The BEST Navy Beans Recipe (2024)

Jump to Recipe

Our Navy Beans Recipe is pure comfort food. Tender white beans simmer with ham, aromatic veggies, cherry tomatoes and plenty of herbs for the most flavorful bowl of beans ever.

Make them quick and easy with canned beans, or go with dried, either way our simple recipe is going to give you new appreciation for the humble legume.

The BEST Navy Beans Recipe (1)

Legumes and beans stand out as some of the most nutritious yet wallet-friendly ingredients available. And there’s so many different ways to cook them.

From the Mediterranean flavors of our Cannellini Beans to Cajun Red Beans to our beloved Puerto Rican Habichuelas, there’s a world of flavors to cook when you have a can or bag of beans.

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

Everyone will love this dish because it has bold flavors from ham, herbs, and veggies, making it super tasty and comforting. It’s packed with nutrients from navy beans and various vegetables, offering lots of fiber, protein, and vitamins.

It’s easy to make, with simple steps and ingredients, perfect for regular weeknight meals. It’s also budget-friendly, using affordable beans and leftover ham. You can easily adjust the soup’s thickness to how you like it, and it’s a one-pot recipe, so cleaning up is super easy and the flavors blend perfectly together.

The BEST Navy Beans Recipe (2)

Ingredient Notes

​You can find exact measurements in the recipe card at the end of the post. Here is what you will need:

  • Navy Beans – Navy beans, also known as Boston beans or pea beans, are creamy and have a mild flavor, making them a perfect for the other flavors in the dish. Cannellini or Great Northern beans could be used as substitutes.
  • Olive Oil – You might also use butter or bacon grease for a varied flavor profile.
  • Ham – The secret ingredient. It adds a rich, savory flavor to the dish. You can also use bacon, sausage, or omit it entirely for a meatless dinner.
  • Carrot, Celery, and Onion – These classic aromatics lay the foundation for the dish.
  • Garlic – Fresh is best, but garlic powder could work in a pinch.
  • Cherry Tomatoes – They add a sweet, tangy, and fresh element to the dish. Grape tomatoes or diced regular tomatoes can be used as alternatives.
  • Chicken Stock or Broth – Vegetable broth or water with a bouillon cube can be used instead.
  • Bay Leaf, Thyme, and Rosemary – These herbs add a lot to the dish. If you happen to have fresh rosemary or thyme available, use triple the amount you would with dried.
  • Salt – To taste towards the end. You may not need any, as both the ham and broth contribute to the saltiness.
  • Black Pepper – Also to taste.
  • Fresh Parsley – For garnish.

Easy Navy Beans Recipe

1. Brown ham: Sauté diced ham over medium-high heat until it begins to brown up and caramelize, about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate.

The BEST Navy Beans Recipe (3)

2. Sauté aromatics: Add a little more oil, then sauté carrot, celery and onion until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.

3. Blister tomatoes: Add tomatoes and cook, stirring, until they begin to blister, about another 5 minutes.

The BEST Navy Beans Recipe (5)

4. Finish the dish: Add in chicken broth and stir the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Add in beans, herbs and browned ham.

The BEST Navy Beans Recipe (6)

Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium low, and cook for 15 minutes, adding in some additional water if you prefer a soupier consistency. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper towards the end of cooking time.

The BEST Navy Beans Recipe (7)

How to Prepare Dried Beans

If using dry beans, they must first be soaked and cooked. For this recipe, use about 1.5 cups of dried beans.

For an overnight soak, place beans in a large soup pot or dutch oven and cover with at least 2 inches of cold water. Soak at least 8 hours.

Alternately, you can use the quick soak method. Place the beans in a large pot and cover them with about 2-3 inches of water. Bring the water to a rapid boil and let the beans boil for about 2-3 minutes. After boiling, remove the pot from the heat, cover it with a lid, and let the beans soak for about 1 hour.

Drain, then refill the pot with water. Salt generously. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook the soaked beans for about 1.5-2 hours, or until they are soft to your liking.

Serving Suggestions

How you serve the beans depend on your preferred consistency. If you add more water to make them soupier, a side of crusty bread is perfect for dipping.

We often cook ours a little drier. In that case, ladle some beans atop a bed of rice for a hearty meal. You can also try other grains like farro or quinoa, or small pasta shapes like orzo.

