Family Favorites...Navy Bean Soup

 Navy Bean Soup is a great way to use up a meaty ham bone. If you don’t have one, most meat departments have them for sale. If you can find them, ham shanks are better than ham hocks. More meat and less fat. Save your ham bone from the ham you had and freeze it till you are ready to make soup. If you had glazed your ham, it works even better adding another layer of flavor to your soup.
 When I was making bean soup for supper I realized we did not have a recipe on the blog for it, though Sue has directions for canning bean soup. I do not have a recipe exactly as I vary it according to what vegetables I have on hand but here are the basic directions and amounts for Navy Bean Soup. You can substitute great northerns if you wish. The dried beans are easy to use and will give you a better soup than the canned jars you can buy at the grocery store. Also they are inexpensive and make a good meal for pennies.
Navy Bean Soup
16 ounces dry navy beans
2 quarts of water
1 meaty ham bone
6 cups good chicken stock
2 cups water
½ teaspoon salt (taste before adding as ham is salty)
½ teaspoon black pepper or 6 black peppercorns
1 medium onion
2 stalks diced celery (some recipes add carrots, however I do not)
1 or 2 bay Leaves depending on size
Leaves of 3 sprigs of fresh thyme (opt)
  Pick over dry beans, discarding any bad beans or grit or stones. Wash in cold water till water is clean. Bring beans to a boil, cook 2 minutes then cover and allow to set for one hour.* I drain at this point as I then add chicken stock, about 6 cups and 2 cups of water, ham bone, onion, celery, 2 bay leaves, salt and pepper. Simmer about 1 ½ hour to 2 hours, (older beans will take a little longer) until tender, about one half hour before soup is done add the thyme leaves. Dried thyme can go in when you start the soup. Remove ham bone, cut off any meat, return to soup and reheat just till ham is hot again. Remove bay leaf and adjust seasoning to taste.
Serve with additional, chopped onions if desired and of course cornbread.
*You can also soak overnight in 6 to 8 cups of cold water.  


  1. This sounds delicious.. I'm glad the holidays are coming soon so I can get a ham and bone on sale hopefully. I had to smile at this recipe, my father liked it and I remember him joking with us that he learned to make this soup in the Navy as that is what the sailors ate. My father was never in the Navy, but as a child I thought he was because of this soup. JAV

  2. What a nice memory for you to have. Our Dad liked bean soup also and so do the rest of us. This looked good this morning and we are having our first really cold snap so Bean Soup is what we are having for supper.

  3. This is very similar to my Great Northern Bean soup. I love beans and I love soup! I'm so thankful the weather has started cooling down here = soup weather!

    1. We are cooling down a lot also. In fact I fixed bean soup for supper tonight. I think wether you use navy or Great Northern beans depends on what you and your family like. Either works well in soup. Do you fix cornbread with yours? Here most everybody does.

  4. I Love your site and look forward to checking it each day. Coincidentally my father and family hail from Mason City. 77 Polk County ;)
    I am not sure about others who follow you but I have the most difficult time finding ham hocks up here in the Northeast. Even the butchers look at me like I have two heads. It is just me so buying a large ham is pretty silly. Any suggestions out there? Thank you good Ladies of Iowa!

    1. I have used a small ham steak and here I can buy packaged ham already chopped for the same price per pound as the ham steak, I use what I want for the soup and weigh out and freeze the rest for another use. Try frying a few slices of bacon, crumble and use as a garnish on the soup and some of the drippings to cook the onion and celery in for a few minutes along with the chopped ham. Adds some of that pork flavor to the soup

  5. I remember my mother making a large pot of this, only she put in diced / chunks of potato; hence ham, potato and bean soup using one or 2 large ham bones

  6. I have used potato in mine and a little chopped cabbage but not quite the same as bean soup though. Still really good eating.


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