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.

Please Note: Make sure to use navy beans, not cannellini beans, which are related to the kidney bean. Kidney beans and cannellini beans contain a high level of phytohemagglutinin, which is a strong, naturally occuring gastrointestinal toxin. The levels of this toxin can actually increase if the beans are not fully boiled for ten minutes. If you’re unsure about your beans, boil the beans on the stove top for at least ten minutes before adding to the slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients.

Slow Cooker White Bean Soup

Slow Cooker White Bean Soup

4.4 from 52 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)
  • 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
  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 for 8 hours on low or on high for 4-5 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.
*Make sure to get navy beans, not cannellini beans, which are related to the kidney bean. Kidney beans and cannellini beans contain a high level of phytohemagglutinin, which is a strong, naturally occurring gastrointestinal toxin. The levels of this toxin can actually increase if the beans are not fully boiled for ten minutes. If you're unsure about your beans, boil the beans on the stove top for at least ten minutes before adding to the slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients.


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 for 8 hours, or high for 4 hours (a better option if your cooker tends to run on the cool side).

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 )


  1. Miriam says:

    Hey Beth!!! I wanted to throw all this in the crockpot tomorrow morning but I don’t have enough navy beans….what about black turtle beans? Thanks!!! I love your blog!! :-)

    • Yes, they will work (and probably taste great) but just be aware that your soup will turn very dark black. :)

      • Miriam says:

        Thanks Beth! It turned out great. My eight year old daughter could not get enough! Thanks so much for your recipies, you are my go to blog.

  2. Courtney says:

    Made this tonight and it was pretty good! The reason I’m giving it four stars is because I made it with four cups chicken stock and two cups water. I think with only water it would have been bland. Looking forward to trying your a number of your other recipes, too!

    • CeLisa says:

      So it came out okay with the chicken stock? I was wondering about that, since there was the warning about adding salt too soon and toughening up the beans. I make a very similar recipe with a mix of thyme, garlic powder and lemon pepper as seasonings, and a bit of salt to taste as well, but I’m never a good judge as to when to add them. I just wait till the beans are almost soft.

  3. Jodi says:

    Hi Beth, so glad I came across your site. Love the easy directions and follow along photos. I made this recipe over the weekend and it was incredible. Came out exactly like you said it would. My husband raved and has already asked me to make it again.

  4. Rachel says:

    I’ve made this soup probably close to 10 times. I always use chicken broth. I’ve loved it every time. I’ve never been sick. I love making this for my lunches.

  5. Annds says:

    Made this soup tonight and it just tasted…blah. After a whole day in the crock pot the beans weren’t soft enough so I put everything in a Dutch oven and cooked them another half-hour or so. Tried adding all sorts of seasoning and still…totally blah. Guess we’ll avoid any gastro issues since the beans did get boiled at least 25 minutes, but I won’t be repeating this recipe again.

  6. DO NOT USE – Please remove or adjust this recipe. If followed exactly this is literally poison. We all got severe food poisonning last week from dry beans cooked in a slower cooker on low as this receipe suggests. Apparently many beans contain natural poison – insecticide that disintegrates at high temperatures (rapid boiling), and increases in concentration at low cooking temperatures, such as low setting in slow cooker. As it turns out, this info is all over medical sites – just google “bean poisonning”. Here is FDA guidance on that too. Nasty-nasty staff. Took 3 days to come back to life!!!!…/ucm071092.htm

    • Wrong says:

      If you google this, it’s for undercooked red beans. YOU didn’t cook whatever to the proper temperature.

  7. Thanks for sharing this recipe! This big batch should get me through a week of lunches. Here’s to being debt free in 2015!

  8. Jeannie says:

    Just made this today, SO delicious! I did the quick soak method with my navy beans, since I had time today to baby the soup on the stove instead of my crockpot. The beans were perfect! I didn’t have smoked paprika just regular paprika so when my daughter thought it was a bit bland (although delicious!) we just doctored it with a bit of rubbed sage, increased the thyme and a touch if Italian seasoning..really rounded out the flavor! Can’t wait to make this again with the smoked paprika tho’. My entire family enjoyed it, which is amazing since they differ on their opinions of beans. This one is now going to be in my rotation! Thank you!!

  9. Lindsey says:

    Made it tonight. Delicious! Great, hearty soup. Thanks!

  10. Rachael says:

    This soup was delicious.

  11. jamie says:

    Hi!! This looks great! Just to reiterate- you put the navy beans in dry?? No soaking?

    • Correct. Some people have had issues with them softening, but I think that’s due to the mineral content of their water. I had no problems. :)

  12. wheezer says:

    I used 4 cups veg broth,2 cups water…tasty!

  13. 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!

  14. maria says:

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

  15. 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. :)

  16. 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!

  17. April says:

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

  18. 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!

  19. Rachel says:

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

  20. 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!

  21. 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!

  22. 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.

      • Mike Hardwick says:

        The chapter on bean cookery in The Science of Good Cooking will clear up the myth. America’s Test Kitchen has done the science. Salt added at the start of cooking doesn’t cause any significant problems. Baking soda speeds cooking and yields a creamier product. I use 1/8 tsp to 1/4 tsp depending on batch size. I slow-cook garbanzos for hummus for 4 hours on low with salt and baking soda, which produces the most flavorful beans I’ve ever tasted. They develop a buttery richness, probably because baking soda reduces the temperature necessary for the maillard reaction.

      • regit says:

        I am a chemist with experience in cooking various types of starches for commercial products. I assure you, at the level of salt to water being used, the salt has essentially no effect on the beans softening. (The softening occurs by water first permeating the outer shell of the bean and then permeating and swelling the starch granules within the beans.) The reply about pH is indeed the correct one. The starch granules of the beans have a very difficult time with water uptake if the water is acidic. However, if the water is basic, the starch granules will swell with water water more rapidly, and if at pH10 or higher, will soften and burst at a lower temperature than pH 8 or lower. (But you definitely would not want to eat something that is pH 10 or higher!) The pH of a saturated solution of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is about 8.4. Very dilute solutions are about pH 7.5-8. So, baking soda would be useful only if you have water with pH of about 6.5 or less. Note that U. S. EPA standards require public drinking water to be in the pH range of 6.5-8.5.

Speak Your Mind


Rate this recipe: