Rosemary White Bean Soup

Total Time:
6 hr 50 min
10 min
6 hr
40 min

6 servings


In a medium bowl, cover the beans with water by at least 1-inch and leave them in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight. Drain.

In a large stockpot over low to medium heat, saute the onions with the olive oil until the onions are translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook over low heat for 3 more minutes. Add the drained white beans, rosemary, chicken stock, and bay leaf. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until the beans are very soft. Remove the rosemary branch and the bay leaf. Pass the soup through the coarsest blade of a food mill, or place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until coarsely pureed. Return the soup to the pot to reheat and add salt and pepper, to taste. Serve hot.

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Pairs Well With
Sauvignon Blanc

Acidic, refreshing white wine

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    107 Reviews
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    Quick, easy, and delicious! I salt soaked the beans and left out the salt in the recipe. I also used 1/2 chicken stock and 1/2 veggie stock. Yum!
    In answer to adriannegershberg, yes you could leave it chunky if you like that texture, or try pureeing half of the mixture. This bean soup is delicious. I have made it several times.
    Okay, I'm making this recipe today and have a question -- I don't want to mess with blending the beans (or emulsifying them!) so I plan on just keeping the beans as-is. Does anyone see a problem with that based on their experience in making this recipe? Thanks!
    Having read some of the reviews was a big help. I tried something new, and microwaved the beans in water, covered, for 10 minutes, then let them sit, still covered, to cool. Had to add more water, then put in fridge overnight. Even so, I cooked the soup for close to an hour and a half on low before pureeing with an immersion blender. 
    Other changes were: more garlic, another sprig of rosemary, only one and a half quarts of chicken broth and less salt. One qt of the broth was low salt and fat free, the rest was a can of regular. 
    Loved the result! But I only gave four stars because it took so much tweaking.
    I made the soup without any alterations using my own chicken stock. I also found this soup a little bland and so in the end I added a little ham and cheese to each serving. Kids ate it, husband enjoyed it and the house certainly smelled wonderful. I'll try it again with the addition of some bacon, the wine degalzing someone else mentioned, and some carrots and celery.
    This was pretty good but I found myself having to alter the recipe a bit so it wasn't too watery in the end. To be fair though, I probably should have used homemade chicken stock but I didn't have it on hand that day and had to use store-bought.
    I've been a LONG TIME fan of Food Network, as well as this website - but I've only just now registered to leave a comment. That should tell you something about how much I love this soup! It's a favorite in my family - as is. The flavors of rosemary and garlic are hard to describe. As I've said on my food blog before, Barefoot Contessa recipes never disappoint. I honestly have no idea how this amazing soup could ever come out bland to anyone (as some have mentioned I have made this soup countless times and my family and I are always completely blown away by it. Be sure to use the best EVOO on the market (I use Rachael Ray's, use fresh rosemary, and never used bottled garlic. This recipe is outstandingly delicious - hence the high ratings. : One tip, however, if your rosemary isn't fresh - you'll definitely want to use a cheesecloth bag. Otherwise you'll be left with tough rosemary splinters!
    Excellent, easy soup to make. I did add a bit more rosemary for flavor. Also, you can use an emulsifying blender and save the effort of putting hot soup through the food processor; I found this much easier. As some people suggested, I might add some smoked sausage, especially in the fall/winter when I want a heavier soup with a smoky flavor. Pairs great with a salad for dinner and leaves leftovers for lunch at work.
    I served this soup as the salad / soup course for a dinner group. I had people go back for seconds. This soup is great. My only change was adding about 2 TBLS of tomato paste, and I only ran about 2/3 of the beans through the food processor. It was the hit of the party.
    This recipe saved my night. I was going to a "soup" party and knew that I wanted a white bean soup. Mine was just missing the mark.... I used homemade ham stock instead of chicken, because that was my orginial plan. I was close to Ina's recipe other than that. I added carrots and celery and ground ginger. I went to my party very happy!! My 9 year old who hates beans loved this soup!
    Wonderfully delicious! Made the recipe without any modifications (well used no-salt added chicken stock and this soup has such wonderful flavor - whole family loved it including two girls age 10 and 8. Going to have it again tonight and add one can of white beans and cubed chicken to give it a more meal feel than soup. Will make this again for sure! Your house will smell amazing too when making this
    I have benefitted from the reviews of others for years, so I felt it was worth it to create an account and leave some feedback for this recipe. In response to the reviewers who said this soup is bland, I did the following, and it was not. So I... 
    upped the garlic by a clove 
    doubled the rosemary, but bruised it before adding it to the pot. I think that made all the difference. 
