Close up of ladle scooping up Slow Cooker Ham Bone Soup with Beans
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5 from 9 votes

Slow Cooker Ham Bone Soup with Beans

Recipe video above. Not your usual leftover ham bone soup! This one is cream (but no cream!) with crispy golden ham bits. You won't miss cream in this - the ham bone makes the broth rich. This makes a BIG pot so you can enjoy this for days!
Servings: 6
Calories: 352kcal
Author: Nagi


Homemade Ham Broth:

  • 1 leftover ham bone OR store bought ham hock / meaty bone (~1.2kg/2.4lb) (Note 1)
  • 2 carrots , peeled cut into 3 chunks
  • 1 celery stalk , cut into chunks
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • 3 sprigs thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1.5 - 2 cups (285 - 380g) dried white beans , no need to soak (Note 2)
  • 2 litres / 2 quarts water (8 cups)

Ham Bone Soup:

  • 2 tbsp (30g) butter or oil
  • 1 onion , chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • 3 celery ribs , chopped
  • 2 carrots , chopped
  • 2 cups (500ml) milk, any fat %
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) Extra Milk
  • 1/3 cup (50g) cornflour / cornstarch
  • 2 tsp Vegeta or other stock powder (Note 3)
  • 60 g / 2 oz baby spinach (Note 4)


Ham Broth:

  • Place the Ham Broth ingredients in the slow cooker. Slow cook for 8 hours on low, or 4 hours on high.
  • Remove ham bone. Shred meat and discard bone. Return half the ham to the slow cooker (remainder is pan fried).
  • Discard thyme sprig.
  • Remove then chop carrot and celery, return to slow cooker.

Crispy Ham:

  • Melt 1 tbsp butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Add half the ham and cook until golden and crispy.
  • Transfer most to slow cooker - hold back a few for garnish.

Soup Thickener:

  • In the same skillet, melt remaining butter. Add onion and garlic, cook 1 minute.
  • Add celery and carrot, cook for 3 minutes until soft.
  • Add 2 cups milk, stir.
  • Mix cornflour and Extra Milk. While stirring, pour into skillet. Mixture will thicken quickly.
  • Once very thick and paste-like, scrape into slow cooker.

Finish Soup:

  • Add Vegeta into slow cooker. Stir to dissolve paste.
  • Add spinach, push down into liquid.
  • Slow cook 30 minutes on low or 20 minutes on high until spinach is wilted and broth is heated and slightly thickened.
  • Serve garnished with crispy ham and a sprinkle of parsley, if desired!


1. Leftover Ham Bone - If your ham is looking a bit skimpy, you might want to buy some ham to dice up and throw into the soup. If the bone won't fit into your slow cooker, try break the knuckles with your hands or take it to your friendly butcher to cut in half (or dig out your saw). Can also use store bought ham bone / hock.
2. White beans - More beans = chunkier soup. Great northern, cannellini, navy. No need to soak because we're using the slow cooker. Canned beans will also work but dried is better. Stir drained canned into the soup with the ham. May need extra cornflour to thicken broth (as dried beans soak up liquid)
3. Vegeta is a type of stock powder sold in supermarkets. Vegetable or chicken stock powders will also work nicely here, or crumble in a bouillon cube.
4. Greens - about 2 to 3 handfuls. Or use chopped normal spinach, silverbeet or kale.
5. General:
- Soup colour will differ depending on your ham bone. More skin (leathery brown stuff) = browner broth (and more flavour) = off white soup. Less skin = whiter soup.
- Soup is not intended to be a really thick soup as I find it makes it too heavy (it's quite rich). But if you want a thicker broth, simply add more cornflour/cornstarch mixed with equal amount of water/milk - add a bit at a time, as soup heats it will thicken.
6. Storage - store in fridge for 3 to 4 days. If you freeze, cornflour will lose it's thickening power so you'll need to add more when reheating to re-thicken soup (see Note 5). Works perfectly, I tried it.
7. Nutrition is a guide only. It's virtually impossible for a non-scientist to calculate the nutrition in the ham bone broth, I've done my best!


Calories: 352kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 574mg | Potassium: 1139mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 8130IU | Vitamin C: 9.9mg | Calcium: 232mg | Iron: 4.6mg