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Easy Homemade Bean Soup Recipe

Although homemade bean soup is often considered a winter food, my husband and I both enjoy eating it throughout the year. But I have to admit that there is something wonderful about how a bowl or mug of hot soup warms you from the inside out.

bowl and pot of homemade bean soup

I think it’s a good idea to read this entire post before you begin preparing the recipe. But if all you want is the list of ingredients with full directions, please either click on the jump-to-recipe button above or scroll to the bottom of this post.

Filling and Satisfying Homemade Bean Soup

This soup is delicious with any kind of leftover ham or a ham hock. The main purpose of adding the meat is to boost the flavor. So I’ve also used pre-packaged diced ham, which is what I did this time.

There are times when I added a cup of chicken when I didn’t have ham, and it turned out really good. If you try this, make sure the chicken is either shredded or chopped into small pieces.

shredded chicken

And when I want to bulk up the soup, I’ve added pasta. Pasta bean soup is so good. You should try it!

The ham bean soup recipe in this post is super easy and delicious. But it’s not the only type of bean soup I make.

Another delicious one is this 15 bean soup. You can either purchase all of the beans separately or pick up a bag of dried beans that have most of what you need. Both of these bean soup recipes are versatile because you can add whatever seasonings you and your family enjoy.

Not only is it delicious, but also it’s one of the easiest meals you can make the way I make it.

I love the fact that all you have to do is dump the ingredients into the pot, and turn on the stovetop. Very shortly, you’ll have delicious soup.

It warms you from the inside out during the winter. And it makes you feel good all over the rest of the year.

As a result, you’ll want to make this soup as often as possible. I doubt if you’ll get any complaints from the family when they see what they’re having for dinner.

Another thing I like about this soup is that you can cook it a variety of ways. This time, I used a soup pot and the stove.

However, sometimes I use my Crock Pot or my Instant Pot. It doesn’t matter what you do because it always turns out great!

We really like comfort food around here. Another dish we enjoy is this Crock Pot ranch chicken dinner.

How to Make Homemade Bean Soup

For exact measurements of each ingredient and full directions, go to the recipe card at the bottom of the page. You can even print out the card by clicking on the “print” button.

I like to use a medium-large pot for a 4-serving batch of this soup. We eat our first serving for supper. Even better, we have some left over for lunch the next day.

When I’m making soup for a larger crowd, I would choose my Dutch oven over any of my other pots. It’s big, and it holds the heat. That makes it nice to place in the center of the table so people can serve themselves … and get seconds.

Cannellini beans

You’ll need 3 cans of white kidney beans, also called cannellini beans (or whatever kind of bean you prefer).

We also enjoy navy beans.

If you choose to use dried beans, I highly recommend soaking the beans overnight. Otherwise they’ll take forever to cook.

diced ham for the homemade bean soup

Add 3/4 cup of leftover diced cooked ham. Since I didn’t have any leftover ham, I used pre-diced ham in a package.

I’ve also used a ham bone when I have more time for the soup to simmer. My great-grandmother used to call it ham bone soup.

Or if you prefer, you can add cooked bacon instead. I’ve done that in the past, and it’s just as good.

Chopped onions

Another thing you’ll need is 1/2 cup of chopped onions.

Sometimes I add chopped carrots and celery, but this time I didn’t.

If you like diced tomatoes, add a can of them. The soup will taste different, but it will be just as delicious! I’ve made it that way several times when I want a change.

Diced ham in a small bowl

Ham adds flavor, substance, and nutrition to your bean soup. You can certainly add more if you want to.

Browning onions for the homemade bean soup

In a medium-large saucepan or stockpot, sauté the chopped onions in the olive oil until they are translucent.

After the onions are translucent, sprinkle in the diced ham and sauté until it is browned on all sides. 

Ham added to the onions in the pot

Preparing the Beans

Pour in 1 cup of water and the chicken broth. Or if you don’t have chicken broth, you can use beef broth or vegetable broth instead.

