White bean soup is a hearty, nutritious soup that is delicious when made with creamy, thick broth. However, sometimes the broth can turn out too thin and watery. Luckily, there are several easy ways to thicken up white bean soup to give it a rich, velvety texture.
Use a roux
One of the most effective ways to thicken white bean soup is to make a roux. A roux is a mixture of equal parts fat (such as butter or oil) and flour that is cooked together before liquids are added. As the roux cooks, the flour particles absorb the fat and thicken up any liquid that is added.
To use a roux to thicken bean soup:
- In a saucepan, melt 1-2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil over medium heat.
- Whisk in 1-2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. The mixture will become a thick paste.
- Slowly whisk in a ladleful of the hot bean soup broth. Whisk vigorously to combine.
- Once fully incorporated, add another ladleful or two of broth, continuing to whisk. The roux will begin to thin out again.
- When the roux has been thinned with some of the broth, you can add it back into the rest of the soup pot. Stir well to fully incorporate.
The starch from the flour will act as a thickening agent. Let the soup simmer for 5-10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Add more roux if a thicker consistency is desired.
Puree some of the beans
Another way to add thickness to bean soup is to puree some of the cooked beans right in the soup pot. Here’s how:
- Remove about 1-2 cups of the cooked beans (with some liquid) from the soup and puree in a blender or food processor until smooth.
- Stir the pureed beans back into the soup pot to thicken up the broth.
The starch and fiber released from the pureed beans will act as a natural thickener. Continue simmering the soup for 5-10 minutes to allow the puree to fully incorporate.
Add potato or pasta
Adding starchy ingredients like potatoes or small pasta shapes like ditalini is an easy way to give white bean soup more body.
- 1-2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced. Add at the beginning with the beans and aromatics.
- 1/2 cup small pasta like tubetti, ditalini or orzo. Cook separately according to package directions and add to the soup pot in the last 10 minutes.
The starch released from the potatoes or pasta as they cook will help to thicken and bind the soup.
Mix in instant mashed potatoes
Using instant mashed potatoes is a quick fix for thinning bean soup. Simply stir in 1-2 tablespoons of instant potato flakes while the soup simmers. Mix well and let thicken for 5 minutes before adjusting consistency as needed.
The potatoes will add starch to thicken the broth easily and without diluting the bean flavor.
Add cream or coconut milk
For a luxuriously creamy bean soup, stir in some dairy or coconut milk. The natural fats and proteins will enrich the broth for a silkier texture.
Try whisking in:
- 1/4 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
- 1/3 cup full fat coconut milk
Simmer for just a minute or two to allow the cream to fully incorporate. Be careful not to boil, as this may cause the dairy to curdle or separate.
Blend with bread
Adding a slice of bread to a blender with some of the cooked bean broth can help emulsify the soup for a thicker consistency. Here’s how to try it:
- Remove about 1 cup of bean broth from the soup and let cool slightly.
- Place the broth and 1 slice of bread torn into pieces into a blender.
- Blend until completely smooth. The bread will help thicken the puree.
- Pour the pureed mixture back into the soup pot and stir to combine.
The starch from the bread will help stabilize the emulsion for a heartier bean soup.
Simmer the soup uncovered
Allowing the bean soup to simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes can help reduce some of the excess liquid, resulting in a thicker consistency. As the soup simmers without a lid, some of the water will evaporate, concentrating the flavors.
Stir the soup frequently as it reduces to prevent scorching on the bottom of the pot. Add more broth or water if the soup becomes too thick.
Add a cornstarch slurry
A cornstarch slurry is another good option for thickening bean soups. To make one:
- In a small bowl, whisk together 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water until dissolved.
- Slowly pour the cornstarch mixture into the simmering bean soup, while stirring constantly.
- Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute to fully thicken.
The cornstarch particles will absorb liquid and create a thicker consistency once heated. Add more slurry if you want an even thicker soup.
There are many easy and delicious ways to thicken up a pot of white bean soup. Using pureed beans, starch-thickening agents like roux or pasta, emulsifiers like bread or potato flakes, and reductions are all effective options. With a little experimenting, you can achieve the perfect velvety texture for heartwarming bowls of bean soup.