This white bean chicken soup is inspired by the famous Portuguese hearty bean soups full of delicious flavors and textures. It's one of the quickest chicken soup recipes you will ever make with minimal ingredients needed and with only one stove pot required - cleaning up is a breeze!
⭐ Why this recipe works
Look no further than this white bean chicken soup if you want an easy soup to make this fall-winter season.
Portuguese-style soups are commonly lumpy, full of flavor, and incredibly filling. And this one combines hearty ingredients like bacon, chicken, and earthy white beans in a rich chicken broth with a touch of spice.
This absolutely delicious recipe is a real crowd pleaser and sure to win the hearts of whoever tries it. And if you love chicken soup as much as my family and me, be sure to also check out the spicy chicken & white bean or my absolute fav chicken pot pie soup.
I love making these chicken soups for 2 reasons. The aroma of the soup is very pungent and flows throughout the household, which brings everyone to the dinner table in a hurry, and secondly, the whole thing is made in one stockpot, which means no washing up afterward.
🍽 Ingredient notes
White beans: protein isn't the only thing that white beans offer to this soup. They're also high in fiber, and they add a wonderful taste and texture to the dish.
This warm and hearty soup is flavored with a range of spices, including garlic, onion, cayenne, and bay leaves. The addition of bacon provides that extra crispy and salty taste to this comfy supper.
Like most chicken soups, you can use chicken thighs instead of breast and rotisserie chicken or leftover shredded chicken if you want to speed up the prep time.
Fresh herbs and spices
Herbs like fresh rosemary or parsley work well with this soup, and spices like paprika, red pepper flakes, turmeric, and Cajun spice give the soup extra layers of flavor.
🔪 How to make
White bean chicken soup is super easy to make in just half an hour, and with my step-by-step instructions, any home cook can make it without any fuss. All that is required is to chop a few ingredients, combine them with the stock and seasonings in a pot, let it simmer and voilà.
- Grab the chopping board and knife and chop the bell pepper, celery, and onion into small cubes, then set them aside in a bowl. Finely mince the garlic cloves and set them aside.
- Cut the bacon pieces into small strips and cube the chicken breasts.
- Set the skillet over medium-high heat with a tablespoon of oil and cook the chicken for 10 minutes.
- Open the canned beans and rinse them under cold running water, then drain them off.
Heat the oil in a medium stockpot over medium heat, then fry the bacon until almost crisp - about 5 minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the saturated fat and set it aside.
Add onion, celery, and red pepper to the pot and cook until softened, about 4 - 5 minutes.
Then add garlic and cook for a few more minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add in the cayenne pepper, and season with salt and pepper.
Add the bay leaves and stir everything together.
Then add the stock, reduce the heat to simmer for about 20 minutes.
Add the cooked chicken.
Add the white beans.
Lastly, add cooked bacon, and carry on cooking for another 10 minutes until the beans are soft and the broth has thickened slightly.
Serve garnished with grated parmesan cheese and a nice crusty bread on the side.
💭 Cooking tips
Thoroughly rinse the bean juices from the can and rinse them well under cold water to remove any nasty preservative flavors.
They will be sticky and gloopy from the can.
📖 Recipe Variations
Use this delicious soup recipe to make equally tasty variations by adding a few extra ingredients.
Kale and white bean soup
Give the soup a dose of fresh greens with kale! Kale is highly rich in iron and vitamin C, and it combines well with earthy white beans.
All you need is a cup of kale or even baby spinach added to the pot and a squeeze of lemon juice at the end to brighten the flavors.
Bean, chicken & sausage soup
If you like your soups extra meaty, why not add a few chopped sausages to the mix to add an extra layer of flavor.
Sausage + chicken + beans = pure comfort food soup.
Ham and white bean soup
Ham compliments most dishes and adds so much flavor. Use good quality ham to slice into small chunks and not the sandwich-sliced ham for best results.
🥗 What to serve with
White bean chicken soup is instead filling on its own, but I always like something to dip into the delicious broth or a small side dish to pair it with.
A small bowl of fluffy rice is always a good idea for soups. If you don't feel full while eating this, the rice will make sure of it!
Nothing beats a nice simple salad to pair with soups or a tasty potato salad.
Soups and bread are a match, let's face it! And these buttermilk biscuits are what you want to dip into the broth.
🙋 Frequently Asked Questions
What is the thickener in a white bean soup?
Mix 1 tablespoon of corn starch and 1 tablespoon of water in a cup and stir it in. It will start to thicken instantly.
Can I use an Instant pot or slow cooker to make white bean chicken soup?
Yes, you can use both of these methods for making this soup and other soups. Check the cooking times and settings for soups in the slow cooker or instant pot manual.
Can I use other beans for this soup?
You can use other types of beans, although the texture of each type and cooking time may vary. Cannellini beans, red beans, green beans, or navy beans work well.
🧊 Storing and ♨️reheating
White bean chicken soup is great for storing in the fridge or freezer.
Once the soup has cooled, you can transfer the leftovers to an airtight container and keep them in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Use freezer bags or an airtight container for storing the leftovers in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Pour the leftover soup into a pot over medium-high heat and cook until bubbling.
🍳 Related soup recipes
If you love my white bean and chicken soup. Try one of these fantastic soup recipes for your next lunch or dinner.
👪 Serving Size
This white bean chicken soup will easily give 6 generous servings. You can also scale it to make more if you have more guests and refrigerate the rest later.
Portuguese-style soups are perfect for winter, and this hearty chicken bean soup is up there with the best of them. Let me know if you enjoyed it!
🎥 Watch How To Make It
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Try one of my comfort dinner recipes for your next family meal! And if you have any questions, I'm here to help!
White Bean Chicken Soup
- 1 Wooden stirring spoon
- 1 Large pot or stockpot
- 1 Chopping board
- 1 Knife
- 2 small bowls
- 1 Skillet
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 8 bacon - strips, cut into ½
- 1 yellow onion - large, diced
- 1 red pepper - seeded and diced
- 2 garlic cloves - minced
- 2 bay leaves
- salt and pepper - to taste
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 2 chicken breasts - cooked and cubed
- 2 15 oz navy beans - cans, drained and rinsed
- Parmesan - freshly grated, for garnish
- Heat the oil in a medium stockpot over medium heat, then fry the bacon until almost crisp - about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to drain and set aside.
- Add the onion, celery and red pepper and cook until softened, about 4 - 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for about 3 more minutes, stirring often.
- Add the bay leaves, salt, pepper and cayenne and stir for about another minute or two, then add the stock and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Add the chicken, beans and cooked bacon, then cook until the chicken is heated through - about 10 more minutes.
- Serve garnished with Parmesan and a nice crusty bread on the side.