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7 Warming Bean Soup Recipes

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Hearty and wholesome.

When the weather turns cool, nothing says cozy and warm like a good, hot bowl of bean soup. These seven bean soup recipes are warming, wholesome, and filling without being heavy. From spicy chili to classic lentil, you’ll love each of these recipes. 

bowl of senate bean soup with ham and salad on wooden table

Some consider heavy dishes like mac and cheese or meatloaf the ultimate comfort foods. But thick, savory bean soups rank as top contenders, too. Bean soups are nourishing, healthy, and filling. From the world’s best vegetarian chili to retro Senate Bean Soup, here are 6 hearty bean soup recipes to keep you warm and full this fall and winter.

Seven Cozy Bean Soup and Stew Recipes for Fall and Winter

1. Senate Bean Soup

bowl of senate bean soup with ham and salad on wooden table

If you want to enjoy Senate Bean Soup, there are two options. One option is to head to the Senate cafeteria, on the ground floor of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. The other is to make this easy, hammy, three-ingredient Senate Bean Soup recipe yourself. So good it’s been on the Senate menu for over 100 years. This is one of the most popular bean soup recipes on Unpeeled.

2. The Best Vegetarian Chili

bowl of beans vegetarian chili with cheese and scallions on top

I love a great vegetarian chili. Emphasis on the word “great.” A great vegetarian chili, unlike merely “very good” iterations, has a thick, hearty texture and real depth of flavor: smoky, rich, fragrant from cumin, plus extra points for a little spice. It took me many years to hone what I think is one of the single best vegetarian chili recipes out there. Here is this top recipe for bean soup.

3. Vegetarian French Lentil Soup

mugs of french lentil soup with biscuit

Lentil soup is always in heavy rotation in my home. This bean soup recipe is easy to make, hearty, and filling — a great vegetarian lunch or dinner all on its own, or with some crusty bread and butter.

4. Bacon Black Bean Soup

bowl of black bean soup with cheddar cilantro jalepeno with spoon

Everyone needs and deserves a good black bean soup recipe, heaped with all the best toppings: cheese, scallions, cornbread, sour cream, cilantro, you name it. This is a great classic black bean soup, and can be made as spicy or mild as you like.

5. Pasta e Fagioli (Rosemary White Bean Soup)

rosemary white bean soup in bowl with parsley

White bean soup, or pasta e fagioli (pronounced “Pasta-fa-ZHOOL”), is an Italian peasant meal. This means, of course, that it tastes hearty and delicious, and uses fresh, inexpensive ingredients. This rustic, creamy bean relies squarely on the simple magic of dried cannellini beans, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, herbs, tomato paste, and water. Plus a secret trick or two.

6. Tomato, Kale and Chickpea Stew

bowls of tomato kale chickpea stew with grated parmesan and basil leaves over polenta

There are many things to love about this tomato, kale and chickpea stew recipe. For one, it is a one-pot, dump-and-stir wonder that cooks in about 30 minutes. Secondly, it has incredible flavor and texture from all the right ingredients. You will love this.

7. White Bean Chicken Chili

white chicken chili bean soup recipe

This white bean chicken chili recipe is so good it won a chili contest! Best of all? It’s easy to make. You’ll make this white chicken chili over and over. It’s a hearty but not heavy bean soup.

Are you making one of these bean soup recipes? Pair your soup with:

Here’s one soup to get you started:

bowl of senate bean soup with ham and salad on wooden table

Senate Bean Soup (The Official Recipe)

Senate Bean Soup is a historic recipe that's always on the Senate menu for a reason. With not much more than navy beans, a ham hock, and water, you can have one of the country's most satisfying, and famous, ham and bean soups.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time3 hours 30 minutes
Course: dinner, lunch
Cuisine: American
Keywords:: beans, comfort food, easy, ham, patriotic, senate, soup
Servings: 4 people


  • 1 pound dry navy beans
  • 3/4 pound smoked ham hock
  • 2 quarts cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (optional, but I recommend as it will help the beans soften)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • kosher salt, to taste (I do about 2 teaspoons)
  • fresh black pepper, to taste


  • Rinse the navy beans and pick over. Place beans into large pot with the ham hock and two quarts of cold water and the baking soda, if using.
    PRO TIP: Baking soda is not part of the official recipe, but it is my secret weapon when cooking dried beans. The alkaline pH helps soften the beans' tough exterior and helps speed cooking a bit.
  • Bring just to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for approximately three hours (yep) in a covered pot with the lid barely cracked, stirring occasionally, until the beans have fully softened.
    TIP: The water quantity should be accurate, but If the pot of beans starts to look a little dry, add more water until you have a very thick, creamy soup consistency.
  • Remove the ham hock and set it aside on a dish to cool. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until translucent and lightly brown. (Mmm..butter and onions. Doesn't that smell good?) Add the diced, buttery onion to the soup.
  • Pull meat from the ham hock into bite-sized pieces and return the meat to soup. Stir. Discard the picked-over ham bone.
    Before serving, bring the soup to a boil and season with salt and pepper. Serve on its own or with a nice green salad to complement the richness of the soup.


This Senate Bean Soup recipe is based on the original. The ingredients and quantities are exactly the same, with the addition of a little optional baking soda to help soften the beans and speed the cooking a bit. 
This soup will keep in the fridge for up to three days, and freezes well. 

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