Bean & Bacon Soup

Bean and bacon is a hearty soup that’s especially good in cold weather and makes a complete meal with the addition of a salad. The following recipe is a good approximation of the canned variety. I like to make it in a slow cooker but you can also cook it in a large soup pot.

  • 6 pieces thick-sliced bacon or bacon end pieces (chopped)
  • 1 cup chopped onion (about ½ large or 1 medium)
  • 1 stalk celery (chopped)
  • 2 carrots (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 8 cups home-cooked or canned small white beans (navy, pea, or great northern with 1 cup liquid)
  • 4 oz. tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce (optional)
  • 2 cups broth (or 2 cans—chicken, beef, or veggie)


  1. Mash 2 cups of the beans in a blender, food processor, a bowl and fork, or a potato masher, and set aside

  2. In a large, deep skillet over medium heat, cook chopped bacon till slightly browned but not completely dry—if this generates a lot of fat, remove all but about 1 Tablespoon.

  3. Add onion, celery, garlic, and carrots and sauté until onion is translucent (about 10 minutes).

  4. Stir in tomato paste and gradually add enough broth to thin it for easy mixing.

  5. Put bacon and sautéed vegetables in slow cooker or large soup pot.

  6. Add whole beans, mashed beans, salt, thyme, broth, and bay leaves.

Cooking Options

  1. For soup pot, bring to boil then simmer on low, covered, about 30 minutes.

  2. For slow cooker, put all the prepped ingredients into the slow cooker, cover and cook on low 6—8 hours (precise time is not critical).


  1. When done, remove bay leaves.

  2. Have more Tabasco sauce available for those who like heat.

This recipe makes a lot of soup—around 3 quarts. If you don’t need that much, cut the ingredients in half. But this soup freezes well, so if you want to have some handy for another dinner, make the larger quantity.

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