Full of plenty of herbs, veggies, and protein, this Easy Instant Pot Vegetable Soup with Bacon is the perfect hearty comfort food for winter. Made with seasonal ingredients for a gluten free, budget-friendly dish that’s ready in just 30 minutes! Crockpot and Stovetop Options.
‘Tis the Season for Soup
Nothing quite hits the spot like a warm bowl of soup, especially when the weather is cold! Have you noticed that this time of year you find yourself reaching toward more starches and carbs? Us too, and there’s a reason why! You see with the darker days and colder nights that come along with fall and winter also comes a shift in our circadian rhythm.
As a result, our bodies naturally crave starchier foods that are known to raise the body’s insulin levels, helping the brain convert tryptophan into serotonin, a feel-good neurotransmitter. That’s where this Instant Pot vegetable soup comes into play! You see, as tempting as it is to go load up on holiday pie and sugar cookies, by making sure we consume nutritious complex carbs we ensure that we don’t raise our insulin levels too much. Plus, they’re a great source of fiber and loaded with vitamins and nutrients when consumed in the form of vegetables like in this soup!
That said, we packed as many nutrients into this recipe as we could using a whole host of veggies including mushrooms, onion, celery, carrots, parsnips, and potatoes! Then, we added in plenty of herbs and seasonings, bacon, and ham for a rich, hearty flavor you’ll love. Comfort food that’s super good for you? Yes, please! As if that wasn’t good enough, it all comes together in the Instant Pot for an unbelievably easy recipe that tastes like you spent all day in the kitchen. Dinner doesn’t get better than this!
Ingredients You’ll Need
For this Instant Pot vegetable soup, we kept the ingredient list as simple as possible and extremely versatile to fit all your needs. Naturally gluten free, dairy free, and nut free, it’s the perfect lunch or dinner for feeding a crowd.
- Bacon – This adds tons of flavor to the soup for an extra savory, robust taste.
- Vegetables – For plenty of color and loads of nutrients we include mushrooms, onions, celery, carrots, parsnips, and potatoes.
- Flavor enhancers – Garlic, smoked paprika, dried thyme, salt, pepper, and a bay leaf are included to enhance the rest of the ingredients, creating a warm, hearty taste.
- Olive Oil or Bacon Grease – We prefer to use reserved bacon grease for extra flavor, but olive oil works as well to prevent the vegetables from sticking to the pan.
- Broth – We use chicken broth to form the liquid base of this easy vegetable soup, but vegetable broth could be used in its place.
- Ham – Technically optional, we love to include diced pieces of ham for extra protein, making this soup extra filling. Plus, it’s a great way to use up holiday leftovers!
- Garnish – Fresh herbs like parsley, grated Parmesan cheese, and diced bacon can be sprinkled on top for a little extra texture.
How to Make the Best Vegetable Soup Recipe (3 Ways)
Okay, we know we called this an easy Instant Pot vegetable soup recipe, and it is! BUT it’s so good we didn’t want anyone to miss out on making it regardless of whether or not they had an Instant Pot. So, we created a stovetop and crockpot vegetable soup with it, too! Here’s how to make all three:
Instant Pot Option
This instant pot vegetable soup is guaranteed to become your new go-to recipe when you need something cozy and nourishing in a pinch!
- Cook the bacon. Heat a 4-quart Instant Pot using the sauté mode, and cook the diced bacon until the edges are crisp. Remove the bacon, reserving some of the grease, and set it aside on paper towels.
- Sauté the veggies. Add the onion, garlic cloves, and mushrooms to the pot, and sauté until the veggies are softened but not yet browned. Stir in the celery, carrot, and parsnip. After a few minutes, add the olive oil or reserved bacon grease to prevent the veggies from sticking to the pot.
- Add the potatoes. Press cancel to turn off the sauté mode, and place the potatoes in the pot along with the paprika, thyme, salt, pepper, and chicken broth. Stir to combine. Place the bay leaf on top, cover, and set the vent valve to closed. Cook on manual mode at high pressure. Then, natural release. Release the remaining pressure before removing the lid and discarding the bay leaf and thyme stems.
- Add the meat. Stir in the diced ham and bacon, and warm. Once your desired temperature is reached, adjust the seasonings to taste, and enjoy!
Other Easy Cooking Methods
The stovetop version of this soup is nearly identical to the Instant Pot method. It takes slightly longer to cook but is just as easy when you follow the instructions below! Just sauté the veggies as stated in a large pot over medium-high heat. Then, cover the pot, bring the ingredients to a boil, and let them simmer on low for 30 minutes. Stir in the diced ham and bacon, adjust the seasonings, and enjoy!
Crockpot Vegetable Soup Option
The crockpot recipe combines the previous two methods to create one tasty recipe perfect for prepping ahead of time. Prepare the bacon and vegetables in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Then, add the veggies to a slow cooker, and layer the potatoes on top followed by the spices and broth. Cook on high for 3 hours. Then, add the remaining ingredients such as ham and extra cooked bacon, let them warm for 30 minutes, and enjoy.
Flavor Variations and Add-Ins
Add extra veggies. Feel free to incorporate any vegetables you have on hand such as zucchini, butternut squash, green beans, tomatoes, or even fire-roasted tomatoes. Just keep in mind that vegetables with a higher water content like zucchini are likely to become soft and mushy in the Instant Pot.
Use a different protein. If preferred, you can easily swap out the ham with beef stew meat or even ground turkey. Just be sure to cook it separately before adding it to the soup!
Pork-free. If needed, omit the ham completely, and swap out the bacon for turkey bacon. The flavor won’t be quite as rich, but it’ll still be tasty!
Spice it up. If you prefer your food on the spicy side, add a dash of crushed red pepper flakes or even a bit of hot sauce.
Make Ahead and Storage Options
This is the best vegetable soup recipe for meal prep as it stores really well! So, go ahead and make a double batch to keep on hand for those days when you need a quick dinner that’s full of nutrients and still tastes great.
Refrigerator: Once cooled, transfer the soup to an airtight container, and store it in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
Freezer: For a longer-lasting Instant Pot vegetable soup, transfer your leftovers to a freezer-safe container, and freeze it for up to 3 months.
To Reheat: When you’re ready to eat, let your frozen soup thaw in the fridge overnight. Then, warm it in the microwave, Instant Pot, stovetop, or crockpot until your desired temperature has been reached!
Thanks to the inclusion of vegetables, complex carbs, and protein, this easy vegetable soup recipe makes for a filling meal all on its own. However, we love to pair it with gluten free crackers or homemade nut and seed bread for dipping!
More Gluten Free Soup Recipes
Looking for more easy soup recipes to get you through the colder months? We’ve got you covered with plenty of gluten free, allergy friendly recipes the whole family will love!
Do you have questions, feedback, or tips about this recipe? Leave a comment below with any questions or feedback you’d like to share!