Slow Cooker Ham and Beans – Southern Bite
celery, carrots, and ham, making for a delicious bowl of creamy beans full of flavorful, smoky flavor.
For me, there’s not much more comforting than a big bowl of white beans with a piece of cornbread and some diced fresh onion. And it’s a plus if that bowl of beans is filled with pieces of ham and smoked ham flavor.
But many people are intimidated by cooking dried beans. That’s why this method of using the slow cooker is so perfect. It makes the process virtually uninvolved and results in tender, creamy, smoky Big North beans that taste like home.
And while this recipe is incredibly easy, there are a few things I’d like to go over again. Your success is my ultimate goal, so let’s go over a few things…
Great Northern Beans
Regular Dry Great Northern Beans – I think I even used the generic brand this time. I do not soak them for this recipe. Be sure to check out my FAQs below about soaking beans for more information.
Celery – Nothing fancy here, just celery.
Carrot – The same goes for carrots. I used a big carrot. Feel free to use more or less.
Onion – I prefer a white or yellow onion here, but any onion should work
Water – You could opt for broth, but would recommend salt-free to control the salt content. I think water works well and is less expensive. While I don’t recommend soaking your beans, if you do, you’ll need to adjust your amount of water. Check out the FAQs below for more information on how to soak beans.
Ham – I used leftover pieces of spirally sliced smoke ham because I wanted bigger chunks of meat in the beans. You can use a leftover large ham bone, some smoked ham hocks, or even smoked turkey pieces.
Salt – The amount of salt you’ll need depends on how much salt
in the meat you’re using, so I recommend only adding salt after cooking and after you’ve added the ham seasoning. Ham seasoning
– This is an optional ingredient, but one I highly recommend. Ham seasoning is a great way to add even more smoked ham flavor to many dishes, especially these beans. I’ve included a photo from the one I use below, but there are other options. If you are going to use this, add it before salt, as there is some sodium in this. Then you can add salt to taste.
The slow cooker / Crock Pot is the perfect way to cook beans. The low, slow method makes the tender, creamy beans very flavorful.
That said, the slow cooker presents some challenges, all of which are easy to handle if you know them
The main problem is with cooking time. There are great variations in cooking time with many slow cooker recipes, and for good reason. Each slow cooker cooks differently. In fact, when trying this recipe I used two slow cookers of the same size and even the same brand and they produced different results.
A slow cooker had the beans tender in about 5 hours high. The other took a little over 6 hours high. The reason was the temperature. The one that finished first was cooking at about 208°F, while the other was cooking at about 194°F. That’s a 14° difference between the same slow cookers.
So keep in mind that the time may vary a bit depending on your specific slow cooker