Bean soup is the ultimate comfort food, and adding the right herbs and spices can take it from plain to delicious.
That’s why I’ve created this list of my 17 favorite herbs and spices for bean soup – these are guaranteed to add maximum flavor with minimal effort.
From classic additions like bay leaves, thyme, garlic powder, and paprika to unique options like turmeric or star anise, these seasonings will make your next bowl of bean soup even more enjoyable.
1. Red Pepper Flakes
Red pepper flakes provide a delicious kick of heat and flavor to soups.
Use just enough to give the soup an extra depth of flavor without overpowering it.
Add 1 teaspoon per quart of soup, though you can add more depending on your personal taste preferences.
They go well with other seasonings such as onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, basil, and black pepper.
Balsamic vinegar is another great addition for a hint of tanginess.
You could also consider adding diced tomatoes or roasted red peppers if you want a bit more texture in the bowl.
Oregano is an especially good choice for adding flavor to bean soup.
It adds a fragrant, warm, and slightly spicy kick that amplifies all the savory flavors of your dish.
Just be careful to not overdo it – start with 1/4 teaspoon per four servings and adjust from there according to taste.
Other herbs and spices that pair nicely with oregano in bean soup include garlic, cumin, parsley, basil, thyme, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and bay leaves.
Combining these different herbs can add depth of flavor and make your soup even more satisfying and delicious.
3. Chili Powder
Chili powder is a great addition to bean soup since it has a bold, spicy flavor that can really complement the rich taste of beans.
Start with about 1 teaspoon for 4 servings of soup and adjust to your preference.
Some other complementary ingredients include cumin, garlic powder, oregano, and paprika for more depth and texture in the flavor profile.
You can also add diced tomatoes, green chilies, and/or jalapenos to kick up the heat level if you like spice!
Coriander is a versatile herb that can complement many different types of food, including soups and stews.
It has a subtle flavor that adds depth to the dish without overpowering it.
When adding coriander to soup, start with 1 teaspoon per pot and adjust according to taste.
Coriander goes well with ingredients such as garlic, cumin, onions, black pepper, bay leaves, turmeric powder, and chili powder.
Cumin is an essential addition to bean soup as it adds warmth and earthiness and enhances the flavors of other ingredients.
Add 1/2-1 teaspoon, depending on preference and the amount of soup you are making.
Other spices to add with cumin include paprika, coriander, chili powder, garlic powder or fresh minced garlic, onion powder or fresh minced onion, oregano, and basil.
If desired use a bit of cayenne pepper for some heat or smoked paprika for a smoky flavor.
These all bring an intense flavor that pairs well with beans for a savory aroma that will make your soup irresistible!
Thyme is a great addition to bean soup because it provides bright, clean flavors that balance out the earthy taste of beans.
It also complements other ingredients in the soup such as carrots and celery, adding a layer of flavor and depth.
Thyme should be added at the start when you are sautéing your vegetables for maximum impact.
Use about half a teaspoon for every 2-3 cups of broth, or to taste.
Other herbs that go well with bean soups include oregano, basil, rosemary, parsley, and bay leaves.
These can either all be added together with thyme at the beginning or one herb at a time during cooking according to how much time each requires – thicker stalks like oregano require longer cooking time so add them first and then work up from there.
Basil is a wonderful addition to your bean soup for adding brightness and flavor.
It has a pungent aroma like mint, but without being overwhelmingly strong.
Add about 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh basil leaves or about 1 teaspoon of dried ground basil for every cup of beans in the soup.
Herbs that go well with basil and help amplify its flavor include oregano, thyme, garlic powder, fennel seed, chili powder, and parsley.
8. Black Pepper
Black pepper is a great addition to any soup: it gives the dish just enough zing without overpowering other flavors, and its warming essence helps create a delicious depth of flavor.
Start with adding one teaspoon of ground black pepper per quart of soup and adjust according to your taste.
Other ingredients that work well with black pepper in bean soups include cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, thyme, oregano, sage, bay leaves, and parsley.
