Butter Bean Soup

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This nourishing butter bean soup is packed with tender butter beans (aka lima beans), veggies, and wonderful herbs and spices. It’s super cozy and creamy!

So delicious with a side of crusty bread or black pepper focaccia.

Top view of a white bowl full of butter bean soup served with crusty bread.

Have you been looking for cozy recipes as we are approaching the end of summer? Perfect, this wonderful butter bean soup is here to hug you! 

This is truly the perfect recipe for soup season.

It’s soul warming, healthy, full of protein and incredibly easy to make with pantry staples, dried herbs and spices.

You’ll love the “creamy” broth (without cream!), and how the fluffy beans absorb the flavour. It’s the best of both worlds: creamy thanks to a pureed bean base, and chunky with tender butter beans and veggies.

Seriously. What’s not to love?! 

You may want to serve it with crunchy croutons for a textural contrast, or freshly shaved parmesan grated right on top with its delicious sharp flavor.

Make sure you cook a big batch and freeze some for later, or serve it up and watch the entire family devour it.

This butter bean soup makes a wonderful vegan meal that is economical, filling, and keeps well for days.

Enjoy. x

List of the ingredients

  • Canned butter beans (aka lima beans)
  • Onion, garlic, celery, carrots
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Smoked paprika, cayenne pepper
  • Italian herbs, thyme, bay leaf
  • Vegetable broth
  • Salt & pepper
The ingredients to make this butter bean soup are arranged over a white background.

How to make butter bean soup

(Note: this is a quick description with step-by-step photos, the full recipe is at the bottom of the page)

  • Saute’ the diced onion in olive oil until soft and translucent.
  • Stir in herbs, garlic, and spices and cook until fragrant.
  • Add diced carrots and celery, toss to combine.
Top view of a white Dutch Oven with  diced onion, spiced and diced vegetables.
  • Add 1 ½ cup of drained beans + 1 cup of water to a blender and pulse until smooth. This is an extra step that adds body and creamy texture to the broth.
  • Add pureed beans, whole beans, broth, bay leaf, salt and pepper to the pot.
  • Cook for about 25 minutes or until beans and veggies are tender.
Two images showing a blender full of pureed beans and a dutch oven full of soup.
Close-up of a white bowl full of butter bean soup served with crusty bread.

Recipe notes

Butter bean soup ingredients

Beans: Dried beans taste better than canned, but for a soup ready in less than 30 minutes I opted for convenient canned butter beans (so called in the UK). But butter beans and lima beans are exactly the same, so my American readers are welcome to use lima beans, and also cannellini or great northern beans if they wish.

Veggies: Garlic and onion make a flavorful base, while carrots and celery bring nutrition and another layer of texture.

Herbs: I used convenient dried thyme and Italian herb seasoning, plus a bay leaf that you can skip if you don’t have it on hand.

Spices: I love a touch of smoked paprika and cayenne pepper to deepen the flavor and for some heat. You can use chilli flakes/red pepper flakes instead of cayenne pepper, or skip the chilli altogether if spicy is not your thing.

Olive oil: for flavor. A final drizzle of extra virgin olive oil is also great to finish the soup.

Broth: low-sodium vegetable broth, as usual as I prefer to keep most of my soups vegan. But you’re welcome to use chicken broth if you wish.

Salt & pepper: taste before serving and make sure you’re happy with the seasoning.

Top view of a white bowl full of butter bean soup served with crusty bread.

How to store soup leftovers?

Butter bean soup leftovers taste great and keep well in the fridge for about 3-4 days. They freeze beautifully too.

I suggest dividing the soup into single portions, cooling completely in the refrigerator over night, then transferring to the freezer. I use these glass containers, they don’t get stained with use.

Close-up of a white bowl full of butter bean soup served with crusty bread over a white background.

More bean soup recipes you’ll love!

For all the bean lovers out there, don’t forget to check out my best bean recipes and cannellini bean recipes.

Lastly, If you make this butter bean soup, or if you have any questions, let me know! Leave a comment, send me a message, or rate it. I would love to hear from you!

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Top view of a white bowl full of butter bean soup.
Print Recipe
4.50 from 2 votes

Butter Bean Soup

This nourishing butter bean soup is packed with fluffy beans, lots of protein, veggies, and wonderful herbs and spices. It's SO delicious, cozy and creamy!
Recipe yields 4 servings (1 ¼ each).
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: vegan
Keyword: butter bean soup
Servings: 4
Calories: 218kcal
Author: Katia


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1 onion, diced (any color)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 medium-sized carrots, diced
  • 2 medium-sized celery ribs, diced
  • 2 cans (14oz/400 grams each) butter beans, drained
  • 1 cup (240 ml) water
  • 2 cups (480 ml) low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¾ teaspoon fine salt, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to serve


  • Heat oil in a large heavy based pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in garlic, spices and herbs and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Finally, add diced carrots and celery, toss to combine.
  • Meanwhile, add 1 ½ of beans and 1 cup of water to a blender or a food processor and blend until smooth, then transfer pureed beans and whole beans to the pot. Add broth, bay leaf, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  • Reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, cover leaving the lid slightly ajar, and cook until the broth is flavorful and beans and vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.
  • Turn the hear off, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed and serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and freshly ground black pepper if desired. Enjoy with crusty bread or croutons.


Nutrition facts: the nutrition values are  for one serving and are based on an online nutrition calculator.  It’s an estimate only and it should not be considered as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice. Please see my disclosure policies.


Calories: 218kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 1133mg | Potassium: 604mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 5288IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 4mg


  1. Can this be prepared with frozen uncooked beans?

    1. Hi there! If you have frozen beans, it means that they have already been cooked, as dried beans are not sold frozen. You can definitely use them for your recipe, but the cooking time might be slightly longer if you use them frozen instead of thawed. : )

  2. Our Mother, a FANTASTIC COOK…..always used a ham hock (smokey flavor!), & added: a fresh peeled potato, frozen white corn & a big can of stewed tomatoes to her ‘SOUTHERN’ BUTTER BEAN SOUP! THE BEST

    1. That’s nice! You love your mum’s soup SO MUCH and SHOUT that out to the rest of the world. : )

  3. Hello, I was wondering if 1 1/4 serving is 1 cup and 1/4 of a cup just below 2 cups?
    Thank you.

    1. HI Rosana, that’s 1 cup + 1/4 cup – not just below 2 cups. : )
      Hope you love the recipe. x

  4. 4 stars
    Really good recipe! Quick and easy. I omitted the cayenne just because of personal preference. But otherwise followed the recipe exactly. I love the mixture of the puréed beans with whole beans. If you’re cooking for a large family, don’t be afraid to double it (or if you want leftovers).

    1. Wonderful! I’m very glad you loved the recipe. : )
      Thanks so much for sharing. x

  5. Christie Karwell says:

    5 stars
    This soup really hit the spot on a cold night. Loved the addition of cayenne. I added a handful of kale at the end (because it was just sitting in my fridge and I didn’t want it to go bad). Thanks for the recipe!

    1. You’re welcome, Christie!
      I’m very glad you loved the recipe. Thanks for sharing. x

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