As you wait for it to boil, you can prepare the beans.

Chicken broth

Drain the beans in a colander. I sometimes splash a little water over the beans to rinse them.

Give them a couple of minutes to completely drain.

Drained beans

Pour 1/3 of them into a separate bowl.

Add 1/2 cup of water to beans in the bowl and smoosh with a potato masher until it becomes pasty.

However, if you prefer a thinner broth, you can mash fewer beans. Conversely, for a thicker broth, mash more beans.

Mashing 1/3 of the beans

Pour the mashed beans into the pot.

If you want to thin out the broth, you can add more water.

Add water to the homemade bean soup

Final Touches on Your Bean Soup

Next, pour all of the remaining beans in the pot.

Turn the burner to medium heat and stir well.

Pot of homemade bean soup cooking

Finally, add the onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and give it another good stir.

Once it begins to bubble, taste it to make sure you’ve added enough salt and pepper. 

Easy Bean Soup for Year-Round Comfort

Some people consider this a cold weather food, but I like it year-round. If you like it, you like it regardless of the weather.

However, I do change up the side dishes. For ideas, take a look at some of these things to serve with soup and them come up with some of your own.

So go ahead and serve it during the fall and winter with heartier sides. I also like it during the summer when I don’t feel like messing up a bunch of pots and pans.

Just add a few lighter sides when the weather heats up. Salads, fruit, and even a fruity dessert will make this the perfect year-round meal.

bowl of homemade bean soup

Other Bean Soup Add-Ons

When I have time, I like to experiment with a variety of ingredients. Here are some I’ve tried and liked:Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

  • Diced potato
  • Teaspoon of basil, either fresh or dried
  • Bay leaves (but remember to remove them before you serve the soup)
  • Dash of black pepper
  • Dash of ground cayenne pepper

Homemade Bean Soup on Demand

This soup is so quick and easy to make when you used canned beans, you can have it on the table less than an hour after you start.

For that reason, you should always have a few cans of beans in the pantry, just in case the urge strikes.

Since there are so many ways you can go with this bean soup, it’s an inexpensive dinner option. You don’t have to go out and buy a bunch of stuff.

If you have carrots, chop them up and add them. Same with any other ingredients you feel like adding. Fry that last slice of bacon in the pack and crumble it over the soup for extra flavor and depth.

Homemade bean soup in a bowl

Great Holiday Soup

Everyone seems to be busy during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. Consequently, it’s hard to slow down long enough to cook a big meal.

If you have the fixin’s for this homemade white bean soup on hand, you can have it on the table in no time flat. It’s surprisingly quick and easy to make.

More Tips for Making the Best Bean Soup

Following the recipe as-is will deliver some wonderful results. Here are even more tips to make your bean soup the best it can be:

  • Canned beans make this bean soup so easy, and it always turns out good. Drain the beans so you can add the liquid you want.
  • If you start with dried beans, soak them overnight before cooking them so they’ll be tender enough for the soup.
  • Add your spices and seasonings, just a little at a time. Taste the soup as you add seasonings to make sure they have enough but you don’t overdo any of them.
  • Blend some of the beans to give it the rich texture that makes bean soup so comforting.
  • Be creative with garnish. Adding color makes this delicious homemade bean soup even more appetizing.
  • Serve the soup in bowls that add to the aesthetics of the dinner table. Special bowls for hearty soups make it taste even better!
bowl of bean soup

Versatile Bean Soup

One of our favorite soups is my white kidney bean, also known as cannellini bean, soup. Any type of bean is fine, but we like the size and texture of these.

I use the same recipe to make navy bean soup. In fact, it tastes almost identical to this one after you add all of the delicious seasonings.

Regardless of what type of beans you use, eat the soup over rice, with pasta, or by itself. Or serve it with some delicious southern style pimento cheese sandwiches. It’s all good!

What to Serve with Bean Soup

When you eat soup, it’s always good to have a side dish or two. It can be this delicious beer bread on my friend Julie’s Back to My Southern Roots blog.

