Navy Bean Soup

$7.32 recipe / $1.22 serving
by Marsha - Budget Bytes
4.50 from 4 votes
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Y’all, I’m on a roll with these simple, cozy, soup recipes! I had one extra ham hock left over from making Split Pea Soup a few weeks ago, so I decided to test a simple Navy Bean Soup recipe. I used dry, uncooked navy beans because they’re more economical than canned beans and you can infuse a lot of flavor into them. Then I just paired the navy beans with some vegetables, a smoked ham hock, and lots of herbs and spices. The results…a hearty, creamy, and absolutely delicious navy bean soup! Trust me, you’ll be blown away by how flavorful this soup is and just how easy it is to make!

Overhead view of a pot of Navy Bean Soup with a ladle scooping some out.

INGREDIENTS FOR NAVY BEAN SOUP

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this comforting & delicious navy bean soup:

  • Navy Beans – We start things off with dry, uncooked navy beans. Navy beans are creamy and break down easily in the soup.
  • Vegetables – A combination of aromatics like onion, celery, carrots, and garlic are sautéed with a little bit of olive oil to add a great base layer of flavor and depth to the soup.
  • Ham Hock – Ham and beans just go together like peanut butter and jelly!😄 The smoked ham hock we used infused a ton of smoky, salty, flavor into the navy beans! We also tested this recipe with just regular diced ham, but it did not provide the same type of rich flavor as a ham bone. However, smoked turkey wings are a great alternative to use if you don’t want to use ham.
  • Spices – A combination of dried spices like thyme, oregano, and smoked paprika adds a rich color and wonderful flavor to the soup.
  • Chicken Broth – Make sure you use a good quality chicken broth as a lot of the soup flavor will come from the broth. We use Better than Bouillon for our broth.

Do I Need To Soak Navy Beans Overnight?

Although it’s not mandatory, we did soak the navy beans overnight to help soften the beans and speed up the cooking process. You could also do a quick soak method if you are pressed for time.

To do the “quick soak method” start by giving the dry beans a quick rinse with cold water in a colander. Remove any stones or debris that you see. Next add the navy beans to a large pot and cover with water. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, continue to cook, uncovered, for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, remove the pot from the heat, cover the pot with a lid, and allow the beans to soak in the hot water for 1 hour. Drain and rinse the beans well before cooking!

Storing Leftovers

This navy bean soup recipe makes a big batch, so save the leftovers for lunch the next day or freeze for later. You can store the soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. Or freeze in freezer-safe containers for up to 3 months.

Side view of a bowl full of navy bean soup with crusty bread on the side of the bowl.
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Navy Bean Soup

4.50 from 4 votes
This Navy Bean Soup with ham is hearty, cozy, super flavorful, and perfect on a chilly day. Easy to make and absolutely delicious!
Overhead view of a dutch oven pot full of navy bean soup with a ladle scooping some out.
Servings 6 (1 1/3 cups each)
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 2 hours 10 minutes
Total 2 hours 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. dry navy beans ($1.29)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.24)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
  • 1 carrot ($0.15)
  • 1 celery stalk ($0.25)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 1 ham hock ($3.65)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper ($0.02)
  • 6 cups chicken broth ($1.02)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (or to taste) ($0.02)

Instructions 

  • Start by soaking the dry navy beans overnight. Place the beans in a bowl, cover them with cold water, and place the bowl in the refrigerator. The next day, drain and rinse the beans.
  • Dice the onion, the carrot, and the celery stalk. Mince the garlic cloves.
  • Sauté the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic in a large soup pot or Dutch oven with olive oil over medium heat, until the onions are soft and translucent.
  • Add the soaked & drained beans, ham hock, dried thyme, dried oregano, dried rosemary, smoked paprika, black pepper, and chicken broth to the pot. Gently stir to combine all the ingredients.
  • Place a lid on the pot and bring it up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and let the soup simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and begin to break down (approximately 1.5 hours). Flip the ham hock over once or twice, while the soup is simmering, so that it gets even exposure to the hot liquid.
  • Once the beans are tender, remove the ham hock and pull the meat from the bone, then add the ham meat back to the soup.
  • Now mash some of the beans against the side of the pot and stir the mashed beans back into the soup. Continue to simmer the soup uncovered for about 30 minutes to reduce some of the liquid and to thicken the soup further.
  • Taste the soup and add salt, if needed. I ended up adding 1/4 tsp of salt after tasting. The amount of salt needed will depend highly on the type of broth used. Serve hot with some crusty bread for dipping and enjoy!

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Equipment

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 418kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 27gFat: 13gSodium: 1052mgFiber: 19g
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Overhead view of a bowl full of Navy bean soup with crusty bread and a black spoon on the side of the bowl.

