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Thick, smoky, and satisfying, this 15 bean soup with sausage is the perfect meal for a chilly day! The easy dinner can be prepared in a Dutch oven on the stovetop or in the slow cooker.

Close up side shot of a bowl of 15 bean soup with sausage
Table of Contents
  1. What is 15 bean soup made of?
  2. How to Quick Soak Beans
  3. Ingredients
  4. How to Make 15 Bean Soup
  5. How to Thicken Bean Soup
  6. Serving Suggestions
  7. Preparation and Storage
  8. Recipe Variations
  9. Tips for the Best 15 Bean Soup Recipe
  10. 15-Bean Soup with Sausage Recipe

There’s nothing more cozy than a warm bowl of hearty soup. Whether you prefer a vegetarian bean soup or a 15-bean soup loaded with flavorful, spicy sausage, this simple recipe can be tailored to any diet and comes together with minimal effort!

I love to start a pot simmering on the stovetop on a Sunday afternoon so that it’s ready in time for supper, but you can also leave it in your Crock Pot all day to slowly cook while you head to the office. No matter how you prepare it, this is truly the best 15 bean soup recipe that you will ever taste!

What is 15 bean soup made of?

A package of 15-bean soup mix typically includes 15 of these bean varieties: northern, pintos, large lima, yelloweye, garbanzo, baby lima, green split, kidney, cranberry, small white, pink, small red, yellow split peas, lentil, navy beans, white kidney, and black bean. There is also a seasoning packet included in the bag, but you do not need it for this recipe. Hurst’s hambeens is the brand that I typically use, but any similar variety will work.

Soaked 15 bean mix in a colander

Do you have to soak 15 beans before cooking?

No, it’s not absolutely necessary to soak the beans first; however, it’s definitely my preference. Soaking dried beans overnight reduces the required cooking time significantly. The texture of the cooked beans is also best after soaking, with fewer that split open and burst.

How to Quick Soak Beans

If you don’t have time to soak the beans in advance, you can rinse them, place them in a large pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil the beans, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, and then let the beans soak in the hot water for 1 hour. Drain the beans in a colander, rinse them under cold water, and proceed with the recipe.

Browning sausage in a pot

Is 15 bean soup good for you?

Yes! Especially if you use lean pork sausage, turkey sausage, or omit the sausage altogether, this soup is loaded with protein, fiber, and vegetables for a wholesome and healthy one pot meal! Each serving has about 250 calories, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 14 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, and 11 grams of fat.

Process shot showing how to make 15 bean soup

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a pot of our favorite southern 15 bean soup recipe. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • 15-bean soup mix: this dried bean mix includes a seasoning packet, which you can discard. Feel free to sub with different types of beans, if you prefer just pinto beans, red beans, cranberry beans, or split peas, for example.
  • Spicy pork sausage: substitute with mild pork sausage, smoked sausage (such as kielbasa), diced ham, turkey sausage, Italian sausage, or ground beef.
  • Carrots, celery, onion, and garlic: fresh veggies that create a flavorful, savory base for the soup.
  • Chicken broth: I prefer chicken broth, but you can substitute with vegetable broth as well. For a real treat, use homemade chicken broth! Low sodium broth is a great option if you’re watching your sodium intake.
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper: to enhance the other flavors in the soup.
  • Petite-diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano: add extra flavor and nutrients to bulk up the soup.
  • Bay leaves: give the soup an earthy depth of flavor.
Pouring broth into a Dutch oven

How to Make 15 Bean Soup

I’ve shown the stove top Dutch oven method here, and I’ve also included Crock Pot directions below. The complete step-by-step instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of the post, but here’s the quick version:

  1. Soak the beans overnight.
  2. Brown the sausage.
  3. Sauté the veggies in the sausage drippings.
  4. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
  5. Simmer for about 2 hours, or until the beans are tender.
  6. Remove the bay leaves, ladle into bowls, and garnish with chopped fresh herbs.
Square overhead shot of a bowl of 15 bean soup with sausage and cornbread

How to Thicken Bean Soup

For a thicker soup, mash or puree some of the beans at the end of cooking. You can do this with a potato masher, with the back of a spoon, or with an immersion blender. The pureed beans will add texture to the dish and thicken the soup. Just be careful not to puree all of the soup! Another easy way to thicken the soup is to simmer the pot with the lid off until it reduces.

Serving Suggestions

Here are a few simple options to eat with the bean soup:

Overhead shot of hands eating a bowl of 15-bean soup.

Preparation and Storage

Store the soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. It’s a great make-ahead option for busy weeks, and even tastes better the next day!

