The Best Black Bean Soup

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Looking for the best black bean soup recipe? This is it! Black bean soup is made with canned beans for convenience, and tastes like it came from a restaurant.

black bean soup with spoon and toppings.

This recipe actually reminds me of Panera’s black bean soup, if you ever had the opportunity to try their version before they discontinued it. It has a slightly smoky, savory flavor with plenty of veggies packed into each bite.

Why You’ll Love It

This soup is packed with fiber and plant-based protein, thanks to the black bean base. Research suggests that adding beans to a meal may help to lower blood sugar spikes and they contain minerals like calcium and magnesium, which may help to promote healthy bones.

You also don’t need to use partial ingredients here, like opening a can of tomato paste to get a few tablespoons, or a can of chipotles in adobo sauce. (Which, I admit, is one of my favorite things to add to a soup recipe like this, but I don’t want you to open a whole can just for this recipe.)

Instead, we’ll use simple pantry ingredients that you may already have on hand.

Ingredients You’ll Need

black bean soup ingredients in glass bowls.

What’s in black bean soup? 

  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Red bell pepper
  • Garlic
  • Dried spices
  • Black beans

The base is super easy, and then you’ll stir in the final layer of flavor, including lime juice and cilantro, and the end.

I add red pepper flakes to this recipe to give it some kick, but feel free to swap that out for a pinch of cayenne pepper (literally, only a pinch!) or omit it entirely for a less spicy soup.

Note: I don’t use vegetable broth in this recipe because I think it’s unnecessary from a flavor standpoint. This soup is so flavorful on its own! However, feel free to swap the water for prepared broth, if you’d like to. Just keep in mind that you may need to watch the amount of salt you add in that case. (You can even use chicken broth if you don’t need this to be a vegetarian soup.)

black bean soup in a white bowl at an angle.

How to Make It

1. Saute the veggies. Add a drizzle of olive oil to a large pot over medium high heat and saute the onions, celery, and bell pepper until they start to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add in the garlic, ground cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, and red pepper flakes and stir briefly, just until they are fragrant. This should take about 1 minute.

veggies and spices for black bean soup in pot

2. Simmer. Add in the water, drained and rinsed canned beans, and salt.

For a thick soup, you may only want to use 3 cups of water, but I prefer to use 4 cups in total. If you reduce the water you use, you may want to also reduce the salt. You can always add more later!

Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover the pot and lower the heat. Let the soup gently simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. This will bring out all the flavor, and make the beans very tender.

black beans and broth simmered in white pot.

3. Blend. Transfer 4 cups of the soup to a blender, and blend until very smooth.

Safety tip: When blending hot liquids, be sure to remove the vent cover in your blender’s lid, and cover it lightly with a thin dish towel to allow steam to safely escape. This will prevent the steam pressure from blowing the lid off your blender.

Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender and blend the soup directly in the pot, instead.

some of the soup added to blender and blended until smooth.

4. Enjoy! Return the blended soup back to the pot, and stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Adjust any seasoning to taste. (I usually add a little more salt.)

Serve warm in bowls with your favorite toppings, like sour cream, avocado, or even tortilla chips, for some added crunch.

puree added to soup and cilantro added to pot.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I cook this in the Instant Pot? Yes. In fact, cooking black beans in the Instant Pot may make them easier to digest, by potentially reducing their lectin content.

To cook this soup in the Instant Pot, I’d saute the veggies and spices as directed in the recipe using pressure cooker’s saute function, then add in the water, drained beans, and salt, and cook at high pressure for 8 minutes.

Let the pressure naturally release for 15 to 20 minutes, so that soup won’t spew out of the steam release valve, then move the steam release valve to venting to release any remaining pressure. When the floating valve in the lid drops, it’s safe to remove the lid.

Then blend a portion of the soup as directed, and add in the final ingredients.

Is this recipe vegan? Yes, this recipe is dairy-free and vegan as written. It’s also gluten-free!

Can I make substitutions? I can only vouch for this recipe exactly as I’ve tested it, but you can always swap things you have on hand. Try using carrots instead of red bell pepper, if you like, or a touch of chili powder instead of the smoked paprika, if that’s what you have on hand. You can add a bay leaf into the soup as it simmers, too, but don’t forget to remove it before blending and serving.

I think adding some corn or a can of green chiles would probably be interesting, too. Feel free to experiment with it!

Can I use less beans? You can, but the soup will be much more watery if you don’t cut everything else in half, too. My goal was to use only 2 cans of beans for this recipe, but to achieve the best texture, using only 2 cans makes a disappointingly small batch of soup, so I had to double it!

