Great Northern Beans with Rosemary and Roasted Garlic

Great Northern White Beans with Rosemary and Roasted Garlic

By Mark Hinds | Updated May 18, 2021

Soft and supple, Great Northern beans with lots of fresh rosemary sautéed with a whole bulb of roasted garlic and white onion are a great addition to any meal. They also work well as a base for soups and stews and are a healthy side dish you can serve all week long.

The roasted garlic in this great northern beans recipe adds layers of flavors to this dish, helping to bring it to life.

If you’re interested in learning the best way to roast garlic, you can read about all the different ways we tried before landing on the best way to roast garlic.

Tender are the Beans

The amount of stock you’ll end up using will vary depending on how long you let the beans sit in the water. The longer the beans soak in the water the more water they will absorb and the less stock you’ll use.

One nice thing about this dish is you can let the beans sit in the water a lot longer than an hour and they’ll be fine. A lot of times we’ll start this process when we get up in the morning and not get back to the beans until the afternoon.

If you can’t find great northern beans or are looking for a substitute try using navy, butter, or cannellini beans.

This recipe is one of those dishes that we love to keep in the fridge to serve as a side dish.  It works hot or cold and is particularly good with a Grilled Pork Tenderloin or Roasted Chicken Breast.

Great Northern White Beans with Rosemary and Roasted Garlic

Great Northern Beans with Rosemary and Roasted Garlic

4.5 from 6 votes
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Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 8 servings


  • 1 lb Great Northern beans
  • 3 1/2 tbsp rosemary
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp pepper
  • chicken stock, to cover


  • Wash and sort the beans, picking out any off looking ones. Place them in a large pot, cover with 48 ounces of water, bring to a boil for three minutes, remove from heat and let them sit for at least an hour. Drain the water and set the beans aside.
  • While the beans are soaking roast the garlic, dice the onion, and finely mince the rosemary. After the beans have finished soaking, drain the beans, and set them aside.
  • Remove the garlic cloves and mince them the best you can. You want to make sure to break up the garlic cloves before adding them to the beans or you’ll end up with large chunks of garlic in the dish.
  • In a large heavy-duty pot sauté the onions and roast garlic in the olive oil. After a couple of minutes add the rosemary and cook for another couple of minutes before adding the beans back in.
  • Once you’ve added the beans pour in enough stock to cover the beans, normally it takes around 32 ounces. Add the salt and pepper and give everything a good stir.
  • Cover the pot and cook the beans on a low simmer for two to two and half hours or until the beans have reached your desired tenderness. We like to cook them until you can easily squish them with a fork, but not so much that they are falling apart.
  • Drain off any extra stock and serve. The beans can be served warm or cold.
Tried this RecipeRate the recipe (we love lots of stars) & leave your thoughts in the comments.
Calories: 93kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 2g | Sodium: 874mg | Potassium: 260mg | Fiber: 4g | Vitamin A: 45IU | Vitamin C: 2.6mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 1.7mg

The nutrition information shown is an estimate based on available ingredients and preparation.

Mark is an experienced food writer, recipe developer, and photographer who is also Umami’s publisher and CEO. A passionate cook who loves to cook for friends, he can often be found in the kitchen or by the grill testing new recipes.

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  1. Patty

    I have read that I should not add salt to the beans while they are cooking until the end when they are completely cooked. The theory I read said it makes the skins tough. Have you any thoughts on this or experimented with or without salt?

    1. Mark Hinds

      I’ve read a lot about whether or not adding salt to beans while they’re cooking makes the skins tough. Between recipe development and just making bean dishes, I haven’t found a definitive answer. The two things I’ve found that do make the skins tough are undersoaking and undercooking the beans.