Slow Cooker Sweet Potato, Ham and Bean Soup

Slow cooked all day with nearly zero prep, this soup is smoky and creamy and hearty and delicious.

Rather than being sparkly and trendy and gourmet, this changed-up ham and bean soup is more on the homey, comforting side of the spectrum.

And while I love to get crazy in the kitchen sometimes, days that include low-ish coping skills and hectic schedules have me claiming homey and comforting without thinking twice.

A thoroughly wonderful way to use up ham leftovers (no ham leftovers? no worries; ask your deli to thick-slice ham for you), this is exactly the kind of soup I need to stick to my bones and keep me forging through this terribly long winter currently upon me.

Sidenote: The high for my piece of earth yesterday was -3 and today it’s only 0 which is actually warm considering the arctic freeze of the last month, plus my entire family, including me and minus Brian who is currently golfing in California (lucky dog), has head colds and I just want to crawl under my covers and sleep the winter away.

Except I have children and a life (kind of) and that isn’t really feasible, especially since I’m on Freddie feeding duty right now and what I’d really love is for Freddie to find a way to feed himself and also park about 20 pounds of dark chocolate on my doorstep.

Is that really too much to ask?

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato, Ham and Bean Soup

Ok, I’m done. Make this soup.

It’s the epitome of warm, winter comfort food (and not too bad for you) and I’m pretty sure it will heal all your trivial sorrows.

What To ServeRustic Crusty Bread (sliced with butter, or sliced and left plain for dipping)
Steamed vegetable like corn or green beans
Simple green salad (or something more fancy like this Massaged Kale Salad)

One Year Ago: My Favorite Coleslaw Recipe
Two Years Ago: DIY Valentine Chocolate Boxes
Three Years Ago: Chewy Pretzel Bites

Ham, Sweet Potato and White Bean Soup with Bacon {Slow Cooker}

Yield: Serves 8

Ham, Sweet Potato and White Bean Soup with Bacon {Slow Cooker}

If you want to up the smoky flavor of this delicious soup, sub in smoked paprika for the regular. I've made this soup twice and the dry beans cooked perfectly tender without being presoaked, however, several people commented in this recipe that their beans weren't quite tender (especially those that live at high altitude) after slow cooking all day, so if that concerns you, soak the beans in cool water overnight before using in the recipe. A recipe like this yields the perfect style of ham for this recipe; however, if you don't have any leftover ham, your neighborhood deli is a great place to buy - have them slice the ham thick so the dices of ham are chunky rather than thin. PS: this cooked and cooled soup freezes magnificently.


  • 1/2 cup diced yellow or white onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • 2 cups cooked, diced ham (see note)
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 pound dry white beans, like Great Northern, rinsed (see note)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4-6 slices bacon or turkey bacon, diced


  1. Combine all the ingredients except the bacon in a 5-quart slow cooker and cook on low for 8-9 hours (see the note about presoaking the dry beans).
  2. Carefully puree 1/2 to 3/4 of the soup in a blender (hot soups like to expand in the blender so only fill the blender halfway and process in batches, if needed). I don't love the idea of pureeing ham, call me crazy, so I tried my best to scoop out ladles of soup to blend that were free of ham. Alternately, you could use an immersion blender and get in there with it and go to town (leaving the soup with as much texture as you desire).
  3. Add additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed.
  4. Cook the bacon in a hot skillet until crisp; drain on paper towels. Serve the soup with crumbled bacon on top.

Recipe Source: adapted from Everyday Reading, inspired from Our Best Bites

47 Responses to Ham, Sweet Potato and White Bean Soup with Bacon {Slow Cooker}

  1. Tammy says:

    So I am confused… the sweet potato more orange or more white in color? Just want to make sure I use the right one. This soup sounds deeeelicious! Thanks for another great recipe.

  2. Shane Birkey says:

    Could this be adapted for the pressure cooker? I’m hoping to make this today. Can’t wait! By the way, I love your site and all of your recipes.

    • Mel says:

      Sure! I think it could work just fine – I haven’t made it in the pressure cooker but I’m guessing maybe 10-15 minutes on high pressure?

  3. Jaime says:

    If you happen to have a ham bone saved in the freezer (or just handy – lol) would it add more flavor/depth to simmer that in with the other ingredients and just remove before the blending begins?

  4. Ann says:

    I know it’s crazy, but I really do not like to cook in the slow cooker. Could I just simmer this soup on the stove? It looks delicious! Thanks Mel!

