Cannellini Bean Soup

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This creamy cannellini bean soup cooked in a thick tomato broth is savory, herby, a little spicy, and beyond delicious. The perfect feel-good meal when the weather is chilly, and the fridge almost empty.

We need more cozy soups in our life!  

Top view of a white bowl full of white bean soup garnished with fresh herbs.

You guys have been loving this white bean soup since I first shared it a few years ago, it’s one of the all-time most popular recipes on The Clever Meal. And for good reason!

Today’s cannellini bean soup recipe is inspired by that simple yet delicious soup and it’s absolutely great to turn basic pantry staples into a bowl of goodness.

It has SO much flavor. So much satisfying creamy texture thanks to a mix of blended and whole cannellini beans. It’s also easy to make, economical, and packed with plant-based protein.

And if you’re a huge fan of cannellini beans like I am – the buttery bite and the way they are so filling – then you will LOVE it. 

It all starts with an onion and some garlic, as usual. Next, I throw all the ingredients in the pot along with some chilli flakes and dried herbs for an extra punch. Lastly, for extra freshness, I stir in parsley.

You’re going to love those fluffy beans floating in that rich, thick tomato broth. It’s totally delicious on its own or served with easy golden croutons, crusty bread or warm focaccia. It’s heaven.

I’m sure these basic ingredients are likely lying around your pantry right now. Let’s make a huge batch, and freeze leftovers for later!

List of the ingredients

  • Cannellini beans
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Onion & garlic
  • Herbs (basil, parsley, bay leaf, rosemary)
  • Chili flakes
  • Salt & pepper
Top view of the ingredients to make this cannellini bean soup arranged over a white background.

How to cook cannellini bean soup

(Note: this is a quick description, the full recipe is at the bottom of the page)

  • Blend the beans + their liquid from one can and set aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven.
  • Add the diced onion and cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the garlic and cook for 30-40 seconds.
Two images showing a blender full of pureed beans and a dutch oven with diced onion and olive oil.
  • Add the pureed beans, whole beans, tomatoes, chili flakes and herbs.
  • Stir in the broth, salt and pepper.
  • Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for about 25-30 minutes.
Two images showing a dutch oven full of the ingredients to make white bean soup.
A white Dutch oven full of creamy white bean soup.

Recipe notes

Ingredients & substitutions

Olive oil, onion & garlic: to create a classic flavor base. This combination is similar to the traditional Italian soffritto, but here I skip carrots and celery to make the recipe easier. You can use butter instead of olive oil if you wish.

Cannellini beans: I use canned cannellini beans for convenience, but also dry home-cooked cannellini beans are excellent for this recipe. And if you run out of cannellini beans, you could always sub any white beans such as great northern beans, navy beans, or butterbeans, or chickpeas – they would be lovely here.

Canned tomatoes: I would recommend using canned whole cherry tomatoes to add extra texture and pops of color. But whole tomatoes, crushed or diced tomatoes will do too.

Herbs & spices: I use pantry staples like dried basil, rosemary, a bay leaf and some dried chilli flakes/crushed red pepper to add extra flavor. But fresh herbs would be wonderful too, feel free to use them and roughly double the amount with fresh vs dried. Finish the soup with fresh parsley or basil, whatever you have on hand.

Broth: I go for low-sodium vegetable broth as I prefer to keep my soups vegan. But you’re welcome to use your favorite broth, just make sure to adjust the seasoning at the end of cooking as a different broth can taste quite salty on its own.

Salt & pepper: before serving, taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.

Recipe variations

This simple soup recipe is very versatile and add-ins are welcome. You can add diced carrots, zucchini, a few handful of frozen peas or greens such as kale or spinach (fresh or frozen). You can play with your favorite herbs/spices, or add a touch of lemon at the end for a little zing.

I mean, just look at this delicious bowl. Nothing quite beats a super cozy homemade soup, right?

Top view of a white bowl full of creamy white bean soup garnished with fresh basil leaves.

