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    The BEST Navy Beans Recipe

    My 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 my simple recipe is going to give you new appreciation for the humble legume.

    Bowl of stewed navy beans, along with a chunk of bread.

    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 my beloved Puerto Rican Habichuelas, there’s a world of flavors to cook when you have a can or bag of beans.

    Large skillet full of cooked navy beans.

    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 – Sometimes I 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: First, I sauté diced ham in a pan over medium-high heat until it starts to brown and caramelize, which takes about 5 minutes. Then, I take it out and set it aside on a plate.

    Ham cubes browning in a skillet.

    2. Sauté aromatics: Next, I add a bit more oil into the pan, then sauté the carrot, celery, and onion until they start to soften, usually about 5 minutes. After that, I add the garlic and cook everything together for another minute, until it becomes fragrant.

    Sautéed diced onion, celery and carrot in a skillet with finely chopped garlic.

    3. Blister tomatoes: I add the tomatoes to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to blister, which takes about another 5 minutes.

    Halved cherry tomatoes cooked along with aromatic mixture.

    4. Finish the dish: I pour in the chicken broth and use a spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan and release any flavorful bits stuck to it. Then, I add in the beans, herbs, and the browned ham that we set aside earlier. Everything gets mixed together well to combine all the flavors.

    Pan of beans after cooking.

    I bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let it cook for about 15 minutes. If I want a soupier consistency, I add in some additional water during cooking. Towards the end, I taste and adjust for salt and pepper to make sure the flavors are just right.

    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.

    When I soak beans overnight, I put them in a big pot, covering them with plenty of cold water. They need at least 8 hours to soak up all that water.

    If I’m in a hurry, I use the quick soak method. I put the beans in a pot, cover them with water, then bring it to a boil and let them bubble away for 2-3 minutes. After that, I take the pot off the heat, cover it, and let the beans sit for about an hour.

    After soaking, I drain the beans and refill the pot with fresh water. I add salt, bring it to a boil, then let the beans simmer for 1.5-2 hours until they’re nice and soft.

    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.

    I 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.

    Close up of the bowl of white beans.

    Easy, tasty, nutritious, and satisfying. That’s my 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!

    Bowl of navy beans atop the Gypsy Plate.

    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

    Featured image for navy beans recipe post.

    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. Leftovers: 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.
    3. This recipe can be scaled using the same ratios.

    Nutrition Information
    Yield 4 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 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

    Picture of Alpana, blogger and recipe developer at GypsyPlate

    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.

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