  5. ladytick says:

    I loved the soup. And more importantly, my 1 year old and husband loved it. Easy to make too.

  6. Deb says:

    Made this tonight and it was really good. Served it with your pretzel rolls and roasted asparagus and the kids ate it all 🙂 Loved the quick prep.

  7. Julie says:

    I made this and it tasted wonderful but it was way too salty.
    I used low sodium chicken broth and the small amount of salt per recipe. I will try it again without added salt, but I’m not sure that will be enough. I did use smoked paprika, does that add a salty flavor? I have the ingredients to make another batch for a friend with a new baby. Any ideas how I can get less salty flavor? Love your recipes and humor! Thanks.

    • Mel says:

      Julie – I suppose it could depend on the brand/type of ham being used as that could add salt too. I would recommend leaving out the salt and adding it to taste at the end if needed.

  8. Jean says:

    Love your recipes and blog. How do I find your reading list? I love to read and am always looking for good recommendations. Thanks, Jean

  9. I have all the ingredients for this – I’m making it tomorrow! Yum!

  10. OregonMum says:

    Never mind that, I did some research on it and pretty much it comes down to marketing. In my stores the orange ones are called yams and the white ones are called sweet potatoes. So I guess we’ll see how the soup turns out using a white sweet potato instead of an orange one. 🙂

  11. OregonMum says:

    I’m wondering if there is a regional name difference between sweet potatoes and yams. At least here in Oregon, a sweet potato is light colored and has flesh that looks like a regular potato. A yam has the bright orange flesh. I’m just curious because in your picture it looks really orangey and it even looks like a chunk of what I would call a yam in the bowl.

  12. Donna says:

    Cooked the soup overnight, and just got done blending. It is great!!! Thanks Mel for this great recipe.

  13. Donna says:

    Going to make this tonight. I am going to use some ham I ground up to use for ham salad, but think it would work fine in here. Also going to use dry navy beans, cause that is what I happen to have. Will these bean work?????

  14. Joy B. says:

    I made this soup today because I had some leftover ham just begging to be used. It was SO good! It was perfect for this snowy day and super easy to make. I can always count on good recipes from your site!

  15. stephanie says:

    Mel, would your Sweet Baked Ham recipe work in this? I had planned on making that this week and your Split Pea Soup this weekend….but now you have this and, oh decisions, decisions!

    • Mel says:

      Stephanie – yes, actually, I think the sweet baked ham would be excellent in this and add another unique flavor to the soup. Good luck deciding – you sound like me! So stressful to figure out what recipe I should make next! 🙂

  16. Jill Rabach says:

    Saw this recipe yesterday and immediately made chicken broth in order to put this recipe in the crock pot tomorrow! I’m subbing Andouille for the ham (we’re not a ham family). BTW, I feel the same ickiness about putting meat in the blender…. my Split Pea Soup recipe has the same disclaimer!

  17. Mike says:

    FYI, Mel: My Spanish-style chorizo version mentioned above turned out positively delightful! (Recipe available upon request! :-)=

  18. Kim in Md says:

    Oh…I hope you and your little ones feel better soon. It’s so cold where you live, and keeping Freddie fed is very important! You are right..lucky Brian to be in California, even though they are the midst of one of the worst droughts in history. This soup looks so yummy, and anything made in the slow cooker is a win for me. I am off to read your book list!

  19. Jackie says:

    I made this tonight for my Mom. It has all of her favorite ingredients. I am not one for a thick and chunky soup so I added an extra can of chicken broth. Then I picked out the sweet potato chunks and used the immersion blender on them and added the puree back in. That way the beans and ham stayed in tact. It is delicious!!
    P.S. I found your blog last week and I am officially obsessed!!

  20. Shar says:

    Mel, I hear ya girl! I’ve been too frozen to comment since November! I teach, and this past week, we finally had outdoor recess for the first time since before Christmas. It was 28 degrees out, and the kids wanted to go out without coats because it felt warm! This soup sounds wonderful. I’m making it today, after I thaw out the ham bits in my freezer leftover from Xmas. (Dare I say my freezer is warmer than the temp outside?!)

  21. Janssen says:

    Such a pleasure to have you. And I love seeing all your readers come out of the woodworks to share their book love.

    Also, you’ve PACKED my to-read list!

