Tuscan white bean soup is a comforting soup that's loaded with flavor from roasted garlic, pancetta, veggies, and herbs. This soup is great as a precursor to a larger meal but is bold enough to shine by itself, or alongside a salad or sandwich.
Tuscan white bean soup may be one of the easiest soups you can make.
We love it because it is nourishing, filling, and completely budget-friendly.
It's also customizable so if you want to make it vegetarian, or vegan you can do that by omitting the chicken stock, pancetta, and Parmigiano Reggiano rind. It will still have incredible flavor thanks to the roasted garlic!
Roasted garlic tuscan white bean soup is great with a side of garlic bread and a simple green salad but also pairs well with sandwiches, like our hot roast beef sandwich with onion jam.
How to make it
First, roast the garlic
- Preheat your oven to 400f and slice off the top ¼ inch of a head of garlic to expose the top of the cloves. Place the cut side up on a sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle with a bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Wrap the garlic in the foil, place on a baking sheet, and bake for 40 minutes.
- Remove the garlic from the oven and allow it to cool. Once cool, gently squeeze the bottom of the garlic head to release the cloves. Note: The roasted garlic can be made up to 1 week ahead to speed up the process.
Next, make the soup
- Dice 4 ounces of pancetta, 1 large onion, 4 celery ribs, and 3 medium carrots.
- In a large pot, saute the pancetta in a ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil over medium-low heat until most of the fat has rendered (about 10 minutes).
- Next, add the celery, onion, and carrots and continue to cook for 10 more minutes or until the veggies have softened.
- Add a ¼ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes and cook for an additional 30 seconds, then add the roasted garlic cloves.
- Add 6 cups of low-sodium chicken stock, 1 Parmigiano Reggiano rind (optional), 1 large bay leaf, 3 sprigs of rosemary, and 1 pound of cannellini beans. Note: If using dried cannellini beans, use 1 pound and soak them overnight in a pot of water prior to using in the soup. If using canned, use 3 16-ounce cans that have been drained of their liquid. Bring the ingredients to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes.
- Using the back of a wooden spoon, mash the beans against the side of the pot to help thicken the soup. As an alternative, you can use an immersion blender or regular blender to further thicken. If using either type of blender, remove the rosemary, bay leaf, and Parmigiano rinds prior to blending. Taste test the soup and adjust salt and pepper levels to taste. If you've not already done so, remove the rind, rosemary, and bay leaf prior to serving in bowls with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, grated Parmigiano Reggiano, and crusty bread. Enjoy!
Top tips for Tuscan white bean soup with roasted garlic
- Roasted garlic. This simple addition is easy to make and amplifies the flavor of this soup. The roasted garlic can be made in advance and saved for up to 1 week.
- The beans. We used a bag of dried cannellini beans for this Tuscan white bean soup. If you're doing the same, be sure to soak the beans overnight or they will not be tender enough for the soup. As an alternative, you can use canned cannellini beans that have been drained of their liquid, but not rinsed.
- Consistency of the soup. Some people prefer a looser white bean soup, while others like it on the thicker side. Customize this to your preference when mashing or blending the beans. Blending the beans will yield a thicker, creamier soup. If you wind up with a soup that's too thick, simply add a touch of water or chicken stock to loosen it back up.
- Parmigiano Reggiano rinds. We always recommend saving your Parmigiano rinds for use in soups, like pasta e fagioli, or sauces. Some Italian grocery stores will sell just the rinds in their cheese section. If you don't see any, ask the cheesemonger and they'll likely have some for you. This is optional, so if you prefer to skip the cheese you can definitely do so and the soup will still taste great.
Our favorite soups
We love soup, especially in the cooler months. Here are a few of our absolute favorites that we know you'll love.
- Italian lentil soup - lentils, spinach, carrots, celery, and onion with a touch of tomato.
- Chicken wild rice soup - chunks of chicken, carrots, and celery simmered in a creamy broth with wild rice.
- Escarole and bean soup - potatoes, escarole, and cannellini beans.
- Broccoli cheddar soup - creamy blend of broccoli, carrots, onion, and cheddar topped with burnt broccoli.
- Lemon chicken orzo soup - carrots, celery, onion, and garlic with chicken meat, orzo, and lemon juice.
- Baked potato soup - creamy blend of potatoes, sour cream, and cheddar topped with chives and crumbled bacon.
