A Spicy Perspective

Nana’s Epic Navy Bean Ham Bone Soup

Nana’s Epic Navy Bean Ham Bone Soup Recipe: A simple, yet utterly tempting, ham and bean soup recipe is a great way to use your leftover holiday ham bone.

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Leftover Hambone

Chances are, after yesterday’s Easter dinner (or any holiday feast) you have a nearly-naked ham bone in your refrigerator at this very moment.

Maybe you even finished off your ham to the point of placing the ham bone in the freezer for future use.

Either way, today I want to show you exactly how to use your leftover ham bone, to make the most of every last bite of flavor your baked ham can offer!

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Ham Bone Soup Recipe

Navy bean soup is the food of my childhood. It’s rich, filling, comforting, and can feed a large crowd on a small budget.

Growing up with five kids in our family, and a string of tag-along neighborhood friends, my mom made a lot of meals that could either be stretched to feed extra guests, or could be eaten as leftovers.

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Ham and Bean Soup

One of my favorite childhood meals was Nana’s Epic Navy Bean Ham Bone Soup, i.e. navy bean soup simmered with a leftover ham bone.

My mom (now known as Nana) had a special gift for using her resources wisely. Nothing went to waste, ever.

All leftovers were either eaten or repurposed, even bones.

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Bean Soup

Nana’s Epic Navy Bean Ham Bone Soup was a meal we ate somewhat regularly, every time a ham graced our table.

Nowadays it seems like we only bake a ham a couple of times a year. Usually around the holidays. Yet as a child, I remember having ham at least once a month.

Maybe because it is a food that is so easily stretched and repurposed?

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Navy Bean Soup

But I digress… Adding a ham bone to soup is a marvelous way to create rich flavor, finish off the last scraps of ham left on the bone, and eliminate the need to buy soup stock.

A ham bone boiled in water develops a lovely soup base on its own!

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Navy Beans

Although Nana’s Epic Navy Bean Ham Bone Soup recipe, varied from time to time, depending on what veggies and spices she found in the kitchen, I’m sharing the most simplified version with you today.

With just a handful of ingredients, including a ham bone and an inexpensive bag of dried navy beans, you can make a rustic hearty deeply satisfying meal your whole family will love.

PS – If you didn’t have ham for your holiday dinner, you can buy a ham bone from the butcher for next to nothing.

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How to Make Nana’s Epic Navy Bean Ham Bone Soup

Start by soaking dried beans in water overnight to prep them for cooking.

This does take thought to prepare ahead, but it also saves money (on canned beans) reduces sodium and gives the beans a better texture.

Quick Tip: If you don’t have time to soak your beans overnight, and you own an electric pressure cooker like an Instant Pot, you can pressure cook the beans instead of soaking them to speed things up.

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Ham and Beans

Next sauté the ham bone, onions, and garlic in a little oil. This browns the leftover ham and softens and sweetens the aromatics.

Then add in the soaked beans, herbs, spices, and water. Simmer the soup for at least an hour to soften the beans and draw the flavor out of the ham bone.

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Careful with the Salt

Do not add any salt until the soup is fully cooked.

Hambones have a lot of salt in them, and it’s easy to overdo it if you salt the soup too early. Taste and adjust accordingly.

That’s it!

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How to Store Navy Bean Soup

You can add any additional vegetable, herbs, or spices you like. Or add extra ham scraps you might want to use up.

You can freeze Nana’s Epic Navy Bean Ham Bone Soup for later quickie meals.

Even consider pureeing it into incredible bean dip to eat with tortilla chips.

Ham and Bean Soup #ASpicyPerspective #HamAndBeanSoup #NavyBeans #HamAndBeans #NavyBeanSoup #BeanSoup #Soup

Next time you buy a ham, make sure to grab a bag of dried beans as well. You won’t be sorry!

See The Recipe Card & Video Below For How To Make Ham and Bean Soup. Enjoy!