If you want a side dish to go with your beans, think a fresh salad or green vegetable.

Storage and Reheating

These navy beans make great leftovers, and are perfect for meal prep. Refrigerate them in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Reheat on stove top over medium heat, or in the microwave, with a splash of additional water.

They also freeze well in an airtight container for 2-3 months. Just thaw overnight in the fridge the day before eating.

Easy, tasty, nutritious, and satisfying. That’s our navy bean recipe for you. Make a big batch, and see just how good a simple pot of beans can be.

Make sure to save or pin this recipe, it will be a great addition to your cooking repertoire. And be sure to subscribe to GypsyPlate, we’re always cooking up new easy recipes for you!

Navy Beans, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!

The BEST Navy Beans Recipe (9)

Try these other great bean recipes!
Cuban Black Beans
Harira Soup
Spanish Clams with Beans
Black Bean Chili
Three Bean Salad
Tuscan Bean Soup
Ful Medames

The BEST Navy Beans Recipe (10)

The BEST Navy Beans Recipe

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Our easy Navy Beans Recipe is a budget friendly dinner option, with big flavors from ham, aromatics and herbs. Perfect comfort food for a cold winter night!


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 8oz ham, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • ½ small onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1.5 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 15oz cans navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • fresh parsley, for garnish


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add diced ham and sauté until it begins to brown up and caramelize, about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate.
  2. Add remining tablespoon of olive oil. Add diced carrot, celery and onion. Sauté until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring, until they begin to blister, about another 5 minutes.
  4. Add in chicken broth and stir the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Add in beans, bay leaf, thyme, rosemary and browned ham. Mix well. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium low, and cook for 15 minutes, adding in some water if you prefer a soupier consistency. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
  5. Serve navy beans immediately on their own, or atop rice. Garnish with fresh parsley.


  1. 1.5 cups of dried beans can be used in place of canned. Refer to the body of the post for soaking and cooking instructions.
  2. Refrigerate cooled leftovers in an airtight container. Reheat in the microwave or on stovetop over medium heat, adding additional water if desired.
  3. This recipe can be scaled using the same ratios.
Nutrition Information

Yield 4Serving Size 1
Amount Per ServingCalories 465Total Fat 11gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 38mgSodium 1570mgCarbohydrates 62gFiber 24gSugar 4gProtein 31g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

The BEST Navy Beans Recipe (11)

Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.

Get griddling! Try these Blackstone Recipes!

Never miss a recipe!

Join the GypsyPlate mailing list and get easy dinner recipes right in your mailbox. From homestyle comfort food to exotic dishes from around the world.

    The BEST Navy Beans Recipe (2024)


    What's the best seasoning for navy beans? ›

    • 2 cups dry navy beans - cooked or 3 15 oz cans of navy beans.
    • 2 big sprigs of fresh rosemary.
    • 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme.
    • 2 bay leaves.
    • 6-8 sprigs of fresh Italian parsley about 1 cup, chopped.
    • 1/2-1 tsp crushed chili.
    • Juice of 1/2 lemon.
    • salt and pepper.

    Do navy beans need to be soaked before cooking? ›

    Soaking your beans helps them cook faster and more evenly, and it can also make them easier to digest. If you add salt to the soaking water (in other words, make a brine), your beans will cook even faster; the salt helps break down their skins.

    Is there a difference between navy beans and great northern beans? ›

    Navy beans excel in hearty and prolonged cooking, while great northern beans shine in delicate and shorter cooking applications. However, both beans offer versatility and can be used interchangeably in various recipes, depending on personal preference and availability—many people with not notice the subtle differences.

    How to cook navy beans on stove top? ›

    First you'll need to strain your beans from the cold water they've been soaking in. Then put the beans into a pot and cover them with six cups of hot water for every pound (. 45 kg) of beans. Turn on your stove and bring the water to a boil and then simmer the beans for 1.5 to 2 hours.

    How can I make my beans more flavorful? ›

    In addition to the usual things like garlic, onion, celery and peppers, a few unexpected additions will add a bit of flavor. Seasonings, such as chili powder (I like ancho which adds flavor more than heat.) And as most always, salt is essential. Fresh pepper is always welcome.

