U.S. Senate Bean Soup

18 comments Fall Favorites, family favorites, gluten-free, soups, stews and chili I may earn money from products/companies mentioned in this post. This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission, at no extra charge to you, when you shop through my links. You're support is greatly appreciated!

Can you believe Christmas is over?! I can’t, but I never can. There’s always so much anticipation surrounding Christmas for our family, you know with the presents, planning the big meal and family reunions, that I’m always a little sad when the excitement over the big day is done. I leave my Christmas tree up through New Year’s Day every, single year...I just can’t let it go before then. 
For Christmas dinner this year we kept the menu very simple, but we enjoyed some our most-loved dishes. We prepared a honey-glazed ham, our favorite recipe for creamy, cheesy scalloped potatoes, and a pot of country-style green beans with bacon. The meal was served with some buttery, soft, fresh-baked dinner rolls and we made a spiced apple pie and some homemade chocolate chip cookies for dessert. 

Oh, and that delicious, honey-glazed ham I mentioned…. it was huge! So, just two short days after Christmas I was thinking about recipes to re-purpose some the leftovers and one of my all-time favorite dishes made with ham is this classic U.S. Senate Bean Soup. I grew up eating this soup as my mother loves it too, but she always called it Navy bean soup.
As the name suggests, this style of bean soup is served in the dining room of the U.S. Senate building every single day and has been since 1903, according to the U.S. Senate website. The website also shares that the present-day recipe they use in the dining room no longer includes includes mashed potato. However, the recipe I grew up eating does and this flavorful soup just couldn’t be the same without it. 
This soup does take a bit of time to make, but the incredible, smoky flavor builds up in each hour of cooking time and believe me, it is well-worth the effort. This soup is very satisfying as a main dish and it is perfect with served with some fresh-baked corn bread and/or a pretty fruit salad!
Happy eating!

U.S. Senate Bean Soup                                                            printable recipe


  • 1/2 lb dried Navy Bean or Great Northern Beans
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 meaty ham bone or 2 cups chopped, smoked ham
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 small potatoes, peeled, cooked and mashed (no butter or milk)
  • 1/2 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium stalk celery, thinly sliced or chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, coarsely chopped or 1 tablespoon dried parsley
1.  Pick through the beans checking for pebbles and then rinse well. Transfer the beans to a large Dutch oven and cover with 2 quarts of water. Add salt and pepper and then bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour.
2. Add one more quart of water to the pot and then  add the ham bone or chopped ham and garlic. Bring the pot to a boil again, reduce heat and simmer for one more hour.
3. Add mashed potatoes, onion, celery, and parsley to the pot. Bring the water to a boil again, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for one more hour or until the beans reach desired tenderness.
4. If using a ham bone, remove it and slice off any meat, cut it into small pieces and return it to the pot. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste
5. Serve hot with some crusty bread or corn bread and enjoy!


  1. Yes, John! I ate more than my fair share of Christmas cookies too! Thank you and Happy New Year!! 🙂

  2. Perfect recipe for this time of the year! We need something hearty to ward off the really cold weather we're having. Plus something healthier than all the cookies we've been eating. 🙂 Thanks. And Happy New Year!

  3. I hope you love it, David. I think it's a great soup for all seasons! Thank you, kind sir 🙂

  4. Thank you, Cheri! I don't want to take down my tree!!

  5. I agree, Grace! Thank you and Happy New Year!

  6. Hi, Marcelle. I have never heard of the Senate soup before! It sounds fantastic, especially with the mashed potatoes. The funny thing about me, is that I'm not a fan of ham as a main course, but give it to me in a soup or a sandwich, and I'm happy as a pig in its messy sty! I will definitely be trying this over the winter!

  7. i've heard of this but never made it, and it's a fantastic way to use leftover ham! pretty darn good way to ring in the new year, too–if black-eyed peas are good luck, why can't navy beans be lucky too? 🙂

  8. Hi Marcelle, this has to be one of my all-time favorites. Interesting tidbit about this recipe…..I get a little sad too when Christmas is over, so much love and work goes into it and then "poof" it's over. Happy New Year!!

  9. Hi Susan, thank you so much and Happy New Year to you!!

  10. Hi there, Greg! Thank you and Happy New Year!

  11. One of my favorite ways to use left-over ham, Marcelle! I love bean soup with pork of some kind in it 🙂 Wishing you and your family all the best in the new year!

  12. Interesting little trivia there about the senate. I love to learn of traditions like that. I'm sure I'd love this soup too. GREG

  13. Hi Karen! Happy New Year and thanks so much for your visit! 🙂

  14. Hi Bobbi! Thanks so much for your visit and for the kind comment! Definitely looking forward to staying in touch with you!

  15. My mother always made this soup after a meal where we had ham…thanks for the memories.

  16. What a perfect way to warm up this holiday and use up some of that left over ham. Love the title of your blog! So sweet. Looking forward to keeping in touch. Take Care

  17. Thank you, Angie! We enjoyed our day very much! 🙂

  18. Sounds like that you had a great X'mas feast! This is my kind of soup..satisfying, comforting and very delicious too.

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