What to do with a Leftover Ham Bone

One of the best parts of eating a ham for the holidays is making ham and beans with the leftover ham bone. This savory meal is good comfort food on a cold winter night.

You can make ham and beans with the ham bone right away, or place the ham bone in a freezer-safe plastic food storage bag or container and toss it in the freezer for later. It will be good for several months. When you’re ready to make ham and beans, just thaw the ham bone in the refrigerator overnight.

This meal is so easy to prepare. You do have to chop and onion and carrot, but aside from that bit of work, you simply place all of the ingredients in your slow cooker and let it make dinner for you. As is often the case with slow cooker meals, your house will smell delicious while this cooks.

Slow Cooker Ham and Beans


  • 1 ham bone with plenty of meat attached
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. minced garlic (about three cloves)
  • 1 lb. great northern beans (rinsed and picked over)
  • 6-8 cups of chicken broth (I use chicken bouillon and water)
  • Pepper, to taste


Place chopped onion and carrot in the bottom of the slow cooker. Add the ham bone. Pour in the beans and add the bay leaves, minced garlic, and chicken broth. Sprinkle with pepper. Stir to combine all of the ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, depending on how quickly your slow cooker works, until the beans are cooked to your desired texture and the ham is tender.

When the ham is tender, pull the bone out of the slow cooker and remove all of the meat. Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces and add it back to the slow cooker. Discard all fat and bone pieces. Stir the ham into the beans and remove and discard the bay leaves.

Serve with corn muffins or a loaf of crusty bread and butter.

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