How to Make Ham Broth in the Crockpot

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How to Make Ham Broth in the Crockpot

Save the ham bone from your holiday ham, and use it to make ham broth. If you do it in the crockpot, it’ll practically make itself. Here’s how it’s done.

How to Make Ham Broth in the Crockpot

Cook Time:

8-10 hours


Ham bone
Spices: peppercorns, salt, bay leaves, etc.

What You Do:

Ham Bone

Pick off any remaining ham, and set it aside for sandwiches (this ham salad is a winner). Reserve the ham bone and any skin for your broth.

Veggies for Broth

Roughly chop some celery, carrots and onion to include in your broth. I used two celery stalks, two carrots and a large onion. The veggie ends can go in too, since you’ll be straining the vegetables out later.

Place Ham Bone, Veggies and Spices in Crockpot

Place your ham bone and vegetables in the crockpot, and add enough water to completely cover them. Also add any spices that you’d like to include (salt, peppercorns, bay leaves, etc.). I just add six or seven peppercorns and a couple bay leaves. Ham usually has plenty of salt and seasonings to flavor the broth.

Ham Broth - Cooked

Then, cover, and cook on high for 8-10 hours. Longer is even better. I cooked the broth in the photo for 24 hours because I wanted it to be really flavorful. You’ll know your broth is done when it has developed a deep golden color and a rich flavor.

Note: When I cook broth for longer than 10 hours, I drop the temp down to low for the remainder of the time. If your broth starts to boil, just crack the lid a teeny bit to allow the steam to escape.

Strain the Ham Broth

Strain the ham bone, veggies and spices from your broth. I used to use a cheesecloth-lined colander for this, but I’ve since discovered something that works even better: paint strainer bags. They’re fine mesh bags that painters use to prepare paint for use in a sprayer. You can pick them up at a home improvement store or paint store for a couple dollars. I like them because they’re easier to clean than cheesecloth, and because they have an elastic top that holds them firmly in place, while you’re pouring.

But don’t feel like you have to have special equipment to strain broth. A slotted spoon will certainly do the job.

Strained Ham Broth

Allow your strained broth to cool a bit. Then, cover it, and place it in the refrigerator overnight. This will give the fat time to separate from the broth.

Ham Broth with Fat Separated

Pull the broth out in the morning, and there will be a hard shell of fat sitting on the top. Just skim it off with a spoon, and your broth is ready to use. If you prefer, you can use a fat separator to de-fat the broth while it’s still hot. I just find this easier.

Gelatinous Broth

Your broth will look gelatinous when it comes out of the fridge, and that’s a good thing. When you cook bone broth long enough, the collagen gets released from the bones, causing it to gel. That’s added nutrition that you won’t get from store-bought broth. As soon as you heat it up, your broth will turn into a liquid again.

Finished Ham Broth

Refrigerate your finished broth, and use it within a week, or pour it into freezer-safe jars or containers, and freeze it until you’re ready to use it. Frozen broth will keep indefinitely, but is best if used within three months.

Arrow Stor-Keeper Quart Freezer Containers

This is what I store my broth in. They’re Arrow Stor-Keeper quart freezer containers. They stack beautifully, and they’re BPA-free. I used to buy them at Wal-mart, but I couldn’t find them the last time I looked, so now I get them on Amazon.

Short on Time? Freeze your ham bone, and make broth when you have more time.

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How to Make Ham Broth in the Crockpot

Crockpot Ham Broth

Use the ham bone from your holiday ham to make ham broth in the crockpot. It’s probably the tastiest broth you’ll ever make.

  • Total Time: 8 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: Varies


  • Ham bone
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Onion
  • Water
  • Spices: peppercorns, salt, bay leaves, etc.


Roughly chop the veggies. Two celery stalks, two carrots and a large onion is about right. The ends can go in, too.

Stick your ham bone in a large crockpot. Add the veggies and spices.

Cover completely with water.

Put the lid on, and cook on high for 8-10 hours, or until the broth has developed a deep golden color and a rich flavor.

Strain your broth; allow it to cool a bit; then refrigerate it overnight.

Skim the fat off the top, in the morning.

Then, pour it into freezer-safe containers, if you won’t be using it right away.

Keywords: crockpot ham broth

How to Use Ham Broth

Use your ham broth to …

  • make soup. It’s the perfect base for both split pea soup and bean-based soups
  • cook beans, rice and lentils. Just use it in place of the cooking water
  • flavor greens and mashed potatoes

Where to Get Ham Bones

Ham broth is my absolute favorite broth, so in addition to making broth from my holiday hams, I also buy ham bones specifically for making broth. Honey Baked Ham is my go-to source for this. They frequently run buy-one-get-one-free ham bone deals when their freezers get overstocked.

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  1. Thanks so much!! I pulled my Christmas Ham Bones out of the freezer today…….bone broth in the crockpot as I type with my home smelling fabulous!!

  2. My kids are mad at me because that delicious smell wafting through the house is NOT going to be for dinner tonight! Thanks for the instructions. Can’t wait for soup!

    1. Ha! The same thing happened to me the other day. I had a triple batch of chicken broth going when my youngest daughter came through the door. Had to break it to her that she wasn’t smelling dinner 🙂


    Ham broth is on my to do list shortly…had a beautiful country ham for dinner yesterday. So I will finish cutting off bone, separate pieces for cooking, slices for frying/sandwiches, and get my bone ready to do blackeyed peas for New Years Day dinner…family tradition for good luck in the new year! Take care, look forward to seeing more of your great ideas for saving money.

  4. I have tried several ham broth recipes in my day and this is by far the easiest and tastiest recipe out there. Thanks again Erin!

  5. I am making ham broth from our Easter ham. It smells so good! I want to make pea soup, my absolute favorite!

  6. Brilliant! It never occurred to me to use the crockpot! So smart and I love to use pieces and ends of the veggies. Smells so delicious and just wonderful in bean and ham soup. Thank you!

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