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Slow Cooker Navy Bean Soup Recipe

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My whole family loves trying new soup recipes. This Slow Cooker Navy Bean Soup became one of our favorites the very first time I made it. 

There’s no need to soak the dry navy beans, so it’s quick and easy to make. Plus it’s a hearty soup, so it makes a great lunch or dinner.

If you’re looking for a delicious, crock pot navy bean soup recipe using simple ingredients, try this one. Your family, kids included, will love it!

White bowl of slow cooker navy bean soup on table with a loaf of bread in the background.

Slow Cooker Navy Bean Soup Recipe

This Slow Cooker Navy Bean Soup recipe is the perfect dinner for cold winter nights or hot summer days where you don’t want to run the oven.
4.14 from 258 votes
Print Recipe
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 20 minutes
Recipe Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 medium onion - diced
  • ½ pound carrots - sliced into thin rounds
  • 4 stalks celery - sliced
  • 1 pound dry navy beans - you do not need to soak these overnight
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 cups chicken stock

Equipment

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Large pot
  • Strainer
  • Slow cooker
  • Mixing spoon

Instructions

  • Start off by adding the dried beans to a large stockpot with enough water to cover them by a couple inches and boil for 10 minutes.
    Navy beans boiling in a large stainless steel stockpot.
  • While the navy beans are boiling, prepare your vegetables. Add the olive oil, garlic, onion, celery and carrots to a large slow cooker.
    Celery, garlic, carrots and onions chopped and placed in a black slow cooker.
  • Pour your beans into a strainer in the sink, and sort through them, making sure you remove any debris or stones.
    Parboiled navy beans being rinsed under water in a fine mesh strainer.
  • Add them to the slow cooker, along with the bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, paprika and black pepper.
    Navy beans and spices added to slow cooker with veggies.
  • Add six cups of chicken stock to the slow cooker, then stir carefully to combine the ingredients. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook for 8 hours on low or on high for 4-5 hours.
    Chicken stock added to the rest of the navy bean soup ingredients in the slow cooker.
  • After it's done slow cooking, stir the soup and mash the beans slightly to thicken up the soup to your desired consistency. You'll also want to add some sea salt before serving to make the flavors pop. Starting with ½ teaspoon, add salt to your taste. I used about 1 teaspoon total, but keep tasting and adding more, ½ teaspoon at a time, until it reaches the level that you prefer.
    Navy bean soup being stirred with a wooden spoon in a slow cooker.
  • Serve your delicious Navy Bean Soup topped with a sprig of fresh parsley or cilantro, if desired.
    Close up of Slow Cooker Navy Bean Soup with a sprig of cilantro.

Nutrition Information Per Serving

Calories: 310kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 732mg | Potassium: 1029mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 4885IU | Vitamin C: 4.4mg | Calcium: 112mg | Iron: 3.7mg

By the Numbers: How to Make Navy Bean Soup

Step 1: Parboil Your Dried Navy Beans.

The first step is put your your dry navy beans into a large stockpot, then add water until it’s about 3 inches above the beans.

Bring the water to a boil, then continue boiling the navy beans for 10 minutes.

Navy beans boiling in a large stainless steel stockpot.

Step 2: Prepare and Chop Your Vegetables.

While the navy beans are parboiling on the stove, it’s time to wash, cut and prepare your veggies. Start by getting out your knife and cutting board and preparing these items:

  1. Dice one medium onion.
  2. Slice ½ pound carrots into thin rounds
  3. Slice 4 stalks of celery into even slices.
  4. Mince 4 cloves of garlic.

Once the veggies are cut, transfer them to a large slow cooker pan with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.

Celery, garlic, carrots and onions chopped and placed in a black slow cooker.

Step 3: Drain the Navy Beans

After the beans are done boiling for the 10 minutes, you can pour the beans into a strainer over the kitchen sink to drain all of the water out.

While they’re still in the strainer, be sure to carefully sort through them and discard any stones, debris or beans that look bad.

Parboiled navy beans being rinsed under water in a fine mesh strainer.

Step 4: Add Navy Beans & Spices to Slow Cooker.

When you’re done sorting through the beans, you can dump them into your crockpot along with the bay leaf and these dried spices:

  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ teaspoon sea salt
Navy beans and spices added to slow cooker with veggies.

Step 5: Add Chicken Stock to Crockpot.

Finally, you want to add six cups of chicken stock (I use my homemade chicken stock) to the slow cooker pot and stir everything together so it’s all really well combined.

