One of the best (and easiest) soups you’ll ever make, this Instant Pot Navy Bean Soup is sure to warm your soul on cold winter nights.
I fell in love with Navy Bean Soup back when my mom and dad owned their bar and restaurant (Smokies) and my dad made it as a lunch special often. I had never had it before, but I remember my husband, Scott, telling me that my dad’s Navy Bean Soup was incredible and I had to try it. So when I finally did, that was all she wrote! I had to find out how to make it, and luckily I knew the owner so I could get the recipe easily. Of course, when you ask older people for a recipe they made up, they rarely have it written down. It’s “a little of this, a little of that” and that’s basically how I eventually made it myself.
I knew, though, if I wanted to share it with y’all, I’d need more precise measurements, so I got to work on figuring those out. And I also really wanted to make it in the Instant Pot since making bean soups from dried beans takes quite a long time. The magic of the Instant Pot allows for this whole pot of soup to be done, dried beans and all, in just 90 minutes!
You Only Need 2 Ingredients and Some Spices
Dried Navy Beans
A bag of dried beans is a pantry staple at my house. They’re SOOOOO cheap, they last forever, they take up little space, and there are so many uses for them. It used to be, before the invention of the Instant Pot, we had to soak dry beans overnight or do a quick soak. And quite often, no one has time to think ahead like that. But thanks to the Instant Pot, we can cook beans in under 2 hours with no pre-soaking.
Ham comes in many forms and you may actually use two or three different types in this one soup. If I add a ham hock in my soup, I’ll always add more ham, maybe in the form of diced. There’s not enough meat on a ham hock to offer enough for the whole pot of soup. On the other hand, a ham shank has plenty of meat on it that will fall off the bone. It can be shredded and added back to the pot. In this case, I won’t add anymore diced ham because there’s plenty from the ham shank. Don’t skip some form of ham on a bone, though. It really makes all the difference in the world in getting that amazing flavor into the soup. You can even add them in frozen and they’ll be good to go!
When we used to get a bag of dried navy beans, there would be a small packet of “ham seasoning” that came with it. This was perfect as the base flavor and then we’d add more spices to it. But I haven’t been able to find the bag with the seasoning in it for years, so I asked my dad what spices he puts in his. Here are what he adds:
- Montreal steak seasoning — sounds unusual, but my dad uses this in almost everything he cooks and it really makes a difference.
- Cayenne pepper — all it takes is 1/4 to 1/2 tsp and it’s plenty spicy.
- Garlic powder
- Crushed red pepper — my dad likes his soup extra spicy. Sometimes it’s too spicy for me, so adding just a shake is perfect for me.
- Salt & pepper — I wait to add salt & pepper until after the Instant Pot time and I can taste it. Sometimes the ham is plenty salty enough.
So Easy, You Won’t Believe It!
This soup is literally one of the easiest soups you’ll ever make. But don’t let the easiness fool you because it’s also darn tasty, too!
- Rinse beans, picking out any rocks.
- Pour beans into Instant Pot and add water to cover (usually about 8 cups, but this amount can be a little more or less for personal preference).
- Add ham hock, ham shank, and/or chopped ham to taste.
- Sprinkle in all spices and put lid on.
- Seal lid for pressure cooking and set to pressure cook on high for 90 minutes (1 1/2 hours).
- Allow to naturally release.
- Remove the ham hocks/shanks and shred any meat. Add it back to the soup and stir.
Give this Instant Pot Navy Bean Soup a try. Once you taste it, you’ll wish you would have known about it sooner!
Instant Pot Navy Bean Soup
- 16-24 ounces dried navy beans I like more beans, so I add the larger amount. For more liquid to bean ratio, add the smaller amount.
- 1 ham hock and/or ham shank
- 1 cup (240 g) sliced and diced ham, if desired Ham hocks don't have much meat on them, so you'll need to add more ham if you only use a ham hock. If you use a ham shank, you most likely won't need to add more ham.
- 1 tsp Montreal steak seasoning
- ¼-½ tsp ground cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper, or to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8-10 cups (1.9-2.4 l) water
- Rinse beans and pick through for any rocks or other debris.
- Pour beans into inner pot of Instant Pot. Add the rest of the ingredients, making sure the water doesn't come above the fill line for pressure cooking.
- Close lid and seal shut. Set to pressure cook on high for 90 minutes (1½ hours). Allow to naturally release pressure.
- Remove the ham hocks/shanks and shred the meat from the bones. Discard any bones. Add the meat back to the soup and stir. Serve.