. Once the bacon is fried, remove it and place it on a paper towel lined plate. If you want you can make the bacon ahead of time in the air fryer, or oven and skip this step completely.
Veggie Prep and Cooking
Chop the onion and slice the carrots and celery. Add the veggies to the same pan you cooked the bacon in (leave the grease in there to really develop some flavors) and sauté for 5 minutes. It's okay if they aren't fully cooked they will soften up and finish in the slow cooker. At the last minute add the minced garlic and cook an additional minute until fragrant.
Assembling & Cooking the Soup
Once your bacon and veggies are cooked, add all the ingredients to a large crockpot. Cook for 4-6 hours on HIGH and 6-8 hours on LOW or until the beans are soft and the ham is tender and cooked through. After the soup has cooked, remove the ham shanks from the slow cooker and shred the meat off the bone and return it to the crockpot. Stir the soup, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Once the soup is complete, scoop out your desired amount to a serving bowl and serve with hot sauce, fresh parsley, cornbread and I like to sprinkle more black pepper over mine. Enjoy!
Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. When ready to enjoy heat in the microwave, on the stove top, or in a slow cooker until warm.
Stove Top Method
This Old Fashioned ham and bean soup recipe is great in the crockpot, but can also be made on the stove top. You will follow all the same prep instructions for the bacon, veggies and assembling the soup. The only difference will be the cook time. This is the chosen method for both my mom and grandma and I am the one who goes rogue and makes mine in a slow cooker.
Once you have everything prepped, add the ingredients to a large stock pot, bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low to allow the soup to simmer. Place the lid on (leave a little space for it to vent) and cook for 2 ½ hours. After 2 hours check the soup and if it need more time cook an additional 30 minutes until the ham is cooked through and the beans are soft. Once the ham is cooked, shred the meat, return to the pot and get ready to serve.
Using Leftover Ham
Got some leftover ham from Christmas or another big family gathering? Well, this bean soup is perfect for utilizing leftover holiday ham! If going with the leftover ham route you will obviously not need the ham hock called for in the recipe ingredients.
Add all the ingredients to a slow cooker, but cook the soup on LOW for 4 hours or until the beans are soft and cooked through. Because the ham is already cooked you can lower the cook time of both the slow cooker and stove top methods.
Saute the Veggies: I know this is an extra step and some people want to skip it but the veggies are so much better is they are cooked first. I love when the veggies are super soft in the soup and the get more flavor with cooked in a pan with the bacon first. This step is not required and they will cook through if you just plop the end the slow cooker, but they will be more firm.
Bacon is King: Double pork, I think yes! This recipe the pork is the star and I wanted to use two types. You do not have to add in the bacon and can just use the ham, but the salty bites of bacon are sort of everything. Alternatively, you can sprinkle some cooked bacon over the top of the finished soup if you do not want to add it into the entire soup. For my favorite bacon on the planet check out my Ninja Foodi bacon recipe.
Helpful Kitchen Tools
A Large Crockpot: You will need to use either a 6 or 8 quart slow cooker for this recipe. This makes a big ole' batch of soup so break out the big boat. If going the stove top route then you will need to use a large stockpot.
Topper Ideas: Ham and bean soup is great on its own right out of the slow cooker, but can be made even more comforting with the addition of a few toppers. My personal favorite two are homemade cornbread and hot sauce. Any hot sauce will do, but my personal favorite is Tabasco. These have always been must haves in our family and I highly recommend you try them out. Some other topper ideas to try are crackers, fresh parsley, or crumbled bacon.
Complete the Meal: If you are one of those individuals that believes soup on its own does not count as a whole meal (cough, cough my husband) then you could of course add on a side. Some side ideas that will go well with soup are a Kale and Avocado Salad, Southern Fried Green Tomatoes, or a Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwich.
Yes, the cooked ham soup can be frozen for up to 3 months. Place the soup in an freezer container or zip-lock bag and store flat. When ready to eat, let thaw in the fridge overnight and heat in the crockpot, microwave or stove top until warm.
Yes, you can add all the soup ingredients to a large prep bowl or zip-lock bag and store in the fridge for up to 24 hours. When ready to cook the soup, follow the recipe instructions. This method is great because the ham gets even more tender from marinating in all the goodness.
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Crockpot Ham and Bean Soup Recipe
- 2 Lbs Ham Shank Ham Hock can also be used
- 6 Slices Bacon
- 4 Cups Great Northern Beans or 4 15oz Cans
- 8 Cups Chicken Stock
- 4 Large Carrots About 1 Cup
- 4 Stalks Celery About 1 Cup
- ½ White Onion
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 ½ tablespoon Course Ground Black Pepper
- 2 teaspoon Minced Garlic
- 1 teaspoon Thyme
- Hot Sauce My favorite it Tabasco
- Fresh Parsley
- Chop 6 slices of bacon into large chunks and fry in a large skillet until crispy. Once the bacon is fried, remove it and place it on a paper towel lined plate.
- Chop the onion and slice the carrots and celery into small, thin pieces. Add the veggies to the same pan you cooked the bacon in (leave the grease in there to really develop some flavors) and saute for 5 minutes just until the veggies have started to cook. It's okay if they aren't fully cooked they will soften up and finish in the slow cooker. Add the minced garlic and cook an additional minute until fragrant.
- Add all the ingredients to a large crockpot. Cook for 4-6 hours on HIGH and 6-8 hours on LOW or until the beans are soft and the ham is tender and cooked through.
- After the soup has cooked, remove the ham shanks from the slow cooker and shred the meat off the bone and return it to the crockpot. Stir the soup, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- Scoop out your desired amount of soup into a serving bowl and top with hot sauce, fresh parsley, cornbread and I like to sprinkle more black pepper over mine. Enjoy!
Hi Caitlin, I'm a huge fan of your biscuits and gravy recipe. I want to try this one but I'm a novice bean cooker. I've read I have to soak dry beans overnight. Please excuse me asking, do I prepare this recipe after the overnight soak?
Nevermind I found the answer on this page lol! Sorry reading difficulties here.
No worries! Yes you will need to soak the beans and cook them first. Since I used canned beans in this recipe that are already cooked and you just need to rewarm
I made this recipe for me Dad who is 95 yrs old and in a nursing home his favorite thing to eat is beans he loved it and wanted more. So keep the bean recipes coming.
That makes me SOOO happy to hear. This was one of my grandpa's favorite recipes when he was alive and I think of him every time I make it. Really happy that your dad enjoys it too!
Katerina | Once a Foodie
This is such a comfort recipe for the whole family - I love it! I usually cook green peas with ham but using beans is such a good idea. I will absolutely give this a go, thanks for sharing!
I hope you love it! This is a favorite among our family.