How to Freeze

This is a great freezer meal, so prepare a big pot and stick any leftovers in the freezer for a quick-prep lunch or dinner option. Allow the soup to cool to room temperature. Stored in an airtight container, the soup will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

How to Reheat

Place the bean soup in a pot and warm over a low flame, just until heated through. You can also microwave individual bowls for about 1-2 minutes. Add extra broth, as necessary, to thin to the desired consistency.

Recipe Variations

  • If you prefer a canned bean soup, try this easy ham and bean soup, or this sausage and bean soup.
  • Instead of the spicy pork sausage, sub with mild pork sausage, turkey sausage, Italian sausage, smoked sausage (such as kielbasa), or just about any other sausage.
  • 15 Bean Soup with Ham: here’s my favorite recipe with ham, which is a great way to take advantage of leftover ham from a holiday meal. You can also use a smoked ham hock or a leftover ham bone.
  • For extra veggies, add fresh spinach at the very end or kale when there’s about 10 minutes left so that it has time to wilt in the hot soup.
  • For a vegetarian 15 bean soup, use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. Omit the sausage, and saute the vegetables in olive oil. Add an extra ½ cup of dried beans. It will still be delicious! Season with cumin, paprika, Cajun seasoning, salt, pepper, or other spices to add extra flavor to your liking.
  • Spicy: add a dash of cayenne or garnish with crushed red pepper flakes for an even spicier soup.
  • Add a splash of apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice at the end for a bright, acidic finishing touch.
Front shot of a bowl of 15 bean soup with cornbread

Tips for the Best 15 Bean Soup Recipe

  • If possible, make this soup 1-2 days in advance. It just gets better as it sits in the refrigerator, and it will thicken up a lot as it cools!
  • Garnish with fresh herbs or add extra herbs and seasoning to the pot. Good options include parsley, thyme, oregano, basil, cilantro, and rosemary. A dollop of sour cream, a spoonful of chow-chow, or a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese is also a nice finishing touch.
  • Stir the pot occasionally while the beans cook. This will help to break down them down a bit, distribute the starches, and prevent sticking.
  • The total amount of salt necessary will depend on the saltiness of your broth, and on your personal preference. Just taste and season as you go!
  • Adjust the total cooking time to suit your preferences and your desired tenderness. While 2 hours should be sufficient to soften the beans, you can certainly let them go a bit longer if you like really broken-down, creamy beans (or remove them from the heat after about 90 minutes for a firmer texture).
Overhead image of 15 bean soup on a table with salad and cornbread

More Bean Soup Recipes to Try

Square overhead shot of a bowl of 15 bean soup with sausage and cornbread

15-Bean Soup with Sausage

5 from 3 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 2 hours 30 minutes
Soaking Time 8 hours
Total: 10 hours 45 minutes
Servings 12 people
Calories 251 kcal
Thick, smoky, and satisfying, this 15 bean soup with sausage is the perfect meal for a chilly day!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups dried 15-bean soup mix (seasoning packet discarded), beans picked over and rinsed
  • 1 lb. hot bulk pork sausage (or sub with mild pork sausage)
  • 4 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 4 celery ribs, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced or grated garlic (about 3 large cloves)
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano, not drained
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Optional garnish: chopped fresh parsley or other herbs

Instructions

STOVETOP:

  • Place beans in a large pot or bowl. Cover with water 2 inches above beans and soak for 8 hours (or overnight). Drain beans.
    Soaked 15 bean mix in a colander
  • Brown the sausage in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Use a wooden spoon to break up the meat as it cooks. With a slotted spoon, remove the sausage to a paper towel-lined plate; reserve the drippings in the pot.
    Browning sausage in a pot
  • Saute carrots, celery, onion, and garlic in the sausage drippings until starting to soften, about 8-10 minutes.
    Process shot showing how to make 15 bean soup
  • Stir in the drained beans, broth, salt, pepper, tomatoes, bay leaves, and cooked sausage. Bring to a boil; cover; reduce heat to low, and simmer (covered) for about 2 hours, or until the beans and vegetables are tender. Discard bay leaves. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Ladle into bowls, garnish with fresh herbs, and serve.
    Pouring broth into a Dutch oven

SLOW COOKER:

  • Place beans in a large pot or bowl. Cover with water 2 inches above beans and soak for 8 hours (or overnight). Drain beans.
  • Transfer soaked beans to slow cooker insert.
  • Brown the sausage in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Use a wooden spoon to break up the meat as it cooks. With a slotted spoon, remove the sausage to a paper towel-lined plate; reserve the drippings in the pan.
  • Saute carrots, celery, onion, and garlic in the sausage drippings until starting to soften, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer vegetables to the slow cooker.
  • To the slow cooker, add the broth, cooked sausage, salt, pepper, tomatoes, and bay leaves. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours or on LOW for 8-10 hours, or until the beans and vegetables are tender. Discard bay leaves. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Ladle into bowls, garnish with fresh herbs, and serve.

