Slow Cooker White Bean Soup

$4.78 recipe / $0.80 serving

Whoever discovered beans gets a big fat medal of appreciation from yours truly. They’re just incredible. Incredible and cheap.

This soup is thick, warm, comforting, and flavorful… and was LESS THAN FIVE DOLLARS FOR THE WHOLE POT. That’s the magic of beans.

This awesome soup is also vegan. It uses fresh vegetables to make its own flavorful broth – no Better Than Bouillon soup base this time around, folks. It’s all au naturale! The best part? I chopped the veggies the night before and then just threw everything into the slow cooker before I left for work today. When I walked through the door this afternoon my apartment smelled absolutely divine. A few quick stirs, a little salt to taste, and I had an incredible, thick, delicious soup all ready to go. I dipped in a chunk of crusty French bread and life was good.

Don’t really care about the vegan part? Try adding a smoked ham hock or turkey leg to the slow cooker with the rest of the soup ingredients for an ultra smokey, rich soup. Or, save your bacon grease from breakfast and add a few tablespoons in place of the olive oil. You won’t regret it.

This makes a huge pot, so I highly suggest you freeze some single servings for later.

Slow Cooker White Bean Soup

Slow Cooker White Bean Soup

4.4 from 46 reviews
Slow Cooker White Bean Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Total Cost: $4.78
Cost Per Serving: $0.80
Serves: 6-8 (makes 9 cups)
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 4 cloves garlic $0.32
  • 1 medium yellow onion $0.73
  • ½ lb. carrots $0.55
  • 4 stalks (1/2 sleeve) celery $0.80
  • 1 lb. dry navy beans $1.69
  • 1 whole bay leaf $0.15
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary $0.10
  • ½ tsp dried thyme $0.05
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika $0.05
  • Freshly cracked pepper (15-20 cranks of a mill) $0.05
  • 1½ tsp (or more to taste) salt $0.05
Instructions
  1. Mince the garlic, dice the onion, slice the celery, and slice the carrots into thin rounds. Add the olive oil, garlic, onion, celery, and carrots to a large (5qt or larger) slow cooker.
  2. Sort through the beans and remove any debris or stones. Give them a quick rinse and then add them to the slow cooker, along with the bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, paprika, and some freshly cracked pepper.
  3. Add SIX CUPS of water to the slow cooker and stir to combine the ingredients. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.
  4. After 8 hours, stir the soup and mash the beans slightly. Starting with just a ½ tsp, add salt to your liking. I used about 2 tsp total, but keep tasting and adding more, ½ tsp at a time, until it reaches the level that you prefer.

 

Slow Cooker White Bean Soup

Step by Step Photos

IngredientsYou pretty much just throw everything in the slow cooker. Okay, so maybe there’s a LITTLE prep involved… just mince the garlic, dice the onion, and slice the celery and carrots. Sort through and rinse the beans real quick, too. Then, just add the olive oil, garlic, onion, celery, carrots, beans, bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, smoked paprika, and some freshly cracked pepper to the the slow cooker. (I did not pre-soak the beans)

Add WaterNext, add SIX CUPS of water and stir everything together. Put the lid on top and set the slow cooker to LOW.

Cooked SoupCome back 8 hours later and you’ll have this. Now, you may think, “OMG, I didn’t add enough water!” That’s what I thought anyway… until I stirred it.

Stir SoupStir the soup and you’ll notice that there is, in fact, enough water. It’s just that everything was floating on top. Now, keep stirring and mashing some of the beans up against the side of the pot so that the soup will thicken…

Thickened SoupAnd finally it becomes a thick, delicious soup. Okay, one last thing – you HAVE to add some salt. Salt really makes the flavors pop. You want to wait until the end to add salt because adding it early can make the beans tough and you generally need less salt if it’s added at the end as opposed to the beginning. So, start with 1/2 tsp and just keep tasting and adding more as needed. I liked it right around 2 teaspoons, but 1 1/2 tsp was pretty good, too.

Slow Cooker White Bean SoupSo thick and delicious… perfect for crusty bread!

Slow Cooker White Bean SoupBeans are good food.

Extra VeggiesOh one more thing… Many of my soup recipes call for 1/2 pound of carrots and a half bunch/sleeve of celery. I never let the other half of each go to waste. Go ahead and cut them up, put them in freezer bags, and save them for your next batch of soup. That way the next time you get to skip all of the chopping! (This photo is from an old recipe, BTW. That’s why it says 2011 :P )

213 Comments

  1. laurie says:

    Thanks for this! I actually did it in a pressure cooker in less than 1/2 hour! First, I did dried white northern beans for 15 mins to cook them, then I added the other stuff and pressure cooked for another 5 minutes. I think adding a few tbsps of vinegar and oregano and some veggie stock and tomato sauce makes it even nicer!

  2. maria says:

    Can you turn the slow cooker on high and half the cooking time? Or do the beans need 8 hours on low?

  3. Annemarie says:

    Hi Beth, I love your recipes. Would love to make this with canned beans. Which would you recommend and for how long? I tried to look at the older posts, but could not bring up. Thanks. Annemarie

    • I think I would use navy beans and you’ll need to reduce the amount of water (since they’re already cooked). Maybe use 1/3 the water and add more if needed. You’ll only need to simmer the soup until the vegetables are soft, so it should be fairly quick. :)

  4. This soup is in my regular meal rotation. It is tasty and super easy to make! I don’t like rosemary, so I leave that out and use great northern beans instead of navy. Thanks!

  5. April says:

    I have made this twice now in the last two weeks….love it! So easy and absolutely delicious! Well done!

  6. I wanted to come back and say thanks. It seemed odd to me, but all 5 of my children loved this. They are 11, 9, 7, 4 and 2 – and they all ate it. Never saw that coming! Thank you!

  7. Rachel says:

    We loved this recipe! Has a slightly similar flavor to that of the Greek giant beans my husband loves so much.

  8. Nelle says:

    I made this today, and I really would have substituted veggie or chicken broth for the water in this recipe. I felt that this soup was VERY bland, which was surprising because all the other recipes are so delicious!

  9. Mark says:

    I’ve tried this recipe for lunch yesterday, and as I rarely have success if I don’t soak them over night, I decided to soak the beans, and later added only 4 cups of water. It was delicious :) Thank you for the recipe!

  10. Can you use chicken broth or veggie broth instead of water? I plan to make this bean soup, but, have tried using dry beans before and they always seem undercooked. Any suggestions would be so helpful.

    • From what I understand, it’s a myth that salt makes the beans tough and it’s actually the pH of your water. If it’s too acidic or if you add ingredients that are too acidic, the beans won’t soften. So, it’s suggested that you add a little baking soda (not baking powder). Now, how much to add is another question. I’ve never tried it, so I’m really not sure. :P

      • Sunflower Hasan says:

        No its not a myth adding salt to the beans before they are fully cook will make the beans hard. And yes you can use a vegetable broth instead of water it will only increase the flavor of your soup.

        • Just to add my experience, I cook dried beans in salted water all the time and have never had a problem with them cooking through.

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