Spicy Black Bean Soup

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Spicy Black Bean Soup in an Instant Pot, Slow Cooker, or on the stovetop is a delicious, spicy, hearty meat-free soup that is always a huge hit!

Spicy black bean soup on a table.
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Easy Spicy Black Bean Stew

At our church every Sunday, we host a fellowship hour after the service where we all get to chat and have a small meal after a long morning.

It’s a nice tradition- and gives us a chance to hang out with our friends who we don’t get to see very often.

The only drawback is making big enough meals when it’s our turn to host the fellowship – especially during lent (when our Greek Orthodox Church follows a fast that is basically a vegan diet (fish and wine are ok certain days) until Pascha/Easter.)

This last weekend, my husband wanted to put our new Instant Pot to good use (he’s possibly addicted to it even more than I am), and try out making a bean soup straight from dried beans (no pre-soaking.)

Dried beans are a big favorite for us during lent – they are inexpensive, easy, and can fit into lots of meals – but soaking and re-hydrating them is a MAJOR pain.

Luckily, Luke’s master plan for a soup with NO pre-soaking (if you have an Instant Pot – if you don’t I have instructions for a stove-top or slow cooker recipe listed below, as well) was a massive success – it was so delicious, the soup was one of the first things gone from the table!

a bowl of black beans in a soup with green onions on it

How to Make Easy Black Bean Soup

First assemble the following ingredients:

  • Olive oil (3 tbsp) – Serves as the base for sautéing the vegetables, imparting a subtle, fruity flavor that enhances the soup’s overall taste.
  • Black beans (2 lb) – The star ingredient, black beans provide a rich, creamy texture and deep, earthy flavor to the soup.
  • Onion (1) – Adds a sweet and aromatic foundation, essential for building the soup’s complex flavor profile.
  • Garlic (1/4 cup) – Delivers a punch of pungent, savory notes that intensify the soup’s aroma and taste.
  • Bell pepper (1) – Introduces a sweet and slightly tangy element, adding color and a mild, crisp texture.
  • Leeks (2) – Offer a gentle, onion-like flavor with a hint of sweetness, contributing to the soup’s layered taste.
  • Poblano peppers (3) – Bring a mild heat and a distinctive, slightly fruity flavor that enriches the soup’s spiciness.
  • Vegetable stock (3 12 oz) – Provides the liquid base, adding depth and richness while allowing the flavors of the other ingredients to shine through.
  • Ro-Tel diced tomatoes (4 12 oz cans) – Contribute acidity and a bright, juicy sweetness, balancing the hearty elements of the soup.
  • Garlic powder (2 tbsp) – Amplifies the garlic presence, adding a concentrated burst of flavor that complements the fresh garlic.
  • Chili powder (2 tbsp) – Chili powder offers a complex blend of smoky, spicy, and slightly sweet flavors, making it a versatile ingredient that adds depth and warmth to dishes.
  • Cumin (2 tbsp) – Offers a warm, earthy spice that’s key to the soup’s signature smoky flavor.
  • Oregano (2 tbsp) – Adds a hint of peppery, slightly bitter herbal notes, enhancing the complexity of the soup.
  • Bay leaves (2) – Infuse a subtle, aromatic essence that adds depth and a hint of sweetness to the broth.
  • Sea salt (1 tsp) – Essential for seasoning, it sharpens and balances the flavors of the soup.
  • Black Pepper (1/4 tsp) – Provides a mild heat and a pungent, woody aroma, finishing the soup with a perfect spice note.

Use this Method

Bake Peppers. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a baking sheet, lay out poblano peppers with a drizzle of oil. Bake until skin is blistered and browned. When done, remove tops and dice.

Cook Veg. While poblanos cook, turn instant pot (or a large stock pot) to simmer. Add in oil and heat until shimmery. Add diced onion, garlic, and leeks. Simmer until lightly browned and softened.

Add Beans. Add 2 containers of stock, and ro-tel. Add beans. Add spices and bay leaves.