The leftover soup is amazing over baked potatoes, FYI. I highly recommend trying it with any extra soup you may have on hand.

black bean soup lifted up on spoon.

black bean soup with spoon and toppings.
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4.92 from 23 votes

Best Black Bean Soup

This black bean soup is easy to make using canned beans, and it tastes like it came from a restaurant! Serve it with your favorite toppings, like sliced avocado or tortilla chips.
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword black bean soup
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 314kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion , finely chopped
  • 3 celery ribs , chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper , chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional; for a spicy soup)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 (15 oz.) can black beans , drained and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt (I use Real Salt brand)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, and saute the onion, celery, and red bell pepper until they start to soften, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, and red pepper flakes (if using), and stir briefly, just until they are fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add in 1 cup of the vegetable broth, and scrape the bottom of the pot to make sure nothing is stuck to the pan. Add in the remaining broth, along with the drained black beans, and salt. Bring the liquid to a boil.
  • When the soup is boiling, lower the heat and cover the pot, letting the soup cook until the beans are very tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Transfer 4 cups of the soup to a blender. Be sure to remove the vent in the blender's lid and lightly cover it with a towel, to allow steam to safely escape as you blend. (This way the steam pressure won't make the lid blow off the top-- don't burn yourself!) Carefully blend until smooth, then return the puree back to the soup pot.
  • Add in the lime juice and cilantro, and stir until wilted. Then adjust any seasoning to taste, adding more salt, as needed. (I usually add a 1/2 teaspoon more salt.) Serve warm with your favorite toppings, like sliced avocado, sour cream, green onions, or tortilla chips. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Video

Notes

Nutrition information is for 1 of 6 servings. This information is automatically calculated, so it's just an estimate, not a guarantee.

Nutrition

Calories: 314kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 2499mg | Potassium: 1012mg | Fiber: 21g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1438IU | Vitamin C: 46mg | Calcium: 123mg | Iron: 6mg

If you try this black bean soup recipe, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like it!

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Comments

Maria (skinwellness.ca)

this looks amazing! can’t wait to try it!!!!

JaLynn

I’m so glad this can be vegan. All the other copy cat recipes I’ve found have bacon in them.

    Megan

    That’s surprising to hear, since the version at Panera Bread is vegetarian– and it’s delicious that way. Hope you enjoy it! 🙂

Heidi

Looks delicious!! And perfect …since it’s like 3 degrees where I am. 🙂

Misti

We have soup every Monday so this was perfectly timed! It was rich and comforting and so flavorful!

    Megan

    I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

      Karen

      I can have fruit, what can I substitute for lemon juice? Can I use chicken broth?

Carley@OptimisticHealth

Sounds good to me! Packed full of protein too, can’t beat it.

Karielyn

Hi Megan, I’ve never had the Panera soup, but I had just picked up 2 cans of organic black beans from Whole Foods this past weekend so I’m going to make this today. Perfect for the cold and rainy weather outside! Thanks!

jodye @ chocolate and chou fleur

Every time I see a recipe for sour, I’m reminded that I don’t make it for myself nearly as often as I should. I’ve never had soup from Panera, but this looks wonderfully creamy, and I’m sure the cumin adds great flavor. Right to the top of my list!

jeanne

I’m glad to see beans making an appearance, this looks awesome, I love cumin! I’m going to eat it with a thick piece of crusty toast…yumm! Thank you!

Wendy

Thank you! We don’t have Panera in Utah and its black bean soup was a weekly or monthly treat before we moved here a few months ago.

I’m adding this to next week’s menu!

Jenifer

This is definitely going on the menu plan! And added to the list of recipes I can use my new blendtec for. Woohoo! Thanks!

Patricia Bel - Barko

Can you use Red Kidney Beans ?, i always have a stock of them , but not always black beans . Thanks

Zae

Made this tonight it was sooo yummy and filling, and like always super easy. Thank you

Cindy

Thank-you! I was just saying I wanted Panera black bean soup tonight but can’t always count on if they will have it at the location that is close to us..and I always wonder how much salt is in the beans they use.. I like to make my own beans instead of using canned to avoid all the unnecesary salt…

so I went on line and up popped your recipe…

thank-you!! I can’t wait to make it!

    Nan Davis

    Just made this after a major lifestyle change and quest to loose 100lbs. This was a comforting and delicious dish on a cold day! Thank you!!!!!

    – Happy in SC

Maryann

served the soup last night, delicious!!!

Meg

I’m on a detoxinista cooking roll tonight! Just made this soup for dinner and we both have some to take to work tomorrow! It’s super delicious. Thank you!

Rhonda Devine

My husband’s favorite Panera soup–will be making this one soon!

Asia

Just made this. It was amazing. I added lime instead of lemon and added some jalapenos for some zing. Will definitely add this to my comfort food list. You are amazing, thank you for the great recipe.

Bonnie

Thanks for this recipe! My husband who is a fan of the Panera Black Bean Soup said “this is better than Panera’s!”
Keep up the good work!

