Classic Bean Soup – A Couple Cooks


This classic bean soup recipe is smoky and irresistibly satisfying! It’s quick and easy in just over 30 minutes.

Bean Soup

Here’s a cozy bowl that’s so hearty and satisfying, you’ll never want to put your spoon down. Try this hearty and easy bean soup! Make room in your heart for this recipe, because it dazzles. Kidney beans and navy beans float in a savory, smoky broth of fire roasted tomatoes that has just the right glossy texture. It uses canned beans, but it tastes like it’s been simmering all day. Each silky, smoky spoonful is a bit of heaven. (Plus, it saves well too!)

Ingredients in this bean soup

Sure, there are bean soups with dried beans, and crockpot recipes that simmer for hours. (You know, the kind with the ham hock?) We love those, but we also love fast and easy soups that required little foresight. This classic bean recipe requires just over 30 minutes and 3 cans of beans. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Canned navy beans
  • Canned kidney beans
  • Fire-roasted tomatoes (important: see notes below)
  • Vegetables: yellow onion, carrots, celery, garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Vegetable broth
  • Spices: Smoked paprika, cumin, fennel seeds, and salt

Smoked paprika is key to the flavor here! It’s a Spanish version of paprika, often labeled as pimenton, that infuses smoky flavor to dishes. It’s worth grabbing a bottle for this recipe, and you can use it in these smoked paprika recipes. The fennel seed is also essential, as it evokes a meaty flavor.

Bean Soup

Notes on the beans

Various types of bean work in this mixed bean soup recipe: really any three 15-ounce cans of beans goes! You can also use cooked beans that you may have on hand. But we have a few tips for the variety of beans you use here:

  • Navy beans are worth seeking out: their small size and buttery flavor is a great contrast to the larger kidney beans. You can substitute cannellini, but they are larger and can taste starchy. Think of using a smaller bean like pinto or black beans instead.
  • Kidney beans add a nice contrast in color and size. If you substitute other types, think about these contrasts.
  • You can also use beans cooked from dry. Just don’t use them dry in the soup: cook them first! One 15-ounce can equals 1 ½ cups cooked beans, so use 4 ½ cups total canned beans in this recipe.
Bean soup recipe

Find fire roasted tomatoes for best flavor

The best secret in this bean soup, besides the savory combination of spices? Fire roasted tomatoes. This type of tomato brings massive sweet flavor to soups and sauces, right out of the can. Here’s what to know about this variety:

  • Fire roasted tomatoes are a type of canned tomato that’s roasted over a flame before canning. They’re sold by several different brands; look for them in the canned tomato section in your local grocery. We like Muir Glen.
  • Fire roasted tomatoes taste sweet right out of the can. This means you can cook them for less time, which is always a pro in our book!
  • Can’t find them? Use the highest quality canned tomatoes you can find. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes longer than specified below, and you may want to consider adding 1 teaspoon sugar to round out the flavors.
Bean soup

Dietary notes

Often bean soups have ham or bacon added, but this one tastes great without the addition of meat. This makes it a naturally vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free. The flavor tastes great without added meat, in part due to the smoked paprika and fennel that infuse meaty flavors. If desired, you can also add a ham hock to the pot while simmering or up to 1 pound ham, chopped into small pieces.

Leftover storage

This bean soup recipe stores very well! Once you’ve simmered it up, you can save it for up to 3 days refrigerated. The flavor just gets better over time! (We were eating this one for days and it kept tasting even more savory and delicious.) You can also freeze it for up to 3 months.

Sides to serve with bean soup

Got a big pot of bean soup? There are many sides to serve with soup to make it a meal, from crunchy fresh salads to bread or muffins. Here are some favorite ideas:

More bean soup recipes

Many bean varieties make make a great soup: from black to white to garbanzos! Here are some of our top bean soup recipes:

This bean soup recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.


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This classic bean soup recipe is smoky and irresistibly satisfying! It’s quick and easy in just over 30 minutes.

  • 1 medium yellow onion, small diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 28-ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 15-ounce cans navy beans*, drained (or substitute cannellini beans or pinto beans)
  • 1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  1. Dice the onion, carrots and celery. Mince the garlic.
  2. In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, sauté the onion, carrots, and celery for 5 to 7 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add tomatoes, drained beans, vegetable broth, smoked paprika, cumin, fennel seeds (crushing the fennel seeds with your fingers as you add them), and kosher salt. Simmer for 15 minutes**. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Serve warm: leftovers keep well refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen up to 3 months.


*Or, substitute any mix of 3 15-ounce cans of different types of beans. Navy beans are worth seeking out: the small size and buttery flavor is a nice contrast to the larger kidney beans. Or, substitute beans cooked from dry: use a total of 4 ½ cups cooked beans.

**The flavor should taste sweet and developed. If you aren’t using fire-roasted tomatoes, simmer 5 to 10 minutes more, and you may want to consider adding 1 teaspoon sugar to round out the flavors.

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Soup
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Bean soup, bean soup recipe


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