Back to U.S. Senate Bean Soup

Print Options


Card Sizes

U.S. Senate Bean Soup Recipe

U.S. Senate Bean Soup Recipe

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 YIELD: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


  • 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).

Nutritional Facts

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

Reviews for U.S. Senate Bean Soup

Sort By :

Average Rating
[email protected] User ID: 4348121 271515
Reviewed Aug. 8, 2017

"This Bean soup recipe is excellent. I used chicken stock instead of water like "skywaitress "As a new have to be cook, I will make it again."

Joyce User ID: 9009077 258916
Reviewed Dec. 31, 2016

"I have been eating this soup for well over 60 years, as this is how my mom made it, and how I make it, with a few changes. The actual Senate version uses navy beans, and for 1 lb of beans, we used 1 large or 2 medium onions and a bit more garlic. It says salt to taste, which varies depending on the saltiness of the ham, but be sure to add enough pepper, at least 1/4 tsp or more (I add at least 1/2 tsp or more), again, depending on the ham and what glaze, if any, was used. If I don't have a ham bone, I use 2 large ham hocks or 3 medium ones. Sometimes I just make ham stock from the bones/hocks and can or freeze that, so I can make this soup quickly using 4 cans of beans (drained/rinsed) and go from there. To make the stock, I just cover the bones with about 4 qts of water, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 4 hours. Then I pull off what meat I can, strain the stock, and can or freeze. This stock is also good in pea soup."

DeGramma User ID: 1113171 8337
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."

tammyc1023 User ID: 7234543 4245
Reviewed Jan. 10, 2014

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

Miata2 User ID: 191395 7313
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."

skywaitress User ID: 5434571 2787
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!"

Antonia88 User ID: 6369275 6013
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!"

KathKirk User ID: 6426900 4375
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."

SWEETPEA123 User ID: 1949784 8335
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!"

SWEETPEA123 User ID: 1949784 6235
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."

Mary117 User ID: 4200080 5092
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."

soupersally User ID: 4529962 199119
Reviewed Apr. 29, 2010

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

cwbuff User ID: 441425 5246
Reviewed Oct. 5, 2009

"Well, I thought it was pretty good! But then, I don't eat a lot of spices - if you do, you won't like recipes like this which rely on subtler flavors. I think using real mashed potatoes makes it better, though, so save those leftovers. I also added sliced carrots. The next time I make this soup, I'm going to try following the "tip" given on pg 34 of the 1994 annual - brown the veggies in hot butter or oil with 1 teaspoon sugar till it carmelizes, then add to the soup"

JBRB User ID: 1623692 5021
Reviewed Oct. 4, 2008

"the best flavor for this soup is smoked ham bone!"

Telx2 User ID: 2398758 6279
Reviewed Jan. 1, 2008

"I found this recipe to be very easy to follow, and the result was something very easy to throw away. I worked on this soup all day for a few minutes at a time, and was very excited about trying it, thinking that with my leftover ham bone from the Honey Baked Ham store it would be an excellent New Years Day meal. However, my husband and I each took one bite and then ran the whole thing down the disposal. I did use the potato flakes instead of mashed potatoes, but I'm not sure that would have made much of a difference. Generally, the result was very bland, not nearly enough seasoning. If I were to prepare this again (which I won't) I would substitute in some chicken broth for water and go through the spice rack and pick out a few so it tasted like something other than boiled ham, water, and onion. Good luck to anyone else who tries this recipe."

Loading Image