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Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup

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Slow Cooker Ham & Bean Soup is a hearty and wholesome slow cooker soup that’s so comforting. It’s the perfect meal to make using leftover Holiday ham.

Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup isn’t known for it’s looks so if it doesn’t look totally appetizing to you, don’t worry. For what it lacks in looks it makes up for big time in terms of flavor!

My Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup is quite a bit different from the traditional ham and bean soup that I knew growing up. I add a variety of spices that I don’t think most recipes call for and I use Pinto Beans instead of Great Northern or White Kidney Beans. Pinto Beans are perfect in this soup because they’re so creamy!

Ham and Bean Soup in a bread bowl in a white bowl

Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup is a perfect way to use up leftover Holiday Ham! I love this soup after the holidays because it’s so hearty and full of nutrients after indulging quite a bit throughout the season. We like to eat it with a big green salad and some crusty bread. I have it pictured here in a bread bowl because exactly one hour before I took these photographs I realized Panera Bread sold their bread bowls in their bakery section and I bought two and I was so excited about it!

How to make Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup:

chopped onion, celery, carrots on black cutting board with knife

Dice up onion, celery, and carrots so you have about a cup of each!

ingredients for ham and bean soup in the slow cooker

In a slow cooker add 1 pound dried pinto beans (picked through and rinsed), 1 ham bone, 2-3 cups chopped ham (3 cups reflects the nutritional info/ww points, but my recipe calls for 2-3 cups depending on what I can get from the leftovers), 1 cup of each sautéed chopped onion, celery, and carrots, 1 tbsp chicken or vegetable flavor better than bouillon, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 bay leaf, 2 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, 8 cups of water, and 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme.

Cook on low for 8 hours. That’s all, folks. It’s so easy!

*You don’t have to sauté the carrots, celery, and onion, but it does make for a better finished flavor!

Do I have to use leftover ham/hambone?

No. You can just use a diced up ham steak from the grocery store. Works like a charm! However, you won’t have a ham bone if you do this so you’ll have to do one thing differently, okay? If you’re not using a ham bone, you need to use 2 tbsp of the chicken, ham, or vegetable flavor Better than Bouillon. That’s it.

Using a ham bone will help develop the flavor differently, BUT it’s still really, really good without it. I make this soup twice a year with a ham bone (after Christmas and Easter) and the rest of the year I just use chopped up ham from a ham steak and then use extra bouillon.

Can I used canned beans?

Yes you can, but I have not actually tried it with this particular recipe. Since the 8 cups of liquid in this recipe is mostly soaked up by the dry beans since they need it for cooking. You absolutely will not need 8 cups of liquid. The flavor of the beans soaking and cooking is so amazing and the texture of the beans is so good, I do recommend the dry beans, but you can try canned too! I would stick to about 1-3/4 to 2 cups of water and about 6 hours in the slow cooker on low. Everything else should be the same as in the recipe.

If you’ve never had ham and bean soup, then you should absolutely start with this recipe! It’s so full of flavor. The only requirement is that you must like beans to like this soup… because it’s very bean forward. Haha

Be sure to discard the thyme sprigs and ham bone before serving and enjoy!

Ham and Bean Soup is not the prettiest soup. There’s no way around it, but it’s not supposed to be. And if you can, put it in a bread bowl. Oh my gracious it’s good!

Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup in a bowl and a plate

This soup also freezes super well! Just be sure whatever you are freezing is completely cool. I like to freeze in 2 cup portions in a freezer friendly ziplock bag. Try to press as much air out of the bag as possible before cooking.

From my kitchen to yours, Star

Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup

A super yummy and hearty soup perfect to use leftover ham!
Print Recipe
ham and bean soup in a bread bowl
Prep Time:10 mins
Cook Time:8 hrs


  • 3 cups diced ham
  • 1 lb pinto beans, dried rinsed and picked through
  • 1 ham bone not necessary if you don't have one- see notes
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne powder use more or less depeing on your spice preference. I find 1/4 tsp adds just enough of a kick to notice.
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 8 cups water
  • 1-2 .5 tbsp better than bouillon (use 1.5 tbsp if using a ham bone use 2.5 tbsp if not using a ham bone) **see notes
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a large skillet over medium heat spray lightly with cooking spray and saute diced onions, celery, and carrots just until soft. Set aside.
    *you don't have to do this step, but it really does make the end result taste better.
  • In a slow cooker add dried beans, chopped ham, sautéed veggies, spices, bay leaf, thyme, water, and ham bone (if using).
    Important: Add 1 tbsp "better than bouillion" if you ARE using a ham bone. If you are NOT using a ham bone then add 2.5 tbsp "better than bouillon".
  • Cook on low for 8 hours. Salt and pepper, to taste.
    Discard thyme sprigs and the ham bone.


