Grandma Neuharth’s Bohnensuppe (German Bean Soup)

This is my grandma’s bean soup recipe (via my brother--all in the family). My family is 100% German, so we thought Bohnensuppe would be great addition to the ‘all German/Ocktoberfest’ theme of the week. I have happy memories of going to Grandma’s for bean soup and homemade bread. As with most ‘grandma’ recipes, you need to use your best judgment on measurements (I’ve tried to fill in the blanks). Leftovers (Grandma always made sure to send home leftovers!) are excellent reheated throughout the week.


  • 1 lb navy beans
  • Ham bone*
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 2 Potatoes, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper (add at very end)


  1. Soak navy beans in water (to cover) overnight.
  2. Drain the beans the next morning and place in a large pot.  Cover beans with enough water to cover them by 1 inch and simmer for 1-1 1/2 hours.  Cook until al dente.
  3. In another pot, cook ham bone (with some meat still on), a bay leaf, and chopped onion.  
  4. Add cooked beans and continue to simmer until the meat is soft.  Remove ham bone and meat from pot; remove meat from the bone, chop, and set aside (discard the bone).  
  5. Add the two chopped potatoes and the cooked meat to soup.  
  6. Simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Another option: Soak beans overnight.  Drain.  Add beans, water, bone/meat, potatoes, bay leaf, and onion to a crockpot on LOW.  Cook for 10-11 hours.  Remove bone; remove meat from bone and chop meat. Return meat to the soup.  Note: The potatoes tend to get a little soft in this method...

Ham bone note: You can buy a ham bone at the store/meat shop or use a leftover ham bone (with some meat still on) from a previous meal (i.e. bean soup is a great meal to make after a big holiday ham feast).


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