This crockpot ham and beans recipe is so easy. Add all the ingredients into the crockpot, turn it on, and walk away. No presoaking or pre-cooking is required.
One of my favorite meals growing up was Ham and beans. With 6 kids it was a meal my mom made frequently. She of course made it on the stovetop in a large cooking pot. And if she wasn’t careful the whole pot of beans would scorch on the bottom or burn. The beans will soak up the water as they cooked so she had to watch and add water as needed.
I remember one year when she wasn’t as watchful as she needed to be and the beans burned. She was so mad that she threw the whole pot, beans and all, out the back door. It wasn’t funny then but when I think about it now I just chuckle.
Great Northern or Navy(pea) Beans?
I have used both in the past. But to be honest, my husband and I prefer navy beans. While they both have the same nutritional value, we prefer a thicker heartier dish and the navy beans provide that. If you prefer a thinner more delicate dish then great northern is the way to go. Great northern beans resemble lima beans and have thinner skin. They will take less time to cook than your smaller, thicker-skinned navy beans. So it really comes down to whether you want a more delicate dish vs a thicker dish.
To Soak Or Not To Soak?
Is it really necessary to soak your beans overnight? In a word, no. I have done both and I see no difference in the taste of the beans. If you are going to cook your beans on the stovetop then soaking the beans will lessen your cooking time. But when you cook them in a crockpot you are cooking them all day anyway. Right?
Another thought was by soaking your beans overnight will reduce the sugar content that causes flatulence. Beans cause flatulence, there is no getting around it. Although it will affect people in different ways.
But soaking or not soaking your beans does not change the flavor in any way. Most times I forget to soak them anyway:)
As far as eliminating gas, I add a teaspoon of baking soda to the beans as they are cooking. Honestly, I’m not sure this really helps, it’s just one of those things my mom did so I do too:)
When I make ham and beans my favorite ham to use is Frick’s bone-in ham. The shank portion. A friend introduced me to this ham and I have never looked back. Although I have only seen this ham sold in my local IGA grocery store. If you can’t find Frick’s bone-in ham, any bone-in ham will do. The bone is the most important thing. The bone is what provides the flavor.
Ham and beans are just not the same with just diced ham. You need that bone. That is where all your flavor is. I buy the ham and cut the ham off the bone for sandwiches or my ham and potato casserole. And save the bone for the beans. I do leave a little ham on the bone.
What To Serve With Ham and Beans?
Cornbread is the favored side dish for ham and beans. In fact, if I don’t make cornbread then no one will eat the ham and beans:)
But what kind of cornbread you ask? Well, that depends on your preference. My family prefers sweet cornbread. According to Wikipedia, northern cornbread is sweeter than southern cornbread.
Many eat the cornbread on the side. My husband and I love the ham and beans served on top of the cornbread. I don’t make homemade cornbread. If you have been following me then you know I like easy and this cornbread mix is our favorite.
Fried potatoes are another popular side dish to serve with ham and beans. There is no shortcut or easy way with fried potatoes. You still have to peel and slice the potatoes, add some onion and fry in oil or shortening until golden brown.
Ham and beans with cornbread and fried potatoes are what my mom always made. It was my favorite meal and still is!
Crockpot Ham and Beans
- 1 pound dried beans- navy or great northern
- 1 ham bone
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 3 to 4 cups water
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar, optional
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add all ingredients into a 5 quart crockpot except salt and pepper, and brown sugar
- Cook on high for 1 hour and then on low 5 to 6 hours or until beans are done
- Add brown sugar if using
- salt and pepper to taste
Ham and beans served with a helping of cornbread and fried potatoes, just screams comfort food. This crockpot ham and beans recipe is so easy, just add all the ingredients into the crockpot and walk away. You will be amazed at the flavor you get with just a few ingredients.
You may have to check on them the first hour or so of cooking and add a little more water as the beans swell and soak up the water.
After I had my colorectal surgery many years ago I was “hungry” for ham and beans. My daughter decided she would make them for me. She had never made ham and beans as her family didn’t like them. So she searched around for a recipe. The recipe she found used chicken broth.
I have never used chicken broth, just plain old water because the ham bone did all the flavoring along with the chopped onion. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I really didn’t care for it. Not only was it more like soup it lacked the flavor of my ham and beans:). I do have to give her credit tho. She tried! And I will be forever grateful for the effort.
So when you get “hungry” for ham and beans please give this crockpot ham and beans recipe a try. And please leave me a comment below with your thoughts
And As Always
Have A Wonderful Day!