Serving size: 1-1/2 heaping cups 
WeightWatchers Points: 3 Points
286 calories, 2g fat, 1g saturated fat, 300g sodium, 50g carbohydrates, 17g fiber, 2,5g sugar, (0g sugar alcohol, 0g added sugar) 20g protein
*This soup also freezes super well! Just be sure whatever you are freezing is completely cool. I like to freeze in 2 cup portions in a freezer friendly ziplock bag. Try to press as much air out of the bag as possible before cooking.
**better than bouillon- I use chicken or vegetable flavor base 99.9% of the time. They do make a ham base, but I don’t use that enough to justify purchasing it. I would just stick to the chicken or vegetable base unless you think you’ll use the ham base often. You can find the better than bouillon at most any grocery store near where they keep cartons and cans of chicken/beef/vegetable stock/broth. 
Servings: 10 cups
Author: Star @ the skinny-ish dish
Tried this recipe?Mention @theskinnyishdish or tag #skinnyishdishrecipes!

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    1. I haven’t done it for four hours on high, but it should work. Just be sure the beans are cooked thoroughly.

  1. I want to make this soup this week and I love your presentation of it. Is that a small bread bowl you are serving it in? If so, could you give directions for it?

  2. 5 stars
    I, too, love all your recipes that I’ve tried, but this is my favorite..just DELICIOUS!

  3. 5 stars
    I make this several times a month, it’s that delicious! I’ve even just cooked the beans with the seasonings when I didn’t have ham and veggies on hand—I just use a little less water.

  4. 5 stars
    My husband and I both loved this recipe! The flavor of this dish is exceptional, and I love that it’s a quality, affordable, and filling meal. If I am being honest, every recipe I have tried from Star so far has been amazing!

    1. thank you so much! I’m so happy you’ve enjoyed them all so far and also hope you continue to enjoy the rest!

  5. 5 stars
    I’ve made this soup several times now and it never disappoints! It’s so good and filling. Make it! You’ll be happy you did

  6. 5 stars
    I’ve always tossed my ham bone (shame on me!), but decided to keep mine from Christmas this year. OMG this soup is the best soup I’ve ever make. Absolutely delicious!

  7. 5 stars
    This recipe is amazing!! We just love it and it is a favorite for cold Wisconsin winters. Honestly, I have not had a SkinnyishDish recipe that hasn’t been great. It is my “go to” spot for recipes.

  8. 5 stars
    This ham and bean soup is just so delicious! I did make it on the stove because I waited too long to do the 10 hour method. This recipe will definitely be on rotation in this house, especially in the winter months! Thank you, Star.

  9. 5 stars
    Fantastic was to start the New Year or just great for some cold weather soup! I love recipes you just throw in the crockpot and go. And the flavor was on point. Delicious!

  10. 5 stars
    This takes Ham and Beans to a whole new level. I use the better than bullion vegetable base and a slow cooker; it has turned out perfect each time!

  11. Let me just say this was absolutely DELICIOUS, especially over rice like what you posted in your instagram story.
    – I actually modified this recipe to an instant pot version that was not very good initially and I almost threw it out. I tried it again a day later and holy cow so good, I think the slow cooker is necessary to get all the flavors to blend!

    Thank you for all the work you do with your recipes I have yet to be disappointed! ❤️

  12. This is delicious! I used four cans of pinto beans instead of dried and cooked it using the soup setting on my instant pot and it turned out perfectly!

  13. 5 stars
    We are making this for the second time today with some leftover Christmas ham. I was hesitant to try this one at first as it just didn’t seem to be something I would like, but boy was I wrong! It is so simple and tasty! Our house smells absolutely amazing right now!


  14. 4 stars
    This is a great soup for leftover ham & is a great, cold weather comfort food !! Super easy too! #Top2021

  15. This is in my crockpot right now and it smells wonderful! I can’t wait to dig in. #top2021

  16. 5 stars
    I’ve been looking forward to this soup as much as I was looking forward to the Christmas ham that I got the bone from. Such a unique flavor, and as always seasoned to perfection! #top2021

  17. Did I miss something? Your instructions say to add 2 cups of chopped ham, yet the recipe itself says 3 cups. Which is the actual amount? Thanks! I’m anxious t try this; it sounds great!

    1. I’m sorry! What I make all the time is 2-3 cups depending on just what I have leftover from the ham, but I must have ultimately decided on the 3 cups for the calories/points portion to be accurate. I’ll adjust! Thank you for letting me know!

