Bean Chowder Recipe

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.

A full pot of Clean Eating Hearty Bean Chowder being ladled out of the pot with a wooden ladle

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!

Recipe Variations

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.

Recipe Supplies

Soup pot sold on Amazon. (Affiliate link)
Wooden ladle sold on Amazon. (Affiliate link)
Soup bowls sold on Amazon. (Affiliate link)

More Healthy Soup Recipes

Bean Chowder Recipe Card

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Clean Eating Hearty Bean Chowder Recipe

Bean Chowder Recipe

If you love a good chowder, you’ll really enjoy this Clean Eating Hearty Bean Chowder. It’s perfect for a cold evening. Comfort in a bowl!
3.89 from 9 votes
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Course: Soup, Stew
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 16 cups
Calories: 192kcal
Author: Tiffany McCauley


  • 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.
  • Serve.


Please note that the nutrition data is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 192kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Sodium: 751mg | Potassium: 612mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1668IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 3mg

This recipe from the Gracious Pantry® archives, originally posted 9/27/17.

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  1. 5 stars
    I made this for dinner tonight. While it was cooking, I commented to my husband that I hoped it was awesome tasting, because it was sooo easy to make. It was delicious!! It makes a lot, so I’ll be able to freeze some for future meals.
    In the future, I might put in onion and garlic instead of the powders, but the powders were certainly easy! The other change I’ll use crushed or diced tomatoes, but that’s a personal preference. I added hot sauce to my bowl, as I generally do with chowders. Thanks for a great recipe!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Sharon – Fantastic!! I’m so happy you liked it! ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. 2pots2cook says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely beautiful comfort autumn food. Thank you and enjoy your day ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      2pots2cook – Thanks so much! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Jen Small says:

    5 stars
    Another winner! TGP is my favorite go-to site when I’m looking for healthy meal ideas.
    This soup was super easy and tasty and makes PLENTY for leftovers, lunch the next day or to freeze. Paired with a salad and it’s a fantastic fall dinner.
    I didnt have stewed tomato so I used regular diced canned tomatoes. I also added chopped fresh vidalia onion.

  4. Bonnie Hill says:

    I saw this recipe on the Internet and it looks so delicious. I plan to make it this week, but want to know if all the beans are drained and rinsed?

    1. Bonnie – You can do it either way. I’ve done it both ways and it works out great regardless. The only difference is that the liquid is a bit thicker if you add the bean liquid from the cans. More “stew-like”. It’s good! But again, either way works. Enjoy!