Instant Pot. If cooking in an instant pot, set to seal and cook on high pressure for 50 minutes (We’ve tried both natural release and forced release, the beans are softer with natural release, and a bit firmer with forced – both are very delicious, so this is up to your preferences.)

Stovetop. If cooking on the stovetop, let simmer on low for 1 hour. If cooking in a slow cooker, let cook on low for 4-5 hours. In a large pan over medium high heat, soften 1 diced leek and a diced bell pepper. Cook until very soft and lightly browned. When soup is heated and beans are very soft, add diced pepper and leek, as well as the diced poblano peppers into soup.

Finish and Serve. Add the final container of stock in and mix well. Serve immediately, or portion servings for lunches or even to freeze.

spoon with beans and green onions on it

Tips and Tricks to Hot Black Bean Soup

Soak Your Beans. If using dried beans, soak them overnight to reduce cooking time and make them easier to digest. Quick soak method by boiling for a few minutes then letting them sit for an hour works too.

Sauté Your Aromatics. Begin by sautéing onions, garlic, and any other aromatics in olive oil until they’re translucent and fragrant. This builds a flavor base that infuses the entire soup.

Layer Your Spices. Add spices like cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika early in the cooking process to allow their flavors to develop and meld with the aromatics.

Use Quality Stock. A good vegetable or chicken stock can add depth and richness to your soup. Homemade is best, but a high-quality store-bought stock works well too.

Mash Some Beans. For a thicker soup without adding cream or flour, mash or blend a portion of the beans before returning them to the pot. This naturally thickens the soup.

Adjust the Heat. Customize the spiciness by adjusting the amount of chili powder, diced jalapeños, or red pepper flakes to your taste.

Deglaze with Alcohol. Deglaze the pan with a splash of dry sherry, beer, or wine after sautéing the aromatics and spices to add another layer of flavor.

Simmer Slowly. Let the soup simmer on low heat for a long time to allow the flavors to fully develop. If using dried beans, ensure they are thoroughly cooked.

Finish with Acid. A splash of lime juice or vinegar added at the end of cooking can brighten up the flavors and add a refreshing contrast to the spice.

a bowl of black beans in a soup with green onions on it

FAQ’s

Can I use canned black beans instead of dried?

Yes, you can use canned black beans for convenience. Drain and rinse them to remove excess sodium. Keep in mind that you may need to adjust the cooking time since canned beans are already cooked.

How can I make my black bean soup thicker?

To thicken your soup, you can mash or blend a portion of the beans and return them to the pot. Alternatively, let the soup simmer uncovered to reduce and thicken the liquid.

What can I do if my soup is too spicy?

If your soup is too spicy, add a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt to individual servings to mellow the heat. You can also add more broth or water to dilute the spiciness.

Is spicy black bean soup healthy?

Spicy black bean soup can be very healthy, as black beans are a great source of fiber, protein, and vitamins. To make it healthier, use low-sodium broth and add plenty of vegetables.

Can I freeze black bean soup?

Yes, spicy black bean soup freezes well. Cool it to room temperature, then transfer to airtight containers or freezer bags. It can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat gently.

How can I add more flavor to my black bean soup?

To enhance the flavor, consider sautéing aromatics like onions and garlic until caramelized, using a good-quality stock, adding a splash of lime juice or vinegar before serving, and incorporating spices like cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika.

Can I make this soup in a slow cooker?

Yes, making spicy black bean soup in a slow cooker is an excellent option. Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. If using dried beans, there’s no need to soak them beforehand.

What can I do with leftover soup?

Leftover spicy black bean soup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or frozen for future meals. It’s also versatile enough to be used as a sauce for enchiladas or a base for chili.

Can I add meat to my black bean soup?

Absolutely. For a heartier soup, add cooked chorizo, bacon, chicken, or beef. Make sure to cook the meat thoroughly before adding it to the soup.

a bowl of black beans in a soup with green onions on it

What to Enjoy with Spicy Black Bean Soup

Cornbread: Sweet and moist, cornbread complements the spice of the soup and can be used to soak up the broth.