Storage tips & leftovers

Cannellini bean soup leftovers keep well in the fridge for about 3-4 day. It freezes and reheats beautifully, which makes it perfect for making ahead and packing for meals throughout the week. I suggest dividing the soup into small portions, cooling completely in the refrigerator over night, then transferring to the freezer. I love using glass containers as they don’t get stained with use.

What to serve with cannellini bean soup

This soup pairs beautifully with crusty bread, baguette, panini rolls or some warm focaccia. It would also be great with brown rice or short cut pasta like ditali or orzo pasta, excellent when used in soups.

Or for more greens, try pairing with a lettuce salad or spinach arugula salad.

More cannellini bean recipes to try!

If you love cannellini beans, check out this collection of cannellini bean recipes, including these scrumptious salad and pasta where the fluffy white beans are the star ingredient.

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

Bean soup recipes you’ll love!

And for all the soup and bean lovers out there, don’t forget to check out my vegan soup recipes here and my best bean recipes here. Enjoy!

If you make this cannellini 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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Close-up of some thick and creamy cannellini bean soup served in a white bowl.
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Cannellini Bean Soup

Savory, creamy cannellini bean soup cooked in a rich tomato broth infused with herbs. It's thick, filling and beyond delicious!
Recipe yields 5 cups in total or about 4 servings (1 ¼ each).
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Italian, vegan
Keyword: cannellini bean soup
Servings: 4
Calories: 355kcal
Author: Katia


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ – ½ teaspoon chili flakes
  • 3 cans (15oz each) cannellini beans
  • 1 can (15oz) cherry tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups (480 ml) low sodium vegetable broth
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt, or to taste
  • teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • cup fresh parsley or basil, chopped


  • Open one can of cannellini beans and transfer its content (beans + liquid) to a blender or food processor. Whizz until smooth and set aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring frequently, unlit soft and translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Stir in the garlic and cook for about 40 seconds until fragrant.
  • Add the pureed beans, the whole beans from the other two cans (previously drained), canned tomatoes, chili flakes, bay leaf, herbs except the fresh parsley, broth, salt and pepper.
  • Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover with a lid, cook for 25-30 minutes stirring occasionally, and reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle sim to the boil.
  • Turn the heat off, stir in the fresh parsley, taste and adjust the seasoning to your taste with more salt or pepper if desired.
  • Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil if you wish, freshly ground black pepper and crusty bread on the side. Enjoy.


Salt: the recipe uses low sodium vegetable broth as usual, but you’re welcome to use your favourite broth if you don’t keep it vegan. Make sure to add the salt accordingly since some broth can be quite salty.
Nutrition facts: the nutrition values are for one serving and they 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: 355kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 1138mg | Potassium: 356mg | Fiber: 19g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 262IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 247mg | Iron: 9mg


  1. If I were to make with dried beans, what would I puree them with? We’re a low sodium household.

    1. HI Nicole! Make sure you pre-soak your dried beans over night and cook them until tender before you start with this recipe. When you puree the beans, you can use cooking water, broth, or plain water; 3/4 cup liquid should be enough. x

  2. Hilary Masse says:

    5 stars
    Very filling and delicious. I have been making it over and over again.

    1. Wonderful feedback! Thanks so much for sharing, Hilary. x

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve made this at least 3 times already. It’s delicious 🙂

    1. Fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing, Cindy. : )

  4. 5 stars
    it didn’t say when to use the bay leaf, so I put it in with the broth. I added chopped kale in the last 15 minutes of cooking. Looking and smells good!

    1. I generically mentioned the herbs in the recipe, including the bay leaf – but I’ve now added it to the list to avoid confusion. : )
      I’m so pleased to hear it smells delicious, thanks for sharing, Janet! : )

  5. The instructions don’t tell you when to put in the broth ?

    1. They do, point.4, before salt & pepper. x

  6. Sheila Connelly says:

    5 stars
    It’s simmering on the stove now and smells delicious! I did a some ground garlic chicken sausage to add more protein! Can’t wait for lunch !

    1. WOW, that’s wonderful. : )
      Enjoy and have a lovely Sunday. x

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