Traditional Three Sisters Soup Recipe

Three Sisters soup is a filling and nutrient rich delicious recipe that you can whip up in large amounts after the harvest – and then preserve so it can be enjoyed all winter long.

three sisters soup

The base ingredients for this homesteading favorite come from the ancient Iroquois Three Sisters Garden. The tribe may have created the ultimate survival garden plan due to the significant levels of protein, fiber, amino acids, and carbohydrates each crop provides.

Growing corn, beans, and squash together in a guild to garner the companion planting and natural support each one offers the other. There are multiple variations of Three Sisters soup that have been passed down through generations and floating around on the internet.

The slight alterations in non-base ingredients due to regional growing constraints that existed long before there was a Walmart on nearly every corner, or refrigerated trucks.

Three Sisters Soup Recipe

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes


  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 squash chunked or sliced in half to bake summer; butternut, winter, or acorn squash recommended
  • 1 cup beans dried or soaked green, pinto, navy, or  kidney
  • 1 cup corn for best results shave the corn right off the cob
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil real butter, not margarine
  • 1 pinch black pepper or to taste
  • 1 pinch salt or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons thyme
  • up to 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 large carrots diced
  • 3 stalks of celery diced


  • Regardless of what type (or types) of beans you choose to use, always soak them for at least four hours to overnight before making the soup recipe.
    soaking the beans
  • Drain the beans and then rinse them.
  • Place the beans in a large cook pot, and cover them with water. The water level should be approximately one inch above the top of the beans.
  • Bring the ingredients in the pot to a rolling boil.
  • Decrease the heat to a simmer for 45 minutes – or until the beans are tender to the touch. If the beans are allowed to simmer for too long, they will become mushy. You might need to add a small amount of additional water to the cook pot during the simmering process to ensure the ingredients remain properly covered.
  • Once the beans are set to simmering, cut the squash in half, and scoop out the seeds.
    cut squash
  • Bake the squash halves with cut side up in the oven at 375F (190C) for 45 minutes, or until tender. Do not over-bake the squash, or it too will become mushy.
  • Heat the butter or olive oil in a small saucepan.
  • Stir in the onions and salt.
    three sisters soup
  • Saute the onions, salt, and oil or butter for about 10 minutes (or until they are golden brown), over medium heat. Stir the pot frequently to avoid scorching.
  • Pour the contents of the small saucepan into the large pot and stir thoroughly until all of the ingredients are combined completely.
  • Remove the large cook pot from the heat, and allow to cool enough to store or eat.


Some folks add meat to their 3 Sisters Soup. Because I had just smoked a ham a few days prior to making this batch of soup, I tossed in about 2 handfuls of it into the soup about 15 minutes before the cooking process was finished. My family loved the extra flavor, and my home smelled absolutely delicious.

One of the best things about making Three Sisters soup, no matter what recipe you use or how you adapt it to suit the flavoring ingredients you have on hand, is how inexpensive it is to make in large quantities.

Have you tried this recipe? Do you have any tips or variations that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to pin this to your Pinterest recipe board!

three sisters soup pinterest

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