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Slow-Cooker Ham and Bean Soup

Slow-Cooker Ham and Bean Soup

Prep Time 10 min Cook Time 8-9 hours on high

I have a pretty close relationship with my slow cooker, using it to make at least one meal weekly. I love sharing my recipes on my Slow Cooker Sunday series to offer families easy meal ideas. Life gets busy and slow-cooked meals make it easy to have dinner ready on those hectic nights.  I love making soups and I have been known to dump all the unused vegetables, meats, and herbs into the pot while cleaning out the fridge or freezer. Today's soup was motivated by the ham and soaked beans I had stored in the freezer, and a shallot that needed to be used. All other ingredients I had on hand, which made this easy to pull together.  I served with whole wheat garlic-cheddar biscuits and a salad.  I'd say I pulled together a pretty good meal on one of our busiest nights full of school homework and soccer practices. Slow-cooked meals also make it easy for family members to eat at different times, when necessary.

by Kim Demmon

What you'll need

  • 1 large onion or shallot
  • 3 ribs celery, cut into slices
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • garlic - I used one teaspoon diced garlic from the jar. Use 3 to 4 cloves if using fresh
  • 5 cups pre-soaked white beans or 3 cans of white beans
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • optional - one bay leaf - remove before eating
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth - low sodium
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes (14.5oz)
  • 2 cups chopped ham

Helpful Tip:

If you're using canned beans, you could probably cut the cooking time down by 4 hours, although longer will still be fine. Soaked beans take longer to cook. I used my hand blender to "blend" my soup as I would for split pea, but it's not necessary, I was just trying to be fancy.


Don't make the mistake of thinking you need to add salt or more spices. The ham in my recipe added more than enough flavor. Regular diced tomatoes can also be used. I had fire roasted on hand. Keep in mind that fire roasted diced tomatoes have "black marks" which may turn off picky eaters.


You can use a ham hock for flavor and remove it before serving your soup.

How to make it

  1. If you desire, you can sauté your garlic, carrots, celery, and onion in olive oil in a sauté pan before adding to the slow-cooker.  I've done it both ways.
  2. If you've sautéd your veggies, place them in your slow cooker. Place all other items in your slow cooker and stir to mix up the spices.
  3. Plug your slow cooker in (I can't tell you how many times I've forgotten this step), turn on high for 8-9 hours, and go on with your day. Serves 6-8