This creamy vegan white bean soup is a healthy and cozy soup made with dry great northern beans. Just add a few pantry staples to your Instant Pot and get excited for a comforting dairy-free stew.
Cozy up and grab a bowl of this creamy vegan white bean soup because it's officially soup season!
This soup is perfect for meal prep. It freezes well, it's packed with plant-based protein and fiber, and it's super cozy.
I recommend soaking the great northern beans before making this soup, but you can use unsoaked beans if you're short on time. I include instructions for both options in the recipe card.
Ingredients and substitutions
This vegan white bean soup is full of low-fat, plant-based protein and fiber from great northern beans.
- White beans: Dry great northern beans are a smaller white beans. Navy beans can also be used because they take a similar length of time to cook. Both beans soften well and make a delicious stew!
- Mirepoix: This mixture of carrots, onion, and celery makes the base of the soup. Add in garlic for extra flavor.
- Vegetable broth: I usually use a reduced-sodium vegetable broth so that I have more control over saltiness. Lately, I have been loving Better than Bouillon. I highly recommend using that for extra flavor.
- Spices and herbs: I use dried rosemary and thyme but fresh can also be used. One tablespoon of fresh chopped herbs is equivalent to one teaspoon of dry herb. Cayenne pepper is optional but I love it for a little kick of spice!
- Nutritional yeast: I like to add nutritional yeast to creamy vegan soups because it adds a cheesy flavor and contributes to the creamy factor. This can be omitted if you don't have it on hand.
- Lemon zest adds brightness and contrast to the creamy beans.
Step by step instructions
All of my Instant Pot recipes are made in a 6 qt DUO60 Instant Pot.
- Start by sauteing onion, celery, and garlic in a bit of olive oil until aromatic and browned.
- Add in the spices and bloom for 30 seconds. Deglaze the pot to avoid any stuck-on bits that may trigger the burn error. Add the broth and rinsed white beans.
- Lock on the lid and set the pressure valve to sealing. Cook on high pressure for 35 minutes for unsoaked beans and 17 minutes for soaked beans. Allow the pressure to release naturally, which will take about 20 minutes.
- Give the soup a stir. Taste for salt and pepper. Enjoy!
Recipes notes and tips
- Soaked vs unsoaked beans: This recipe can be made using soaked beans or unsoaked beans. I originally shared this recipe in 2018 and recommended using unsoaked beans. After a few years of making this soup and revising the recipe, I now recommend soaking the beans overnight. If you are used to making this recipe with unsoaked beans, you can do so, but it takes longer and the bean texture is more variable.
- If the beans aren't as tender as you'd like you can reseal the lid and cook on high pressure for 5 more minutes (it will come to pressure quickly since it's already hot). Make sure to set the pressure valve back to sealing. Also, note that older beans take longer to cook. Older beans are more likely to look wrinkly/shriveled, but otherwise, you can't really tell until you cook them.
- For a thicker soup, blend 1-2 cups of the soup in a blender or with an immersion blender. This makes it extra creamy!
- This meal can be portioned into large or individual containers and frozen for up to 3 months. These are the containers I use. It will need to thaw in the fridge for up to 24 hours before enjoying.
Other recipe changes: The original 2018 version of this recipe recommended cooking the soup with soy milk or another unsweetened non-dairy milk. I now recommend cooking in vegetable broth only and adding additional non-dairy milk after cooking. You can also add ½ cup to 1 cup of cashew cream for an even creamier soup.
For best quality, keep leftovers refrigerated in a closed container for 3-4 days. This soup can be frozen for up to 3 months. Let thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
I recommend using great northern beans or navy beans in this recipe because they cook for a similar amount of time. I do not recommend using cannellini beans or lima beans because they require a longer cook time.
No, this recipe does not work with canned beans because they require far less liquid and a shorter cook time.
Looking for more cozy vegetarian soup recipes?
If you're new to Instant Pot cooking, check out my vegetarian Instant Pot recipes roundup for even more cooking tips.
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Creamy Vegan White Bean Soup
- 1 pound dry great northern beans rinsed and sorted
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 2 large carrots diced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 5 cups vegetable broth see note #1
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast optional but great!
- zest from ½ lemon
- 1 cup unsweetened soy milk or cashew cream optional
- The night before or at least 8 hours before you plan to make this soup, add the beans to a large bowl and cover completely with at least one inch of water. See recipes notes for an unsoaked bean option.
- On the Instant Pot, press the "saute" function and adjust to "normal". Once it reads hot, drizzle in the olive oil. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt. Saute until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and saute for 1 more minute.
- Add the rosemary and oregano, cooking for another 30 seconds to bloom. Deglaze the pot with 1-2 tablespoons vegetable broth.
- Add the soaked beans (without their soaking liquid), remaining vegetable broth, optional cayenne pepper, and nutritional yeast.
- Lock the lid into place and set the pressure valve to "sealing". Press the "pressure cook" button; adjust to "high pressure". Set the pressure cook time for 17 minutes. It will take about 15 minutes to come to pressure.
- Allow the pressure to release naturally. This will take about 20 minutes; the pressure is fully released when the silver float valve floats down.
- Remove the lid carefully and give the soup a stir. Add the zest from ½ lemon. Taste for salt and pepper. For a thinner soup, add 1 cup unsweetend soy milk or other non-dairy milk. Add ½ cup cashew cream for a thicker soup. You can also immersion blend or blend ⅓ of the soup to thicken if desired. Enjoy!
- Vegetable broth: I love using Better than Bouillon but any kind of vegetable broth works. Water works in a pinch but will decrease the flavor of the soup significantly.
- Herbs: One teaspoon dry herbs can be replaced with one tablespoon fresh herbs.
- Bean cook time: If the beans aren't as tender as you'd like you can reseal the lid and cook on high pressure for 5 more minutes (it will come to pressure quickly since it's already hot). Make sure to set the pressure valve back to sealing.
- For a thicker soup, blend ⅓ of the soup in a blender or with an immersion blender. This makes it extra creamy!
- Freezing: This meal can be portioned into large or individual containers and frozen for up to 3 months. These are the containers I use. It will need to thaw in the fridge for up to 24 hours before enjoying.
- If using unsoaked beans, cook on high pressure for 35 minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally. Test 3 beans for doneness. Cook on pressure another 5 minutes if needed.
- Author's note on recipe changes: This recipe was originally shared in 2018. I updated the recipe in January 2022 for improved quality and consistency. I now recommend soaking the beans before cooking them. The original recipe included 3 cups soy milk and 3 cups vegetable broth. I now recommend cooking the soaked or unsoaked beans with just 5 cups of vegetable broth and adding non-dairy milk or cashew cream after, if desired.