U.S. Senate Bean Soup Recipe
U.S. Senate Bean Soup Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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U.S. Senate Bean Soup Recipe

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4.5 13 16
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Chock-full of ham, beans and celery, this hearty soup makes a wonderful meal at any time of year. Freeze the bone from a holiday ham until you're ready to make soup. Plus, once prepared, it freezes well for a great make-ahead supper! —Rosemarie Forcum White Stone, Virginia
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + standing Cook: 3-3/4 hours + cooling
MAKES:8-10 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + standing Cook: 3-3/4 hours + cooling
MAKES: 8-10 servings


  • 1 pound dried great northern beans
  • 1 meaty ham bone or 2 smoked ham hocks
  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes or 1/3 cup instant potato flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Minced parsley or chives

Nutritional Facts

229 calories: 1 cup, 3g fat (1g saturated fat), 12mg cholesterol, 83mg sodium, 37g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 10g fiber), 14g protein .


  1. Rinse and sort beans. Place beans in a Dutch oven or soup kettle; add water to cover by 2 in. Bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for 1 to 4 hours or until beans are softened.
  2. Drain and rinse, discarding liquid. In a large Dutch oven or soup kettle, place the beans, ham bone or hocks and 3 quarts water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 2 hours.
  3. Skim fat if necessary. Add the onions, garlic, celery, parsley, potatoes, salt and pepper; simmer 1 hour longer.
  4. Set aside ham bones until cool enough to handle. Remove meat from bones; discard bones. Cut meat into bite-size pieces and return to Dutch oven. Heat through. Sprinkle with parsley or chives. Yield: 8-10 servings (2-1/2 quarts).
Originally published as U.S. Senate Bean Soup in Taste of Home April/May 1993, p31

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Reviewed Nov. 15, 2014

"Have been making this very delicious soup for years, only difference I add 2 diced carrots and one diced potato & add 1/3 cup potato flakes in the last hour. (Also can use 1 cup left over mashed potatoes). Freezes well and makes about 3 to 4 quarts."

Reviewed Jan. 10, 2014

"We've made this many times, and it goes well with a nice salad and muffins or rolls."

Reviewed Dec. 26, 2013

"I've made this for years. I add diced potatoes and carrots in addition to the onions and celery. This is a wonderful comfort food soup. Homemade bread, something for dessert and you have a fabulous meal."

Reviewed Apr. 1, 2013

"I use chicken stock for the water, add carrots, and use 5 cans of beans! delicious! have made this so many times!"

Reviewed Jan. 31, 2012

"A wonderful bean soup recipe. Made it the other day and will be a family favorite now. Followed the recipe as given, except left out the parsley. Thank you T of H!"

Reviewed Dec. 28, 2011

"We have used this recipe for years. It is our New Year's Day tradition...with a pan of cornbread.

We use 1 cup each of diced onion, carrots & celery. Sometimes we use diced ham for a less fat content."

Reviewed Dec. 16, 2011

"SweetPea here again-to be more specific-I used two 48 oz.jars of Randall Deluxe Great Northern Beans, a 5 quart crockpot, and I did NOT use the potatoes or flakes-adding the 2 cups of chicken broth didn't dilute it much-it was still thick and wonderfully filling-not to mention it makes the house smell wonderful!"

Reviewed Sep. 26, 2011

"This was the best bean soup I had ever tasted, but let me in on how I altered it! First, I used two large jars of Great Northern Beans that were already prepared and poured them over a smoked ham roast, juice and all, in a huge crockpot. Then I added some celery and onions that I had frozen. Added some garlic powder and brown sugar on top. Last minute extra guests caused me to add 2 cups of chicken broth towards the end to make it go further, but they didn't show...but it didn't matter-there wasn't any leftover! Served with three loaves of French Bread-this all served five adults and two children with two bowls a piece. Definitely a "make again"! Cooked on low for over 7 hours and then turned it to Keep Warm until time for dinner."

Reviewed Mar. 16, 2011

"I double the beans and skipped cooking the ham with bone to putting leftover ham (cut up) in the soup. I freeze some individual servings to take for my lunch to work. It reminds me of my Father's boiled dinner which seemed like soup with huge chunks."

Reviewed Apr. 29, 2010

"A very satisfying soup with great flavor, my small group loved it."

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