Slow Cooker 15 Bean Soup

Bean soup with slices of sausage.

5 from 8 reviews

Use your slow cooker to turn 15 bean soup mix into a flavorful, budget-friendly family meal.  See the notes below for Instant Pot instructions. 

For the best results, don't forget to soak the beans for at least 6 hours before making this soup in a slow cooker. Un-soaked beans take longer to cook and don't always get as tender. 


Units Scale
  • 1 bag (13 to 20 ounces) of dried 15 bean soup
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste after the soup is cooked
  • 4 sprigs of parsley or thyme, plus more to garnish the soup
  • 8 cups water (you can use broth instead of water)
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • Seasoning packet: some dried bean blends come with a seasoning packet. I like to use the packet to add more flavor.

Optional Ingredients

  • 2 cups frozen spinach
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can (15 oz) crushed or petite tomatoes
  • Ham bone or ham shank
  • Cooked, sliced sausage
  • Diced ham
  • Cooked bacon


Soak the beans overnight (or at least 6 hours): In a large bowl, cover the dried beans with approximately 6 to 8 cups water (cover by 2-inches).  Add 1 tablespoon salt (or 2 tablespoons kosher salt). Soak overnight (or at least 6 hours). Drain and rinse the beans before cooking. 

Make the Soup

  1. In a saute pan over medium or medium-low heat, saute the onion, carrot and celery in olive oil until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and saute 30 seconds more. 
  2. Transfer the sautéed veggies to a slow cooker. Add the beans, water, salt and parsley or thyme.
  3. If you're adding the optional ham bone or ham shank, add it now. 
  4. Cook on HIGH for 5 to 8 hours. After 5 hours the beans will likely be cooked and tender but still have some firmness. Cooking the soup for 6 hours or longer makes the beans softer and creamier.  If cooking the soup on LOW, it will probably take closer to 8 hours. 
  5. When the beans are tender, stir in the chili powder and smoked paprika. If the beans came with a spice packet, add half of the packet and then taste the soup. You can add the whole spice packet if you want.
  6. If adding tomatoes, spinach or corn add them now.
  7. If adding pieces of ham or slices of sausage, add it now (you can saute the sausage first, for more flavor). 
  8. Add the vinegar. Add salt to taste. 
  9. Let the soup simmer in the slow cooker for another 5 minutes or so until the added veggies and/or meat are warmed. 
  10. The soup will have more broth right when it's done and will thicken the longer it sets. 


In a slow cooker, I prefer to cook bean soup on HIGH because it ensures that the beans will become tender within a reasonable amount of time. You can cook this bean soup on LOW, but the cooking time becomes longer and more variable. 

You can serve 15 bean soup with toppings such as hot sauce, sour cream or grated cheese. 

Leftovers keep really well for up to 5 days. You can freeze the soup for up to 3 months. 

Instant Pot Instructions

This recipe was tested in a 6-quart pressure cooker.

When using a pressure cooker, pre-soaking the beans is optional. 

Step 1: In the Instant Pot, saute the onion, celery and carrot in olive oil until soft. Add the garlic and saute 30 seconds more. 

Step 2: Add the beans, water, salt and parsley or thyme. (8 cups of water will make a brothy soup, 6 cups will make a thicker soup). If adding the optional ham shank or ham bone, add it now. 

Step 3: Un-soaked beans can be cooked for 40 minutes, natural release. Soaked beans can be cooked for just 20 minutes, natural release. 

Step 4: After the natural release, open the lid and stir in the spices listed in the ingredient list and add the spice packet that comes with the dried beans. Add the vinegar, and add salt to taste.

Step 5: If adding the optional frozen spinach and/or canned tomatoes, add now.  If adding diced ham or slices of sausage, add it now (you can saute the sausage first, for more flavor). 

Step 6: Let the soup simmer for another 5 minute or so until the added veggies and/or meat are warmed. 



Keywords: 15 bean soup, dried bean soup, slow cooker bean soup, Instant Pot 15 bean soup,