Ham and Bean Soup (Stove Top, Slow Cooker, or Instant Pot!)

This simple Ham and Bean Soup is so flavorful and satisfying. It’s easy to make on the Stove Top, Slow Cooker, or in the Instant Pot and the best way to make sure of leftover ham. 

Ham and bean soup topped with chopped bacon and fresh thyme in a gray soup crock. Butter and rolls in the background.

I am amazed by how far you can stretch a single spiral ham. I think it’s probably one of the most economical meats that you can purchase. Every single ounce of it gets consumed or used if you do it right!

Let’s start with the ham bone, which is as good as gold in my book.

Birds eye view of ingredients on a white surface for making ham and bean soup.

Using a Ham Bone To Make Soup

Using a nice meaty, uncleaned ham bone is what gives this soup it’s amazingly rich and savory flavor. Perfect for using up Easter leftovers!

Keep scrolling to see what this meaty bone looks like when I’m done with it. 

a meaty ham bone on a white surface.

Ham Bone Substitutes

Smoked ham shanks or ham hocks are a great alternative and also add tremendous flavor. (A shank is meatier and more preferable for this recipe.)

Salted pork and/or a few strips of uncooked smoked bacon can also be substituted. (But try for a shank or hock first.)

👇 My Ham Bone After Simmering

I like to simmer my soups very low and slow, as you can see from this sparkling clean ham bone that I promise I didn’t wash or clean in any way after removing it from the soup.

meatless ham bone pieces in a white bowl after being used to make soup broth.

Soaking Navy Beans Overnight

  • The necessity of soaking beans overnight is a widely debated topic. After much research and testing this out myself, I’ve come to find that it makes little difference in texture and cooking time. 
  • Soaking beans overnight has been said to aid in digestion as it removes some of the sugars from the beans.
  • This resource provides more information about soaking your beans overnight and why it might not be necessary.

Using Different Kinds of Beans

  • Dry Pinto Beans, Great Northern Beans, or a bag of 15-Bean Mix can also be used. Refer to this guide for cooking times.

Storing Leftovers

  • Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container and are best if eaten within 3-5 days. 
  • Leftovers can also be frozen are best if eaten within 3 months.

Overhead view of ham and bean soup topped with chopped bacon and fresh thyme in a gray soup crock. with a spoon in it.

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Print
5 from 1 vote
Servings: 8
Ham and Bean Soup
Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
1 hr
Total Time:
1 hr 10 mins
 
Author: Stephanie
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Ham and Bean Soup Recipe, Instant Pot Ham and Bean Soup, Pressure Cooker Ham and Bean Soup, Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup

This simple Ham and Bean Soup is so flavorful and satisfying. It's easy to throw together and the most comforting way to make sure of leftover Ham!

Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups onions diced
  • 2 cups ham diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 ham bone
  • 1 lb. dried Navy beans rinsed
  • 2 cups carrots diced
  • 3 teaspoons onion powder optional
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 4 strips bacon cooked and roughly chopped- to garnish
Instructions
  1. Soaking the Beans: Optional. You may choose to soak your beans to slightly reduce cooking time. This also helps to remove some of the sugars from the beans and therefore aids in digestion. 

    To do this, place the beans in a large bowl and cover them with 3 inches of water. Soak for 8 hours. Drain and rinse.

Stove Top
  1. Rinse the beans under cold water.
  2. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large soup pot over medium heat and add the onions.
  3. Cook for 5 minutes, until soft and translucent.
  4. Add the diced ham and the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add the chicken broth, water, ham bone, and navy beans.
  6. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and add remaining ingredients except for the bacon.
  7. Simmer with the lid partially cracked. If The beans were soaked overnight, the soup will be ready in about 1- 1.5 hours. Otherwise, it will be ready in 2+ hours. I like to let mine simmer for several hours on low.
  8. The soup will continue to thicken as it simmers. Once it’s reached your desired consistency and the beans are nice and soft, Remove the ham bone/hock, the bay leaves, and thyme stems. Garnish with cooked/crumbled bacon. Serve and enjoy!

  9. *Add a little additional water or chicken broth if the soup ends up thicker than you’d like.
Slow Cooker
  1. Rinse the navy beans under cold water. Add all of the ingredients to a large Slow Cooker (5 quarts or larger).
  2. Cook on low for 9+ hours or on high for 5+ hours. It's ready to serve once the beans are tender and the soup has reached your desired level of thickness.
  3. Remove the ham bone/hock, the bay leaves, and thyme stems. Garnish with cooked/crumbled bacon and serve!

  4. *If you soaked your beans overnight, cooking time can be reduced by 30-45 minutes.
Instant Pot
  1. Rinse the navy beans under cold water.
  2. Add the olive oil and butter to the Instant Pot and hit the “Sautee” button. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the diced ham and the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients except for the bacon. Secure the lid.
  5. Press the ‘cancel’ button, followed by the ‘Pressure Cook’ button.
  6. Set the timer to 45 minutes. The Instant Pot will take some time to get up to pressure.
  7. Once finished, let 10 minutes pass before you trigger the quick release valve. This will allow most of the pressure to release naturally, allowing the soup to cook a little bit longer.
  8. Remove the ham bone/hock, the bay leaves, and thyme stems. Garnish with cooked/crumbled bacon and serve!

  9. *If you soaked your beans overnight, pressure cooking time can be reduced by 5 minutes.
Recipe Notes

If you enjoy this recipe, then you have to try my split pea soup recipe. It's received more 5-star reviews than any other recipes on my blog! Plus it includes instructions on how to make it on the Stove Top, Slow Cooker, or Instant Pot!

Nutrition Information
Calories: 389, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 32mg, Sodium: 964mg, Potassium: 1055mg, Carbohydrates: 42g, Fiber: 15g, Sugar: 5g, Protein: 22g, Vitamin A: 108%, Vitamin C: 16.8%, Calcium: 12.1%, Iron: 21.9%