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This bean chowder recipe is the best, hearty chowder I’ve made in a long time!
This is one of those recipes that makes a huge pot of soup that you can easily portion out and freeze for a cold winter evening with some crusty garlic bread. It makes approximately a full gallon of soup. I love making a ton of soups because when winter hits and I inevitably catch a cold or flu, all I have to do is reach in the freezer, thaw and warm, and lunch or dinner is on the table.
As a single mom, these types of meals are really critical. All it takes is one busy day or one flu to wipe out my entire schedule. It’s possible for all three meals to get erased from my schedule in lieu of snacking on whatever happens to be available.
By itself, this is a wonderful vegetarian/vegan meal. But feel free to add a clean sausage or even some browned, scrambled, ground meat to this for extra protein. It’s a super easy dish to make and is pretty easy on the budget if you don’t add the meat.
You can either make the beans at home in your slow cooker (that’s always been the easiest way to cook beans!), or you can buy a few cans of beans, providing you make sure there is no added sugar or other unwanted ingredients in the can. Clean cans of beans can be tough to track down, but they do exist and they do make this recipe a whole lot easier. But that doesn’t mean you can’t just make the beans at home if that’s what you normally do. I will say that some of the things I’ve read about undercooked kidney beans make me always want to buy them canned. But that’s a personal decision. I leave that up to you and what you’re comfortable with.
This soup is great for school lunch thermoses or work lunches on the go. Make a big pot and you’ll have soup at the ready any time you need it!
If you want to mix things up a bit, you have several options.
- Add ground cumin.
- Add bacon.
- For more of a chili flavor, add chili powder. 1 teaspoon chili powder should be plenty, but you can add more if you wish.
- Sprinkle on some green chilies for some kick.
- Add cheese. Stir it in or add it as garnish.
- If you want a creamy consistency, add a splash of heavy cream.
- Add some paprika for a little kick.
- Garnish with a bit of fresh cilantro.
About The Ingredients
Chicken broth or veggie stock – No sugar or dextrose added.
Carrots – sliced thin.
Celery – sliced thin
Stewed tomatoes – Canned. Avoid fire roasted. It adds the wrong flavor here. Pick the regular, unflavored type.
Great northern beans – check the ingredient list to avoid sugar. You can use any white bean you prefer here.
Black beans – no sugar added.
Pinto beans – no sugar added.
Kidney beans – no sugar added.
Refried beans – no sugar added.
Frozen, organic corn – this is optional but tasty.
Onion powder – or onion granules.
Garlic powder – or garlic granules.
Bay leaves – pick large, broad leaves. They are easier to find and remove after cooking.
How To Make Bean Chowder
Combine all ingredients into a large soup or stock pot and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove bay leaves and season with salt and pepper as needed.
How To Store Bean Chowder
Store this in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days (if using chicken stock), or 4 days (if using vegetable broth).
This will freeze well for up to 4 months.
More Healthy Soup Recipes
Bean Chowder Recipe Card
Bean Chowder Recipe
- 4 cups chicken or veggie broth/stock
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- 2 medium stalks celery, sliced thin
- 28 oz. canned stewed tomatoes
- 28 oz. canned great northern beans
- 15 oz. canned black beans
- 15 oz. canned pinto beans
- 15 oz. canned kidney beans
- 15 oz. canned refried beans
- 1 lb. frozen, organic corn
- 1 tbsp. onion powder
- 1 tbsp. garlic powder
- 2 large bay leaves
- Combine all ingredients into a large soup or stock pot and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove bay leaves and season with salt and pepper as needed.
This recipe from the Gracious Pantry® archives, originally posted 9/27/17.