Navy Bean Ham Bone Soup is a hearty soup that combines smoky cooked ham bone, navy beans, and vegetables, simmered to perfection for a comforting, savory dish. For another flavorful and comforting soup, perfect for warming you up on a cool day, try my Creamy Bean Soup With Kielbasa, too!

Bowls of Navy Bean Ham Bone Soup on a wooden table from overhead.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Beans: Choose dry white beans to use in this recipe. Popular options are Great Northern beans, Navy beans, or Canellini beans. Be sure to rinse them before using in the recipe.

Vegetables: Onions and carrots are sauteed in unsalted butter, providing a natural sweetness and depth of flavor to the soup.

Ham Bone: The ham bone is a key ingredient in this soup. It not only flavors the broth, but it provides bits of ham that can be pulled off and added back to the soup. Leave about a cup’s worth of ham on the bone when using. You can often buy ham bones from your local butcher or in the meat department of your grocery store, especially during the holiday season. Or, use the bone from a ham you have just cooked, like this Brown Sugar Glazed Ham!

Chicken Broth: Chicken broth, along with water, forms the liquid base of the soup. You could substitute chicken stock for the broth if that is what you have.

Adding hambone to soup broth in a pot.

Soaking Dried Beans Overnight

In this recipe, I used a ‘quick soak’ method for the dried beans, which only takes a little over an hour before adding them to the soup. However, you could certainly soak the beans overnight. Soaking the beans in cold water overnight (up to 24 hours) results in a creamier texture. To soak the beans, first, rinse them. Then, add the beans to a large bowl, cover them with water, and add a lid or cover to the bowl. When ready to make the soup, simply drain the beans and add when instructed in the recipe.

Ladle full of Navy Bean Ham Bone Soup above the pot from overhead.

Can I Make Ham Bone Soup Without A Ham Bone?

Sure! If you don’t have a ham bone from a recently cooked ham. Or, if you can’t find one at the grocery store, look for a ham hock. A ham hock, also called a pork hock, is a flavorful and often relatively bony cut of meat from a different part of the pig than the ham bone. Simply add the ham hock to the soup when you would add the ham bone. After simmering, carefully remove the ham hock from the soup and use a fork or knife to pull the meat from it. Add the ham back into the soup.

Using a ladle to add Navy Bean Ham Bone Soup into a white bowl on a wooden table.

Can I Use Canned Beans?

Yes, if you are short on time, you can certainly use canned beans in this ham and bean soup recipe. If using canned beans, add them at the end of the recipe. After removing the ham bone from the soup, pull off any ham meat and put it back into the soup. Rinse and drain the canned beans, then add them to the soup. Simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the canned beans are heated through.

Bowls of Navy Bean Ham Bone Soup on a wooden table with a napkin.

Storing & Reheating Ham Bone Soup

To store Ham and Bean Soup, first, let the soup cool to room temperature. Then, you can store the soup in the refrigerator or in the freezer.

To Refrigerate: Store the cooled soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will last up to 3-4 days.

To Freeze: To freeze the soup, store it in freezer-safe containers or sealable bags. Leave a little room for expansion. It can be frozen for up to 2-3 months. When ready to enjoy, let the soup thaw in the refrigerator overnight or in a saucepan over low heat on the stove.

To Reheat: Reheat the soup on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Ladle full of Navy Bean Ham Bone Soup above the pot from overhead.
5 from 5 votes

Navy Bean Ham Bone Soup

Prep Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Navy Bean Ham Bone Soup is a hearty soup that combines smoky ham bone, tender beans, and vegetables, simmered to perfection for a comforting, savory dish.


  • 1 pound dried white beans, like Navy, Great Northern, or Canellini
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, cut into rounds
  • 3 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 ham bone, with about a cup of meat left on the bone
  • 6 cups (48 ounces) chicken broth
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • parsley, chopped for garnish



  • Add the dried beans to a colander. Rinse them under cold running water to remove any debris.
  • To a large pot (we used a 7-quart pot), add the rinsed beans. Add enough cold water to cover the beans. Bring to a boil over high heat. Let them boil for 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove the pot from the heat, cover, and let the beans soak for 1 hour. After soaking, drain and rinse the beans. Set aside.


  • To the same large pot over medium heat, add the butter. Once melted, add the onions, carrots, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook for 5-8 minutes, or until the onions and the carrots begin to soften.
  • Add the beans, ham bone, broth, and water.
  • Stir in the chopped parsley.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the pot and simmer the soup for about 1 hour, or until the beans are tender.
  • Carefully remove the ham bone and pull off any remaining ham.
  • Stir ham back into pot.
  • Garnish with parsley. Serve warm.

Did you make this recipe?

You can tag me at @iamhomesteader.

What the Test Kitchen had to say about this recipe:


This soup is hearty and full of flavor and perfect for a cold winter day! We tested a few ways of making this, and the quicker method won me over!


I really enjoyed the flavors of this soup. In fact, it is really good when heated up the next day, too!


This soup is so flavorful. The ham bone really adds so much flavor to the broth and it is infused in the quick-method beans as they cook in that flavorful broth! Absolutely delicious!


This is a hearty and flavorful soup, perfect for the upcoming chilly weather!


This is how I remember ham and bean soup. This was a staple in my house growing up and the flavors here are just perfect. Great way to save some money and use up leftover ham.

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Reader Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Good recipe and good comments. I also make it in a slow cooker. It is so much easier and turns out great. Still Sautee veggies and then dump in cooker. I have used a ham bone, pork shanks, and cubed ham, depend
    ing on what the stores have. Always use dried navy beans. Make cornbread to go with.

  2. 5 stars
    Easy to make. Very flavorful and nice to have on cold days. This is my 2nd time making this. One of my favorite recipes now.

  3. My large pot was not large enough for 12 cups of liquid plus beans, bones and meat. You should specify the size better like a 1 1/2 or 2 gallon, (8 quart) pot. Turned out very tasty and good. Only change I made was that I added a little Hawaij spice.

  4. 5 stars
    I always use ham shank which has more ham on it as well as very flavorful!. I love making my bean soup in the crock pot so when I come home at the end of the day of work, it is a huge plus to walk in and just have to make the corn bread. Very good soup.

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