Notes

  • If possible, make this soup 1-2 days in advance. It just gets better as it sits in the refrigerator, and it will thicken up a lot as it cools!
  • Garnish with fresh herbs or add extra herbs and seasoning to the pot. Good options include parsley, thyme, oregano, basil, cilantro, and rosemary. A dollop of sour cream, a spoonful of chow-chow, or a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese is also a nice finishing touch.
  • Stir the pot occasionally while the beans cook. This will help to break down them down a bit, distribute the starches, and prevent sticking.
  • The total amount of salt necessary will depend on the saltiness of your broth, and on your personal preference. Just taste and season as you go!
  • Adjust the total cooking time to suit your preferences and your desired tenderness. While 2 hours should be sufficient to soften the beans, you can certainly let them go a bit longer if you like really broken-down, creamy beans (or remove them from the heat after about 90 minutes for a firmer texture).

Nutrition

Serving: 1/12 of the potCalories: 251kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 14gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 948mgPotassium: 686mgFiber: 6gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 3490IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 62mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: 15 bean soup, 15 bean soup recipe
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

  1. Patricia says:

    5 stars
    Hello from New Jersey! I just left the long review and unfortunately my iPad shut down and I lost it so I don’t think it will post. The email address is definitely wrong. It had extra characters that I couldn’t delete. In any case I was letting you know that this recipe was excellent.

    I did add just a tsp of Accent and, on occasion will add chili powder for a Cajun flair.

    My previous review was so much longer and I regret I don’t remember everything I said but bravo for this recipe. It’s perfect and, when making a recipe for the first time, I follow it to the T. I can’t get over the flavor. One of my favorite bean soups and I’ll be making this one well into the future. Cheers!

    #EAHWP

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Hi Patricia,
      Thank you so much! We sincerely appreciate you taking the time to write a review (twice!). We’re happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe so much! We’ll have to try it with the added chili powder as well!

  2. Patricia says:

    5 stars
    Hello again from New Jersey!

    OMG! I think I’m a 55 year old soup groupie. I literally woke up this morning and had a bowl for breakfast. It’s THAT good and, of course, the flavor just gets better overnight.

    Just had to share a couple things I also do to change it up a bit because when I make bean soup, I make the whole pound of beans so that’s a lot for a single person (although I devour it and rarely get any into the freezer).

    I like to make either a pot of rice or ditalini pasta separately so I can spoon some into the finished soup as I go. Keeps it from getting mushy and gives the soup some added texture. Parmesan cheese sprinkled over it gives it a nice sharp bite of added flavor, too.

    Another thing I notice when making bean soups in general is that while I love a good hot italian sausage, sometimes I prefer Hillshire Farms sausage (specifically, and taken out the casing). I just break it up by hand. It has a firmer texture than bulk sausage and browns well with a nice little crust if cooked long enough that really makes the soup “pop”. Try that if you ever want to add some variety to this already perfect recipe. But as I already said in my previous review, this recipe is already spot-on perfection.

    I’m always looking for delicious ways to up my fiber and protein because I just don’t eat meat every single day and even if I did, I rarely eat enough to meet the daily protein requirements.

    Okay, I’m going away (again) but I can’t stop talking about (and tasting) this amazingly simple and flavorful recipe.

    Now pardon me while I peruse your site for some other tasty recipes, mainly soups. I love a big bowl of warming goodness that simply simmers while I attend to other things!

    All my best to you! BTW, if you’re on TikTok, please reply with your username so I can follow you there, too. If you’re not, you oughta be. We’ve been waiting for you!! You can find me with my hashtag EVERYWHERE. Just Google me or search on TikTok. #EAHWP

    Oh and kudos to you for sharing BOTH the pot and slow cooker methods. I am never sure how to convert recipes myself and on some days a slow cooker makes preparation easier when I’m out and about or just want to wake up to a prepared soup. I like you, Blair! All recipe sites should take note!

    Ciao for now!

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Nothing wrong with soup for breakfast! Thank you for such amazing feedback and kind words, Patricia! We aren’t on TikTok but hope you enjoy browsing the rest of the site and find some other favorite recipes!

      1. Patricia says:

        5 stars
        20! That’s the number of recipes I have saved to Recipe Keeper. I’ve got so many new recipes to try today look delicious and are deceivingly easy to make. Stay tuned for many more reviews.

        1. Blair Lonergan says:

          Wonderful! I can’t wait to hear about your favorites. 🙂