This Instant Pot Navy Bean Soup is made with dried navy beans, smoked ham hock, a blend of savory spices, and a final sprinkle of pancetta. It’s the ultimate comfort soup and makes for even more satisfying leftovers.
📋 About the Recipe
- Hearty! If you’re looking for a soup recipe that’s hearty enough to serve as a main dish, you’ll love this Instant Pot Navy Bean Soup. It’s high in protein, fiber, and filling enough to be served on its own. If you love bean soups, you'll love my Chicken Minestrone Soup, Chicken Chili Without Tomatoes, and One Pot Vegetable, Bean, and Barley Soup.
- Freezer friendly. The best part of making a large pot of soup is enjoying the leftovers! Just like with most of my other soup recipes, you can prep a few servings for the freezer and enjoy quick and easy soup all winter long.
- Easy to make. Although this Instant pot navy bean soup has a longer cooking time, it only requires 25 minutes of prep work. Easy enough for busy weeknights.
A few notes about the ingredients:
- Navy beans - For this recipe you’ll need dried navy beans, not canned. Grocery stores typically sell them by the pound and can be found in the same aisle as canned goods and dried grains.
- Mirepoix - A mirepoix is simply a mix of onion, carrots, and celery cooked in oil until tender. This mixture is simple, but adds a rich flavor base to the soup.
- Pork ham hock - A ham hock, or sometimes called a pork knuckle, is often used in soup and stock recipes for a reason - it packs flavor. You should be able to find ham hock in the pork section of your grocery store. I found my smoked ham hock in my local grocery store near the ham and other cooked pork products.
- Broth - I used low sodium chicken broth, but any broth will work. I do recommend using a low sodium broth and adding additional salt to taste. Full-sodium broths can be overpowering in this soup.
- Pancetta - Pancetta is optional, but ties all the flavors together and is the perfect salty finish!
How to crisp up pancetta: Heat a skillet over medium heat. Drizzle a touch of olive oil in the bottom. Add pancetta and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until crisp, stirring occasionally so it does not burn. Move pancetta to a paper towel lined plate to soak up remaining grease.
⁉️ Substitutions and Alterations
- Beans substitutes: If you are out of navy beans or can’t find them in your grocery store, try another type of white beans such as cannellini, great northern beans, or a similar sized bean. Just make sure to use dried beans - canned won't work.
- Ham hock substitute: Although ham hock is the ideal choice, 3 to 4 bacon strips or 2 to 3 smoked pork sausages are the next best options.
- Rinse the navy beans. Place the navy beans into a colander or fine mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Remove any foreign debris or shriveled beans. Set them aside while you prepare the rest of the soup.
- Cook the onions, carrots, and celery. Set Instant Pot to the “sauté” setting and add the olive oil. Once warm, add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook for 5 minutes, or until onions start to become translucent.
- Add in garlic. Cook for 1 minute more, then press “cancel” to turn off the sauté setting.
- Add the beans, ham hock, broth and water. Place the beans in the bottom of the Instant Pot, then add the ham hock on top. Pour in the broth and water, then season with thyme, cumin, paprika, black pepper, and bay leaves. No need to stir.
- Pressure cook for 40 minutes. Cover the pressure cooker with the lid. Set the valve to the “sealing" position and cook on manual high pressure for 40 minutes.
- Naturally release for 15 minutes. Once the pot has come to pressure and cooked for the full 40 minutes, allow the pressure to naturally release for 15 minutes before switching the valve to “venting” and manually releasing any remaining pressure.
- Remove the ham hock. Once depressurized, discard the bay leaves and remove the ham hock to a cutting board or plate. If there is meat remaining, cut it off the bone and set it aside to add back into the soup. Discard the ham bone.
- Lightly blend the navy bean soup. Using an immersion blender, lightly blend the soup just to thicken it. You’ll want to keep most of the beans still intact.
- Blender option: If you don’t have an immersion blender, ladle 1 to 2 cups of navy bean soup into a blender. Blend until smooth, then add the pureed soup back into the Instant Pot. Stir to combine until slightly thickened and creamy.
