A Hearty and Simple Navy Bean Soup with Ham

Bean Soup With Cornbread
Bean Soup With Cornbread. Photo: Diana Rattray
Ratings (43)
  • Total: 2 hrs 20 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 2 hrs
  • Soak Beans: 3 hrs
  • Yield: 12 Servings (12 bowls)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
139 Calories
1g Fat
24g Carbs
9g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This navy bean soup is a simple soup made with diced ham or a leftover ham bone and dried navy beans. It's hearty enough to serve as a lunch or supper soup, and it couldn't be easier to fix. Use the ham bone and diced ham from a baked ham dinner. The soup is not only easy, it's budget-friendly!

Serve this bean soup with cornbread, cornbread muffins, or corn sticks. Freshly baked biscuits or crusty rolls would be excellent as well. 

If you prefer using a slow cooker for bean soup, take a look at this crock pot navy bean and ham soup.


  • 1 pound dried navy beans
  • 2 quarts boiling water
  • 2 large ham hocks or a meaty ham bone
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups chopped leftover ham (or to taste; or ham from the meaty bone)
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Steps to Make It

Wash the navy beans and pick them over. Discard any damaged or malformed beans and look for small stones. Pour the beans into a large bowl or pot and add 2 quarts of boiling water. Let beans soak for a 2 to 4 hours.*

In a large Dutch oven or stockpot, simmer the ham bone or ham hocks with the beans (and their soaking water) until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

Remove bones and chop ham. Discard the bones and fat and return the chopped ham to the pot.

Add the chopped onions, celery, and bay leaves to the pot.

Add enough water or vegetable stock to make about 1 gallon. Add the ham meat back to the pot. Taste the broth and add salt and pepper, as needed. Cook about 30 minutes to 1 hour longer.

*If you prefer to soak your beans overnight, there's no need to boil the water first. Just put them in a bowl with 2 quarts of water and leave at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours. Or, for another quick method,  put the beans in a large pot, cover with the 2 quarts of water, and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let them soak in the hot water for 2 to 4 hours.


Add about 1 cup of diced carrots to the soup along with the onions and celery.

Add 1 clove of minced garlic to the soup with the vegetables.