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How to Make Navy Bean Soup

tasty navy bean soup

tasty navy bean soup

Navy bean soup was always one of my favorite soups that Mom used to make. I bought a couple of hams so far this year when they've been on sale for $0.99 a lb. and we made another one the other day. I decided to make navy bean soup with my leftovers. This base recipe is from my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, but I added garlic, garlic powder and salt, celery salt, carrots and I added two more bay leaves. The flavor of this soup is phenomenal, that is if you like ham and beans.

I used dried navy beans, so I had the extra step of letting them sit overnight in cold water. But they really just need 6 - 8 hours soaking in cold water and it is really an easy step to do. Beans are very cost effective if you buy dried ones, usually it will cost less to use them. In the morning, I just rinsed the beans off and drained them, then returned them back to the pan with 4 cups of fresh water. I did turn them on low for about 30 minutes by themselves, it is not necessary though. Then I started adding the vegetables and then the ham and ham bone.

This soup just has to simmer for about 4 hours on low with the ham bone in, then take that out and lt cool and remove the meat. Add the meat back into the soup for about an hour more and then serve. This is great with a crusty bread for dipping in it. I hope you enjoy my version of navy bean soup! My husband called this soup "addicting", he ate three bowls in a row and said he did not want to stop eating!

soaking the dry beans overnight in water

soaking the dry beans overnight in water

beans after soaking overnight and rinsing

beans after soaking overnight and rinsing

veggies and spices added

veggies and spices added

meat added

meat added

finished soup, remove the bay leaves before serving

finished soup, remove the bay leaves before serving

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

15 min

6 hours

6 hours 15 min

makes eight servings with some leftovers possibly


  • 1 lb navy beans, prepared
  • 1/2 - 1 lb ham bone or 1 cup ham, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 4 garlic cloved, diced
  • 1/2 cup green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, sliced thin
  • 4 cups, water
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp celery salt

How to do it

  1. Prepare 1 pound of dry navy beans as directed on package. I soaked mine overnight in 8 cups of cold water. In the morning, rinse and drain the beans. Then place back into pan with 4 cups of fresh water.
  2. Add ham or ham bone, spices, diced garlic, sliced onions and carrots to the beans. Heat at a low heat on the stove for about 4-5 hrs or until the meat is falling off the bone, if you used a bone. Pull bone out of the pan, set aside and let it cool before removing meat.
  3. While it is cooling, lightly mash the beans to help thicken the soup. Clean meat off of the cooled bone and place ham back in with the beans. Cook about another hour.
  4. Serve with oyster crackers, saltines or a hard bread for dipping if you like. Enjoy! You should have some leftovers to enjoy the next day, and I think it is ever better the next day! You could also top this with bacon... maybe next time.


Amber White (author) from New Glarus, WI on November 19, 2013:

I made this again the other night with about 2-3 cups ham in it. I also doubled the pepper, added about a tsp of salt and used half of a white onion/diced. It was so great. I really do love this recipe and it only gets better the next day. I hope you enjoy it if you try it. I always adjust my seasonings by taste.

Dianna Mendez on March 19, 2013:

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One of my favorite soups is navy bean. It just makes a chilly day so perfect. I am glad to see your recipe calls for a hambone, it's what makes that wonderful flavor.

catgypsy from the South on March 18, 2013:

I will definitely add the garlic!

Amber White (author) from New Glarus, WI on March 18, 2013:

Oh, definitely try some garlic next time! I will try it with chicken broth in the future, but didn't want it to overpower the ham flavor, half water half chicken broth might be really good. thank you for your suggestions! I will most likely avoid adding celery, but my mother did use to have it in her soup.

catgypsy from the South on March 17, 2013:

I use chicken broth instead of water...sometimes about half and half because it just adds a little more "richness" to the broth. I also use celery instead of celery salt, but these are small changes. I use onions, but have never added garlic, even though I'm a garlicholic! I'm going to add some next time though.

Amber White (author) from New Glarus, WI on March 17, 2013:

Glad it looks good to you! It was amazing, and ,of course, addicting but very filling. Yes, I use the basic Better Homes recipe and then add in a few extra spices and garlic, cause I really like it flavorful. Thanks for reading over my recipe, (what is different in yours?), I can always use some good new suggestions!

catgypsy from the South on March 16, 2013: of my favorites! Yours looks so good and is making me hungry...haha! My recipe is very close to yours...I will have to make some soon! Nice hub!

Amber White (author) from New Glarus, WI on March 15, 2013:

I am eating leftovers and it is really so good. I need to make this more, thank you for checking out my recipe!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 15, 2013:

My goodness, it's been a long time since I had navy bean soup. Thanks for the reminder and the recipe.

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