I have been feeling like soups more these days and one of my favourites is this bacon and bean soup! There is just something magical about dried beans that have been soaked overnight and then slowly simmered in a soup until they are tender, creamy and oh so good! Pure comfort food! In addition to the beans this soup contains vegetables in the form of onions, celery, and carrots and it’s seasoned with garlic, thyme, bay leaves, parmesan cheese and of course, plenty of bacon! This soup is great either with the chunky veggies and beans in a broth or where everything is pureed into a thick and creamy soup topped with the crispy bacon!
Because of the long simmer time, this soup is perfect for the slow cooker and there are plenty of options to customize the soup to the way you want it! I sometimes like to change the flavours up by replacing the thyme with rosemary or sage, and/or change the cheese, add tomatoes, paprika, cream, miso, etc. No matter how you make this soup, it’s sure to please!
Bacon and Bean Soup
A simple and amazingly tasty bacon and bean soup.
- 1 pound great white northern beans, picked over, rinsed and soaked overnight
- 8 ounces bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 1 cup carrot, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
- 6 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- 1 teaspoon thyme, chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan cheese), grated (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped (optional)
- Cook the bacon in a large saucepan until crispy, before setting aside on paper towels to drain, and drain all but 2 tablespoons of the grease from the pan.
- Add the onions, celery and carrots and cook over medium-high heat until tender, about 7-10 minutes.
- Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
- Add half a cup of the broth and deglaze the pan by scraping up the brown bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon as the broth simmers.
- Add the remaining broth along with the beans, thyme, and bay leaf, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the beans are tender, about 1.5-2 hours, before removing the bay leaves.
- Turn off the heat, add the parmesan and let it melt into the soup.
- Add the bacon and season with salt and pepper to taste before adding the parsley.
Option: For a quick and easy version, replace the dry beans with 3 (15 ounce) cans of white beans, rinsed and drained. You will only need to simmer for a few minutes!
Option: Replace the thyme with rosemary!
Option: Replace the parmesan with asiago or pecorino cheese!
Option: Replace the parmesan with 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast.
Option: Add 2 tablespoons tomato paste! Or 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes!
Option: Add 1 teaspoon paprika!
Option: Add cream!
Option: Add 1 tablespoon white miso paste at the end before removing from heat!
Option: Puree some or all of the beans before adding the bacon for a thick and creamy soup!
Ham and Bean Soup
Rosemary and Roasted Garlic White Bean Soup
Jalapeno Popper Bacon and Bean Soup
Pumpkin, Chorizo and Black Bean Soup
Spinach, White Bean and Turkey Sausage Soup
Maple and Bourbon Ham and Baked Bean Soup
Pasta e Fagioli Soup (Italian Pasta and Bean Soup)
Dill Pickle Soup
Made this for supper tonight. I puréed the soup to make it creamy. I added the optional cream, paprika and tomato paste. Without these optional ingredients the soup would have been very bland. Adding them provided a nice, subtle flavour to the dish.
Donna Johnson says
Made this recipe just about following all instructions except adding an extra 1/4 cup of parmesan. Mine thickened up nicely and was quite tasty…we loved it!
Made it and it’s just great! Followed the basic recipe and didn’t add any of the other options and it still has a ton of flavour!
Lori L says
Made this last night. It had a ton of flavor and we like strong flavors, including eating a lot of Indian and Thai foods. This soup was appealing to us because my husband is not a big fan of tomato in soups and stews. If you use good broth and good quality bacon and parmesan, there should be no problem with flavor. I added about 1 t. of salt. This was a hit.
Christine M says
Bean and bacon soup has always been a favorite since I was a child. I was so excited to try this recipe. It did not fail me! This came out delicious! Followed the recipe as written however forgot the parmesan cheese at the end. Still came out perfect!
Thank you for sharing the recipe!
Made based on other reviews, and it was really yummy!! Ended up adding the can of tomatoes and pureeing the beans a bit to add a creamier texture, but it was delicious! I did try it before I added the tomatoes too, and it was still yummy.
Robin Latimet says
I want to make it just like the picture you posted. What did you add to give it the orange color?
The colour in the broth comes from the chicken broth and the brown bits left in the bottom of the pan after cooking the bacon and the veggies, that are scraped up into the broth in step 4. The carrots also add a bit to the colour in both the pureed and unpureed versions. Enjoy!
I added sausage, ham, lentils, a bit of bacon grease, some kale, some Italian seasoning, some basil, a few Gnocchi, beef broth, increased the garlic, and ground up cherry tomatoes. I didn’t use cream, but did use a bit of fresh Parmesan mix at the end. It was a hit! Thank you!
karen Duncan says
I made this Soup and it was super Delish
I added from the suggestions Paprika sage Miso chicken stock as an extra potatoe and peas. Top soup and warming A++
Garlic Girl says
I made tonight. DELICIOUS!
Would this be just as good with vegetable broth instead of the chicken broth?
You can use a vegetable broth and it will be good!
Delicious! I added tomato paste and smoked Turkey sausage. It’s a keeper, thank you so much for sharing this recipe.
Peggy Fugate says
This is the best bean soup ever! I will never make the other ones I’ve tried before. My husband and I loved it. Well worth the effort to make. I put mine in the crockpot so all the flavors would really blend together. Definitely a keeper! Thanks for sharing.
Made it but the wife wasn’t fond of it. Maybe double up on the bacon?