If you’re avoiding gluten, make these delicious chaffles.

basic chaffle with butter

This soup is delicious with cheese and crackers or crusty bread with butter you can make in about 10 minutes: Making Butter at Camp Nana.

I also make this cloud bread when I want something that’s gluten-free but tastes like more traditional bread.

Pan of cloud bread

If you enjoy cornbread, try this southern style cornbread or these packed-with-flavor jalapeno corn muffins.

It’s good served over rice and pasta—both good options if you’re really hungry. Or you can just eat more soup.

Sometimes I serve this soup with a side salad. One of our favorites is this broccoli slaw.

bowls of broccoli slaw

Frequently Asked Questions About Bean Soup

As yummy as bean soup is, you might have wondered a few things about it. Here are some typical questions you might have.

Is Bean Soup Good for You?

Yes, it absolutely is good for you. In addition to the protein and fiber, it has lots of vitamins and minerals. Here are just some nutrients in bean soup:

  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Manganese
  • Vitamin B6
  • Folate
  • Vitamin C
  • Riboflavin

How Long Does Bean Soup Last?

Most of the time we don’t have much bean soup left. However, if you do have leftovers, put it in an airtight container and put it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

You can also freeze it. I pour the soup into freezer bags that I’ve labeled (including the date). It should be good for up to 3 months. You can also put it in an airtight container before freezing it.

Bowl of homemade bean soup with ham

See this recipe shared at Weekend Potluck.

More Soup Recipes

There are so many wonderful homemade soups it’s difficult to pick just one favorite.

If you like a little spicy kick to your soup, you’ll love this delicious taco soup.

Another soup we like is this cream of tomato soup. It’s especially good with a grilled cheese sandwich for dipping!

When you want a super hearty soup, make this yummy potato soup that is as delicious as it is filling. I make it in my slow cooker, but you can also make it in an Instant Pot or on the stovetop.

Another delicious soup is this amazingly delicious cream of mushroom soup. It’s much easier to make than you might thing, and it’s so much better than the canned stuff.

Bowl of bean soup for the family dinner

Homemade Bean Soup

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Homemade bean soup

Ingredients

  • • 3 cans of white kidney beans (or whatever kind of bean you prefer)
  • • 1/2 cup frozen chopped onions
  • • 3/4 cup diced cooked ham (in a package already diced or dice it yourself)
  • • 1-1/2 cup water
  • • 1 cup bone broth (chicken or beef)
  • • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • • Salt and pepper to taste
  • • Dried or fresh chopped parsley

Instructions

1. In a medium-large saucepan or stockpot, sauté the chopped onions in the olive oil until they are translucent.

2. Add diced ham and sauté until it is browned on all sides.

3. Pour in 1 cup of water and the bone broth. Prepare the beans while it comes to a boil.

4. Drain all of the beans in a colander and pour 1/3 of them into a separate bowl.

5. Add 1/2 cup of water to the beans in the bowl and smoosh with a potato masher until it becomes pasty.

6. Pour all of the beans (the mashed and the unmashed ones) in the pot. Stir well.

7. Add the onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and give it a good stir.

8. Let this mixture simmer 1/2 hour to an hour—or whenever you’re ready to eat.

9. Scoop it into bowls and sprinkle it with some parsley to make it pretty.

Notes

You can double the recipe and freeze it or have leftovers another day.

Nutrition Information
Yield 4 Serving Size 1 cup
Amount Per Serving Calories 445Total Fat 9gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 17mgSodium 458mgCarbohydrates 62gFiber 16gSugar 3gProtein 31g

The nutrition information is a product of online calculators. I try to provide true and accurate information, but these numbers are estimates.

Did you make this recipe?

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Kippi

Friday 11th of January 2019

Yum, fast, easy and look delicious. I am pinning this one. Happy New Year, Kippi

southernhomeexpress

Friday 11th of January 2019

Hi Kippi! It's delicious! I often double the recipe so we can have it the next day for lunch. And happy New Year to you too!

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