How to Make Navy Bean Soup – Step by Step Photos

Overhead view of Navy Beans being soaked in water in a bowl.

Start by soaking the navy beans overnight. Place 1 lb. of dry navy beans in a bowl, cover them with cold water, and place the bowl in the refrigerator. The next day, drain and rinse the beans.

Overhead view of chopped vegetables on a cutting board.

Dice one onion, one carrot, and one celery stalk. And mince two garlic cloves.

Overhead view of veggies being sauteed in a dutch oven pot.

Sauté the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic in a large soup pot or dutch oven with 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat, until the onions are soft and translucent.

Overhead view of navy beans, hamhock, spices, and chicken broth being added to the pot.

Now add the soaked & drained beans, 1 ham hock, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp dried rosemary, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, and 6 cups of chicken broth to the pot. Gently stir to combine all the ingredients.

Overhead view of cooked soup.

Place a lid on the pot and bring it up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and let the soup simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and begin to break down (approximately 1.5 hours).

Hamhock meat being removed from the bone on a cutting board.

Once the beans are tender, remove the ham hock and pull the meat from the bone.

Overhead view of hamhock meat being added back to the pot.

Then add the ham meat back to the soup.

Overhead view of a few Navy Beans being smashed on the side of the pot.

Now mash some of the beans against the side of the pot and stir the mashed beans back into the soup. Continue to simmer the soup uncovered for about 30 minutes to reduce some of the liquid and to thicken the soup further.

Overhead view of Navy Bean Soup with parsley sprinkled on top.

Taste the soup and add salt, if needed. I ended up adding 1/4 tsp of salt after tasting. The amount of salt needed will depend highly on the type of broth used. Garnish with some fresh chopped parsley (optional). Now the only thing left to do is enjoy a big bowl of this cozy navy bean soup with some crusty bread for dipping and soaking up all that yumminess! Enjoy!

Overhead view of a bowl full of navy bean soup with crusty bread and a black spoon on the side.
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  1. I made this yesterday and it was absolutely delicious!!! Recipe was super easy to follow and I did chop the onion, carrot etc ahead, to make it easier.
    Once it simmered for about an hour and a half, the navy beans had started to break, so I took out the ham hock and took the meat off the bone and set it aside. I took a potato masher and mashed up some beans. Worked like a charm! Then returned the ham meat onto the pit and let it simmer for another 30 mins. It was thick and so tasty with the flavour from the ham hock. It didn’t any salt! I will be making this again!!!

    1. You’d need to change the recipe quite a bit to use canned beans, unfortunately, so we’d need to redesign the recipe to fit.

    2. I used canned beans that I lightly mashed before I put them in the pot. I decreased the broth to 4 cups and left out the ham hock which made the cooking time much shorter. It turned out great!

  2. The beans and ham hocks take me back to my childhood!

    Hubby is vegetarian, so we will likely substitute with minced cremini or portabella mushrooms and some liquid smoke. Definitely not the same but will be a fun spin.

  3. This soup was excellent. Saw that someone said “it was bland”…….mine wasn’t, but then I don’t think everything has to be dosed with hot sauce to have flavor. This reminded me in a wonderful way of winter evenings around the dinner table with my brothers and sisters……..and a big pan of corn bread. Delicious!

    1. You can do a vegetarian version of this. I would add more smoked paprika to replace the smokiness of the ham and some coconut oil to give that rich mouthfeel that you would have gotten from the pork fat. And then, of course, swap out the chicken broth for vegetable broth or a vegetarian version of “chicken” broth.

  4. We found this soup rather bland, sadly. Not sure how to rescue it, but it definitely needs more flavor.

  5. I am forwarding this Recipe to my 91 yr old mom. I read thru it and not only will it get her stamp of approval but she’ll enjoy the vegetables you introduced into a country classic. I also saved it for myself, as I also love to cook. I signed up for your newletter also. Now, Im going to check out your other recipes! Cheers Marsha

  6. I am excited for this kind of recipe. I look forward to making it for a hearty fall soup. It looks like a classic. Thank you Marsha at Budget Bytes!

  7. Very good navy bean soup I have made it before but I will try yours it sounds delicious

  8. I cannot wait to make this! Just wondering how big the ham hock is? My grocery store has different sized packages so want to pick up the right one

    1. I think it was about a half pound, but honestly, it’s very flexible so if you have a larger one or a smaller one it will probably still turn out great. :)

        1. Probably, but I would want to test it first before offering any concrete suggestions. :)

  9. This looks delicious. If I wanted to try it in a slow cooker, do you have any idea how long it would need to cook for in that context?