A big pot of white bean soup with smoked turkey or ham is a favorite because if its simplicity and delicious use of leftovers.
Smoked Turkey & Bean Soup Recipe rivals traditional ham soup, but leftover ham bone or ham hocks can be substituted.
Updated with Pressure Cooker instructions! See recipe notes for more details.
Beans are a great source of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals—one meal that can help you keep those New Year’s resolutions to take better care of yourself.
Navy, Great Northern, pinto, black-eyed peas, or the 15 bean concoction are all good choices for this recipe. Our favorite is cannellini, which are a white kidney bean with a soft, creamy texture.
Yes, you can smoke your own turkey, but you don’t have to.
If you don’t have a smoker to make your own smoked turkey, Diestel Smoked Turkey Drums & Thighs make it easy to get the sweet, smoky flavor bean soup demands. Here in Colorado, this premium turkey brand is found at Whole Foods.
We prefer Diestel brand because of their sustainable farming methods and natural, hardwood smoking process.
The flavor is pleasantly smoky and lightly seasoned, giving me more control over the amount of salt.
Each thigh or drumstick is individually wrapped so it’s easy to customize the amount or combination you want. In this case, two smoked turkey thighs provide plenty of meat for 5 quarts of hearty soup.
Stove top, slow cooker or pressure cooker instructions included.
I’ve prepared this soup in a slow cooker and in my stockpot, but I’m using my pressure cooker to make soups faster (see notes in recipe).
The beans cook beautifully in the pressure cooker, however, the meat doesn’t quite get to the fall-off-the-bone stage in such a short time, but the flavor is the same.
TIP: Use organic canned beans if you’re in a pinch for time, reducing cooking time as well. However, we think you’ll prefer the taste and creamy texture of dried beans.
- 2 cups dry cannellini beans
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2-3 stalks celery chopped
- 2-3 large carrots chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- About 4 quarts of Basic Chicken Stock , or chicken broth
- 2 Diestel Smoked Turkey Thighs or Drumsticks
- 1 cup dry lentils (unsoaked)
- 1 whole bay leaf
- 2 cubes of homemade beef bouillon or 1/2 cup concentrated beef stock (optional)
- 2 teaspoons Paul Prudhomme's Meat Magic
- 2 teaspoons dry Italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Dissolve 1 teaspoon baking soda in 4 quarts water in a large pot. Add beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse well.
- Chop onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Heat oil in large soup pot or pressure cooker over medium heat and cook onion, carrot, and celery caramelized. Mix in garlic and cook until fragrant. (If using a slow cooker, transfer softened vegetables to the cooker at this point and continue with remaining instructions.)
- Stir in soaked and rinsed beans, lentils, turkey thighs or drumsticks, and bay leaf to the pot; cover with broth or stock. Be sure to add enough liquid to cover with 2-3 inches above ingredients to allow beans to absorb liquid.
- The exact amount of broth will depend on the amount of meat added. Additional water may be needed. *See Note for pressure cooker method.
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 hours on the stove or 4-6 hours in a crockpot set on low. Add spices and bouillon the last hour or so, adjust until desired flavor is reached. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Before serving, remove bones and large pieces of turkey from the pot; allow to cool slightly on a platter. Once cool enough to handle, separate meat from the bones and any unappealing connective tissue. Return meat to the pot and discard bones.
- Serve with cornbread and honey-butter.
Pressure Cooker Method:
- Once the onion, celery, carrot and garlic are softened, add all the ingredients to the pot, including spices.
- Bring soup to pressure based on manufacturer's instructions. Reduce heat enough to keep at pressure for 15 minutes. Beans should be soft and ready for salt and pepper, to taste.
- Before serving, remove bones and large pieces of turkey from the pot; allow to cool slightly on a platter.
- Once cool enough to handle, separate meat from the bones and any unappealing connective tissue. Return meat to the pot and discard bones.
- Optional additions or substitutions: turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, kale, red bell pepper, or hot green chilies
Smoky bean soup and sweet cornbread go together like movies and popcorn.
I cannot imagine bean soup without whole grain cornbread.
Start with one piece in your bowl to soak up the broth and crown another one with butter and honey (this also qualifies as dessert).
More bean recipes to stir your appetite:
Tuscan White Bean Soup with Broccoli Rabe
Red Beans & Rice
Beans, Bacon & Chipotle
Black Bean Confetti Salsa
Sausage & Split Pea Stew
Hearty Beef & Bean Chili
This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting what I do here at Savoring Today. For more information, please see our Disclosure Policy.