- Stir in meat. Add any remaining diced ham meat from the ham bone back to the Instant Pot and stir in fresh chopped parsley.
- Serve. Serve this navy bean soup warm topped with crispy pancetta and additional salt and pepper to taste.
🍽 Serving Suggestions
If you're looking for a light vegetable dish or side salad to serve too, I'd recommend Air Fryer Zucchini, Fall Cobb Wedge Salad, or Roasted Asparagus and Brussels Sprouts. Keep it light, as this soup is filling!
❄️ How to Store
To store: This navy bean soup will store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The flavor even deepens and gets better over time. Allow the soup to cool to room temperature before transferring to storage containers.
To freeze: Navy bean soup freezes well. To freeze, allow the soup to cool completely, then transfer to a freezer safe container for up to 6 months.
To reheat: Leftover soup can be reheated in the microwave, Instant Pot or on the stovetop. If using the Instant Pot, set the pot to the “sauté” setting, and add your desired serving. Stir frequently until warmed through.
🔍 Recipe FAQs
Both navy beans and great northern beans are white beans, but they are not the same. Great northern beans are slightly larger and more firm. If you prefer your beans to hold their shape better, try swapping the navy beans for 1 pound of dried great northern beans.
Yes! Ham hock is known for being incredibly tender and flavorful. As this navy bean soup cooks, the ham hock will practically fall off the bone and make this soup smoky and rich.
No, this recipe is developed specifically for dried beans. By pressure cooking this navy bean soup, the beans cook through evenly and quickly (hours quicker than the stovetop!) without any soaking at all.
💭 One More Tip
Deglaze the bottom of the Instant Pot before pressure cooking! If anything is sticking to the bottom of the pot before building pressure, it can trigger the burn warning and prevent the Instant Pot navy bean soup from coming to full pressure.
🍴 More Instant Pot Soup Recipes
Share your cooking with me! If you make this recipe, I'd love to know! Tag @yourhomemadehealthy on Instagram or leave a comment with a rating and some feedback at the bottom of this page!
Instant Pot Navy Bean Soup
- 1 pound dry navy beans (about 1 ¾ cup)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup diced yellow onion (about ½ a medium onion)
- ⅔ cup sliced celery (about 3 ribs)
- 1 cup sliced carrot (about 4 large carrots)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 2 garlic cloves)
- 1 smoked pork ham hock (about 12 ounces)
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
- ½ cup (4 ounces) diced crispy pancetta*, optional
- Add navy beans to a colander. Rinse with cold water and drain. Hand remove any foreign debris. Set aside.
- Set instant pot to the “sauté” setting. Add olive oil and heat until warm. Add in onion, carrots, and celery. Cook for 5 minutes, or until onions start to become translucent.
- Add in garlic. Cook another 1 minute. Press “cancel” to turn off the sauté setting.
- Add the beans to the instant pot. Place the ham hock on top. Pour in the broth and water. Season with thyme, cumin, paprika, black pepper, and bay leaves.
- Cover instant pot with the lid. Set the valve to the “sealing" position and pressure cook on high pressure for 40 minutes.
- When the timer is up, let the pressure naturally release for 15 minutes before switching the valve to “venting” and manually releasing any remaining pressure.
- Remove the lid and discard the bay leaves. Remove the ham hock to a cutting board or plate. If there is meat remaining, cut it off the bone and set it aside. Discard the rest of the ham hock.
- Using an immersion blender, lightly blend the soup just to thicken it. You’ll want to keep most of the beans still intact. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can also ladle 1 to 2 cups of soup into a blender. Blend until smooth and add it back to the soup remaining in the instant pot. Stir to combine.
- Stir in meat from the ham bone and fresh chopped parsley.
- Serve soup warm topped with crispy pancetta. Season with salt to taste.
- *To crisp up the pancetta, heat a skillet over medium heat. Drizzle a touch of olive oil in the bottom. Add pancetta and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until crisp, stirring occasionally so it does not burn. Move pancetta to a paper towel lined plate to soak up remaining grease.
- You should be able to find ham hock in the pork section of your grocery store. I found my smoked ham hock in my local grocery store near the ham and other cooked pork products.
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