Old Fashioned Ham & Navy Beans


How many of you hated soup beans or even chili beans as a kid? How many of you still do? 😉 It’s weird how it was kind of like a light switching on the moment I became an adult. So many foods I hated growing up suddenly tasted wonderful and what was I ever thinking? That’s how it was with me and “soup” beans. My recipe comes from my Grandma Betty. The ingredients are pretty basic, but the manner in which she cooked the beans is what makes these Old Fashioned Ham & Navy Beans so special. And check out my recipe for turning these fabo soup beans into incredible homemade Ham & Beans to Beanie Weenies. 🙂

The best place in the whole wide world was my Grandma Betty & Grandpa Punk’s kitchen. The best conversations took place around that humble formica “butcher block” table. Spontaneous eruptions of all my aunts and uncles singing Delta Dawn in 3-part harmony is my favorite memory of all. When I go home this summer, I’m so looking forward to hanging with my Tribby clan and I’m beyond thankful Grandma & Grandpa’s house remained in the family. Thank you Josh and Rachel! 🤗💗

The simple method for cooking the ham and beans is in the oven. They come out perfectly cooked every time. Grandma used a heavy stainless steel stock pot and would slow cook them for 5 or 6 hours. You might think using a Crock Pot would serve the same purpose, but it’s just not the same. Probably a difference in the heating process.

Now I really need to tell you how to eat these delicious ham and beans. It all begins with a good corn muffin. It doesn’t matter so much whether they’re made from scratch or from a mix, the important thing is to make sure they’re sweet and slathered with lots of melty butter. I used to make a great loaf of corn cakes from scratch, but discovered Jiffy turns out awesome with the addition of 2 teaspoons of sugar or 2 packets of stevia. Let the batter rest like the box directions suggest for fluffier muffins. Cooling for 10 minutes after baking makes them easier to remove from the liners or pan.

Old Fashioned Ham & Navy Beans

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Beans, Ham, Navy, Soup Beans
Servings: 6
Author: Melissa Woolard | Culinary Craftiness


*Pre-soak the beans for 12 hours or overnight in a pot of water.*


    • 1 bag (16 oz) dry navy beans
    • 2 pkg Smithfield’s Cubed Ham
    • 1 medium onion, diced
    • 2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp pepper
    • 4 quarts cold water


    • Preheat oven to 350F. 
      Drain and rinse the beans that have been soaking overnight. Pour into a large lidded pot and add the water, onion, ham, salt, and pepper.
      Bake in the oven for 5-6 hours. Check the beans after about 4 hours to make sure there is sufficient liquid – about an inch above the beans – and return to the oven for another hour or so. 
      You can semi smash them for a thicker gravy or leave them soupy. Spoon beans with liquid over buttered sweet cornbread.

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