Bacon Bean and Potato Soup

$7.76 recipe / $0.78 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.22 from 19 votes
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A few weeks ago, my friend Jenni sent me a link to this amazing-looking Bean and Bacon Soup by Taste and Tell. I had actually run across the photo on Pinterest a couple of days prior and it had made my mouth water, but she had already tried it and verified its scrumptious status. That’s all I needed to make me want to try it ASAP. But of course, I made it my own and ended up with this Bacon Bean and Potato Soup.

Overhead view of a bowl of Bacon Bean and Potato Soup with bread on the side and title text at the top

Budget Tweaks

I love this soup because it has simple ingredients and big flavor—my kind of recipe! I used dry beans to save an extra dollar or two, used less bacon, and added potatoes because they were on sale and potatoes are great for bulking up soups. Because of that, this soup makes a HUGE batch, so you can rest assured at least half of it is going in my freezer. Make sure you have a large stock pot for this one. Mine was a 5 quart pot and The Bacon Bean and Potato Soup filled it really close to the top!

What to Serve with This Soup

You’ll definitely want some sort of hearty bread for dipping into this rich soup, so I suggest making a batch of No-Knead Focaccia Rolls or Rosemary Pepper Drop Biscuits

Close up of a spoonful of Bacon Bean and Potato Soup, the bowl in the background
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Bacon Bean and Potato Soup

4.22 from 19 votes
This hearty Bacon Bean and Potato Soup is extra thick with both beans and potato, plus enough bacon and vegetables to give each bowl plenty of flavor! 
Servings 10 (1.5 cups each)
Prep 1 day 30 minutes
Cook 1 hour 15 minutes
Total 1 day 1 hour 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. dry navy beans ($1.79)
  • 6 oz. bacon ($2.00)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.37)
  • 3 carrots ($0.32)
  • 3 ribs celery ($0.53)
  • 2 lbs. potatoes ($1.44)
  • 6 cups chicken broth ($0.76)
  • 1 8z. can tomato sauce ($0.34)
  • salt and pepper to taste ($0.05)

Instructions 

  • The night before, place the beans in a large bowl and add enough cool water to cover the beans by 2-3 inches. Let the beans soak in the refrigerator over night.
  • The next day, cut the bacon into one-inch pieces. Cook the bacon in a large pot over medium heat until brown and crispy. Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and pour off most of the grease, leaving a tablespoon or two in the pot.
  • While the bacon is cooking, dice the onion and mince the garlic. Peel and slice the carrots, and slice the celery. Sauté the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery in the leftover bacon grease over medium heat until the onions are soft and transparent (about five minutes). Use the moisture from the vegetables to help dissolve the browned bits of bacon from the bottom of the pot.
  • While the vegetables are sautéing, peel the potatoes then cut them into 1/2-inch cubes. Drain the soaked beans in a colander and rinse them briefly.
  • Add the cubed potatoes, rinsed beans, and chicken broth to the pot. Cover the pot and bring it up to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly and let the pot boil gently for one hour, or until the beans and potatoes are very soft.
  • Use an immersion blender to purée about half of the soup, leaving some beans and vegetables whole. If you don’t have an immersion blender, remove half of the soup from the pot, let it cool slightly, then use a blender or food processor to carefully purée the warm soup. Return the puréed soup to the pot and stir to combine with the rest.
  • Add the tomato sauce and reserved bacon to the soup. Stir and heat until warm. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper if needed. Serve hot.

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Nutrition

Serving: 1.5CupsCalories: 398.5kcalCarbohydrates: 52.55gProtein: 18.43gFat: 13.73gSodium: 1119.12mgFiber: 9.51g
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Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Side view of a bowl of Bacon Bean and Potato Soup, topped with bacon

How to Make Bacon Bean and Potato Soup – Step by Step Photos

Package of Dry Navy Beans

For this recipe you’ll need one pound of dry navy beans. Navy beans are small and break down pretty easily, which makes them nice for this soup where you’ll be blending them until thick and smooth anyway.

Uncooked navy beans in a bowl full of water

The evening before, place the beans in a large bowl and cover with a few inches of water. Let the beans soak in the refrigerator over night.

Sliced Bacon

The next day, take 6oz. of bacon (1/2 of a 12oz. package) and slice them into one-inch strips. The rest of the bacon can be frozen for use in another dish (or eaten for breakfast later in the week).

Browned Bacon in the soup pot

Cook the bacon over medium heat in a large pot until it’s brown and crispy. Remove the bacon to a paper towel-covered plate and pour off most of the grease, leaving a tablespoon or two to cook the vegetables.

Carrots Celery Onion and Garlic

While the bacon is cooking, start dicing one onion, mincing two cloves of garlic, peeling and slicing three carrots, and slicing three stalks of celery.

Sautéed Vegetables in the soup pot

After the bacon is removed, add the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery to the pot with the left over bacon grease. Sauté the vegetables over medium heat until the onions are soft and transparent (about five minutes). Use the moisture from the vegetables to help dissolve the browned bits of bacon off the bottom of the pot (that’s all the good flavor bits!).

Whole Potatoes

While the vegetables are sautéing, peel and cut about 2 lbs. of potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes. I had almost 2 lbs of potatoes, but could have used a bit less because my pot was REALLY full. I’d aim for 1.5 lbs.

Add Potatoes and Soaked Beans to the soup pot

Drain the soaked beans in a colander and give them a quick rinse. Add the rinsed beans and cubed potatoes to the pot with the sautéed vegetables.

Chicken broth added to the pot

Add six cups of vegetable broth. Place a lid on the pot and let it come up to a boil. Reduce the heat just slightly and let the soup boil gently for about an hour, or until the beans and potatoes are very soft.

Boiled Soup

And then it will look a little something like the photo above.

