A Hearty and Simple Bean Soup With Ham

Navy bean soup recipe

The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic

  • Total: 2 hrs 20 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 2 hrs
  • Freeze Time: 3 hrs
  • Yield: 18 rolls
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
139 Calories
1g Fat
24g Carbs
9g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 18 rolls
Amount per serving
Calories 139
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 3mg 1%
Sodium 87mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 24g 9%
Dietary Fiber 7g 26%
Protein 9g
Calcium 69mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(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! 

The soup is versatile as well. Feel free to make it with great northern beans, soldier beans, pinto, appaloosa, cranberry, or another variety of bean. If there is a local heirloom bean you like, make the soup with that. Add some carrots or add a handful of chopped greens for extra color and flavor. Use part unsalted vegetable broth or chicken stock if you like.

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 (or another variety of bean)
  • 2 quarts water (plus more, if needed)
  • 2 ham hocks (or a meaty leftover ham bone or shank)
  • Optional: 1 cup ham (more or less; chopped)
  • 1/4 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup celery (chopped)
  • Optional: 1/2 cup carrots (diced)
  • 2 bay leaves (dried)
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • Black Pepper (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for navy bean soup
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  2. Wash the navy beans and pick them over. Discard any damaged or malformed beans and look for small stones.

    Wash navy beans
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  3. Pour the beans into a large pot and add 2 quarts of water. Place the pot over high heat and bring to a full boil. Boil for 3 minutes.

    Pour water
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  4. Remove from the heat and let beans soak for a 2 to 4 hours.

    Remove from heat
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  5. Add the ham hocks or ham bone to the pot with the beans and their cooking water and bring to a simmer.

    Add hamhocks
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  6. Continue to cook over low heat until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  7. Remove the bones and chop ham.

    Remove bones
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  8. Discard the bones and fat and return the chopped ham to the pot. Add extra leftover chopped ham, if desired. Add the chopped onions, celery, and carrots, if using, along with the bay leaves.

    Salt and pepper
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic 
  9. Add enough water or unsalted vegetable stock to make about 1 gallon. Taste the broth and add salt and pepper, as needed.

    Add vegetable stock
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  10. Cook about 30 minutes to 1 hour longer, or until the vegetables are tender.

    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  11. Serve and enjoy!

    Navy soup
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic


  • 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. 

Recipe Variation

  • Add 1 clove of minced garlic to the soup with the vegetables.
  • Add two 14.5-ounce cans of diced tomatoes to the soup with the vegetables.