Sharon's Slow Cooker Navy Bean Soup With Ham

Bean soup with cornbread.
Diana Rattray
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 10 hrs
Soak Time: 12 hrs
Total: 22 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
209 Calories
4g Fat
28g Carbs
16g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 209
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 28mg 9%
Sodium 654mg 28%
Total Carbohydrate 28g 10%
Dietary Fiber 8g 29%
Protein 16g
Calcium 80mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Dry beans, a ham bone or ham hocks, and simple seasonings make this a tasty soup, and it's easy on the budget. The ham hocks season the soup perfectly, but there are lots of possibilities for additions, including some herbs, various vegetables, bacon, etc. See the tips and variations for more ideas.

The important thing to remember when cooking dry beans in the slow cooker is that there are some factors that can keep beans from becoming tender. Some say acidic ingredients have an impact, while others believe it is water hardness or the addition of salt. These beans are foolproof because they get a head start on the stovetop. Hold off on adding the salt until the beans are finished cooking, and then taste the soup and add what it needs. 

If you have some extra leftover ham in the freezer, chop a cup or more and add it to the beans.


  • 1 pound navy beans (dry, soak overnight following package directions)
  • 1 large carrot (finely chopped)
  • 1 cup celery (finely chopped, with some leaves)
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds ham hocks (or a meaty ham bone)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • Optional: black pepper to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for bean soup.
    Diana Rattray
  2. Drain the beans thoroughly and put them in a Dutch oven, large saucepan, or stock pot and cover with about 6 cups of fresh water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and simmer for about 30 minutes. 

  3. Put the beans and cooking water in the slow cooker with the diced carrot, celery, onion, and ham or ham bone. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 9 hours, or until the beans are tender. 

    Ham hocks and vegetables in the slow cooker.
    Diana Rattray
  4. Remove the ham hock or ham bone and discard skin, fat, and bone (if using several pieces of boneless ham, ignore this step). Cut the meat into small pieces and then return to the soup. Ladle the hot soup into bowls.

    Ladle the soup into bowls.
    Diana Rattray
  5. The beans can be mashed or partially mashed to thicken the soup if desired.

Serving Suggestions

Serve the soup with freshly baked cornbread or biscuits. Try crusty rolls or French bread with this soup.

Add a basic tossed salad for a hearty everyday meal.


  • If you have leftover soup, store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze it in airtight containers or zip-lock bags for 4 to 6 months. Make a double batch and freeze half for another day!

Recipe Variations

  • Replace the navy beans with small white beans or great northern beans.
  • For extra flavor, replace a few cups of the water with some unsalted vegetable broth
  • Add 2 cloves of minced garlic to the beans.
  • Add 2 medium bay leaves to the slow cooker along with the beans and vegetables.
  • Add a few strips of diced bacon, or serve the beans with crumbled bacon sprinkled over each serving.
  • Replace the ham with diced browned andouille sausage or another type of smoked sausage.
  • Sprinkle servings with toasted breadcrumbs or croutons over the soup or top each serving with some crumbled cooked bacon.
  • For a stovetop version, try Janetta's 15-Bean Soup Recipe.

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