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The simplicity of this recipe makes it perfect for a cozy gathering with friends or as a quick make-ahead meal for a busy day’s dinner menu.

It’s a fail-proof recipe that’s sure to become a family favorite.

navy beans close up with onions on top and celery in beans

Raising six kids on a tight grocery budget, beans have always been on my list of easy, fill-up-the-teenagers meals. This classic navy bean soup was on the menu several times during the winter.

It always seemed perfect to make our first pot full of beans around Thanksgiving, when we had the treat of a spiral ham. The leftover holiday ham was used to make this big pot of soup.

The little bits of ham and the thick broth were a welcome winter time meal. When serving this slow cooker navy bean soup a big chunk of homemade cornbread and freshly diced onions on top was our favorite way to enjoy this soup.

gina cooking in the kitchen

Such a simple recipe and a very tasty pot of beans, I served southern style with a pan of cornbread.

— Deborah P.

Ingredients For Navy Bean Soup Recipe

This Crockpot navy beans recipe calls for only a few simple ingredients that you might already have in your pantry. Here’s what you’ll need:

groceries, dried beans, onion, garlic, celery, ham hock and broth
  • Dried navy beans: You can find these at your local grocery store in the dry beans aisle. You can also use Great Northern beans or cannellini beans if you can’t find them.
  • Diced onion: You can use any onion that you have on hand. I like to use yellow onion, but white or red onion would work fine.
  • Celery: Celery adds a hint of fresh flavor, but feel free to omit it if you’re not a fan.
  • Garlic: For the best flavor, use fresh minced garlic. 
  • Chicken stock:  Choose your favorite brand of chicken stock or chicken broth.  
  • Spices: You will only need a few pantry staple spices, dried thyme, smoked paprika, black pepper, and sea salt.  
  • Ham Hock: When I make navy bean soup I normally  use a ham hock; however, I also make the beans with leftover ham bone from a spiral ham, and the soup is always fantastic!

📝 Note: You can find the full recipe with ingredients and measurements in the recipe card located at the bottom of this post.

How To Cook Navy Beans In A Crock Pot

Do I need to soften the beans before cooking?

No, navy beans do not need to be softened by soaking them before cooking, however rehydrating them some will help them cook faster and make them more digestible if you have the time.

  • Overnight soak: To soak navy beans overnight before using them in a slow cooker, simply place the dried beans in a large bowl and cover them with water. Allow them to soak for at least 8 hours or overnight. This process helps to soften the beans and reduce cooking time. If you choose to soak them, be sure to drain and rinse them before adding them to the slow cooker.
  • Preboiling: To save time you can preboil the navy beans for 10 minutes before cooking them in the crock pot. This helps to remove some of the indigestible sugars that can cause digestive discomfort. You know the saying, beans beans the more you eat them……. It also helps to jumpstart the cooking process, resulting in softer beans in a shorter amount of time in the crockpot.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Making this crock pot navy beans recipe is easy! Simply add all the ingredients to your slow cooker and let it do the work for you. Here’s how to make it.

  1. Boil the dried navy beans for 10 minutes (skip this step if you did an overnight soak).
  2. While boiling, prep the onions, celery, and garlic.
pan of navy beans soaking in water, crockpot with beans, ham hock, celery, onion and spices
  1. Drain the beans. Check for any bad beans or debris.
  2. Put all of the ingredients in the crockpot.
navy beans, spices and veggies with ham hock ready to cook in a crockpot bowl
  1. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook for 8 hours on the low setting or the high setting for 5-6 hours, or until the beans are soft.
  2. When cooked, remove ⅓ of the bean mixture to a pan. Use an immersion blender to cream the beans.
  3. Add the creamed beans back to the rest of the mixture and stir.

How do you know when navy beans are done?

Navy beans are done cooking when they are soft and can be easily pierced with a fork. If the beans are not quite ready, continue cooking them until they reach the desired consistency.

Why are my navy beans not getting soft?

There are a few reasons why your navy beans might not be getting soft. One possibility is that the beans are too old and have gone bad. Another possibility is that you’re not using enough water or broth. If you do not cook with enough liquid, you will not end up with very soft beans.

If you are using old beans or do not have enough liquid, try buying a bag of fresh, dried beans and adding more liquid. This should help them to soften up. You may also need to cook the beans for longer than the recipe states if they are particularly stubborn.

Variation Options

This Crockpot navy beans recipe is very versatile. Here are a few ideas for how you can change it up:

  • Bone broth: Use chicken bone broth vs regular chicken stock.
  • Add other vegetables: Feel free to add additional diced vegetables, such as carrots, celery, or potatoes.
  • Change up the spices: If you want to change up the flavor of these beans, try adding different spices, such as a bay leaf, curry powder, or cumin.
  • Use a different type of bean: If you can’t find dried navy beans, you can also use Great Northern beans, pinto beans, or cannellini beans.
  • Use Ham hock, meaty ham bone, ham shank, or leftover ham: This will add flavor and depth of flavor to your beans. If you don’t have any ham on hand, you can also use a smoked turkey leg or some slices of bacon.
bowl of cooked navy beans with bits of celery and onions in the mixture

Navy Beans For A Crowd

If you are feeding a big crowd or taking these navy beans to a church potluck, then here is a suggestion on how many cups of cooked navy beans you will need per person.

