December 2, 2022

Canadiannpizza

Cooking Is My World

15-Bean Soup – Chelsea’s Messy Apron

This is truly the BEST 15-Bean Soup recipe I’ve ever tried! This soup starts with a package of dried assorted beans (NO overnight soaking required) that get cooked in the slow cooker or pressure cooker until perfectly tender.

What Beans Are In 15-Bean Soup?

This soup uses a 15 Bean Soup package which is a dry bean soup recipe containing 15 of these bean varieties: Northern, Pinto, Large Lima, Yellow-eye Bean, Garbanzo, Baby Lima, Green Split Pea, Kidney, Cranberry Bean, Small White, Pink Bean, Small Red, Yellow Split Pea, Lentil, Navy, White Kidney, and Black Bean. The mix comes with a seasoning packet, instructions for cooking, and a list of extra items you’ll need to make it a full meal. It’s kind of like Hamburger Helper® except that it’s for soup–and it takes a bit longer to prepare!

Fun fact: According to the company’s president, this 15-bean soup mix is the #1 best-selling dry bean soup in the U.S.

Overhead image of 15-Bean Soup in a bowl

Why We Love This 15-Bean Soup Recipe!

While you can find “15-bean soup instructions” on the back of the bean package, nothing beats this recipe! And especially if you don’t have a pound of ham, leftover ham bone, or ham hocks! Or, if you don’t love tomatoes (both tomatoes and ham are called for on the back of the package). For our recipe, we will not use the seasoning packet that comes with the beans. 

This is a 15-bean soup recipe without tomatoes or ham. (That said, check out the “variations” section below if you want to add in either!)

Instead, we’re letting the beans be the star of the show and then loading up this soup with beautifully sautéed veggies and a wonderfully creamy texture. Which, by the way, the cream base is ridiculously easy to make — no roux, butter, or flour required! The way this soup is perfectly thickened with only two ingredients is practically wizardry! 🙂 

Image of the beans used in this recipe

Process shots of 15-Bean Soup-- images of the beans and spices being added and then the chicken stock

VARIATIONS

Soup Variations

So what if you do want ham or tomatoes in this soup? No problem! They’re easy additions!

  • Adding ham. Add a leftover ham bone (~2-2.5 lbs) in with the dried beans. Leave out the salt and replace the stock with water (otherwise, it will be too salty). After this portion of the recipe is finished, shred the ham off the bone and stir it into the finished soup. If you are using leftover chopped ham, add it at the end to warm through while the soup is thickening.
  • Adding tomatoes. Add in 1 can of diced tomatoes when you add in the garlic.
  • 15-Bean Soup recipe with chicken. Stir through leftover cooked or rotisserie chicken at the end just to warm through.
  • 15-Bean Soup recipe vegetarian. Replace the chicken stock/broth with vegetable stock/broth. Do not add chicken bouillon, but consider adding vegetable bouillon for more flavor.
  • More veggies. If you’d like, mix in some baby spinach or kale near the end of cooking time. You could also add a diced bell pepper with the carrots, celery, and onion.
  • 15-Bean Soup on the stove. Soak beans overnight (or 8 hours). Drain beans and discard the liquid. Then add soaked beans and 8 cups stock/broth to a large pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer (uncovered) for 2-1/2 hours. After simmering, pour in the vegetable cream mixture and simmer for another 30 minutes. 

Process shots-- images of the cornstarch and milk being whisked together

How To Cook 15 Bean Soup

This soup is broken down into 2 parts: first, we’ll slow cook the beans in a well-seasoned herby broth. Second, we’ll sauté veggies on the stovetop to pour into the soup later.

Q: So why don’t we do it all in the slow cooker?

A: For flavor and to get a creamy base (without curdling). To get the most flavor out of the celery, onion, and carrots, sauté them in oil. This also ensures even cooking so you aren’t left with crunchy raw onion in the finished soup! Since we’ll need a separate pot anyway (to create the creamy base),  using that separate pot to also create the tender veggies is the best way to prepare this soup! We use a separate pot for making the base because if we cook milk in the slow cooker for 8 hours, it will curdle.

A few more tips:

  • Finely dice carrots, onion, and celery into even-sized pieces. Or use the food processor to quickly chop the veggies! Purchasing mirepoix (already chopped carrots, onion, and celery) is another shortcut option.
  • Cook until the mixture thickens. When making the creamy base, don’t remove the pot from the heat until the cornstarch mixture has fully thickened into a sludge-like mixture. 
  • Don’t skip the finishing touches! A couple of fresh additions (the parsley and lemon) add freshness and vibrancy, bringing the soup alive.
  • Add more salt! Don’t underestimate the magic an extra pinch of salt can offer. Especially in a soup filled with beans — you may be surprised how much salt is needed.

