Butter Bean Soup is heaven in a bowl. Creamy and rich with layers of flavor, this soup is the perfect way to warm up on a cold day!
If you’ve never cooked homemade soup before, please please please let this be the recipe to pop your cherry! I was flipping through Better Homes & Gardens and saw the most delectable looking picture of Butter Bean Ragout. I had to make it, I just had to. But first I had to figure out what butter beans were. They’re lima beans. Now don’t go running. I’d never even had a butter bean before this recipe, and they’re freaking amazing. So forget anything you might have thought you knew about them.
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This soup is a labor of love. You have to sit and wait for it to cook, but while the broth simmers your house smells wonderful. And once you take that first bite of this soup, you’ll know it was all worth it. It’s creamy, it had bright pops of lemon, and you’ll wish you had another bowl. Eat it kids.
Butter Bean Soup
- 1 pound dried butter beans AKA lima beans
- ½ tablespoon vegetable oil
- ½ yellow onion peeled and diced
- 2 garlic cloves peeled and minced
- 2 springs thyme leaves removed (or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme)
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- ¼ cup unsalted butter cold, cut into tablespoon chunks
- ¼ cup fresh Parmesan cheese grated
- Zest of 1/2 lemon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- 2 fresh thyme springs for garnish
- Croutons for garnish if desired
- Place the beans in a colander and rinse well under cold water.
- Heat large pot over medium-high heat, and add your oil. Once the oil is hot, add in the onions, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until they are soft and slightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn't burn.
- Add in the thyme, butter beans, and broth. Stir to combine.
- Increase heat to high and bring broth to a boil, stirring often. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally. Add water as needed to keep the beans covered. (I check on the pot about every 20 to 30 minutes.)
- Using a potato masher crush the beans into the soup liquid.
- Turn heat to medium. Add butter, one chunk at a time. Stir beans until butter melts and then add the next chunk, continue until all butter is incorporated.
- Add cheese and 1/2 of the lemon zest, stir into soup. Season with salt and pepper.
- Portion soup into 2 bowls, garnish each bowl with half the remaining lemon zest, a sprig of thyme, and croutons if desired.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.
Excellent and easy recipe! Thanks so much for posting.
Absolutely delicious, and super easy. I replaced the dried beans with canned beans to save time, still works great.
Butterbean soup is a staple in our family especially during cold & flu seasons. The only difference between our recipe & this one is the thyme is half of what recipe this calls for. Three thin slices of garlic instead of 2 cloves. And no lemon at all. Instead 1/8 teaspoon Ms. Dash (table grind) is used. Know matter how you fix this it is always good eating.
Steven B Conley says
How much water do you you add it just says water
Julie Espy says
Hi Steven! You start with the broth and it will be enough to cover the beans. As the soup cooks, the beans will absorb the broth and need additional moisture to keep cooking (without burning to the bottom of your pot). You’ll add enough water to keep the beans just barley covered during the cooking process. There isn’t an exact amount as pots and stoves may vary.
Next time I make this I will track how much water I used and make a note for reference.