Hearty Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup

Incredibly flavorful and rich, this minestrone soup is every bit as hearty as it is beautiful. Made easily in the slow cooker, this soup is perfect for a busy weeknight!

Made with minimal effort, this minestrone soup is one of the most flavorful soups I’ve ever made!  Full of protein and fiber rich beans, nutritious vegetables and filling pasta, it’s a complete meal in a bowl!

Bowl of rich and hearty minestrone soup

How’s your Spring going so far?  Ours has been absolutely crazy, with snow storms hitting us several times within the last two weeks.  Now this week it’s cold and rainy.  BLAH!!  The good news is, it’s still soup weather!

Honestly though, I still make soup year round… it’s just great comfort food.  Especially this minestrone soup.

Ladle of minestrone soup in crockpot

I’ve made a lot of soups over the years… some of our favorites are tomato basil, zuppa toscana, and beef barley… but this one, it might just be my absolute FAVORITE!!  Normally vegetable soups always leave me feeling hungry about an hour after.  But this one doesn’t do that to me; it’s hearty, rich, and FULL of flavor.


Minestrone is typically a vegetable soup, usually with beans, and pasta.  Traditionally ditalini (the small little tubes) is used, but mini shells, mini penne, or any other really short pasta will work.


In many ways yes!  It’s low in fat and calories and loaded with healthy vegetables.  If you’re following a low-carb way of eating, the beans and pasta will make this higher in carbohydrates.

Bowl of minestrone with parmesan cheese on top


This recipe is super easy to make… the slow cooker does the work for you!  The only “work” involved is chopping the carrot, celery, onion and zucchini and most of that can be prepped ahead of time.  Just add the ingredients in the crockpot, cover, and switch it on!  There’s a trick to the timing of adding certain ingredients, but it’s all detailed in the recipe at the end of the post 😉


Not technically, but from looking at other copycat recipes, it has extremely similar ingredients, so it will probably taste pretty close.  I’ve never actually had the minestrone soup from Olive Garden, so I can’t say with certainty how close the flavors are.  Try it and let me know!

Spoonful of crockpot minestrone soup

Even though we may be heading into warmer weather, I hope you give this hearty and comforting minestrone soup recipe a try… I know you’ll love it!!

Try this soup with my no-knead artisan bread or semi-homemade garlic bread for a great treat!


  • Large slow cooker – I have the 6 and 8 quart version of this slow cooker and it works amazingly well.  I love that the lid latches down.
  • Vegetable base –  this is what I mean when I say vegetable base, it adds SUCH flavor to soups and stews.  Your grocery store might have it in stock, but in case it doesn’t, this link is to the exact version I use.

Way better than the soup from that popular Italian restaurant chain, this minestrone soup is bursting with hearty flavors and is made easily in the slow cooker!  Vegetables, beans and pasta are simmered in a rich vegetable broth to make a soul-warming soup. | #minestrone #soup #slowcooker #crockpot #copycat #souprecipe

Hearty Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup

Incredibly flavorful and rich, this minestrone soup is every bit as hearty as it is beautiful. Made easily in the slow cooker, this soup is perfect for a busy weeknight!
3.9 from 18 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 6 hrs
Total Time 6 hrs 20 mins
Servings 8 servings
Calories 270


  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow onion, diced
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • parmesan rind, or 1" chunk of parmesan
  • 2-3 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/4 Tbsp dried Italian seasoning
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups fat free vegetable stock or broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable base
  • 15 oz can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed


  • 1 cup diced zucchini
  • 1 1/2 cups dried ditalini or other small pasta


  • 1 cup frozen cut green beans
  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped


  • Add first 15 ingredients to 6 quart or larger slow cooker.  Stir to combine, cover, and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, or HIGH for 3-4 hours.
  • 30 minutes before you want to serve the soup, add zucchini and ditalini pasta, stir, cover and cook on HIGH for 20-25 minutes.
  • 5 minutes before serving, add in frozen green beans and baby spinach, stir, cover and cook on HIGH for 5 minutes.
  • When serving, if desired, grate parmesan cheese over the soup and enjoy!



As written, the green beans are semi-crisp.  If you prefer softer green beans, add them when you add in the zucchini and pasta.
Tried this recipe?Mention @the_chunky_chef or tag #thechunkychef!

If changing the recipe serving quantity, the recipe plugin will change the ingredient values for you, but it does NOT change the written instructions, those are manually added and not subject to a slider/button. You will have to extrapolate that multiplication to any amounts listed in the instructions.

For example: if an ingredient calls for 4 cups, and you doubled the recipe, it will automatically change to 8 cups. In the instructions, if I say “use 4 cups of cheese”, you will have to realize that since you doubled it, you use 8 cups, not 4

Way better than the soup from that popular Italian restaurant chain, this minestrone soup is bursting with hearty flavors and is made easily in the slow cooker!  Vegetables, beans and pasta are simmered in a rich vegetable broth to make a soul-warming soup. | #minestrone #soup #slowcooker #crockpot #copycat #souprecipe

Way better than the soup from that popular Italian restaurant chain, this minestrone soup is bursting with hearty flavors and is made easily in the slow cooker!  Vegetables, beans and pasta are simmered in a rich vegetable broth to make a soul-warming soup. | #minestrone #soup #slowcooker #crockpot #copycat #souprecipe

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Recipe Rating

40 comments on “Hearty Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup”

  1. made this with a few variation(s); it was hearty, filling, and absolutely delicious!

  2. Very good! My partner & I enjoyed this soup-it’s so hard to find a flavorful vegetarian soup recipe! We’ll definitely be making this in the future. The recipe is obviously a lot for 2 people, so we ate if for a couple days & froze the rest.

