Mom’s Navy Beans Recipe

4.95 from 38 votes

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This navy beans recipe of my mom’s makes a simple comfort food classic. Tender, seasoned white beans and veggies in a flavorful broth. Be sure to watch the how-to video located in the recipe card.

my mom's navy white beans

My mom taught me many things, but cooking and sharing our love for good food was something we both loved to do together. When she passed away, my Dad asked if I wanted anything of hers. My request was to go through her cookbooks and personal recipes. I love that I’m able to pass on my favorites and keep my memories of her alive.

Here is her simple, yet satisfying white beans recipe, which I’ve always loved. It’s a flavorful white bean soup. You can add sliced franks or shredded meat to stretch the meal, and it’s a perfect way to use fresh vegetables and pantry staples you already have on hand!

Navy beans

Navy beans, also known as pea beans (named for their tiny round size), are one of a few different varieties of white beans. Other common white beans are Great Northern, cannellini, fagioli, and lima.

Although they grow differently, and vary in size and shape, all white beans are interchangeable in most recipes. They all have a white casing and starchy, creamy center.

This is a navy beans recipe, but you’re welcome to use any type of white bean that you like or already have on hand.

ladle in pot of navy bean soup

Ingredient notes and substitutions

Nothing complicated about the ingredients in this white beans recipe. It calls for staple soup ingredients; onion, carrots and celery. To help flavor the broth, there’s a bit of crushed garlic and thyme.

For a heartier meal, you can add any type of cooked protein. Oftentimes, I like to add shredded chicken, leftover holiday ham or boneless turkey breast.

If you use fagioli beans and add cooked pasta and Italian sausage, it could a homemade version of Olive Garden’s pasta fagioli!

Video: Making Mom’s white beans recipe

The meal comes together really quickly after soaking the beans in water overnight.

Watch the video in the recipe card below to see me make the navy white bean soup from start to finish.

mom's navy white beans in blue bowl

Did you forget to soak your white beans?

If you forget or don’t have time to soak beans overnight, it’s okay. Just use my method to quick soak beans and an hour later, you’ll be ready to make this navy beans recipe.

Serving suggestions

This recipe makes the perfect comfort food lunch or dinner; great at taking the winter chill off your bones. Serve with a salad and loaf of crusty french bread or my gramma’s potato rolls. It’s a wonderful, cozy and comforting navy white bean soup.


overhead: bowl of vegetable bean soup
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This post, first published on Kevin Is Cooking Jan. 10, 2014, was last updated with new content and video on Dec. 9, 2021.

my mom's navy white beans

Mom’s Navy Beans Recipe + Video

4.95 from 38 votes
My mom's navy beans recipe makes a simple comfort food classic. Tender, seasoned white beans and veggies in a flavorful broth; a must-make!
Servings: 12
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 4 hours
Total: 4 hours 15 minutes



  • Add dried white beans to large pot, then enough water to cover beans by 1 inch. Allow beans to soak for 8 hours. To save time, feel free to quick soak beans.
  • Heat olive oil in large soup or stock pot over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add chopped onion, carrot, and celery. Sauté for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  • Use a colander to drain and rinse soaked beans. Add beans to the stock pot of sautéed vegetables and stir to incorporate. Add bundle of thyme sprigs (or dried thyme), garlic and fresh water to cover beans by 1 inch.
    Bring to a boil, cover pot and lower heat to simmer; Cook for 4 hours or until beans are soft, but not mushy (See Note 1).
    To make this navy beans recipe in a slow cooker or Instant Pot, see Note 2.
  • Season to taste and serve with crusty bread.



  1. At this stage it can be seasoned to reflect whatever type of soup you want, be it French with thyme and tarragon, Mexican with cumin, Italian with Italian herbs, etc.
    You can also add fresh franks from the butcher and cook for an additional 20 minutes, but sometimes I like to add chicken.
  2. If using a slow cooker cook on high for 4 hours. If using an Instant Pot, use manual setting to cook on high pressure for 20 minutes, then perform a Natural Pressure Release for 10 minutes.
  3. Per Nutrition Facts on 16 ounces dried beans: Serving Size 1/4 cup dried, Servings per container about 12. Beans double in volume when cooked, so this would be a 1/2 cup serving, not counting other ingredients.


Calories: 160kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 0.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 210mg | Potassium: 528mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 2052IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 2mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Soups
Cuisine: American
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
white bean soup in blue bowl


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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  1. This looks so incredibly homy and healthy as well. My mum makes a similar version, it might be a bit heavier on the butter though 🙉

    I look forward to making your recipe this week!

  2. 5 stars
    I made this with a package of 15 bean dry beans instead of navy (but I am sure navy beans were in there) and it was fantastic! Thank you for another keeper