A Deliciously Tasty Red Bean Soup Recipe

When you add red beans to any soup, they provide an excellent source of protein and fiber, along with a pleasant taste and texture. Beans can replace meat and are naturally low in fat, making them the perfect choice in any soup. Red beans are incredibly delicious and versatile to add to a filling, nourishing soup recipe.

Are Red Beans Just Kidney Beans?

Several different types of red beans exist. It all depends on what a recipe calls for. These colored beans include:

  • Small Red Beans: This type of bean is also known as Mexican red beans. It’s easy to confuse these beans with kidney beans, but they’re smaller and rounder. They’re typically used in Cajun dishes or as the main bean in chili and refried beans.
  • Kidney Beans: These beans look a lot like the human organ. They can be dark or light red and are hearty and filling. These are great in chili or bean and rice recipes.
  • Adzuki Beans: Adzuki beans are generally considered Asian beans. They can also be called red, adzuki, or red mung beans. They’re small and round, often mashed and sweetened with sugar to create red bean paste used in many desserts. These beans are also used in savory dishes, including soups.
  • Pinto Beans: Pinto beans may appear tan before being cooked, but they become a lovely pink shade with red spots on them once prepared. This bean is said by many to have a nutty, creamy flavor. While this bean is commonly used to make refried beans, it’s a mouth-watering addition to any savory soup recipe.

While it’s always best to make a recipe for the first time with the exact beans called for, it’s easy to substitute one variety for another. Your dish will still be delicious, but the flavor profile has likely been chosen to complement the other flavors and textures in the recipe.

Here’s a Savory Red Bean Soup Recipe to Make From Scratch

The beauty of red bean soup is that it’s nutritious, filling, and affordable. This recipe lets you maximize both your flavors and savings, making it a satisfying meal all around.


  • 2 cups of dried red kidney beans, sorted, soaked for at least eight hours, and drained
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped (red is best, but yellow or white are acceptable)
  • 2 stalks of celery with the leaves, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 8 cups of water
  • ½ lb. smoked ham, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 large ham bone (optional, but highly recommended)
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (1 tsp if dried)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ tsp hot red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Put your soaked and drained beans into a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for ten minutes and then drain. Set the cooked beans aside.
  2. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium-low heat and add the onion, celery, garlic, and carrot. Cover and allow the veggies to cook until softened.
  3. Add the water, beans, ham, bone if using, parsley, thyme, bay leaves, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, pepper flakes if using, and salt and pepper to the veggies and bring to a boil.
  4. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook for two hours or until the beans are soft.
  5. Carefully remove the ham bone and discard.
  6. Using a ladle, scoop out the ham bits and set them aside.
  7. Using a sieve, strain the bits of vegetables out of the soup, returning the liquid to the saucepan or Dutch oven. Discard or compost the solid pieces you’ve removed.
  8. Reheat the soup and add additional seasonings as desired.
  9. Ladle into bowls and serve hot.

You don’t have to use dried beans if you want to save time. Instead, use two cans of cooked beans and skip the first step.

Different Red Bean Soup Variations

No matter how good your soup is, switching things up for a new flavor experience is always fun! Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Use chicken or vegetable broth instead of water
  • Add meat like sausage, chicken, etc.
  • Play around with seasonings you love
  • Thicken your soup with cornstarch
  • Add cream or dairy alternative to make your soup creamier
  • Serve over rice or pasta
  • Add more veggies like potatoes, cabbage, peppers, etc.
  • Bring the heat with hot peppers or your favorite sauce
  • Add apple cider vinegar, red wine, or other rich ingredient

Making your own original red bean soup recipe is easy. Add your favorite ingredients and enjoy!

Did You Know You Can Make a Red Bean Soup Recipe for Dessert?

Red beans are used in desserts in many cultures. You can even enjoy a red bean dessert after your savory meal! Here’s a quick red bean dessert soup recipe for you to try at home:


  • 1 cup of dried adzuki beans (may use other red beans if necessary)
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 dried tangerine strip or fresh orange peel
  • ½ cup dried lotus seeds
  • 8 tbsp brown sugar


  1. Soak your azuki beans overnight and then drain.
  2. Around two hours before making the soup, cover the lotus seeds with water in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Place the tangerine strip or orange peel and six cups of water into a saucepan. Bring it to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat, add the adzuki beans with the lotus seed, and simmer partially covered for around one hour or until the beans are just starting to break apart.
  5. Add the brown sugar and stir until completely dissolved. You may add more sugar, a tablespoon at a time until it’s sweet enough for you.
  6. If your soup gets too thick, add water as needed until the soup is the desired consistency.
  7. Remove the pot from heat, discard the tangerine strip if using, and serve!

While the idea of a soup for dessert sounds unusual, it’s a typical dish served in different parts of the world. Try this soup when you want to impress your family and friends or just to try something different at the end of your meal.

Savory or Sweet, Your Red Bean Soup Will Become a Favorite

Red beans are special. They seamlessly work across many different recipes, allowing sweet or savory flavors to flourish and making the most delicious treats.

You can make one or both of these recipes for yourself or to share with others. No matter which soup you make, you’ll delight in some of the most unique, delicious dishes you can make at home.

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