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- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces pancetta diced
- 1 large onion diced
- 4 ribs celery diced
- 3 medium carrots diced
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 pound dried cannellini beans soaked overnight, or 3 16-ounce cans
- 6 cups low sodium chicken stock plus more for thinning
- 1 head garlic roasted
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 1 small Parmigiano Reggiano rind optional
- 1 large bay leaf
- salt and pepper to taste
For the roasted garlic
- Preheat oven to 400f. Cut off the top ¼-inch of the garlic, exposing the top of the cloves. Place the head cut side up on a sheet of foil and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Wrap tightly with the foil and place onto a baking sheet. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until golden and soft.
For the soup
- In a large heavy pot saute the pancetta in olive oil over medium-low heat until most of the fat renders (about 10 minutes). Next, add in the celery, onion, and carrots and continue to cook for about 10 more minutes or until the veggies are softened.
- Add in the crushed red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds. Add in the roasted garlic cloves, chicken stock, Parmigiano rind, bay leaf, rosemary, and beans. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes.
- Mash the beans with a wooden spoon against the side of the pot to help thicken the soup. For a thicker soup use an immersion or regular blender.
- Taste test the soup and adjust salt and pepper levels to taste. Remove the Parmigiano rind, rosemary stem, and bay leaf before serving. If the soup is too thick, thin with a bit more stock or water.
- Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, grated parmesan, and crusty bread on the side. Enjoy!
- Greens like escarole, spinach, or kale can be added to brighten up the soup.
- The roasted garlic can be prepped in advance and saved in the fridge for up to 1 week.
- For a vegetarian dish use vegetable stock and omit the pancetta, chicken stock, and Parmigiano rind.
- Make sure to serve with plenty of crusty bread, grated cheese, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and hot red pepper flakes.
- Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days and can be reheated on the stovetop or in the microwave.
I have to admit, I've put on a few lbs ever since coming across your page! Thank you so much for all you do.
Question, is it overkill to add a little Ditalini?
Hi Brian, you can definitely add ditalini which will make it very similar to pasta fazool. Thanks for the comment and so happy you're enjoying the recipes!
This looks delicious! I have a “Soup, Sip and Pie” dinner party event this Sunday so I’m thinking I might try this hearty recipe. I have some diced ham and ham bone in my freezer I would like to use. Would that be okay? Also the calories in your nutritional listing, is that for a one cup serving? Just trying to keep the 20 lbs I’ve recently lost off. TY
Hi Cynthia, yes, diced ham would work here. For the nutrition information, the entire recipe makes 6 servings so one serving would definitely be more than a cup. Figure it's about a bowl-sized serving.
Yummmm!!! I have dinner for a few nights- maybe lunch too. But- can you add SipandFeast.com after your name on the recipe, or somewhere? I have printed a few recipes out and only James is there. Your site or sites should show up- I think.
Enjoying your shows and recipes a great deal.
Hi Charlaine, thanks for the comment and so happy you enjoyed this one and glad you like the videos and other recipes! Thanks for letting me know about the print recipe - I did find that in your print options if you toggle on "headers and footers" you'll get the name of my site as well as the recipe name, date, and time. I'll need to explore other options to add it to the card so users won't have to do this.
Lynn C Grillo
Jim, this recipe sounds terrific. One question, if made per your recipe, would it be considered gluten-free? I don't see anything in there that would have gluten, but want to bring it to a pot luck and 2 of the people need gluten-free, so I want to be sure.
Hi Lynn, yes there is no gluten in the ingredients in this recipe so I'd consider it to be gluten-free. Hope you enjoy it!
Is it better using bag beans rather then the cans. Does it really make a difference?
Hi Diane, the taste is the same. The bagged beans are more economical than the cans, while the cans have the benefit of convenience.
One more question. Can I use bacon instead of pancetta? If so how much bacon can I use. Walmart guy didn't even know what pancetta was lol. This soup looks so delicious. Hopefully I can freeze some of this for another day. Ty Jim
Hi Diane, you can definitely substitute the same amount of bacon. Hope you enjoy!
Recipe is great, but as someone who reads through the recipes on my phone, it would be awesome if the steps were broken up a little bit more. I totally missed throwing the celery, carrots and onions in to cook because i thought step one would've just dealt with the meat. Not a huge deal, but just wanted to say what I ran into as a new reader!
Hi Garrett, thanks for the comment. We do have a full video on this that explains everything in detail. Our process shots and steps are very detailed compared to many other recipe websites but we seek to strike the right balance between helpful explanations and ensuring a good user experience. Too many pictures/steps can lead to too much scrolling which creates a less-than-optimal user experience. So happy you enjoyed the recipe!