QUICK TIP

It might seem like a good idea to make your own blend of beans instead of buying a pre-packaged mix. After all, then you can customize the types of beans you use!  The only problem with that is that you generally will need to buy an entire package of each of the 15 beans–which will leave you with quite a few leftover beans. If you have access to a bulk food bin and can get just as much as you want, then that might work. Making gift packets of 15-Bean Soup is popular during the holidays–because making up lots of soup mix packets lets you use up all those packages of beans!

Process shots of 15-Bean Soup-- images of the veggies being sautéed, and the milk being added, and it all being cooked together

Process shots-- images of the creamy veggies being added and then the lemon and parsley

STORAGE

Soup Storage

  • How to reheat: This soup keeps nicely in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-6 days. Reheating a creamy soup can be tricky; we want to avoid separation and a grainy texture. To reheat, add the amount leftover you’d like to enjoy into a pot and slowly increase the heat while stirring frequently. Don’t boil the soup or reheat it at a high temperature; this can cause the ingredients to separate or even curdle.
    • If the soup has thickened too much for your liking, add a splash more of chicken stock to thin it out as it warms through again.
  • Freezing: Unfortunately, because of the dairy in this soup, it is not a great candidate for freezing and thawing.

Up close overhead image of the 15-Bean Soup in a bowl

More Tasty Soup Recipes:

15 Bean Soup

This is truly the BEST 15-Bean Soup recipe I’ve ever tasted! This soup starts with a package of dried assorted beans (NO overnight soaking required) that get cooked in the slow cooker or pressure cooker until perfectly tender.

15 Bean Soup

This is truly the BEST 15-Bean Soup recipe I’ve ever tasted! This soup starts with a package of dried assorted beans (NO overnight soaking required) that get cooked in the slow cooker or pressure cooker until perfectly tender.

Instructions

  • 15-BEAN SOUP (slow cooker): Add everything listed under “beans” to a slow cooker. Do not add the seasoning packet, and be sure to only add two cups of beans. Season to taste, I add 1 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp pepper. Cook 8 hours on low or high for 4 hours.

  • 15-BEAN SOUP (pressure cooker): Add everything listed under “beans” to a pressure cooker (AKA Instant Pot). Do not add the seasoning packet, and be sure to only add two cups of beans. Season to taste, I add 1 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp pepper. Seal the instant pot, turn the valve to seal, and cook on manual mode for 45 minutes. (Keep in mind that it takes about 15-20 minutes to get up to pressure.) Once finished, allow for a natural release for 25 minutes (I recommend setting a timer so you don’t forget!) before releasing the rest of the pressure manually.

  • 15-BEAN SOUP (stove top): Soak beans overnight (or 8 hours). Drain the beans and discard the liquid. Then add soaked beans and 8 cups stock or broth to a large pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer (uncovered) for 2-1/2 hours. After beans are tender, pour in the vegetable cream mixture (Instruction #4-6) and simmer until thickened and creamy.

  • VEGGIES: Add olive oil to a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, and carrots; season to taste (I add 1/2 tsp each of salt & pepper). Sauté, stirring occasionally, until very tender (~10-12 minutes). Add in garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add in 2 cups of milk and stir.

  • THICKEN: In a separate bowl, add the remaining 1/2 cup milk and 1/3 cup cornstarch. Whisk with a fork until completely smooth. While stirring constantly, pour the mixture into the pot. Stir until the sauce is very thick. Once it has thickened, scrape all of it with a spatula into the pressure cooker or slow cooker. Mix well until the soup is smooth. Slow cook with the lid on for 20 minutes on high or sauté in the Instant Pot for about 5 minutes–until heated through and thickened to your liking.

  • FINISHING TOUCHES: Taste and adjust seasonings; I typically add another 1/2-3/4 tsp salt & 1/4 tsp pepper. If you feel like it needs an extra boost of flavor, add in some chicken bouillon powder to taste (1-2 tsp.) For some acidity, add in a squeeze of lemon juice or a swish of red wine vinegar. The flavors should sing!

  • SERVE: Serve bowls garnished with a sprinkle of parsley and some Parmesan cheese if desired. Serve some crusty warmed bread on the side if desired.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Preparing the bean mix: We only want 2 cups, not the whole bag! Discard the seasoning packet (or use it in a different recipe). Rinse the beans in a strainer and pick through them, discarding any shriveled beans, debris or rocks.
Note 2: Stock: The better the flavor of the stock, the better this soup will taste! We like Swanson’s Chicken Stock best, but if you want a vegetarian soup use their vegetable stock.
Note 3: Milk: We like whole milk best — it will deliver the creamiest, most flavorful soup. That said, 1% and 2% will work. I don’t recommend skim milk or milk alternatives.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 349kcal | Carbohydrates: 19.4g | Protein: 12.2g | Fat: 27.1g | Cholesterol: 3.3mg | Sodium: 677.8mg | Fiber: 3.1g | Sugar: 8.9g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.