  3. Can this be cooked on the stove instead of a slow cooker?

    • Yes, you’d want to saute the carrots, celery and onion in a little bit of butter for about 5 minutes or so to soften them. Then add the rest of the ingredients up through the cannelini beans, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Increase the heat a little so the soup comes to a low boil, then add pasta and zucchini. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, then stir in green beans and spinach and cook another 3-5 minutes.

  4. Hi Amanda. If using fresh green beans should I just add those in when I put in the zucchini? The first 15 ingredients are in our slow cooker now. Can’t wait….hopefully I can add the fresh green beans with the diced zucchini?

  5. Can this soup be frozen ?

  6. Can this be made with dry beans? Thank you

  7. My husband told me that this was literally the best soup he had ever eaten. We normally eat quite well, and are also grammar geeks who know what “literally” means and use it sparingly, so this is high praise. The only change I made to the recipe was using Gruyere rind instead of parmesan. (Because I had Gruyere rind…) I don’t know if I’d say it’s the best soup I’ve *ever* eaten (that’s a hard statement for me to make – I have consumed quite a bit of soup over the years) but I will say it was absolutely delicious and I know I will make this again and again. Thank you.

    As noted by another reviewer below, it does seem to get thicker as leftovers – more like a stew than a soup. I can’t advise on adding more broth/tomatoes/whatever to make it less solid, because I just ate it as-is and it was still really tasty 🙂

  8. This turned out amazing. Added more carrots, potatoes and celery, and more salt and pepper. Highly recommend

  9. I don’t have the vegetable base on hand, do you know how many vegetable bouillon cubes I would need to use to get the 2 tbsp’s? I’ve read that 1 cube is equivalent to 1 tsp when crushed up but that seems like I would be using quite a lot of cubes to get to 2 tbsp?

    • I’ve not tested this using bouillon cubes, but I would try just using one. They may be more concentrated than the vegetable base.

    • Recipe won’t print when I try to print I’m hitting print symbols

    • Marlene,
      The Better Than Bouillon jar says 1 tsp = 1 bouillon cube.  1 Tbsp. = 3 tsp. so you’ll need 6 Bouillon cubes. Seems a lot, but 1 bouillon cube Or 1 tsp Better Than Bouillon in 8oz water makes 8oz stock,  which is same volume as 1/2 bottle of soda. Either way when I use the soup base I usually omit any other salt. This recipe doesn’t  call for salt which is good and most every recipe is S&P to taste anyway. 
      Thank you Amanda,  got several of your recipes in my books, all yumm yummy!

  10. planning to make this- I cook, a lot. What is this “vegetable base”, exactly? Could not find in the store.

  11. Update: I re-made the soup, I added the parmesan rind. I also added the beans when I put the zucchini and pasta in and it turned out MUCH better… It’s amazing how much of a difference the parmesan makes! I have to add that my initial soup tasted MUCH better the day after, it had so much more flavor somehow? Great soup, will use this recipe again! One problem I had the next day though is all the juices were gone almost like the vegetables absorbed them. Is this normal? Thanks!

  12. I was super excited to make this soup but sadly it came out pretty bland. I followed it super closely, but I feel like maybe I did something wrong or it was super bland because I didn’t add the parmesan rind? Not sure. The green beans definitely need more than just 5 minutes to cook, they were still crunchy when I served it. Are they supposed to be crunchy?

    • The blandness is because you skipped the Parmesan, which adds a savoriness to the soup. As mentioned in the recipe, if you don’t have a rind, just add a 1 inch piece of Parmesan cheese. I like my green beans with a little bite to it, but if you like yours softer, just add earlier.

  13. Those look like potatoes in the pictures yet there is no mention of potatoes in the recipe. Am I missing something??

  14. Questions: is cooking the pasta in the soup important for thickening, etc? Trying to figure out how to serve it quickly once we’re home. And, will it be mush if I cook on low and then it sits for a while longer on the warm setting? 

    • I add the pasta for convenience, but it doesn’t effect the soup in terms of thickening or anything. If you’re eating it right away, it should be just fine, but if there will be some time in between cooking the soup and eating it, I would cook the pasta separate and add it to the bowls before eating 🙂

  15. My whole family loves this recipe. The link for your vegetable stock is broken but I found your recipe/website awhile ago when the link wasn’t broken and bought the exact stock from my local grocery store. I’ve never purchased another brand again. I love that stuff!   

    This recipe is sooo flavorful. It’s the perfect amount of everything and that vegetable stock just completely takes it to the next level. Thank you for sharing such an amazing recipe! You nailed it!

  16. Great recipe! I’m to much of a carnivore to not add a pound of ground beef to it! Came out delicious. ..nomnom.

  17. Came out pretty good 🙂

  18.  I woke up to snow in Indiana today so I thought what a perfect day for soup!! This recipe is wonderful and perfect!! Great suggestion with the vegetable base, the soup is absolutely delish! I’ll have to freeze some for later. Thank you!

  19. Baked in oven tonight. Can’t wait to taste it tomorrow for Easter dinner. It looks yummy! Thanks for the recipe because we usually purchase Honey Baked Hams for holidays.

  20. What a GORGEOUS pot of soup! Can’t wait to try this one!

  21. What a great recipe! I have to put this on my menu!

  22. This is one of my favorite soups! Thanks for making it a slow cooker version!

  23. Minestrone soup is one of my comfort foods.

  24. Nothing beats a bowl of soup that has been slow cooking all day. Comfort food at it’s best!

  25. That looks like one hearty bowl of soup! Love all the veggies!!

  26. This soup looks so hearty and delicious! I can’t wait to serve up a bowl to my family this week 🙂