Puréed Soup

Use an immersion blender to purée about half of the soup. You want a few whole beans and vegetables for visual texture and color. If you don’t have an immersion blender, remove about half of the soup and let it cool until warm, then use a blender or food processor to purée the soup. Stir the puréed soup back into the rest. BE SURE to let it cool before blending. Blending hot liquids is very dangerous. I speak from experience.

Can of Tomato Sauce

Add about 8 oz. of tomato sauce to the soup and stir to combine. I’ve had this 15 oz. can sitting in the back of my pantry for AGES, so I just used that, or half of it anyway.

Cooked Bacon and pepper added to the pot

Finally, stir the crispy bacon back in the soup, let it heat up (if it’s not already), taste, and season with salt and pepper if needed. The amount of salt is very subjective, but potatoes tend to absorb a lot of salt, so I added about 1/2 tsp at the end. You can reserve a few pieces of bacon for garnishing the bowls, if desired.

Over head view of a bowl of Bacon Bean and Potato Soup ready to serve with bread

Thick, warm, and very filling! Bacon Bean and Potato Soup is the perfect soup for cold Autumn evenings. Make sure to get some crusty bread to dip in this deliciousness.

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  1. Just made this and it’s very yummy! I added 2 bay leaves and 1/4 tsp chili flakes. I just decided to make it so rather than soaking beans overnight I just covered with water and 1/2 tsp salt, brought to a boil. Turned off heat and covered for an hour. Just rinsed in colander and they were ready. Got everything chopped and ready in the meantime.

  2. Wasn’t keen on this one. The final product tasted bland to me, so it was a lot of time invested for a poor return. Sadly, not a keeper.

  3. I’ve been making this soup since it was first published and as the weather is getting cold, here I am making it again. Always delicious, and as food prices continue to rise I doubly appreciate this recipe because it’s good food on a budget. Thank you Beth!

  4. My young daughter and I made this tonight, with minor variations, and it was great!  We cut the recipe roughly in half: used (2) 15 oz cans of Navy beans, drained and rinsed, vs dried beans; used some cooked, sliced ham cut into chunks instead of bacon, and added it after sautéing the vegetables; used onion and garlic powder to keep it simple instead of using fresh, although we had both on hand; and eliminated tomato sauce even though we had it, because when we taste tested it near the end we felt we didn’t need that.  We used a potato masher as someone else suggested instead of trying to puree near the end for half the soup, and that worked well.  We found a quick recipe for homemade bread and made a small loaf to go with it.  We each had a big bowl with some of the bread, and there was enough left for perhaps 2 medium bowls for lunch some other day.  This was a great opportunity to help my daughter develop her cooking skills, as she will be heading off to college in a few years.  I also used this chance to have her compare what it would cost to cook for herself vs going out to eat (roughly 10-20% of the cost of a meal in a restaurant).  Thank you, Beth, for the recipe, and thank you to everyone else for the helpful comments!

  5. I’m going to make this but leaving out tomato sauce. Thanks for sharing, sounds wonderful!

    1. I just did it in my off brand electric pressure cooker and I did everything the same but soak the beans first. I used the “Stew” option on mine which I’m pretty sure is just 30 minutes high pressure and it cooked perfectly. I added a boatload of Cholula because of a local law that I made up that all bean soups require a minimum of 1 bottle of Cholula.

  6. Made this last winter, loved it and filed it in my brain for later. We’re experiencing another cold snap and I knew what to make! (Had Your swamp soup during the last cold spell. Equally killer.) Whipped up a batch of your soft and sweet rolls as well. Even the picky preschooler loves it! Thanks for another keeper.

  7. Just a quick question I’m in Australia and here tomato sauce is something we put on fries like ketchup is what you used similar to a tomato passata or paste?

    can’t wait to try this!

    1. I think what we call tomato sauce is closer to the product that you call passata. :) The stuff we put on fries has a lot of sugar and vinegar added to it, which is not what you want here. I don’t know if that’s how your fry condiment is, though!

  8. The soup is absolutely DELICIOUS!! I added a bay leave, rosemary and oregano for more added flavor along with some seasonings. I served the soup with toasted French bread. Thank you so much for this fabulous recipe, Beth!! :-)

  9. I made this yesterday and it was delicious! I had one can of cannellini beans which I rinsed and drained and one can of “white beans in tomato sauce” which I drained into a bowl to keep the tomato sauce for later. It was still pretty thin so I added some tomato paste, plus sugar, salt, onion and garlic powder.

    I used a potato masher because I don’t have a blender and it worked just fine.

    I added thyme, rosemary and a bay leaf with the broth.

    It was AMAZING.

  10. With all due respect, for those who made this soup have NO IDEA what flavor means! If the soup is going to be that bland SEASON IT!! I’m looking forward to making this crispy bacon, bean and potato soup next week-despite the objections!!!! :-)

  11. Many people commented that this was bland, but to me, it’s meant to be rather simple right? I mean its white beans and potatoes mainly! I just added some of my fave all purpose seasoning, some smoked paprika and a squirt of lemon juice at the end.
    Yummy, filling, great when you are snowed in, and crazy cheap! I think if I had a large family I’d make this a lot! But its just me and my husband so I shared with my parents who loved it.

  12. A bit of thyme and a crank of black pepper make this recipe even more wonderful…

  13. Hey Beth!

    I made this soup today in the Instant Pot. I used the “sautee” setting for the bacon and veggies, then threw everything else in and hit the “bean/chili” button. This allowed me to make the soup without soaking the beans overnight! Just wanted to share, since you’ve been posting about the instant pot a lot lately.

    I also added a pinch of dried rosemary and pinch of dried thyme, which paired very well with the soup.

    Thanks for all the recipes. Many are favorites in my household.