Angela

Made this tonight, yummy and quick.

Robin

Just made this and had it for lunch – YUM! Poured it over quinoa and topped with some roasted peppers – so filling. Will def be making again!

janet75@gmail.com

Just made this for my family of 6, my oldest being 7. They all loved it and asked if I would make it tomorrow for dinner.
Thank you so much! Everything I’ve made off your site has been absolutely delicious and I can’t wait to make it again.
Janet

janet75@gmail.com

Oh, I forgot. I didn’t have carrots and so I added a yellow zucchini squash instead.
Janet

Patricia Bel- Barko

I just never get tired of this recipe , i add some chilli and sometimes chipotle chilli to mine , i have frozen it in portions , and it reheats perfectly .

Patricia

Kristy

Just made this for lunch today. I LOVED it. I added a whole red bell pepper since they are my favorite. So good:)

Judy

Yet another new favorite recipe in my kitchen. Thank you!

Colleen B

Oh my…SO good. I soaked the beans for about 36 hours before I made it so hopefully no digestive issues tomorrow. And I used 1/2 chicken broth, 1/2 water and omitted the pepper (because I forgot, but also I am not doing nightshades right now). Everyone loved it. My DD (age 9) said “Mom, when I go to Panera I just want to keep eating it and eating it. But when I eat this, I get full!” Ah, out of the mouths of babes. I got to explain the digestibility of properly prepared beans, etc. 🙂 THANK YOU!

Katie

yum, yum, yum!

Maria Moore

I just tried this and it was awesome. Not only quick and easy but delicious

Sara

Healthy, easy, quick and yummy! Thank you!

gwmax44907

It is not Black Bean Soup without adding a ham hock (or 2).

Add when you are cooking the stock add hocks & simmer for 1 hour,
( I put the hock(s) in one of those empty nylon onion bag & secure with a plastic twist tie)

After cool enough to handle, pick meat off of hock(s) & add to the puree with remaining black beans.

You can keep the leftover skin & hock bones for flavor to another soup or stew. (they freeze well)

Graham Rand

I can’t believe how close this actually is to Panera’s! My experience with most of these copycat recipes is that they aren’t really close at all, but this one pretty much nailed it. 🙂

kristen

Amazing! So flavorful! Only thing I changed was that I used vegetable broth I had left over instead of water. I wish it was a little more creamy so next time I will use a little less broth (might just be that I have an average blender and it didn’t blend as well as it could have). I will certainly be adding this to my list of staple recipes!

Ross M Henwood

Vert tasty

David J Jones

Very tasty!!! I modified this recipe some. Vegetable stock in place of water. Pico de gallo
{hot} and a little sour cream at the end. Over the top. Thanks again

Carmen

Just made this and the whole family- toddlers included- loved it! Healthy and easy. Served it with avocado slices, sour cream, cilantro and homemade naan. Amazing!!

Amanda

I love this soup.

The weather has cooled off a lot here lately, so I’m excited to have meal-planned this soup for tomorrow! I feel cozier just thinking about it…

Cat

How did you adjust the recipe (if at all) to cook in the Ace Blender?

    Megan Gilmore

    I think I followed this pretty closely, sautéing the veggies first, and then I let the Ace Blender do the heating up! I like how that blender doesn’t heat by using friction, so you can still have some chunks in the soup if that’s what you’re going for. (I like having some whole beans left in there.)

Tracy

Hello! You mentioned you can make this in an ACE instapot blender. Would all of the ingredients just be put into the blender and set on soup? Thanks for all of the great recipes.

    Megan Gilmore

    I tried this a few years ago, so I can’t remember if I cooked all the ingredients in the pot, or if I sautéed the onions first, then added everything else in. My guess is that it would work either way, but you might get a slightly better flavor by sautéing the onions first. Hope you enjoy. it!

Molly H

This soup has an incredible taste that’s full of flavor. I love the simplicity of the recipe. One pot is my go-to for busy days with the kids! This soup made my tummy full and happy on a cold winter day!

Nisha

All of your recipes are simple yet delicious! I appreciate these healthy recipes that are quick to put together. This was another big hit! Thank you Megan!!

AnNe knox

We’re doing at least 2 veggie dinners this week. This will be the first one! Thanks 🙂

Tom Burke

“Just” another amazing recipe !!!!

Nicole H.

This was SO good!!! I would pay for this soup. I am always on the fence with pureed soups and I do love this is not all pureed. The flavor is amazing and I always appreciate your recipes because they are so easy to make. This is my go to site for recipes that make me feel good, are easy to make and fun!
Thank you for all the work you put into this site. I appreciate you so much!!!

TRish

Another recipe with simple ingredients, yet oh so delicious and flavorful! My kiddos and I devoured this-sooo good! Definitely adding to the rotation.

Coleen

Can you freeze leftovers of this soup?

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