How to Cook Navy Beans

How to Cook Navy Beans

Navy beans are ubiquitous in America and are highly nutritious small-sized legumes. They have a characteristic creamy flavor and are typically ivory or white colors. Being mild in flavor, you can use various herbs, spices, and ingredients to change its taste and flavor. Popular navy bean recipes or preparations are soups, pies, dishes, and more. Navy beans recipe is traditional with little to no change in the original recipe.

While there are a lot of variations of navy bean recipes out there, we have presented you with our very basic navy beans recipe, which has been tried and tested over the ages.

spoon of cooked navy beans
Photo by Pinterest

Basic Navy Beans Recipe


  • Course: Soups
  • Cuisine: American
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 – 4 hours
  • Total Time: 2 – 4 hours 20 minutes
  • Servings: 7 – 8
  • Calories: 120 kcal


  • Navy beans – 16 oz when dry (can substitute with other white beans)
  • Fresh garlic – 2 large cloves (crush them or dice them fine)
  • Onion – 1 large yellow (cut it into bite-size pieces)
  • Black pepper – 1 teaspoon. Use freshly ground ones.
  • Fresh carrots – 2 large ones (cut into bite-size pieces)
  • Thyme – 4 sprigs (else substitute with 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • Fresh celery – 2 stalks (cut into bite-size pieces)
  • Olive oil – 2 tablespoon
  • Table salt – 1 teaspoon or to taste


Step 1

Clean all the beans by rinsing them thoroughly in water several times. Keep a careful eye to remove foreign objects like stones, twigs, debris, etc. This will also effectively remove any dust or dirt.

Step 2: Soaking process for the beans:

Long Soak: It’s a cold soak where you soak any beans for a more extended period. Collect all the beans in a pot or bowl and pour enough water. Water should be two times the amount of beans you are soaking. Let this soak overnight or at least 8 hours. This will do the job, and the beans will be nice and fresh when done. When you are short of time, use the quick soak method detailed below.

Quick Soak: Someone may demand this recipe immediately, or you completely forgot to soak the beans overnight. So place the beans in twice the amount of water as the beans and a pot. Place the pot over high heat. Let it boil for around 5 minutes without covering the cooking pot. Then turn off the heat and let it soak in hot water. They should be fully ready in 60 minutes. Then rinse the beans again under cold water, and then they are prepared for any cooking. You can also retain the soaking liquid as a soupy base.

Step 3

Take a large enough cooking pot and place it over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and heat it up. Add all your chopped items like garlic, thyme, carrots, onions, and celery to the hot oil. Please give them a good stir to all adequately covered with oil and cook evenly.

Step 4

Stir occasionally. Add all the soaked beans to the pot once the veggies are a little soft in 6 – 8 minutes. If you have hot soaked the beans, add the soaking water. If you have cold-soaked the beans, add fresh water to the pot. The water should be enough to cover the beans and must be at least 1 inch above the beans. Try to ensure that the water or hot soaking water you add is already hot.

Step 5

Increase the heat to high so that it comes to a boil quickly. Then reduce the heat to a mere simmer, let all the contents boil, and cook slowly. Let this cook in the pot for 2 hours or until the beans become tender. Don’t overcook. Else the beans may become mushy and lose their shape.

Step 6

Once it’s ready, please remove it from the heat and serve immediately when still hot. Garnish will coriander or parsley leaves. You can season this to your taste. It tastes best when served with crusty bread.

You can fridge the preparation for 4 – 5 days or send it to the freezer in an air-tight container for up to 2 months.

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Navy Beans Recipe Notes

  • This is the least complicated recipe, with almost every ingredient readily available in any kitchen. It just takes a lot of cooking time, but once you place it to simmer, you can continue with your work and come back occasionally to give a check.
  • The stovetop can be very slow for a lot of people. However, you can replace it by using the instant pot, where the entire simmer process can be completed in just 20 minutes when cooked on high pressure.
  • You can add your twist to this recipe, for example, seasoning. Just the seasoning can make a difference to the taste. While vinegar and Soya sauce can make it taste like an exotic Asian dish, Italian herbs can make it taste Italian.
  • To add additional flavor, especially in the cold soak method, use chicken or any meat broth to add a different taste.
  • And why not use shredded chicken in the recipe too? You can always add pieces of meat to the recipe to add another level of flavor to it.
  • Add fresh or canned tomatoes to give it a distinct Mexican flavor.
  • To save even more time, you can also use canned beans instead. They will do the job.

Navy Beans Recipe Nutrition

  • Serving: 1oz
  • Calories: 120kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 17g
  • Protein: 5.5g
  • Fat: 3.5g
  • Sodium: 314mg
  • Potassium: 310mg
  • Fiber: 6g
  • Sugar: 1g
  • Vitamin A: 2630IU
  • Vitamin C: 3.5mg
  • Calcium: 58mg
  • Iron: 1.3mg

In Conclusion

While there are a whole lot of navy bean recipes out there, and you can also come up with your particular version of a navy beans recipe, the bottom line is that it’s a very healthy and delicious bean. A few herbs and spices are all you need to make it exciting and yummy. Everyone loves it. I hope the information in the article has been helpful. Cheers and happy cooking!

Jillian Noon

Hi, I am Jillian Noon, the owner of this beautiful cooking blog. I create this blog to share my passion for cooking and other kitchen & food tips. I hope you will enjoy it!

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