This slow cooker Chicken & Bean Soup is low-calorie and protein-packed made with boneless chicken breasts, white beans, and fresh spinach to create a healthy and comforting slow-cooked meal. Great for busy weeknights and freezing with 36 grams of protein per serving.
I come up with some of my best slow cooker recipes when I have ingredients in the fridge and pantry that need to be used up. This is one of those recipes. Fall-apart chicken breasts, simmered in a rich and aromatic broth with spinach and white beans -healthy comfort food at its finest!
There's nothing easier than throwing everything into a Crockpot or slow cooker and returning a few hours later to a delicious homemade white bean chicken soup. With just 5 minutes of hands-on prep work, this is a soup recipe to add to your weekly rotation.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- It's flexible. You can mix up the veggies, beans and greens to your liking.
- You'll only need 5 minutes of prep time, and your slow cooker does the rest of the work.
- This soup is packed with fiber and protein-rich ingredients.
- It's made with wholesome, low-calorie, and gluten-free ingredients.
Ingredients You'll Need
- EVOO: You'll need a bit of oil to saute the onion, garlic and mushrooms. You can also use avocado oil here.
- Sweet Onion: is the first layer of savory aromatics in the soup. Shallots also work.
- Garlic: deepens the comforting and savory flavors. Feel free to add more to your liking.
- Mushrooms: enhance the flavor of the broth and add a boost of vitamins and minerals. You can use white, portabello, creamy or button mushroom here. For the most robust flavor, use a little bit of each!
- Chicken Breasts: I used 6 smaller 4-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Feel free to use bone-in chicken breasts -be sure to remove the bone before shredding. Thighs also work but have a richer flavor.
- White Cannelini Beans: These are also known as fazolia beans, white kidney beans, and Italian kidney beans. They are a fantastic source of fiber and protein.
- Thyme & Bay Leaves: deepen the savory flavors. Add more or less to taste.
- Baby Spinach Leaves: add a pop of color and a potassium boost.
- Chicken Broth: I recommend using regular chicken broth -NOT low-sodium. The amount of sodium and saltiness varies by brand. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste if you need to.
- Seasoned Salt & Freshly Cracked Pepper: You may need more or less salt and pepper depending on the chicken broth you use. I like using seasoned salt because it adds a blend of herbs and spices without using a bunch of ingredients.
- Parmesan: Freshly grated parmesan finishes the soup with a nutty-cheesy flavor. To make dairy-free chicken and bean soup, omit the parmesan or replace it with your favorite non-dairy parmesan alternative.
How To Make Slow Cooker Chicken and Bean Soup
Step 1: Saute onion. In a large non-stick skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the onion and saute for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Step 2: Add mushrooms and garlic. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook, frequently stirring, until the mushrooms begin to soften and become fragrant (about 5 minutes).
Step 3: Slow cook. Spray the inside of your slow cooker with cooking spray. Add the sauteed vegetables, chicken breasts, beans, thyme, spinach, broth, bay leaves, salt, and pepper, stir and cook on high for 3 ½ hours.
Step 4: Shred chicken and serve. Carefully remove the chicken from the hot soup, let it cool a bit and then shred. Add the chicken back to the pot and give everything a good stir. Serve garnished with fresh parmesan.
- If your slow cooker or Crockpot has a "SAUTE" feature, you can saute the onions, mushrooms and garlic in the slow cooker. No need to dirty a separate pan.
- Keep an eye on the veggies and frequently stir as they cook. The goal is to get them just soft and fragrant. The onions and mushrooms will continue to tenderize in the slow cooker.
- The chicken will be HOT when you remove it from the soup to shred. Be sure to let it sit for a few minutes until it's cool enough to handle before shredding.
- The sodium in the chicken broth used can be different depending on the brand. You may need to adjust seasonings.
Variations & Substitutions
- Substitutes for Caneilli Beans: Northern beans, navy beans, red kidney beans, butter beans, garbanzo beans and fava beans are great in chicken and bean soup. Feel free to use a few different kinds.
- Swap the spinach for other leafy greens like kale, swiss chard or escarole.
- Add more vegetables. There's plenty of room to add more vegetables like sweet potato, butternut squash, sliced carrots and red potatoes.
- Serve with lemon. A squeeze of lemon juice is perfect for serving.
Storing & Freezing
Storing: Allow the soup to cool to room temperature and then store in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.
Freezing: The best way to freeze soup safely and extend the shelf-life is by first allowing the soup to cool completely in an ice bath. Then, fill freezer-safe bags with the cooled soup and lay flat in the freezer. Freeze for 2 to 3 months.
After 3 ½ hours of slow cooking, if your soup hasn't thickened to your liking, stir in a slurry made with hot broth and corn starch or arrowroot flour. Simmer gently until the soup thickens.
To make this soup on the stovetop, follow the recipes as written using a large stockpot. Simmer the ingredients together for 40 minutes to an hour or until the chicken is soft and tender.
If you love this recipe I would be so grateful if you could leave a 5-star 🌟rating in the recipe card below. I love reading your comments and feedback!
Slow Cooker Chicken Bean Soup with Spinach
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 sweet vidalia onion finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 8 oz mushrooms sliced
- 24 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts I used 6 four ounce breasts
- 30 oz cans white cannelini beans drained (2 cans)
- 2 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 10 oz baby spinach leaves
- 64 oz chicken broth 2 (32 oz) cartons
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
- freshly grated or shaved parmesan cheese for garnishing
- Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.
- Sauté onions for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add mushrooms and minced garlic. Cook 5 minutes more, stirring often.
- Spray a slow cooker insert with olive oil spray and add chicken breasts followed by remaining ingredients, except parmesan cheese.
- Cook for 3 ½ hours on high.
- Remove chicken breast, shred or chop, and add back to the pot. Give it a good stir and serve.
- Garnish with fresh parmesan cheese.