Cozy Up with a Bowl of Hearty Navy Bean and Ham Soup

Navy Bean And Ham Soup


1 pound dried navy beans, picked over and rinsed

1 smoked ham hock (about 1 pound)

8 cups water

1 large onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste

Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)

Feature Navy Bean and Ham Soup
Type Soup
Primary Ingredients Navy beans, ham
Preparation Time ~20 minutes
Cooking Time ~1-2 hours (stovetop), ~6-8 hours (slow cooker)


Before you start cooking, gather all your ingredients and equipment. This will make the cooking process much smoother and more enjoyable. You don’t want to be scrambling for a colander while your soup is boiling over!

Start by rinsing the navy beans under cold water and picking out any debris or broken beans. If you have time, soak the beans in cold water overnight. This step is optional but will help them cook faster and more evenly. If you don’t have time to soak overnight, you can do a quick soak by covering the beans with water in a large pot, bringing them to a boil for 2 minutes, then removing them from heat and letting them sit for an hour.

While the beans are soaking, dice the onion, celery, and carrots. You can leave the skin on the carrots for extra nutrients and color. Mince the garlic cloves or use a garlic press. If you’re using a ham bone, remove any large pieces of meat and set them aside. You’ll add them back to the soup later.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the diced onion, celery, and carrots and cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute, until fragrant.

Add the drained and rinsed navy beans, ham bone (if using), bay leaves, thyme, and chicken broth to the pot. Add enough water to cover the beans by about 2 inches. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1-2 hours, or until the beans are tender.

Once the beans are tender, remove the ham bone from the pot and let it cool slightly. Shred the meat from the bone and discard the bone. Add the shredded ham back to the soup. If you’re not using a ham bone, you can add diced cooked ham at this point.

For a thicker, creamier soup, use an immersion blender to blend a portion of the soup until smooth. Alternatively, you can transfer a few cups of the soup to a regular blender, blend until smooth, and then add it back to the pot.

Stir in the chopped fresh parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remember that ham can be salty, so start with less salt and add more if needed.

navy bean and ham soup

Serve your delicious navy bean and ham soup hot, garnished with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt, if desired. It’s a hearty and flavorful soup that’s perfect for a chilly evening. Enjoy!

Tips and Serving Ideas

This soup is even more delicious the next day, so make it ahead if you can! Refrigerate the soup for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave.

To add a touch of brightness, stir in a squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of apple cider vinegar just before serving.

For a heartier meal, serve each bowl with a crusty bread roll or cornbread for dipping.

Get creative with toppings! Chopped fresh parsley, a dollop of sour cream or yogurt, shredded cheddar cheese, or crispy bacon bits are all delicious options.

If you like a little heat, add a pinch of red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce to your bowl.

For a thicker soup, mash some of the beans against the side of the pot before serving.

This recipe is easily doubled or tripled to feed a crowd.

Leftover soup can be used as a base for other dishes, like pasta fagioli or even shepherd's pie.