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Nana's Epic Navy Bean Ham Bone Soup Recipe
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Nana's Epic Navy Bean Ham Bone Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Nana's Epic Navy Bean Ham Bone Soup Recipe - A simple yet utterly addictive ham and bean soup recipe is a great way to use your leftover holiday ham bone.
Servings: 8

Ingredients

Instructions

  • The Night Before: Place the dried beans in a large bowl and cover with three inches of water. Soak the dried beans overnight (up to 24 hours) to soften. Drain when ready to use.
  • Place a large 6 quart pot over medium heat. Add the oil, ham bone, onions, and garlic. Sauté for 3-5 minutes to soften the onions.
  • Then add in the drained beans, thyme, ground cumin, crushed red pepper, 10 cups of water, and any remaining ham scraps. (Do not salt the soup until the end, because ham bones can be very salty.)
  • Bring the soup to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 60-90 minutes, covered, until the beans are very soft. Uncover and stir occasionally, then place the lid back on top.
  • Use a fork to pull any remaining ham off the bone and stir it into the soup. Discard the bone. Add 1-2 cups additional water if the soup is too thick. Taste, then salt and pepper as needed.

Video

Notes

Sometimes Nana (and I) add 2-3 chopped carrots, and 2-3 chopped celery stalks to the soup for additional veggie goodness. They are not necessary, but do add a bit of extra color! If using, add the carrots and celery when you add the onions.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup, Calories: 218kcal, Carbohydrates: 36g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 22mg, Potassium: 715mg, Fiber: 14g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 85IU, Vitamin C: 3.1mg, Calcium: 108mg, Iron: 3.7mg
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Author: Sommer Collier

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64 comments on “Nana’s Epic Navy Bean Ham Bone Soup”

  1. I want to make this recipe – when I soak the beans overnight should the water be cold, warm or hot?  The soup looks delicious and I have all the ingredients.

    Thank you in advance for your anticipated reply.

    Sincerely,

  2. I couldn’t find a Ham Bone but got smoked Pork Hocks, will it work the same?

  3. This recipe was the first time I ever made homemade bean soup.  Wow….it was easy to make and excellent! I’m proud of myself but I couldn’t have done it without this recipe. I’m getting rave reviews too.
    I’m looking forward to making it again. Probably this winter and that’s coming soon.

  4. its going to be great Thanks

  5. Pingback: Homemade Ham Bone Soup from Never Enough Thyme

  6. OMG this soup is out of this world. I am now on my second pot but I will cut the thyme down to about half. Even in all this heat the soup is real satisfying. I also froze some and tried it a couple weeks later. It was just as hood as fresh. Thank you

  7. I do pretty much the same but add bacon grease or a couple slices of bacon to slow cook with the beans, my seasoning varies depending on mood at the time and always gotta have sweet corn bread

  8. Going to make the soup tomorrow! Can you tell me the equivalent to 1tbls of fresh thyem to dry??
    Can’t wait to try…….
    Darryl

  9. Just finished making this and it is excellent. Used up the remainder of the ham with the bone. You are right that ham can be stretched and repurposed. Made up a 21 pound smoked ham for Easter and have had more than a dozen meals for the family, including three pots of different beans and soups – Hoppin’ John, split pea soup and now this to finish off the ham. Very economical. Have to have some good Mississippi cornbread with it.

    I added to your recipe by adding in a half dozen diced fresh jalapenos, the other half dozen are diced up in the cornbread.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  10. This was truly epic! I reduced the amount of beans to only about one cup and used chicken stock and water. Sauteed celery with th onions. Added carrots during the last hour so they would not be mushy. Served it the next day and added kale during warm up. It was just the right thickness. I imagine it would be really thick with the whole pound of beans. But less beans is my family’s preference. Really really good. Thanks for this great recipe!

  11. This was the best tasting soup I have ever made! My family raved about it. I used about 1/2 tsp. of the red pepper flakes, and while not hot, it added such an enhancement to the broth.

  12. I just made this tonight. The soup was really tasty. I only put 8 cups of water in as my pot wasn’t large enough. It was plenty of water and I did soak the beans 12 hours. I liked the different spices in this recipe, it gave it bit of a kick. If you don’t like it too spicy then try cutting the red pepper flakes in half or by a third.

  13. I love how comforting it is! Can’t wait to make it again!

  14. Can I make the soup in the Instant Pot as opposed to the stove. That way I would t have to “guard” my stove ;) Any recommendations on how long I should pressure cook it?

