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There is nothing better than putting your hands around a warm bowl of soup and enjoying it with your whole family around the table. Especially a soup that takes little effort, has FOUR ingredients, and tastes amazing (bonus points that the kids ask for seconds and thirds!).

Crockpot Ham and Pinto Bean Soup

Contributing post from Kayla @ Time Redone

This Ham and Pinto Bean Soup is a recipe my husband’s grandmother has made for years and that every time we eat it, takes my husband back to his grandparents’ ranch in Colorado. I love that food can bring back cherished memories and stories for us to share with our children. They love getting to hear about the ranch and all of the adventures their daddy had visiting there while growing up.

Since we found ourselves making this recipe often, we adapted it for the crockpot instead of the stovetop for simplicity while we were at work or out on our own adventures with our kids. When I say this is an easy recipe, I’m not exaggerating one bit. In fact, our 6 year old has mastered the prep of this recipe by this point.

I hope this Crockpot Ham and Pinto Bean Soup is one that you can share your own stories over!

Crockpot Ham and Pinto Bean Soup


Crockpot Ham and Pinto Bean Soup

  • Author: Kelly McNelis
  • Yield: 6 servings


Serve with crusty bread, a salad, and stories from the adventures of your days.


  • 1 pound dried pinto beans
  • 1.5 pound bone-in ham shank
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • Water
  • Salt, to taste


  1. The night before cooking, place beans in the crockpot and cover with about 8 cups of water.  Let sit overnight.  (Do not turn the crockpot on.)
  2. In the morning, add ham shank. Add additional water to cover the ham shank, if necessary.
  3. Cover and cook on “high” for 5-6 hours, “low” for 8 hours, or until beans split.
  4. Remove ham, shred off of bone, and return shredded meat to crockpot.
  5. Stir in ketchup and add salt to taste (The amount of salt needed depends on the cut of ham.  The last time I made this, I added 1/2 teaspoon.).

Crockpot Ham and Pinto Bean Soup

Thoughts or questions?  Please leave a comment below.  I’d love to hear from you.

Kayla Time RedoneHi! I’m Kayla. I’m wife to a time traveling superhero (aka an airline pilot) and mom to three amazing, adventuring little girls. I am a coffee loving runner, a wannabe baker, and a passionate maternal health advocate. I am a creative doer, a lover of the great outdoors, and always game for a new adventure. I am passionate about saving time and helping others do the same!  Come and visit me at TimeRedone.


  • R. Chatmon says:

    I make a version of this as well with a ham hock and serve it over cornbread! Its so easy and so filling! Cant wait to try it with the ham shank!

  • Betty says:

    Do you drain the water from the beans in the morning? If you don’t, do the beans make you ‘gassy’?
    Never heard of adding the ketchup. I will try next time.

    • Kelly says:

      You don’t drain them. From what I’ve read online, draining the water will make the soup much more bland. I don’t think it affects digestion, but I’m not an expert.

  • Sherri Hoy says:

    My uncle always put chunks of canned pineapple in his beans when cooking. He took the pineapple chunks out before he served the beans. He said that it made the beans less “gassy”. I’ve always added pineapple. It doesn’t really affect the taste either.

  • Cari says:

    I’ve also heard it helps to add a couple chunks of potato in it to help with making the beans less gassy. But make sure and take out the potato before you serve!! Lol

  • betsy says:

    SO GOOD!!! I just made a batch today, just ate a bowl, using the bone from our New Year’s ham. I was doubtful about the ketchup, but it WORKED. Keeper of a recipe. I put cornbread in my soup like a good Alabama girl but the family will eat theirs on the side 🙂

    • Kelly says:

      Has anyone used a honey cinnamon ham in their beans? I’m in the process of cooking now and not sure if I like it. Ideas to cut the sweet and cinnamon?

    • Tinkerbell says:

      I have some in the crock pot now. They’ve been cooking for at lease 5 hours and they’re just now beginning to soften a bit (and they’re on HIGH). I just added some ham we had left over from New Years Day. Not a shank just chucks my husband cut off. How long I gotta cook these bad boys?

  • Connie Gibson says:

    My mother put a teaspoon of baking soda in a pot of beans takes the gas out and makes broth deep rich looking color.

    • Tina says:

      My grandmother and mother and I have always added baking soda to our beans also. Whether it decreases the amount of gas we get from the beans, I don’t know. It doesn’t make a difference in taste. But, we’ve also added some chopped up onions once they’re on the stove, served with Jiffy cornbread, more sliced onions, and sometimes some fried potatoes. We’ve pretty much cut out the fried potatoes lately, but the cornbread remains a sure staple. I can’t wait to try the addition of ketchup. Looking forward to tasting it. One of my very favorite meals all year around. Good choice.!!!!

