Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup

by Pamela

Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup

The holidays are over…you can breathe now. But after all the food, family, traveling and food you just want something simple. This slow cooker ham and bean soup is perfect.

As you know, I’m a big fan of slow cooker recipes. The only way Craig and I got to eat while I was working and going to grad school was because of my lowly slow cooker. Because of it, we were able to eat real food and not have takeout most nights. In fact, a group of us (from grad school) would get together once a week and swap recipes. We were all using it to feed our families.

Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup

I know using a slow cooker can make things seem to all taste the same sometimes. But there are tricks for keeping that from happening. Stuff like browning your meat before tossing it into the cooker. Adding some of the vegetables in the last hour of cooking. Adding different ingredients at different times during the cooking process so that they have different textures. But the real benefit of a slow cooker is just being able to toss everything in and having a hot dinner when you get home.

This ham and bean soup is one of those easy peasy recipes where you just toss everything in and have a delicious dinner when you get home.

One of my local grocery stores has a bulk section with dried peas, lentils, beans and a 15 bean mixture. I always have a bag of the 15 bean mix in my cupboard. This lets me be pretty much prepared for any day that seems like it should be a soup day or when I just don’t feel like cooking. Yes, food bloggers have LOTS of days when they just don’t feel like cooking. Ham and bean soup covers both of these things.

Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup

I kept this one super simple…like 4 ingredients simple. Sure, you could soup it up (ha, get it) a little bit more by adding in some carrots, celery, onions and/or bay leaves, but I like the simple flavors of these basic ingredients. The beans themselves have their own flavors and the grain that you add (I used wheat berries, but you could use barley or farro) has a flavor too. Then don’t forget that salty smoky flavor from the ham.

This ham and bean soup is just one of those simple recipes that’s handy to have this time of year when you don’t want to be in the kitchen but you want something warming for dinner.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot….If you won’t be home to turn off the bean soup when it’s done and you don’t have a built in timer on your cooker, you can plug your cooker into one of those lamp timers. I use that all the time.

Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Ham and bean soup isn't difficult to make. If you've got a slow cooker you can have ham and bean soup for dinner tonight with very little effort.
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6-8
  • 1 cup mixed dried beans
  • ½ cup wheat berries (could also use barley or farro)
  • 1 pound ham steak, cubed
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  1. Add all ingredients to slow cooker and stir to combine.
  2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  3. Serve.
You could also chop up onions and add them at the beginning of the cook time. Chopping celery and carrots and adding them the last 2 hours of cooking will add even more flavor and texture (because they'll still be a bit crunchy).


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John/Kitchen Riffs January 6, 2016 at 12:25 pm

I’m totally up for simple, straightforward meals at this time of the year. And soup certainly fits the bill! Love ham and bean, and yours looks particularly nice. Thanks!

Pamela January 7, 2016 at 5:08 pm

Thanks John! Gotta go for the easy this time of year since I’ve got a HUGE case of the lazy’s right now.

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