    What do you put in navy beans to prevent gas? ›

    To cut down on the gassy properties, you can add a little baking soda to your recipe. The baking soda helps break down some of the beans' natural gas-making sugars.

    What can I put in beans to prevent gas? ›

    Sprinkle in some baking soda

    As it turns out, baking soda significantly decreases the levels of raffinose, the gas-causing sugar present in beans. When should you add baking soda to beans? It works best with just a pinch (about 1/16 of a teaspoon) sprinkled into dried beans while they soak in water before cooking.

    What happens if you don't soak navy beans? ›

    If you're the impatient, bean-hungry type, you can cook your beans from dry without any soaking at all. Here's the thing: Beans that have not been soaked ahead of time will always take longer to cook, but they will, indeed, cook.

    How long do navy beans take to cook? ›

    Cooking Times
    Bean TypeSoaking TimeCooking Time
    Green Lentilsnone45 minutes to 1 hour
    Green Split Peasnone35 to 45 minutes
    Kidney Beans, dark red6 to 8 hours*1 ½ to 2 hours
    Navy Beans6 to 8 hours*1 to 1 1/2 hours
    6 more rows

    Are navy beans healthier than other beans? ›

    Navy beans may aid in the reduction of cholesterol and the development of the metabolic syndrome. Researchers discovered that people who increased their consumption of navy beans and rice bran lowered their cholesterol levels.

    Why do they call them navy beans? ›

    Why “Navy”? Because of their super-charged nutritional value, low cost, and long storage life, in the 19th century the U.S. Navy began issuing these beans as standard ration for sailors on their warships. A common method for preparing navy beans is to bake them.

    Are navy beans good for you? ›

    Navy beans, also known as haricot beans, are a great source of fiber, B vitamins, and other minerals. One cup (182 grams) of cooked navy beans contains ( 34 ): Calories:255. Protein: 15 grams.

    Do you cook navy beans covered or uncovered? ›

    4. Simmer the beans until they're tender. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce it to a very gentle simmer. Cook the beans uncovered until they're tender.

    Why are my navy beans tough? ›

    Dried beans typically have a moisture content of around 16%. However, as they age, moisture evaporates, giving pectin time to age and harden the skin. These beans can often take much longer to soften while soaking and cooking, up to twice the time!

    Can you overcook navy beans? ›

    Overcooked beans are perfectly safe to eat, but while they may be edible, they'll be less pleasant to consume. Signs that your beans are overcooked include them being very soft and mushy. Tender beans are ideal, but if they lack firmness and don't keep their shape, they have probably simmered for too long.

    What seasoning should I put in my beans? ›

    Don't forget spices and herbs

    I like smoked paprika to add a bit of the campfire flavor, since I keep my beans vegetarian most of the time. I also like adding a little bit of red chile flake or a whole dried chile, sometimes some cumin, and maybe a little bit of Mexican oregano.

    How do you get the bitterness out of navy beans? ›

    Soaking: Soaking the beans in water for several hours can help remove some of the bitterness. A general rule of thumb is to soak the beans for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

    Do you season beans before or after cooking? ›

    Regardless of whether you soak your beans, you should always salt them at the beginning of the cooking process. That way, the salt has time to fully penetrate into the center of the beans and they will be flavored inside and out.

    Should I season beans before cooking? ›

    Adding salt to the cooking liquid (the broth, if you've made a soup) and letting the beans sit for at least a half hour is the best way to make sure your beans are properly seasoned. The beans will absorb the salt via the liquid and the humble, earthy flavor of the beans will be a hell of a lot more noticeable.

    Top Articles
    Latest Posts
    Article information

    Author: Greg Kuvalis

    Last Updated:

    Views: 6304

    Rating: 4.4 / 5 (75 voted)

    Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

    Author information

    Name: Greg Kuvalis

    Birthday: 1996-12-20

    Address: 53157 Trantow Inlet, Townemouth, FL 92564-0267

    Phone: +68218650356656

    Job: IT Representative

    Hobby: Knitting, Amateur radio, Skiing, Running, Mountain biking, Slacklining, Electronics

    Introduction: My name is Greg Kuvalis, I am a witty, spotless, beautiful, charming, delightful, thankful, beautiful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.