This delicious Instant Pot Bean Soup is easy to make. Because, you won't need to stand over a stove and you won't even need to soak dried beans! This nourishing soup is packed with colorful veggies and high protein beans. It's flavored with Italian seasonings and brightened with fresh lemon. The combination is so good!
This recipe is healthy and satisfying, so it's perfect for weekday dinner or lunch. We like to serve this vegan soup with toasted bread. But, it would also be delicious served with a side of pita chips with a dip, such as Creamy White Bean Dip or Whipped Ricotta.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Dried beans for better results: Dried beans are cheaper, and usually have better flavor and texture than canned beans. The main downside is that dried beans can take a long time to cook. But that's not the case with an Instant Pot—it makes it fast and easy to cook dried beans! Dried beans have a significant texture advantage in Instant Pot soups. Since canned beans are already fully cooked, they can get mushy and even fall apart if they're cooked again in an Instant Pot.
- No need to soak the beans: The Instant Pot is so effective at cooking dried beans—there's no real need to soak the beans in water overnight. So yes, you can make this soup recipe today!
- Quickly building flavor: Typically, stove-top soups start with cooking down onions and aromatics to build flavor. In an Instant Pot, this step can be a bit trickier, because the heating element is a lot smaller. But, you can make the most of your prep time by putting the olive oil and onions in the Instant Pot and setting it to "saute", while you keep prepping. Infrequent stirring the onions will actually encourage them to brown faster, so you're freed up to finish chopping the remaining ingredients.
- Adding acid at the right time: A small splash of acid (like citrus or vinegar) really helps balance out a final dish. But, beans can get tough if cooked with acids. So, this recipe adds the acid (fresh lemon juice) at the end, once the beans are fully cooked, so you get the best of both worlds!
- Meal prep / freezer friendly: This soup keeps well in the fridge or freezer—and can be reheated on the stove or in the microwave.
Watch a step-by-step video and learn how to make this recipe!
Ingredients (and substitutes)
This vegan and gluten-free recipe is made with fresh veggies, dried beans, and a few simple seasonings. Here's what you need to make this Instant Pot Bean Soup:
- Dried Navy Beans: This recipe's cook times are developed for dried and unsoaked navy beans. You could use dried and unsoaked cannellini beans instead, but add 10 minutes to the cook time (see recipe card for full instructions).
- Yellow Potatoes: We love using yellow potatoes in this soup—and we skip peeling the skin. But, you can peel them if you'd like! You could substitute another kind of potato (such as red or russet). Since different types of potatoes vary significantly in size, refer to the cup or weight equivalent provided in the recipe.
- Roasted Red Peppers: Jarred roasted red peppers are slightly sweet and smoky, and bring a pretty color and flavor to this dish. The peppers get chopped, so you can buy either whole or pre-cut jarred red peppers—either work!
- Italian Seasoning: This popular store-bought spice blend is made with oregano, basil, thyme, and a couple other dried spices. It's a quick seasoning shortcut that doesn't require you to pull out a bunch of jars from your spice drawer!
- Spinach: We like to stir in fresh baby spinach into the soup at the end of cooking. You could swap the spinach for chopped kale instead.
Find the recipe card below for the complete recipe, including all ingredients and instructions.
How to make (step-by-step photos)
The Instant Pot makes it really easy to make this soup. It's pretty much a "set-it-and-forget-it" situation, with a bit of legwork in the beginning to get a head start on flavor. Here's how to make this Instant Pot Bean Soup recipe:
For this recipe (and often times), it isn't necessary! Soaking beans does help cut down on cook times. But, since the Instant Pot cooks dried beans quite quickly, the soaking step isn't worth the effort (in our opinion!).
No, we do not recommend it. This recipe was developed for dried navy beans. Canned beans are already cooked, so they would not do well being cooked for the same amount of time specified for dried beans. And, the dried beans absorb more cooking liquid, so substituting for canned would throw off that ratio.
You don't need to peel yellow potatoes, unless you want to. Yellow (Yukon Gold) potatoes have a thin skin, so we usually skip peeling it. (There's actually a lot of flavor in the skin!). But, this recipe totally works if you choose to peel the yellow potato (or even swap for a russet potato, red potato, etc.)
Let the soup cool, then transfer to an airtight container. The soup can be refrigerated for 3 to 4 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. Frozen soup can be defrosted in the fridge or in a cold water bath. Reheat soup on the stove top or in a microwave.
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Instant Pot Bean Soup
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced (2 cups)
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 1 medium yellow potato, diced (1½ cups)
- 1 cup dried navy beans (not soaked, see note 1)
- ⅔ cup chopped roasted red peppers (2 peppers, from a jar)
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Saute onions: Add olive oil and onions to an Instant Pot. Turn on the saute setting for 10 minutes, and cook, stirring only occasionally, to allow the onions to brown around the edges (see note 2).
- Add aromatics: Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and salt. Saute for 1 more minute, or until garlic is fragrant.
- Pressure cook: Add carrots, celery, potato, beans, roasted red peppers, and vegetable stock. Stir well to mix. Pressure cook on high for 25 minutes. Allow the Instant Pot to natural release for 15 minutes, then release all pressure (see note 3).
- Finish seasoning: Stir in spinach and lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasonings (more salt and/or lemon juice, if needed). Ladle into bowls.
- Beans: Use dried, unsoaked navy beans for this recipe. You could instead substitute an equal amount of dried cannellini beans. If using dried cannellini beans, increase the cook time in step 3 to 35 minutes (high pressure), and continue with the same 15 minute natural pressure release afterwards.
- Instant Pot Tip: The heating element in an Instant Pot is smaller than on a stove, so it typically takes longer to saute the same ingredient. Avoid over-stirring, to encourage the onions to brown at the edges.
- A note on bean cooking times: We tested this recipe's cook time using many different batches/brands of dried (unsoaked) navy beans. If for some reason your beans are still slightly firm after pressure releasing, simply turn on the saute function and cook uncovered until the beans are tender. Then, add the spinach and lemon juice.
- Serving suggestions: This soup is delicious served with toasted bread. You can drizzle the bread with olive oil and sprinkle it with a pinch of extra Italian seasoning and flaky salt for seasoning.
- Storage tips: This soup can be stored in the fridge for 3 to 4 days, or transfer cooled soup to a freezer-safe container and freeze for longer storage.