Hello! I'm in the process of making this now. Wanted to let you know there's a discrepancy between the written recipe and the steps portion as far as what temp and time to roast the garlic
Hi Sarah, thank you. The recipe card has been adjusted. Either way, 350 or 400, you'll be fine but I adjusted the card to 400f.
My favorite soup!!! If I could, I would rate it a 10.
Hi Dawn, so happy you enjoyed the soup and thanks for the comment!
I made this soup yesterday using canned beans (3 cans), and did the immersion blender thing at the end. I found my batch was very thin, and too much stock (despite having cut the original amount of stock down to four cups instead of six) I have loved so many of your other recipes but thin bean soup is a fail for me. Any ideas about how to salvage what’s left?
Hi Tey, sorry to hear you ran into trouble with this one. What size were the cans of beans you used? Also, did you drain the beans of their liquid? As far as salvaging, any soup will normally thicken if you continue to cook it and allow the liquid to reduce.
Love all your shows. I am going to make the white bean soup next week. Can’t wait. Thank you for sharing your cooking talent.
Hi Ellen, thanks for the comment and so happy you're enjoying the shows!
This is the best bean soup ever. I still don't understand how it can be so mind-blowing. So creamy and conforting, and rich in wonderful flavors ! This is the epitome of what a bean soup should be. I just made it for the second time, and I'm still in love. I definitely have it with grated parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil, and this time I put two huge garlic heads. It added depth without making it too garlicky.
Oh and I asked my italian grocer if she had some parmesan rinds for me, and got a handful for free ^^ thanks for the tip ! All the best from France.
Thank you so much for the wonderful comment, Annaig, and I'm so happy you enjoy the soup! Free parm rinds are a beautiful thing!
My husband orders white bean with clam soup every time we go out to eat. Can I just add clams to this soup recipe. Canned, or fresh?
Hi Nancy, I haven't tested this recipe with clams but you can certainly add them (canned or fresh) if you'd like.
I made this tonight. The best bean soup I’ve ever made and this will now be my bean soup of choice. My house smells like heaven.
Hi Sheila, I'm so happy you enjoyed the soup and really appreciate the comment!
Looks delicious can’t wait to try
Hope you enjoy it, Phyllis!
I just made this again.but added parsley to empty the fridge. I also omitted the pancetta as I did not have any. I was worried that it would not be good, but it was delicious. This is why I love your recipes so much, even if I do not have all the ingredients, I can still make a delicious dinner without running out to the store. Thanks Jim. If you only knew how much happiness your work spreads around to all of us who learn and cook with you. You are appreciated times one million.
Hi Zoe, I really appreciate your kind words, thank you! I'm so happy you enjoyed the soup!
Love this sou. I make it all the time since i came across your videos. Its easy to make and I agree with Zoe its a recipe that is very versatile. Also freezable.
Thanks for the recipe and love the videos.
Hi Adriane, thanks for the comment and so happy you liked the soup!
Made this last night, exactly as written (threw in some spinach at the end) best white bean soup I've ever made. My friend and husband loved it, too. Thank you for sharing.
Hi Evie, thanks for the comment and so happy you all enjoyed it!
Looks VG to me, can almost smell it!
Thanks for the comment and hope you enjoy it!
This soup was fast and easy to make as well as scrumptious! My family agreed we will be making it often. This is the first recipe I've made from Sip and Feast, but it won't be my last. The directions are clear and easy to follow, and I appreciate that there are pictures and videos to follow. This is a must try recipe!
Hi Tina, so happy to hear you enjoyed this one and really appreciate the comment!
Absolutely love this soup! Have made it about 5 times since I found this recipe. I added an extra roasted garlic to it the last time because we're garlic loving people and it was also fabulous. With some toasted French bread to go with is wonderful especially on a chilly day. Thank you so much for sharing and providing such great step by step instructions and pics as well, they are so helpful! Cheers!
Hi Elisha, so happy you enjoyed this one and thanks for the comment and review!
I vegetarian-sized the soup following your recipe otherwise and it was FANTASTIC! I did add 1/2 cup white wine but only because I was looking to get rid of it out of my refrigerator. Thanks so much. Enjoy your videos.
Hi Leo, thanks for the comment and so happy you enjoyed!
so satisfying and delicious. this has a permanent place in our fall and winter meal rotation.
I am so happy to hear this and really appreciate the comment!