  18. I’m not a big ham and bean soup person but I love soup in general and this looks amaaaazing. It’s on my list for next week’s dinner menu 🙂

  19. 5 stars
    Pulled the leftover Easter ham out of the freezer and made this just like the recipe states. Served with sourdough bread. Another winner, Star! Thanks so much!

  20. 5 stars
    This soup is legit! As I told my mom tonight “this dinner is worth bragging about”.

  21. 5 stars
    I just made this for the second time today. First time I made it I actually had leftover ham and a ham bone from Christmas and tonight I made it with a diced up ham steak and the bouillon as pee the recipe. Both times were AMAZING!!! The house has smelled so good all day. IG @Itsjustjamiesjourney

  22. 5 stars
    Easy Baked Chicken was amazing!!! And pretty to boot! So easy and delicious. Love having chicken for the week!

    IG handle: That_therapy_chick

  23. I made this as a meal prep and had it every single day this week. It was PERFECT for being snowed in!! Sadly, I did not have the bread bowls due to the snow but I didn’t miss it. This was so filling. I’ll have to make this again!!


  24. 5 stars
    I’m not normally the BIGGEST fan of ham and beans, but my husband is…when I stumbled across this recipe, I knew I had to try it because Star’s recipes never disappoint! This was no exception. So amazing and we will remake it again and again. Pro (not so pro) tip: PERFECT use of leftover Christmas ham.

    -Hannah (WW_healthyhannah)

  25. Hey… this probably sounds like a silly question, but this is the second time making (it’s fabulous), but I wanted to cut it in half. So I have. I looked up cooking times for halving crock pot recipes to no avail. The cook time is probably the same, yes/no/maybe/thoughts? Also, shared this with all the WW newbies online yesterday too as they were looking for something other than chicken soup to make. Lean ham should be zero too, lol!

    1. I agree lean ham should be zero. Haha! Thanks for sharing! The cook time will be same because the beans still need the time to cook. If you used canned beans then it could be a shorter cook time, but also slow cooking everything for several hours just makes it so flavorful!

  26. 5 stars
    Great recipe! If you’re feeling a little naughty, add a small can of tomato paste and 1/2 cup cooked chopped bacon. It changes the point value, but gives this already tasty recipe another dimension. YUMMY!

  27. Making this soup today. When you say rinse and pick through what are you looking for in the beans. This is the first time I am cooking with dry beans. Thank you.

  28. 5 stars
    Made this today and it was sooo good! I even had my husband make bread bowls because the picture just made it look that much more enticing.

  29. 5 stars
    So easy and so delicious!! Used my leftover ham bone from Christmas and it was so good!

  30. Hello! Hoping to make this today. In the blog portion you list 2 cups of ham but in the recipe you list 3 cups of ham. Can you confirm which is correct?

    1. I’ve always still done 8 hours just to let all the flavors really meld together, but it would definitely be done much sooner since everything in the soup is fully cooked.

      1. 5 stars
        Star, this is my new favorite soup! It’s filling AND delicious!! Looking forward to the next creation!

    2. This is my new favorite soup; you’ve outdone yourself this time, Star..and NO GUILT! EXCELLENT!

  31. 5 stars
    Made this today with the leftover Christmas ham/bone….absolutely delicious. This is the kind of soup you want on a cold winter day because it’s tasty and warms the belly! Thank you for another great recipe!

  32. 4 stars
    This is delicious!! I used a bag of 15 bean soup (without the seasoning) since I didn’t have dry pinto beans. So yummy! Thanks:)

    1. I really think it should be just fine as long as you have the time right. I haven’t tried it in my instant pot and I haven’t done dry beans in my instant pot yet either so I’m just not sure on a time. I’m sorry!

  33. 5 stars
    I just made this, and it is incredible! Flavors are fabulous! I did not have enough ham, so I ended up adding some mushrooms to it. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly, although I used dried thyme. Next time I make it, I will cook it for an hour or so longer because I like my beans to be falling apart. This recipe is perfect!

  34. Do you think this recipe would work well in an instant pot? If so, what would be the suggested cook time?

  35. I get the Better Than Bouillon Ham and use that in my bean soup’s it’s really good !

  36. Thank you for this recipe. As a healthcare worker I am spending this Christmas solo, and was wondering what I could do with all the leftover ham. Problem solved 🙂

    1. I am glad to see someone say just pick and rinse the dry beans. I chop my ham bone in half with a hatchet or cleaver, rinse them and seal them up and put them in the freezer. That will give me 4 ham bones for making beans. I make beans in the crock pot once a week. Everyone loves them and it is a lot of protein. I make a skillet of cornbread to go with them.

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