This comforting and hearty creamy bean soup with kielbasa sausage goes from cutting board to soup bowl in about 30 minutes.
This creamy bean soup recipe comes from my forever friend Krista, whose tastebuds and cravings are very much like my own. When she texted me her own family-favorite recipe for bean soup and told me I needed to give it a try, I was 100% ready to start cooking. I love a bean-heavy soup, like my grandma’s minestrone, or my slow cooker Tuscan white bean soup with sausage. Not only do legumes bulk up a soup and lend a hearty dose of protein, but they can also thicken the soup and provide creaminess. This soup also gets its velvety creaminess from milk, rather than actual cream.
What I love most about this stellar, creamy bean soup is that it isn’t one of those all-day simmering affairs. There’s no need to soak any beans. The soup comes together quickly and easily on the stovetop. Made with fresh carrots, onion, green bell pepper, and smoky kielbasa sausage, plus two different types of beans that blend perfectly in the creamy broth (without any cream!) It just hits all the right notes.
What’s in This Creamy Bean Soup with Sausage
Like so many family classics, the original recipe Krista texted me looks to have been cut from the side of a box from years gone by. Along with the photo of the original, Krista texted a list of her own additions and tweaks to the soup: More veggies, doubling the sauce, and serving it as a one-pot meal instead of as originally suggested as a casserole.
Here’s what’s in this bean and sausage soup:
- Kielbasa sausage
- Green bell pepper (Krista uses red bell pepper in her version)
- All-purpose flour
- Worcestershire sauce — the ingredient that gives the creamy broth so much flavor
- Ground sage
- White beans and kidney beans, or one or the other
- Freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt
- Canola or vegetable oil (I prefer those for their higher smoke point, but olive oil is also fine)
How to Make Creamy Bean and Sausage Soup
When there’s nothing in mind for dinner, this is the type of recipe I turn to. With long-lasting ingredients like kielbasa, onions, bell peppers, and carrots stocked in the fridge and pantry staples like canned beans, Worcestershire sauce, flour, and ground sage always in the pantry, this soup is ready to salvage mealtime plans in just about 30 minutes. And even better, the recipe is so easy that any cook of any skill level can master it.
Step 1: Develop Flavor
First, brown the sausage for flavor. Tasting like a hybrid of ham and hot dogs, kielbasa sausage can be found made with pork or made healthier with turkey. Slice the kielbasa into coins, and if you prefer, halve the coins to get more sausage with every bite. Kielbasa sausage doesn’t put off much fat, so a drizzle of canola oil in the hot stock pot browns the sausage and develops flavor as it keeps it from sticking.
Add the chopped vegetables to the sausage. Sautéing the vegetables with the sausage adds a sweet caramelization as the vegetables become tender. Krista’s recipe didn’t include garlic, but I added it in because I pretty much add garlic to everything. However, I’m 99% sure this soup would be just as good without it. Add flavor as you go by seasoning with kosher salt and black pepper.
What Thickens Bean Soup
This bean soup is thickened with a roux (made of flour and milk), but the cannellini beans (white kidney beans) also break up just enough to add even more creaminess to the soup.
Step 2: Create the Creamy Soup Base (Without Any Cream!)
Step 1 of thickening: Add the flour. Sprinkle the sausage and veggie mixture with the flour, stirring to coat for 1-2 minutes as the heat cooks off the flour’s raw taste. Be watchful that the flour doesn’t begin to burn, but browns and smells toasty instead.
Step 2 of thickening: Add the milk. There’s no cream in this soup, where instead, a simple roux of flour and milk creates the creamy base. Slowly pour the milk into the pot and continue cooking and stirring, as the mixture thickens. I use 1% milk-fat milk, but full-fat or even non-fat will work equally well.
Step 3: Season and Flavor, and Get Yo’ Beans
Add the Worcestershire sauce and ground sage. In my kitchen, Worcestershire sauce gets used most often in bloody Marys, my famous clam dip, shepherd’s pie, and that’s about it. I tell you, it’s underserved! But not anymore because it’s the main umami flavor builder in this soup, adding a bit of saltiness and earthiness that brings flashbacks of my bean with ham soup I loved as a kid. And while the amount of sage used in this recipe seems negligible, don’t skip it! The herb rounds out the flavors in a really lovely, but mellow way.
Rinse and drain those beans and dump them in. Krista suggests using two different types of canned beans: Dark kidney beans and white kidney beans, aka cannellini beans. The dark kidney beans are firmer and hold their shape better than the more delicate cannellini beans which break up just enough to add to the creaminess of the soup. If you choose to use only white cannellini beans in this soup, be careful not to cook the beans too long or they’ll break apart in the soup and disappear.
Step 4: Marry the Flavors
Simmer for 15 minutes for flavors to mingle. While longer cooking times are often interpreted to mean more flavor, with this soup there’s no need. Cooking the sausage, beans, vegetables, and creamy broth for a mere 15 minutes brings all of the flavors together and is ready to be served.
Make the broth thinner or thicker. If the soup broth is too thick, add more milk to thin it as desired. Alternately, if it is too thin, make a slurry of 1 tablespoon of flour with 4 tablespoons of the broth (whisk well in a bowl) and add to the soup, cooking to thicken.
Ingredient Substitutions and Additions
This type of soup is one you can easily adapt and change to fit your taste or make with the ingredients you have on hand. Here are a few ideas to make it your own:
- Use a different type of bean, such as Great Northern beans, navy beans, pinto beans, or regular kidney beans
- Switch up the meaty protein and use ground pork sausage (drain off the extra fat), all beef hot dogs, bacon, or a leftover ham bone or ham hock
- Sub in or add other vegetables like mushrooms, kale, celery, potatoes, corn, or green beans
- Bay leaf or thyme would also be tasty
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese would be yummy just before serving
Make This Soup Ahead Then Freeze
Stored in gallon-size freezer bags, this soup can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw, then warm over medium heat on the stove, or in the microwave.
What to Serve With Creamy Bean Soup
- Serve this soup with a loaf of warm french bread slathered with butter, or crackers to break into it.
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If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a star rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Creamy Bean Soup with Sausage
- 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
- 2 pounds kielbasa sausage , cut into 1-inch slices
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1 cup chopped carrot
- 2 cloves garlic , pressed or minced
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups milk
- 6 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon ground sage
- 1 15-ounce can Great Northern white beans , or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 15-ounce can dark kidney beans , rinsed and drained
- chopped parsley
- In a large dutch oven or stock pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned. Add the onion, green bell pepper, carrot, and garlic. Season with the kosher salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion and pepper soften, about 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle the flour over the sausage and veggie mixture and stir to coat, stirring and cooking for 1-2 minutes or until it loses its raw floury taste and begins to smell toasty. Slowly add the milk and stir until smooth. Cook until the mixture begins to thicken and bubble, stirring often, then add Worcestershire sauce, sage, and beans. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook for 15-20 minutes or until the flavors come together, stirring occasionally. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with a few sprinkles of fresh parsley and french bread for dipping or crackers on the side.
More Hearty Soup Recipes
- Split Pea Soup With Ham
- How to Make the Best Minestrone Soup
- The Best Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
- Easy Taco Soup (Stove Top, Crock Pot Or Instant Pot)
- Slow Cooker Tuscan White Bean And Sausage Soup
- Easy Hamburger Vegetable Soup
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