    The soup was great as it was, but I cooked a few pork and fennel sausages first and added them at the very end.  
    I will most certainly make this again.
    I want to address the directions. The recipe says to bring the beans to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. I did this exactly as written and the beans were not done. (Yes I soaked them overnight Since making this soup I found some info that states cannellini beans not only need to be soaked overnight, they need to be boiled for at least 10 minutes. This prevents unfortunate gastrointestinal issues (GAS. In conclusion love the soup but the instructions are poor
    It's quite easy to soak and cook the beans. The soup is very flavorable. For just the two of us I, cut the recipe in half. We found the soup to be a flavorful broth. We wanted a little more texture so we roasted some cauliflower flowerettes and added that to the soup.
    I used canned beans as I didn't have time to buy and soak the other. I used two 15.5 oz cans of northern beans as I did not see the earlier part of Ina's show where she tells us the type of bean she used. Then I halved the recipe, except for onions; I used two onions. It came out DELICIOUS. I'm going to buy the dry cannelli beans tomorrow and make a huge pot for the coming work week.
    one word for this "bland". I can not believe all the stars this recipe has gotten. This soup needs a major enhancement to achieve a good review from me. I usually love her recipes, but not this one!
    Tasty just the way it is! But I can also see that this could be a great base for enhancements, especially with all the protein from the beans!
    One of the best soups I've ever made, but I did make a few changes. I crisped pancetta then used that fat to sautee the aromatics. I added a healthy amount of shallot instead of some of the onion. I used white pepper instead of black pepper, and I used good sea salt. Also it is extremely important to use a foodmill with the coarse blade, its the only way to achieve the perfect consistency, Garnished the soup with the crisped pancetta, good olive oil, and a little parm
    So many of the reviews said it was bland so I addedd finely diced carrots and celery, along with a pinch of red pepper flakes, to the sauteeing onions. Also, I used white wine to deglaze the pan before adding the beans. I had some smoked ham so I diced that up and added during the last 30 minutes of the simmering time. It really helped to add more flavor and protein.
    I enjoyed the taste of this soup as is, but I agree that it is a little bland. Also, I didn't puree the beans and I used less chicken stock because I prefer the texture of a thick bean soup.
    I make this recipe all year round. Often mix up the beans, though keeping white beans as the base. Also like to add Sriracha to taste.
     A deep homemade chicken stock is the key.
    This was a little bland for my taste. It also took much longer than 30-40 minutes for the beans to soften.
    Agree - this is bland. Maybe my olive oil wasn't "good" enough. 
    But seriously. I used homemade chicken stock, rosemary from my garden (rosemary is an evergreen, so it will be around all winter, for the reviewer who was picky about that), and it really could have used something else. Next time I think I'll deglaze the onions with some white wine to add depth of flavor without changing the recipe significantly.  
    Yes, it takes much longer than 30-40 minutes to cook; I think mine cooked 90-120 before the beans were soft. And yes, you should use a cheesecloth for the rosemary sprig unless you want to pick all the leaves out individually or are ok with eating them (I find that unappetizing, myself). 
    I can't get over the number of reviewers who said this was a great recipe but added strong flavors like ham, chorizo, etc. YOU DIDN'T FOLLOW THE RECIPE, THAT'S WHY IT WAS GOOD.
    Iwould have put the rosemary in cheese cloth.It was good .It need a little extra something.Maybe extra vedgetables...
    My husband and I liked this recipe. I used 3 15 oz cans canellini beans (rinsed, 1 qt chicken stock and reduced the olive oil to 2 tablespoons. As I don't have a food mill, I used my immersion blender avoiding completely pureeing the soup, leaving some chunky pieces. This resulted in having to deal with the large rosemary leaves. Next time I will put the rosemary in a cheesecloth bag. Other than that, followed the recipe to the letter. Served it with a rosemary, olive oil Artisan bread and green salad. Nice light evening meal.
    This recipe wasnt bad, it just wasnt awesome either. I felt that the beans took especially long to get soft. I also felt as if it was lacking flavor and required quite a bit of salt.
    This is a simple and great recipe. I use a little less rosemary than suggested and I add a cup of milk to the soup before pureeing it. It keeps well in the freezer.
    I usually rate most of Ina's recipes with 5 stars but this one fell a little short. I will admit that I used a hand immersion blender rather than a food processor so maybe that's why the consistency for me was a little off - I'd prefer it to be a little thicker. I found it was a bit bland. It needs a little something extra - maybe some smoked ham or something else to add some depth of flavor.
    We really enjoyed this recipe. Next time, I'll try adding some poblano chiles along with the onions to add some heat.
    Yummy. Very good. I used canned beans, half the stock and added a dollop of pesto and a grate of cheese to each bowl just before serving.
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