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Navy Bean and Ham Soup

Navy Bean and Ham Soup made easy with canned beans, ham hocks, carrots, celery, dried rosemary and thyme, and a little bacon for flavor. This is the best Navy Bean Soup!

A bowl of navy bean and ham soup with a spoon.

It’s so easy to get caught in a soup rut, like a chicken rut, where you serve the same old same old recipes week after week because they are familiar and therefore easy.

My go-tos for soup are usually this super easy Loaded Potato Soup, made with frozen potatoes = no peeling = WIN! and my Classic Chili, which is another filling bean soup recipe.

If you’ve been saving a ham bone since Thanksgiving, now’s the time to pull it out and make this hearty Navy Bean Soup with Ham. This is one of my favorite cold weather soups because it sticks to your ribs and warms you from the inside.

And the bonus is that although the soup is filling, it’s low in calories due to the beans.

I always keep some of this Navy Bean and Ham Soup in the freezer and usually make it several times throughout the year. The saltiness from the ham, combined with the creaminess of the beans and a slight touch of sweet carrot makes for a wonderful soup to share with friends or just have at home for family.

Navy Bean Soup is a crowd-pleaser for sure!

Tips

Navy Bean and Ham soup is fairly easy to make and takes about a couple of hours to cook, unless you’re using dried beans, in which case you need to account for the time you have to soak the beans.

**Cook’s Tip: I usually just use canned navy beans but either works fine.

Overhead view of a bowl of navy bean and ham soup.

**Cook’s Tip: If you don’t have a ham bone lurking about in your freezer, then you can buy a couple of ham hocks at the grocery store or your local butcher.

Helpful tools

The great thing about this Navy Bean Soup with ham recipe is that you don’t need any fancy tools, just a great soup pot like this one. And you could always use some of these freezer containers to make it easy to save leftovers.

I bought a set of those deli containers last year and they have been so useful! You get about 24 in a set and can use them for so many things.

How to make navy bean soup

This Navy Bean and Ham Soup takes a couple of hours to cook, but the prep is fairly quick. The only chopping involved is with the vegetables: onion, carrots, and celery.

And you can dice up some of the ham from your ham hocks too unless you just want to use the package of already diced ham.

Step 1.

Start by cooking the chopped onions, carrot, and celery in melted butter in a large Dutch oven for about five minutes, then add garlic.

Step 2.

Next you’ll pour in chicken stock and stir, then add the beans, ham hocks, herbs, and diced ham. If you wanted a meatless meal, you could make plain Navy Bean Soup—but it’s so much better with a little ham to give it a nice, succulent flavor.

Step 3.

Simmer the navy bean soup for a couple of hours, then chop the ham from the ham hocks.

**Cook’s Tip: If you want to thicken the soup, you can take some of the beans and puree them in a blender then add back to the soup.

Bowl of navy bean soup with parsley in the background.

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Easy Potato Soupmade with frozen potatoes and ready in less than one hour!

What to serve with navy bean and ham soup

We like good old-fashioned cornbread—well, I do, David just likes Jiffy Mix cornbread—but some nice crusty bread would be great as well. And some crumbled bacon on top is divine!

And I don’t usually serve anything else. This soup is so hearty, it’s a complete meal.

But…there’s always room for dessert. How about a lovely Cream Cheese Pound Cake? Or our family’s favorite Fudge Pie?

If you’ve tried this recipe, please rate the recipe and leave a comment below!

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A white bowl filled with navy bean and ham soup with a sprig of parsley.

Navy Bean and Ham Soup

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Navy Bean and Ham Soup made with canned beans, ham hocks, carrots, celery, dried rosemary and thyme, and a little bacon for flavor.

Ingredients

  • 4 cans navy beans, rinsed and drained (unsalted if you can find them)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2-2 quarts chicken stock
  • 2 large smoked ham hocks or 1 ham bone
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup diced cooked ham (I buy the packet of diced ham in the meat dept. unless I have ham saved)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6-8 bacon strips, cooked crispy and crumbled

Instructions

  1. In large Dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrot, and celery and saute for five minutes. Add garlic and saute for thirty seconds.
  2. Add 1 and 1/2 quarts chicken stock, beans, ham hocks, parsley, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, and diced ham. Add a little freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. You may need to add additional stock.
  4. Remove ham hocks or ham bone and allow to cool enough to handle, then cut the meat off the bones and add to the pot along with the cup of diced ham. Discard the bones.
  5. If you want to thicken the soup, remove about 2 cups of beans and puree in a blender then add back to the soup.
  6. Taste and season accordingly with salt and pepper. The ham is usually salty so I don't add much salt until I taste the soup. Serve with crumbled bacon on top.

Notes

**Cook's Tips for Navy Bean and Ham Soup:

  • Use canned navy beans—easy and convenient!
  • Or you can substitute one pound bag of dried navy beans for the canned beans. You'll need to soak the beans per package instructions. 
  • Use a package of diced ham that you can pick up in the meat department of your grocery store. 
  • To thicken the soup, take out some of the beans and puree then add back to the pot. 
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 8 servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 73

Did you make this recipe?

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More Soup Recipes to Try:

Chili without Beans

Easy Black Bean Soup

Easy Homemade Tomato Soup


Update Notes: This post was originally published January 7, 2015, and on October 25, 2018, was updated with one or more of the following: step-by-step photos, video, updated recipe, new tips.

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dave t

Saturday 30th of May 2020

maybe mix in some chorizo.. will upgrade almost any chili

Marci

Sunday 1st of December 2019

I want to do this recipe in a crockpot. How long on low? If ya know.

Lucy Brewer

Sunday 1st of December 2019

I would use dried beans and soak them overnight, then cook on low for 7-8 hours. Not sure how the canned beans would do in the slow cooker.

Stephanie

Thursday 27th of December 2018

Do you have to drain the beans if you are using canned?

Lucy

Thursday 27th of December 2018

Yes, it says rinsed and drained on the recipe. :)

Pat

Friday 2nd of February 2018

I have never had any success making bean soup. I must have tried a hundred different recipes. This recipe, WOW. It is easy to make and the taste is exceptional. Everyone I gave some to raved about it. I highly recommend it.

Lucy

Tuesday 20th of March 2018

Thanks so much, Pat! So glad you've enjoyed it!