  22. Melynda says:

    I don’t know why, but I never thought to put sweet potato in ham soup. But of course it makes perfect sense! This looks wonderful, thick, rich and warming.

  23. Mike says:

    I’m making this tomorrow, switching out ham for high-end Spanish-style chorizo ( ) and sweet potatoes for country-style hash browns. Also, canned white beans do just fine, harrumph! :-)= (And oh, double the salt and pepper; it’s a huge vat of boiling food, for criminey’s sake!)

  24. Sharon says:

    Perfect timing . . . needed one more recipe for next week’s menu and then I saw your post on Facebook. Anything with ham and sweet potatoes sounds perfect to me. Can’t wait to try it.

  25. Kim says:

    I have this in the crock pot right now…thanks for the recipe. I didn’t have a sweet potato so I just used a couple of russet ones, I hope it still turns out. I would like to try it with the sweet potato also!
    Thanks again for all your recipes!

    • Mel says:

      Jackie – I totally forgot about Bodie Thoene! I read her books when I was in my late teens and her main two series (I forget the names, too) are so good. Fabulous stories and I loved the history of the Jewish people.

    • Mel says:

      Candace – you silly! Of course we’d be friends. I love fellow book nerds. 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Ashlee – I’ll most likely never live in Utah; sorry. 🙂 But maybe our paths will cross someday! I JUST started The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (I’m reading it on the iPad while using the treadmill and it’s seriously the only reason I get up the energy to get on that darned thing…cause I’m looking forward to reading!) and it’s really good so far. I’ve heard The Secret Keeper is great, too. Thanks for the recommendation!

  26. Katie says:

    I enjoyed reading your book list. I too did not like Twilight, and though I’ve never read Edenbrook, my mom hated it which was good enough for me, since our taste is pretty similar. I am an avid fantasy reader, so I am very excited to check out the Sevenwaters series. I am also excited to try this soup! I never cooked with (or really ever ate) sweet potatoes until after I was married and found your blog. There were so many wonderful sweet potato recipes you had me dying to try. Now I’m hooked and can’t get enough, whether it’s in a dinner or just roasted as a side dish.

  27. Cammee says:

    Anything crockpot works for me these days. My kids keep us insanely busy in the evenings, but if I can prepare something earlier they have a warm, healthy meal to shovel in when they can. Family dinners together around the table….what? Oh we’ll, it’s our phase of life at the moment.

    I loved Unbroken and need to re-read it. I am guilty of loving Edenbrooke, which surprised me. Twilight, no. I love historical fiction best, but lately I have read some really great young adult books. Counting by 7’s, and Wonder are a couple of them. I love almost anything Adriana Trigiani writes.

  28. This looks perfect for the cold temps we’ve been having in Minnesota! Love everything about this soup – the smokiness from the ham, the sweetness of the sweet potatoes and the texture of the beans! Hopefully making this soon!

  29. Jackie says:

    Loved your book post! I was the exact same way as a kid… and an adult. You said you like history/romance type books, have you read “Viena Prelude” by Bodie Thoene? I can’t remember the name of the series, but that is the first book. I LOVED it!!! World War 2, music, a little love story, and better yet, it’s clean!!!

  30. Candace says:

    Whew, I’m so relieved that you are a book nerd, Mel. After I saw your video I realized you were way cuter than I ever thought and you wouldn’t actually stoop down to my level and be my BFF if we ever met in real life, which I’ve told myself for years. But if you love reading AND cooking, maybe you’d still be my friend. 😉

  31. Ashlee says:

    When will you move out to Utah so we can be BFFs? I am a huge reader and your growing up sounds just like me. My mom loves to tell people she had to ground me from books to go outside and play. I think you should read anything by Kate Morton. I get pulled in and she writes beautifully. I also liked the 13th tale by Diane Setterfeld. Just trying to make time for reading with a newborn…

  32. Sheila H. says:

    Anything you recommend in the slow cooker is good stuff for busy moms. I did the same thing with Sweet Valley High books-thanks for that surfacing that memory. Great book choices. To inspire my children to read, we read out loud together. We just took turns reading “The One and Only Ivan” and all loved it.

  33. I’m such a white bean fan. I think I’ll eat them anyway you fix them! But with sweet potatoes? Yes!

    Stay warm!

  34. Catherine says:

    Mel, this looks perfect for a day life today!
    Hope you feel better soon. I woke up congested this morning. I think I’m joining you! 🙁

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