Great Northern beans are cultivars of Phaseolus vulgaris alongside other common beans such as black beans, pinto beans, pink beans, red kidney beans and navy beans.

Great northern beans are white medium sized beans a bit large than navy beans which are commonly used for making baked beans and “pork and beans”.

Great northern beans resemble white lima beans in appearance and have a nutty and delicate flavor that is easy to incorporate into braizes, stews, casseroles, and soups. They can be mixed with pinto beans or served with navy beans and cannellini beans as a handy substitute.

While Great northerns are popular in America, they can be found in Prebranac or Serbian Baked Beans dishes and can also be used as a substitute for Swedish brown beans in Bruna bonor. They are available dried or canned and less commonly fresh.

Substitute for Great Northern Beans

Navy beans (smaller) or Cannellini beans.


1 pound dried great northern beans = 2 cups dried

The Benefits of Great Northern Beans

Great northern beans are a low-calorie, low-fat, cholesterol-free source of iron, dietary fiber, protein, and potassium.

Eating beans like great northern beans regularly can reduce the risk of many potentially serious medical conditions (According to the Harvard School of Public Health). It’s best when they are used a protein source in place of red meat.

Even though it’s good for our health, beans can also cause abdominal discomfort, flatulence and be bloating in some people. Cookbook author Mark Bittman recommends beans should be introduced into your diet slowly and using electrical products with enzymes that aid bean digestion.

That said, if you don’t have any problems with beans, you can use it regularly as a great protein source. So, you may want to check out my favorite recipe with great northern beans below.

Great Northern Beans Soup Recipe | My Favorite Recipe

great northern beans soup

Hearty, starchy and filling, this Ham Great Nothern Bean soup is the epitome of comfort food. This soup recipe is a satisfying way to transform smoked ham hocks into a hearty meal.

When it’s cold outside and all you want is to stay warm, making it a perfect time for a Ham Great Northern Bean soup. This is the perfect soup for a day staying in from the cold outdoors.

If you are looking for a delicious vegan Great Northern Bean soup, you can omit the ham hock. This soup is a great source of protein and fiber.


2 pounds of dried great northern beans
1 gallon water ( add more if needed)
2 pounds of smoked ham hocks (I bought them from Walmart)
1 Yellow onion (Chopped)
3 garlic cloves (minced)
2 Celery Stalks (Chopped)
2 Carrots (Chopped)
2 Bay leaves
1 tsp back pepper

How to make it

1. Pick through the beans, then rinse and drain them. Discard any unwanted debris or any small stones you might find.
2. Add a gallon of water to them and then bring these up to a boil for 10 minutes
3. Turn the heat off. Put the lid on and let it for 2 hours after soaking for 2 hours. At this point, you can see the beans have doubled in size. Do not drain this water because this is where all the flavor is.
4. Add a smoked ham hock, celery, onions, garlic, carrots, bay leaves, black pepper. Now give the mixtures a good stir and bring it up to boil.
5. Once it comes up a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook this for 2 to 2 1/2 until the beans are tender and the meat is falling off the ham hocks.
The cooking time may be different depends on the age of the beans, the hardness of your water, etc.,
6. Stir this about every 30 minutes or so and check the water level. If it looks like it is getting too thick, add a little bit more water.
7. After our beans are done, add salt to taste.
You don’t want to add salt too early, otherwise, you run the risk of it being too salty as some of the liquid inevitably boils off or you even will have tough beans and nobody likes tough beans.

There we have a nice hot hearty bowl of great northern beans. Enjoy!


  • Dried bay leaves simply enhance the other spices in your dish.
  • The longer you can get it cook, the better.
  • As with all dry bean recipes, it’s best to wait until after the great northern beans have become tender or fully cooked before adding salt or any acidic ingredients.