This Southern Crockpot Ham and Bean Soup is a family favorite and passed down from my Grandma. This classic 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 on a cool night. The soup features tender bone-in ham, white beans, veggies and lots of 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. Anyways, I hope you guys love this Southern bean and ham soup as much as my family, enjoy!
- 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.
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- A Strainer and Can Opener
- A Sharp Knife and Cutting Board
- A Large Skillet: For frying the bacon and sauteing the vegetables.
- A Fork: You will need a fork or two to shred the cooker ham meat.
- 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 saute 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.
- Veggies: The classic veggie trio: carrots, onion and celery. These are pretty much in every soup and they pair perfectly with the ham and beans.
- Broth: Chicken or Vegetable stock can be used and you can make your own or use store bought.
- Herbs and Spices
- Cornbread and Hot Sauce (For Serving)
How to Make Ham & Bean Soup
- 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 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. 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.
- Finishing Touches
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!
Stove Top Method
This Southern 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 1/2 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 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 cooker you can lower the cook time of both the slow cooker and stove top methods.
Saute the Veggies: I knowwww 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. Super fast and way less mess than the stove-top!
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 have additions to the soup 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 do well with the bean and ham soup are a Kale and Avocado Salad, Southern Fried Green Tomatoes, or a Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwich. Personally, I just eat the soup on it’s own with some cornbread muffins, but you do you!
More Crockpot Favorites
Store leftover crockpot ham and bean 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. Also, do not store the cornbread with the soup as it will get soggy, so just add it over top right before servings.
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.
I hope you love this ham and bean soup recipe! Leave me a comment below letting me know what you thought.
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
- 1/2 White Onion
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Course Ground Black Pepper
- 2 Tsp Minced Garlic
- 1 Tsp 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!
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