This recipe for old fashioned navy bean soup with bacon is hearty, flavorful and so easy to make. You’ll love the tasty combination of perfectly cooked beans, crispy bacon, tender vegetables and homemade soup stock.
Like our Cream of Bacon Soup, this is a soul soothing comfort meal dinner, especially when it’s chilly outside–and you’re cozy inside!
The recipe is versatile, easy to make and can be made ahead. It’s even better the next day!
Fun fact: Senate Bean Soup, made with navy beans and ham, is served every day in the U.S. Senate dining room. I won’t make a joke about Congress and gas, but oh, it’s tempting!
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Why You’ll Go Hog Wild for This Recipe
This tasty white bean soup is the perfect comfort food meal the whole family will love.
It’s easy to make, and will fill your kitchen with the most tantalizing aromas while it’s cooking.
The soup has a creamy texture because half of the tender white navy beans are pureed and blended into the soup broth.
This soup freezes well, making it a perfect recipe to cook once and enjoy twice!
Ingredients and Substitutions
Shown from the top, here’s what you’ll need to make this delicious navy bean soup recipe:
Dried navy beans – I prefer dried beans for this recipe, because the beans absorb all the delicious flavors of the soup as they cook. (If you prefer to substitute canned beans, you’ll find directions below.)
You can also substitute other dried white beans like cannellini beans or Great Northern beans.
Tomato paste – Adds a touch of tomato flavor instead of diced tomatoes.
Pro Tip: A squeezable tube of tomato paste is handy to keep on hand for those times when you only need a small amount to flavor a recipe.
Chicken or vegetable stock – I love rich homemade stock in soup recipes. It adds a complexity to the broth that makes it so flavorful and extra delicious.
Pro Tip: If you don’t have time to make homemade stock, Better than Bouillon base works well for making chicken broth.
Onion – We used a large sweet Vidalia onion for this recipe, but any kind of onion will work.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Worcestershire sauce – Adds a nice complexity to the flavors.
A pound of bacon – Regular or thick-sliced, smoked or unsmoked, cured or uncured – it’s up to you, and the bacon adds amazing flavor to this recipe.
3 medium carrots
Pro Tip: You don’t need to peel the carrots unless you want to. However, we recommend always washing and really scrubbing carrots thoroughly to remove any residue from processing.
2 medium stalks celery
Pro Tip: You can use a vegetable peeler to lightly peel the outer side of celery stalks to remove the strings.
- Large skillet
- Slotted spoon
- Large Dutch oven or soup pot
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife
- Immersion blender (or food processor or traditional blender)
- Cooking spoon
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Dried Beans Quick Soak Method
Before making the soup, the dried beans need to be soaked. We prefer the quick soak method, but if you have time you can do the overnight method below.
Rinse 2 cups of dried beans (1 pound) and remove any foreign objects. (Note: I personally have never found any tiny pebbles, have you? But every recipe warns about this!)
Pour 8 cups of water in a large pot and add the beans. Bring to a boil over High heat.
Remove from the burner, cover, and let stand 1 hour. Drain the beans, discard the soaking water, and rinse well.
Overnight Soak Method for Dried Beans
Rinse and sort out any weird objects from 2 cups of dried beans. In a large pot, add 8 cups of cold water and the beans.
Cover and let stand overnight, about 8 hours. Drain and discard the soaking water, and rinse the beans.
A Note About How to Reduce Gas From Beans
Are beans a musical fruit for you? There are several remedies that will help clear the air.
Soaking the dried beans, discarding the cooking water, and rinsing the soaked beans well with plenty of water will help reduce the natural sugars in the beans that can sometimes cause windy breezers.
Also, adding about 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to the beans soaking water will further reduce the gas-producing sugars. (Source: NutritionFacts.org.)
Step by Step Instructions
(See the printable recipe card below for additional directions.) In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the chopped bacon over medium heat.
When it is golden brown, remove it with a slotted spoon and drain on a double layer of paper towels. When the bacon bits are cooled, store them in the refrigerator.
Pour out all but 1 tablespoon bacon drippings.
Return the pot to the stove and add the onion, celery and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 6 minutes.
Add the soup stock.
Next, add the beans, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Use an immersion blender to blend about half of the soup.