Rice: A simple side of white or brown rice can be served alongside or mixed into the soup to add bulk and temper the heat. Try this chipotle cilantro lime rice!

Tortilla Chips: Offer a crunchy texture contrast and can be dipped into the soup or crumbled on top for added flavor.

Quesadillas or Grilled Cheese Sandwiches: Serve as a filling, cheesy accompaniment that pairs well with the soup’s spicy notes.

Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt: Adds a cool, creamy contrast to the spicy soup.

Avocado Slices: Provide a smooth, rich texture and a mild flavor that balances the soup’s heat.

Fresh Cilantro: Offers a burst of freshness and color, enhancing the soup’s depth of flavor.

Lime Wedges: A squeeze of lime adds a bright acidity that elevates the overall taste of the dish.

Shredded Cheese: Melty cheese on top adds a layer of richness and can help mellow out the spice.

Diced Tomatoes or Salsa: Introduce an additional layer of texture and tangy sweetness.

Cabbage Slaw: A crunchy, light side dish that can refresh the palate between spoonfuls of the hearty soup.

Mixed Green Salad: A simple salad with a vinaigrette dressing offers a crisp, clean contrast to the soup.

Try these breads with your soup:

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Bowl of spicy black bean soup.

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Spicy Mexican black bean soup in a bowl.
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Spicy Black Bean Soup

Spicy black bean soup combines the rich, earthy depth of black beans with a kick of heat, creating a flavorful and nourishing meal that warms you from the inside out.
Course soups
Cuisine American
Keyword bean soup, main dish, soup, stew, vegan, vegan soup, vegetable soup, vegetarian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 15
Calories 208kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp olive oil divided
  • 2 lb black beans Dried, if not using an instant pot, soak beans to rehydrate the day before making soup
  • 1 onion
  • ¼ cup garlic diced
  • 1 bell pepper diced
  • 2 leeks diced and divided
  • 3 poblano peppers
  • 3 12 oz vegetable stock
  • 4 12 oz cans Ro-Tel diced tomatoes – preferably 2 original 1 chili, 1 hot
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp fresh cracked black pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • On a baking sheet, lay out poblano peppers with a drizzle of oil.
  • Bake until skin is blistered and browned.
  • When done, remove tops and dice.
  • While poblanos cook, turn instant pot (or a large stock pot) to simmer.
  • Add in oil and heat until shimmery.
  • Add diced onion, garlic, and leeks.
  • Simmer until lightly browned and softened.
  • Add 2 containers of stock, and ro-tel.
  • Add beans.
  • Add spices and bay leaves.
  • If cooking in an instant pot, set to seal and cook on high pressure for 50 minutes (We've tried both natural release and forced release, the beans are softer with natural release, and a bit firmer with forced – both are very delicious, so this is up to your preferences.)
  • If cooking on the stovetop, let simmer on low for 1 hour.
  • If cooking in a slow cooker, let cook on low for 4-5 hours.
  • In a large pan over medium high heat, soften 1 diced leek and a diced bell pepper. Cook until very soft and lightly browned.
  • When soup is heated and beans are very soft, add diced pepper and leek, as well as the diced poblano peppers into soup.
  • Add the final container of stock, sea salt, and pepper, mix well.
  • Serve immediately, or portion servings for lunches or even to freeze.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 208kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 747mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 6g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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7 Comments

  1. Lauren says:

    I just want to clarify, you use 2 lbs of beans, yes?

  2. Donna Kay Geurin says:

    Courtney, I must try this recipe. It really sounds good. I would need to dial the “spicy” back a bit. I would like to ask for this amount of ingredients, what size Instant Pot do you use. Thank you.

    1. Courtney ODell says:

      I have a 6qt Instant Pot – as far as dialing back the spicy, no problem! Swap out a cooler pepper for the poblanos, and maybe just use milder ro-tel! 🙂

  3. JR says:

    When do you add the rotel? Seems as though that is missing in the instructions…

    1. Roma says:

      Look at Step #9.