  15. Make this after every time I make a ham. Don’t want to waste that taste ham bone!

  16. This is my go-to recipe when I have a ham bone available!

  17. Loved being able to use my Easter ham leftovers to make this!

  18. Wow! This soup looks so filling and comforting, love the ham bone!

  19. My dad loved navy bean soup and I made this in honor of him! He would have loved every bite, too!

  20. Great recipe…..I just made this today. Only thing I really did differently was instead of sauteing the bone with the onions/garlic, I broiled it instead to give it a char’d taste. Plus I felt like sauteing the bone is too much of a hassle because of the bone shape. I got the idea because in the video it looked like it was broiled too. =)

  21. great soup !!!!!!

  22. I made this unbelievable soup the last time you featured it on your site. Still have a portion in a freezer container. I used half chicken broth and half water plus celery and one carrot. Could not be a more satisfying meal on a cool night. Thanks for posting it again and a very Happy Easter to you and yours! PS. Black pepper cheddar biscuits go great with this.. just my opinion. Yum.

  23. Dear Sommer,
    This soup looks delicious and it sounds like we both grew up in a large family. Coming home from school to the smells of dinner cooking and soups simmering….so great. I will be trying this recipe sometime this week. The ham is in the oven now!! Just have to get the beans. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, recipes, and tips to make everything delicious. Happy Easter to you and yours.

  24. Have not made it yet, but, I can’t wait to. I grew up on bean soup and enjoy trying different spices in it. Thanks a million.

  25. Made this today,doubled the recipe but cut the water to 6 cups per pound of beans for a total of 12 cups. That gave the soup the thicker consistency I was looking for. Great recipe. 

  26. Very good soup! I’ve never put cumin in my navy bean soup before, but I will from now on 😀

  27. I used to love ham and beans when I was younger. I got very tired of eating them but, this recipe has brought it back to life and my husband and I absolutely love it! The thyme compliments the ham wonderfully. Thank you so much for posting this. It has put ham and beans back on our menu!

  28. Delicious recipe

  29. Great recipe , really simple, while that’s simmering gonna make some homemade cornbread ,thanks for a great recipe 

  30. You also need to sort through your beans before you cook them. I as a few tablespoons of White vinegar to give it a little punch. Enjoy 😃

  31. Great flavor!!…but how would I thicken this soup?
    Also, I may need to mellow the spicyness now that it is made. Any tips? Thanks!

    • Hi Lisa,

      If the beans have cooked long enough, their starches should thicken the soup. You can always omit the crushed red pepper to remove the spicy heat. So very glad you liked it!

    • You remove some of the beans and puree them then add them back into the soup. Don’t add all of the amount of spices suggested, only half. You can always add more later. You can dice potatoes to put into your soup too. 😊

    • An easy way to thicken the soup is to add instant potato flakes.  They can be found in any grocery store

  32. This is the second time I’m making this! And definitely not the last! Big hit in my house. Yummy, yum, yum! Thanks so much to the author of this blog and owner of this amazing Soup! Perfect for a snowy cold day!

  33. Easy to prepare recipe that the family loved, thank you! Will be saving this recipe to make again.

  34. I used heirloom beans from bobs red mill. Soup tastes fantastic. I also made the soup for my dad! Easy goodness!

  35. Hello. This soup looks great.  I want to make it tomorrow for my dad. He will absolutely love this. but I need to be out until about a half hour before dinner.  Can this soup be made in a crock pot instead? 

  36. Yum! I had a giant ham given to me as a Christmas gift… Way too much ham for my 3 person family. We’ve been eating ham for days! I made this recipe tonight using the bone and some of the leftover ham (soaked beans since last night). Delicious! My husband said I outdid myself. Which is funny because this recipe could not be any easier!

  37. My husband and I love baked ham so I always have ham bones in my freezer. i usually make split pea soup but I wanted to try navy bean so I tried your recipe. I LOVED it!! It was easy and I had all the ingredients in my pantry. I’ll be checking out your other recipes. Thanks and Happy New Year!!