Making this navy bean soup is a great way to feed a crowd. It’s economical and a filling, delicious dinner. On average, you can figure a serving is 1 cup of cooked beans per person.

1 pound of dried beans = 3 cups of dried beans = 6 – 7 cups of cooked beans.

What To Do With Leftovers

This recipe for slow cooker navy beans makes a lot of servings. If you have leftovers here are some tips for keeping them fresh and ready for another great meal.

Storing Navy Bean Soup in the Fridge:

  1. Allow the navy bean soup to cool to room temperature. Do not leave it at room temperature for more than two hours to prevent bacterial growth.
  2. Use an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag to store the soup. Ensure it’s properly sealed to prevent odors from permeating the soup.
  3. Label the container with the date when the soup was made. This helps you keep track of its freshness.
  4. Store the soup in the refrigerator at or below 40°F (4°C). Navy bean soup can be stored for 3 to 4 days.

Storing Navy Bean Soup in the Freezer:

  1. If you want to store the navy bean soup in the freezer for a longer period, make sure it has cooled down to room temperature.
  2. Use a container suitable for freezing, leaving some headspace to allow for expansion as the soup freezes.
  3. If using a resealable plastic bag, remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn.
  4. Label the container with the date and contents for easy identification.
  5. The beans can be frozen for 2 to 3 months. After this period, the quality may start to deteriorate, but it will remain safe to eat for a longer time.

Storage Tips

  • If you have a large batch of soup, consider dividing it into smaller portions before freezing. This way, you can thaw and reheat only what you need, reducing waste.
  • For longer storage, you can use a vacuum sealer for airtight packaging in the freezer. This helps preserve the quality for an extended period.
navy beans in a soup bowl with chopped onions and parsley on top

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navy beans in a bowl with onions chopped on top
4.67 from 3 ratings

Thick and Hearty Crock Pot Navy Beans

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 6 cups
Thick and hearty Crockpot Navy Bean soup is made with simple ingredients like dried navy beans, onion, fresh garlic, broth, and a savory ham hock. The best part is that it only takes 15 minutes to prepare and then simmers in your crockpot all day. Your kitchen will smell amazing by dinner time.  

Note: Be sure to read through the recipe’s post for tips and details about this recipe.

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Ingredients
 

Instructions
 

  • Rinse dried beans and pick out any bad beans or debris. Place dried navy beans in a pan of boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes.
    1 pound navy beans
  • While boiling beans, chop onions, celery, garlic
    1 medium onion, 4 stalks of celery, 4 cloves garlic minced
  • Drain beans. Check for any bad beans or debris.
  • Put all ingredients in the crockpot.
    1 ham hock, 1 bay leaf, ½ teaspoon dried thyme, ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon black pepper, 1½ teaspoon sea salt, 6 cups chicken stock
  • Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook for 8 hours on low or on high for 6 hours or until the beans are soft.
  • Remove ⅓ of the soup to a pan. Use an immersion blender to cream the beans. Return to other beans. Stir. This makes gives you a creamy bean soup.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.

Equipment

Notes

Note: Making this navy bean soup is a great way to feed a crowd. Not only is it economical, it’s also a filling, delicious dinner. On average, you can plan to serve 1 cup of cooked beans per person.
1 pound of dried beans = 3 cups of dried beans = 6 – 7 cups of cooked beans.
Variations: 
  • Bone broth: Use chicken bone broth instead of regular chicken stock
  • Add other vegetables: Feel free to add additional vegetables, such as carrots, celery, or potatoes.
  • Use a different type of bean: If you can’t find navy beans, you can also use Great Northern beans, pinto beans, or cannellini beans.
  • Use Ham hock, meaty ham bone, ham shank, or leftover ham: This will add flavor and depth of flavor to your beans. If you don’t have any ham on hand, you can also use a smoked turkey leg or some slices of bacon.
Serving: 1cup, Calories: 446kcal, Carbohydrates: 57g, Protein: 31g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 38mg, Sodium: 1003mg, Potassium: 1300mg, Fiber: 19g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 107IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 136mg, Iron: 5mg
Cuisine: American
Course: Soup
Author: Gina Dickson

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🫘 If you are a bean lover, then be sure to try my Easy Seasoned Tender Crock Pot Pinto Beans (Vegetarian), Vegan White Bean Chili, Slow Cooker Bacon and Bourbon Baked Beans Recipe, Easy Seasoned Tender Crock Pot Pinto Beans (Vegetarian), or my family favorite, The Best Homemade Slow Cooker Boston Baked Beans Recipe.

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