  • Mary says:

    I can’t find a 1.5 lb bone in ham shank… the butchers at the grocery store look at me like I’m crazy and point me to the ham hocks that look like they have no meat on them what-so-ever. any advice?

    • I go to the Honey Baked Ham store and buy a ham bone to make this soup as well as my split pea soup. There is still quite a bit of ham left on the bone to add to the soup and the bone makes it delicious. And the best part is that the bone only cost me around $6.00, well worth the cost.

  • Sara says:

    My friend made this and it was delicious! One reason we soak the beans is to get rid of some of the phytic acid that makes beans and legumes difficult to digest. For this reason the water should be poured off after the beans soak and new filtered water added. Thanks for the post. We love this easy peasy recipe!

  • Steve says:

    In Texas that’s just beans, no one calls it soup. Drop a slab of buttered cornbread in it and you have beans and cornbread. But drop the ketchup, use seasoned salt and add some diced onions and salsa to garnish.

    • Shanna says:

      AHA SALSA! I have no rotel on hand but I have homemade salsa! Was wonderin’ what in the heck I was gonna use to flavor these beans besides leftover ham and some spices! Thank you!

  • I cook this with one or two carrot and a half of a celery. And when it completed, put in it small dumlings, from one egg, half cup wheat and a pinch of salt. It’s a hard dough and I pick little dumpling with my hand from it into boiling water cca. 5-7 minutes. It’s very good with the bean!

  • Kathy Chapman says:

    The recipe sound good. Just never tried the ketchup in pinto beans. Im gonna try it.

  • […] What makes soups special is the fact they’re tasty, healthy and filling at the same time. This soup is no exception. The best quality of this ham and pinto bean soup, however, is its simplicity; it requires only five ingredients: ham, beans, ketchup, salt, and water. Learn how to make this soup here. […]

  • Susan says:

    My Texan mother made this pinto bean” soup “on the stove top. We really looked forward to it. She did drain the water after soaking overnite. She made homemade cornbread to go along with it. We dumped the bean soup in big shallow bowls, loaded on the corn bread, put catchup and a sprinkle of Apple cider vinegar on it and it was delicious. Thanks for bringing back good memories and this easy recipe.

  • Kathy Estes says:

    I tried this recipe last night and it was a huge hit! No leftovers which almost never happens in our house. Thanks so much for sharing it.

  • meg wilson says:

    What a hit! Made this – following the exact recipe – and served with cornbread – so easy, so good!! My only question – we have a lot of leftovers (family of 2.5 😊) – does this freeze well?? We’re eating as leftovers now but just wondering for future use.

    Thanks for the deliciousness!!

  • Jen says:

    best soup bean recipe ever. add slices of bacon over top. YUM YUM YUM. I had to stop eating cause the beans where catching up w me…if you get my drift

  • Araceli Cornejo says:

    A friend of mine added V-8 instead of ketchup. Boy they are tasty!

  • Patricia Anderson says:

    Making this recipe on New Years Day 2017! I hope if turns out good! Will post results later!

  • Mandy says:

    I made this and it has a good flavor but was a little disappointed the broth wasn’t thicker. My mom told me her trick was to add some instant mashed potatoes at the end. Thought I would share in case it helped anyone else.

    • Kelly says:

      Thanks for sharing!

    • Priscilla Robertson says:

      When any soup is to watery I’ve always just got a little spoon of flour and corn starch and mixed it with just enough water for it to fill like pancake mix thick and mixed it in the soup. Will thicken it up a bit.

  • koko says:

    Got a pot on now

  • LRae says:

    Ok, call me stupid, but I can’t find a bone in ham shank that is not already cooked. Can someone point me in the right direction? I assume you can’t use a precooked one, right? Would that be overcooked? Or is that what I am supposed to be getting? Thank you. LRae

  • Carrie says:

    Hi! I made this today and the beans are still crunchy!? I soaked them over night, added the ham and covered with liquid, then put it on low for 8 hours. The beans were not cooked so I added another 4 hours and they are still crunchy!! How is this possible?

    • Kelly McNelis says:

      I have no idea. Maybe your crockpot cooks at a lower temperature? Was the water boiling/bubbling? I’m thinking you would need to use the high setting.

    • annie says:

      I’ve experienced that, too, when trying to make baked beans in my crockpot. I always soak them overnight and then bring them to a boil before putting them in the crockpot now. Seems to be what it needed.

  • annie says:

    My mom always made this when we were feeling “poor”. Exactly like this, too. We always liked adding a little Worcestershire sauce when eating it. I think because my mom cooked salt-free and that gave a little saltiness (along with the ham, of course). Mom always said that a teaspoon of ginger, or soaking the beans until they began to sprout would cut the gassiness, too. I can’t say that I’ve ever done either, though, so couldn’t say.

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