Chicken stock added to the rest of the navy bean soup ingredients in the slow cooker.

Step 6: Cook Your Slow Cooker Navy Bean Soup.

Once all of the ingredients are in the slow cooker, place the lid on the pan and cook your navy beans soup on low for 8 hours or for 4-5 hours on high.

At the end of the slow cooking time, discard the bay leaf then use a sturdy mixing spoon to stir the soup and mash the beans a bit in order to make the soup thicker. Keep mashing until you reach your desired consistency. Sometimes I don’t mash at all!

Next, you’ll want to taste the soup and likely add some sea salt (or kosher salt) before serving. A bit of salt can really help to make the flavors pop!

The best way to add salt is to start with ½ teaspoon of salt, stir until well combined and taste. Keep adding salt until it reaches your desired level (I usually add about 1 teaspoon total at this stage).

Navy bean soup being stirred with a wooden spoon in a slow cooker.

Step 7: Serve Your Navy Bean Soup.

Serve your delicious Slow Cooker Navy Bean Soup in a shallow soup bowl topped with a sprig of fresh cilantro or parsley, if desired.

Close up of Slow Cooker Navy Bean Soup with a sprig of cilantro.

Tips for Making Navy Bean Soup

1. How to add more flavor?

Ham hocks make a very flavorful addition to this otherwise vegetarian Navy Bean Soup recipe. Just be sure to remove the ham bone before serving.

You can also add some leftover ham or a few slices of bacon for a tasty navy bean and ham soup.

2. What other beans can I use?

Navy beans are small white beans. Good substitutions are great northern beans or cannellini beans.

3. Can I use soaked beans?

Yes, while there’s no need to soak beans before preparing this easy Navy Bean Soup recipe, you can use soaked beans.

The cooking time will be shorter and your beans will be softer. They will also absorb less liquid, so your soup may be thinner.

4. What to do if beans are still dry / not cooked?

If you have old beans, they will take longer to cook and need more liquid to rehydrate.

Next time you make this old fashioned Navy Bean Soup recipe, especially if you’re using the same bag of beans, double the parboil time or consider soaking them for a few hours (or overnight) so they cook more quickly.

5. Can you prep this soup ahead of time?

I love using my slow cooker for soups because I can either prep everything the night before and just turn it on in the morning or I can toss things in throughout the day when I have spare time.

This soup is one of my favorite recipes to do this with. I do everything the night before, including parboiling the beans.

When I’m done, I pop the crock pot into the fridge overnight and just pop it into the slow cooker on low in the morning. Then, at dinner time, everyone can help themselves to this tasty slow cooker bean soup.

If you’re using old beans as noted above, preparing the soup this way can be an easy way for the beans to already be partially rehydrated when you cook the soup.

6. Can you make this soup in the Instant Pot?

Yes. If you want to make this recipe in an electric pressure cooker like the Instant Pot, start by pressure cooking the beans and chicken broth for 45 minutes.

Then release the pressure, open the lid, add the remaining ingredients and cook for 10 minutes on High Pressure, with a natural pressure release.

7. How to make smooth navy bean soup?

Some readers have shared that they’ve pureed this soup with an immersion blender to get a smooth bean soup and it is delicious! I recommend not adding any meat to the recipe if you plan to blend it.

8. How to store leftover soup?

I typically just put the entire crockpot of navy bean soup into the fridge. That way, I can just pop it back into the slow cooker the next day to reheat for lunch or round 2 of dinner.

If you have a smaller amount left over, be sure to store it in an airtight container in the fridge and use within 4-5 days, or freeze.

Reheat in a saucepan on the stove top over low heat.

9. Best chicken stock to use?

I nearly always use my homemade chicken stock (it’s so easy to make in a slow cooker, Instant Pot or on the stove top). If you don’t have time or interest in making your own, there is one company that makes the best quality chicken bone broth!

The Chicken Broth from Kettle & Fire is so much richer and has so much more flavor than the stuff from the grocery store. A lot of love goes into making bone broth at Kettle & Fire.

I love that you can make a one-time purchase to make sure your family loves the stock. If you do, then you can actually set up a subscription to have bone broth delivered to your address in regular intervals at a discount.

You can place an order for 4 different sizes as well: 1 carton, 6 cartons, 12 cartons or 18 cartons. The more you buy, the bigger discount they give you per carton.

And they have other types of stock too, not just chicken. Learn more about why I love Kettle & Fire’s Chicken Bone Broth.

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Bowl of Navy Bean Soup garnished with cilantro.

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