Salt is a great addition to bean soup because it enhances the other flavors of the soup, creating a full and satisfying flavor.
Salt also helps to bring out natural sweetness in any ingredients used in the soup, including vegetables or meats added for protein.
When it comes to how much salt you should add – start small and add more if needed as you can always go back and adjust once cooked!
10. Garlic Powder
Garlic powder adds depth of flavor and a nice pungent heat to a soup.
It is best used in moderation, about 1 teaspoon for every 4 cups of liquid in the soup.
Other spices that work well with garlic powder include thyme, oregano, parsley, cumin, and paprika or chili powder for an added kick.
11. Onion Powder
Onion powder is a great addition to soup because it adds flavor without adding more texture.
Onion powder has a much more intense onion taste than regular onions, which helps bring out the flavors of other ingredients in your soup.
For optimal flavor, you should add about 1 tablespoon of onion powder per four cups of broth used.
To complement the onion powder in your bean soup, you might also want to consider adding garlic powder, parsley, thyme, and red pepper flakes for some subtle heat.
All these spices will couple together nicely with the sweetness from carrots and celery or the richness found in smoked paprika or cayenne pepper.
12. Fennel Seeds
Fennel seeds add a subtly sweet and anise-like flavor.
The fennel seeds will toast well in the fat from the beans, releasing their flavor into the soup.
Additionally, fennel is thought to aid digestion.
When adding it to your soup recipe, use about 1 teaspoon for each quart of stock you use.
Other ingredients that can complement fennel seeds in soup include garlic, bay leaves, oregano, and coriander.
Try blending some of these spices with your fennel seeds before adding them to your pot for extra complexity!
Parsley provides an earthy flavor and delicate brightness.
It should be added at the end of cooking for maximum flavor, about 1 tablespoon per 4-6 servings.
Parsley pairs very nicely with other ingredients such as garlic, onion, carrots, celery, and potatoes.
14. Bay Leaves
Adding bay leaves to your soup adds an earthy flavor and subtle notes of clove and nutmeg.
Bay leaves are excellent for slow-simmered soups because they hold their shape over the cooking time, so you can fish them out before serving.
When adding bay leaves to your soup, it’s best to start small – a single leaf goes a long way – and then add more if desired.
Other ingredients that pair nicely with bay leaves in bean soup include celery seed, garlic powder, chili flakes or powder, thyme, oregano, basil, and black pepper.
To intensify the flavors even further, add in cubes of cheese such as cheddar or Parmesan for extra richness.
15. Fresh Lemon Juice
Fresh lemon juice offers a bright acidity and zest that pairs wonderfully with earthy bean soups.
The fresh flavor of the juice helps to cut through the richness of the beans, giving the soup an added layer of flavor.
When adding lemon juice to your soup, add only 1-2 tablespoons and gradually increase until you reach your desired level of tartness.
Other ingredients that work well in combination with lemon juice include thyme, oregano, garlic, onions, carrots, and celery.
Rosemary is a woody, pungent herb that pairs well with beans and complements the full flavors of a hearty soup.
You can use fresh or dried rosemary in your bean soup, with about one teaspoon of finely chopped leaves per serving being ideal; if you’re using dried rosemary, reduce this amount by half as it’s more concentrated.
Sage is a great addition to bean soup because of its earthy and slightly sweet flavor.
The herb can be used in fresh or dried form, but the typically recommended amount to add is 1 teaspoon per 1 quart of liquid.
When using fresh sage, use half as much since it has a more intense flavor.
Other ingredients that go well with sage include onions, garlic, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, black pepper, bay leaves, celery seed, and thyme.
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17 Best Herbs and Spices for Bean Soup
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Chili Powder
- Black Pepper
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Fennel Seeds
- Bay Leaves
- Fresh Lemon Juice
- Pick your favorite spices and herbs from this collection to add to your soup recipe.
- Prepare the rest of your delicious meal.
- Enjoy in no time!
Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.