Alternately, you can transfer about half the soup in batches to a food processor or blender and puree it. (You can even use a potato masher.)
Add the reserved bacon to the pot and cook for 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings if necessary and serve. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan Cheese if you like.
Crock Pot Navy Bean Soup
Instead of cooking the soup on the stovetop, you can cook the soup in a large slow cooker on Low for about 7 to 8 hours or on High for about 4 to 5 hours.
The length of time it takes for the beans to become tender may vary, depending on how hot your Crock Pot cooks and the moisture content of the beans.
What to Serve with Navy Bean Soup
Here are some of our favorite accompaniments to this hearty soup:
Warm biscuits, like these buttery cheddar drop biscuits.
A sandwich, like our favorite BLAT with ranch balsamic mayo.
Crispy, cheesy mini quesadillas.
Homemade Cheez it crackers.
A wrap sandwich, like our Chicken Bacon Wraps.
Here are some ingredients you can add to the Navy Bean Soup to change up the flavors:
Ham – Bean soup is a great way to use leftover holiday ham. Add 1 cup of chopped ham to the soup when you add the beans, and increase the liquid by 1 cup. You can also add the leftover ham bone to the pot for added flavor, or a smoked ham hock.
Italian Sausage – Fry 1/2 pound sweet or spicy Italian sausage in a skillet. Drain, crumble, and add with the bacon.
Bay leaf – Add a whole bay leaf to the soup when you add the stock, to impart a touch of herbal, aromatic flavor.
Balsamic vinegar – Add 1 to 2 tablespoons to the soup just before serving, to add subtle sweetness and a little tanginess.
Olive oil – A little olive oil drizzled on the soup just before serving gives it a dash of flavor and compliments the creamy texture.
Crushed red pepper or hot sauce – Sprinkled or stir into the soup for spicy flavor.
How to Make Navy Bean Soup with Canned Beans
You can substitute 4 15-ounce cans of beans in place of the 2 cups of dried beans. Drain and rinse the beans before adding them to the pot, and reduce the amount of stock and water by 2 cups total.
Since canned beans are already cooked, the soup will only need to simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 2 hours.
Storing and Reheating Leftover Soup
To store leftover soup, let it cool to room temperature. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
To reheat soup, pour in a large pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. You may need to add additional stock or water to thin the soup after it has been stored, as the beans continue to absorb liquid.
How Do You Freeze Leftover Bean Soup?
Bean soup freezes well. Before freezing, make sure it is completely cooled to room temperature.
Transfer to freezer bags or a tightly sealed container, and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
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Here’s the full, printable recipe:
Old Fashioned Navy Bean Soup with Bacon
- 2 cups (1 pound) dried navy beans
- 1 pound lean sliced bacon
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 medium carrots, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 4 cups chicken stock or broth
- 4 cups water
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- shredded Parmesan cheese, for garnish
- Rinse the dried beans and remove any foreign objects.
- Pour 8 cups of water in a large pot and add the beans. Bring to a boil over High heat. Remove from the burner, cover, and let stand 1 hour.
- Drain the beans and discard the soaking water. Reserve the drained beans.
- In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the chopped bacon over medium heat. When it is golden brown, remove it with a slotted spoon and drain on a double layer of paper towels. When the bacon bits are cooled, store them, covered, in the refrigerator.
- Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings. Return the pot to the stove and add the onion, celery and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 6 minutes.
- Add the stock, water, beans, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the beans are tender, about 3 to 4 hours. (Your cooking time may vary depending on the moisture content of the beans.)
- Remove the lid and turn off the heat. Carefully lower an immersion blender in the soup. Starting at low speed and gradually increasing to medium, blend about half of the soup so the texture is creamy. Alternately, transfer about half the soup in batches to a food processor or blender and puree it; return to pot.
- Add the reserved bacon to the pot, stir and cook for 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings if necessary and serve. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese (optional). Makes about 10 servings.
Got questions? Just ask! I’m happy to help. You might also enjoy the Navy Bean Soup with Bacon web story.
If you post your creations on social media, tag #BENSABaconLovers so I can share! Thank you for your support. – Eliza
Nutrition Disclaimer: All nutritional information shared on this site is an approximation. I am not a certified nutritionist, and any nutritional information should be used as a general guideline.
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