Delicious Navy Bean Soup Recipe

Indulge in the comforting flavors of a classic Navy Bean Soup, a hearty dish that warms the soul and tantalizes the taste buds. With its roots entrenched in American culinary tradition, this timeless recipe offers a symphony of flavors, blending tender navy beans, savory smoked ham, and aromatic herbs and spices into a delectable concoction that’s perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re seeking a nourishing meal to satisfy your hunger or craving a bowl of cozy comfort, this Navy Bean Soup recipe is sure to delight your senses and leave you craving for more.

History of Navy Bean Soup

Navy Bean Soup holds a special place in American cuisine, tracing back its origins to the early days of the United States Navy. Legend has it that sailors aboard Navy ships relied on simple yet hearty meals to sustain themselves during long voyages at sea. With limited provisions on hand, navy beans emerged as a staple ingredient due to their versatility, long shelf life, and nutritional value. As a result, Navy Bean Soup became a beloved dish among sailors, cherished for its hearty goodness and ability to nourish the body and soul alike. Over the years, this humble soup has transcended its maritime origins to become a beloved comfort food enjoyed by families across the nation.


  • 16 ounces Navy Beans
  • 1 pound Smoked Ham Shank, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 medium Onion, finely diced
  • 2 Carrots, diced
  • 2 Celery Ribs, diced
  • 3-4 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish Paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 4 cups Chicken Broth
  • 4 cups Water
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Salt, to taste

Step-by-Step Instructions

Preparing the Navy Beans

  1. Pick through the beans to remove any foreign objects, ensuring the highest quality for your soup.
  2. Soak the beans using either the overnight or quick soaking method:
    • Overnight method: Place the beans in a pot, covering them with 4-6 cups of water. Let them soak overnight, then drain and rinse thoroughly.
    • Quick soaking method: In a large pot, boil the beans in 6-8 cups of water for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and allow to soak for one hour before draining and rinsing.

Preparing the Smoked Ham Shank

  1. Rinse the smoked ham shank with cold water and pat dry, ensuring cleanliness and optimal flavor.

Making the Navy Bean Soup

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, then add diced onions, carrots, and celery. Sauté for 5 minutes until softened and fragrant.
  2. Stir in minced garlic, tomato paste, dried oregano, Spanish paprika, and black pepper, cooking for an additional 1-2 minutes to enhance flavors.
  3. Add the smoked ham shank, soaked navy beans, chicken broth, water, and bay leaf to the pot, stirring to combine. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
  4. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 60 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  5. After 60 minutes, remove the smoked ham shank from the pot and place it on a cutting board. Allow it to cool before removing the meat from the bones, discarding any unwanted parts. Chop the meat and return it to the pot.
  6. Continue cooking the Navy Bean Soup for an additional 15 minutes, or until the beans reach the desired consistency, checking periodically.
  7. Taste the soup and adjust seasoning with salt, if needed, to suit your preference.
  8. Remove the bay leaf before serving, ensuring a smooth and flavorful experience with every spoonful.

Serving Suggestions

Serve the Navy Bean Soup piping hot, garnished with fresh parsley for a pop of color and added freshness. Pair it with crusty bread or a side salad for a complete and satisfying meal that’s perfect for lunch or dinner. This versatile soup also makes for excellent leftovers, as its flavors deepen and intensify with time, making it even more delicious the next day.


With its rich history and comforting flavors, Navy Bean Soup stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of classic American cuisine. Whether enjoyed on a chilly winter’s day or as a hearty meal to share with loved ones, this timeless recipe promises to warm the heart and nourish the soul with each spoonful. Embrace tradition and savor the taste of home with this delightful Navy Bean Soup recipe.

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