Senate Navy Bean Soup

Senate Navy Bean soup has been served at the nation’s capital cafeteria for over 100 years. You can recreate this famous soup at home.  It was said that Senator Fred Thomas Dubois of Idaho, was responsible for a resolution that required this bean soup be served every day on the menu.  There are many different versions of this recipe available online.

A bowl of soup made with navy beans

Senate Navy Bean Soup is one of those recipes with a past that is almost bigger than the recipe itself. (Another one in this category is the Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, which is an urban legend.) However, this bean soup recipe has an uncertain past.

It is said that Senator Fred Thomas Dubois of Idaho was responsible for a resolution that required this bean soup to appear every day on the Senate menu. Dubois also thought that the soup should always be made with mashed potatoes (he was from Idaho after all!).

What is the story behind the Senate Navy Bean Soup?

Another legend is that the soup request originated from a Minnesota Senator who just loved the soup, although there is no apparent connection of any ingredient with his home state. Senate Bean Soup is so iconic that it has its own recipe page on the Senate website, one version with spuds and one without.

What is certain is that this hearty bean soup has been available to US Senators every day from at least 1903. You could say that the soup is an example of a rare agreement between Republicans and Democrats! And, nowadays, there are many different versions of this recipe available online.

Ingredients for navy bean soup, navy beans, onions, ham hock and more

What’s in this Easy Navy Been Soup?

This recipe for navy bean soup is super simple. If you are looking for an inexpensive soup to make, you should consider this recipe. It is made with:

  • Navy beans
  • smoked ham hock
  • carrots
  • celery
  • onion
  • butter
  • garlic

Soup is good for you

Soup is good in two ways – it nourishes the soul, and most soup recipes don’t cost a lot to make and help you save money. The basic ingredient in this simple soup is an inexpensive package of dry navy beans.

Chock-full of beans, ham, and celery, this hearty copykat soup makes a wonderful meal at any time of year. If you have a holiday ham, freeze the bone until you’re ready to make soup.

Plus, once prepared, this soup freezes well for a great make-ahead supper. You will have a homemade soup to rival any bowl of soup in a restaurant.

If you love bean soup, here are more bean soup recipes for you to try.

Panera Bread Black Bean Soup
Zero WW Point White Bean Chicken Chili
Best Ever Baked Beans with Smoked Sausage
Slow Cooker Navy Bean Soup

navy bean soup in a bowl

A bowl of soup made with navy beans

Senate Navy Bean Soup

Try's take on the Senate Navy Bean Soup.
5 from 3 votes
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Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Bean Soup
Servings: 6
Calories: 273kcal


  • 1 pound dry navy beans
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped


  • Wash and rinse the beans and discard any debris or dark-colored beans.
  • In a large stockpot, combine the rinsed beans, the ham hock, and 4 quarts of water. Over high heat, bring to a boil, then simmer over low-medium heat until the beans are soft (about 2 hours).
  • When the beans are almost ready, melt the butter in a medium-sized skillet. Add the garlic, onion, carrot, and celery, and saute until all the vegetables are soft.
  • Add the softened vegetables to the beans and stir well. Remove the ham hock from the soup and cut the meat into small bite-sized pieces. Add the meat back into the soup.
  • Use a potato masher to slightly mash some of the beans - this will give you a nice velvety texture. Season soup with salt and pepper before serving.


Calories: 273kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 19mg | Potassium: 990mg | Fiber: 19g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1820IU | Vitamin C: 3.1mg | Calcium: 126mg | Iron: 4.2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @CopyKatRecipes or tag #CopyKatRecipes!

About Stephanie

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Rosie

    5 stars
    My dad used to make this only he added few whole carrots, let them cook with soup till soft then he took them out and smashed them up put back in soup and took an almost empty small bottle of ketchup added water shook it up and added also to soup. Gave it extra goodness to the taste and gives me fond memories of dad making homemade soup.

  2. Henriette Hall

    Here we go again……………
    YOU asked Stephanie for her recipe of Senate Bean Soup–she did just that–she gave you HER recipe !!
    I do not know Stephanie–I just think that some folks are never satisfied. How about this…..Create a website and post ALL of your recipes that you have altered by adding to or deleting ingredients…….

  3. Jodi

    5 stars
    You have to get a good smoked ham hock from the butcher. A goid hock will make a good soup a great hock will make a great soup.

  4. Beth W.

    McGuire’s in Pensacola & Fort Walton Beach, Florida have a Senate Bean soup on their menu (18¢ if ordered with entree). I’m trying both of these in hopes at least one is as good as McGuire’s. p.s. would love to get their recipe for the brown bread they serve-yum

    • Stephanie

      I have been to that restaurant a couple of times. I loved that restaurant. They have a cookbook, their recipe for their brown bread may be in that book .

    • MawMaw Cat

      5 stars
      McGuires is located in Pensacola and Destin. The Senate Bean Soup is deliciously addicting! It is also served with a wonderful little loaf dark brown bread that compliments the soup perfectly!! Their homemade Root Beer is great too and I don’t normally like root beer! My family loves eating there and so do the grandbabies!

  5. CrockPotLady

    The now defunct Bill Knapp’s had the best bean soup. Wish I could get a really good copycat recipe for that. When searching the internet, there are just too many variations that claim to be the “real” one.

  6. Tina

    When I was a little girl, my grandpa put ketsup in his bean soup. It gives it a really tangy flavor. I still do it to this day.

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