  38. Can you please fix this recipe. It calls for the following:

    2 teaspoons
    1/2 – 1 teaspoons

    But it doesn’t say what the ingredients are.
    Thanks

    • John,
      It is 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
      1/2-1 teaspoons of crushed red pepper

      they are listed as a hyper link, might be why you can’t see

  39. Hello,
    I do not have time to soak my beans. Can I buy the buy the big jar of navy beans?

  40. The soup turned out delicious, much to my surprise! I did add a tomato sliced and cubed. Also, I put a half stick of Kerigold butter and about 1 1/2 tablespoons if ‘It Is Better than Boullion’. I may have used a little more Thyme than a tablespoon. I would have preferred it a little thicker, but it is scrumptious! Thank you!

    • My family loves bean soup and my son said this one was the best I’ve ever made. I didn’t use the red peeper flakes because some of us don’t like spicy and I cooked it in the crock pot but overall a great recipe base 

  41. Yummy…. I came from a family of 8 so we survived on casseroles and hearty soups. I didn’t like very much of our supper offerings but I do have fond memories of Navy bean soup & chili. I have tried a couple previous attempts at navy bean soup and not been pleased. This one hit the mark perfectly. I did add the celery & carrots. I was surprised about how much spice the red pepper flakes added, but I liked it . I live alone so I had to freeze most of it, but it freezes well. Now if you can give me a good chili recipe I would be very grateful :)

  42. Nanas epic navy bean soup with ham hocks. Bad, bad experience. I am totally lost now. Im a husband/father and l do all the cooking in my familly. I want navy bean soup so last night l go get all the ingredience at Big Y. I soak my beans last night to this morning. That would be about 14 hours. I follow Nanas reciepy to a T. 7 hours and the navy beans are almost as hard as when l started. So, l go back to the store and buy all the ingredience again. But this time l have no time to soak over night. Now l do the next best thing. Rince, bring to boil for 5 minites remove from heat, rest 1 hour then rince again and start over again. Well ,4 hours later and beans are hard again. Not as hard as before but hard. Whats wrong. What happened.? Was it the beans or something l did? Help!was to make for company tonight now what?

  43. Holy moly!!! This soup is DELICIOUS!! Thank you for the recipe! Easy to make too! I’ll never get a ham without a bone now! ;)

  44. Good day Sommer!
    I made Nana’s Epic bean soup on Saturday and truly, you need to add one more word to the description. AWESOME EPIC BEAN SOUP! I did use a ham hock and the cut up ham steak but cut back on the spices a bit as I was bringing some to an elderly friend Belive me, a half tsp. of red pepper flakes was perfect for my taste. I did add one small bay leaf and only a 1/4 tsp of the cumin. I did add the veggies and threw in a can of petite diced tomatoes with liquid ( I used chicken stock and water to make up the 10 cups). My house smelled amazing during the process of cooking. I have some left over which I froze. I was a rainy Saturday and cold so this soup was perfect for warming your insides! OH! I made home made cheddar corn bread to go along …. for a Yankee that grew up in Brooklyn NY I have adapted well here in the South. Thanks for a great recipe!!

  45. I love the spices in this recipe-very tasty!

  46. Love the recipe Sommer , especially the addition of the celery and carrots. Could you use a ham hock instead of the ham bone?

    • Hi Doris,

      Absolutely! Let me know how it turns out. :)

      • HI Sommer!
        Thanks for the fast reply. I got my beans soaking right now for tomorrow and can not wait to make this! I did buy an ham steak to cut up but will use the ham hock too. I will surely let you know how it turned out! Blessings and enjoy your weekend.

  47. Can this be frozen 

  48. This was amazing!!! The cumin and crushed pepper gives it just the right kick! I come from the same background. A whole lot of leftover/repurposing. From chicken carcasses to short ribs… some fond memories from very frugal sources!!!

  49. This was good! I soaked the beans overnight then made it in the crockpot. My family all had 2nd servings. I reduced water to 8 cups and added 2.5 tbsp of chicken bouillon. I also sauteed carrots and added them at the end because sauce was too thin. I will be making again. Thanks for sharing!

  50. That looks Delicious; especially on this chilly morning.
    What a wonderful childhood memory to warm the soul.
    I remember my mother making this when I was a kid; only she did add diced potatoes to make more filling and for it to go further for our family of 6