Black Bean Soup

I love black bean soup – well, any bean soup really – because you can just throw it all in a pot and (almost) forget about it for an hour or longer or the time it takes to make and drink a pitcher of margaritas, just as long as you set a timer so you don’t fall asleep and burn the house down. Man. Talk about ruining dinner!

black bean soup

The cool thing about this soup is that with the orange and lime juice, it also works well as a chilled soup when it’s super-duper hot out and you just can’t bear to eat anything warmer than the inside of your refrigerator. If you do that, I suggest stirring in a spoonful of plain yogurt and some diced fresh tomato or even pico de gallo. You can call it black gazpacho and people’ll think you’re a real culinary whizz.


Black Bean Soup

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5 from 2 reviews

A Cuban-inspired vegetarian black bean soup. Can be doubled.

  • Yield: 5 cups 1x


  • 1/2 pound (1 cup) dried black beans
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup diced onion (about 1 medium onion)
  • 1/4 cup diced jalapeno or bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro leaves and stems (plus more for garnish)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (or more, to taste)
  • 1 cup diced carrot (about 1 large carrot)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • For serving: sour cream, diced onion, cilantro, lime wedges


  1. Sort beans, discarding any rocks, and cover with 3 cups water. Allow to soak overnight, then drain and rinse.
  2. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  3. Saute onion and jalapeno for 5 minutes or until softened and beginning to brown.
  4. Add garlic, cumin, oregano, coriander, and allspice and fry 30 seconds.
  5. Add drained beans, 4 cups of water, and cilantro.
  6. Turn heat to high and bring to boil.
  7. Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer 1 hour.
  8. Check beans for doneness. You may need to cook them another 30 minutes to an hour depending on the age of the beans. If it seems dry, add another cup of water.
  9. Once beans are cooked very soft, add salt.
  10. Blend half the soup to a puree with an immersion blender if a creamy soup is what you want.
  11. Add the carrot and simmer, uncovered, another 20-30 minutes until the carrots are soft.
  12. Serve with garnishes. This can also be served over rice for a heartier meal.


Prep time does not include overnight soaking of beans. If you forget that step, you can do a quick soak method like this:
Combine dried beans and 3 cups water in a sauce pot. Bring to boil over high heat, then turn heat off and allow to soak for 1 hour. Drain and continue with the recipe as directed.
Alternatively, you could use 3 cans of black beans. Drain and rinse them before using. Saute onion and spices, then add beans and only 1 1/2 cups of water. Cook 10 minutes, puree, then add carrots and continue as directed.

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  1. Mother Effingby on June 5, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    I can NOT believe you bleeped yourself! Other than that, I love this recipe, and I didn’t know that salt would hamper the softening of dry beans. I make a ham hock soup with large dried lima beans, but they don’t really require soaking. Here’s my recipe:

    1 large smoked ham hock or 2 small hocks
    1 lb dried large lima beans, aka butter beans
    2 carrots, sliced
    2 stalks of celery, sliced – include the leafy part of the stalks
    1 yellow onion, sliced
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    (I didn’t dice the veggies because I like nice chunks in my soup)
    1 quart of water.
    2 bay leaves
    Salt, pepper
    celery seed: 1/2 tsp,
    fresh parsley, chopped
    Optional: red pepper flakes or chopped jalapeño pepper.

    Rinse beans and pick out any rocks. Soak for an hour in cool water.
    Saute onions, celery and carrots for about 10 minutes to soften. Add garlic, hocks, water , bay leaves and beans. Bring it to a boil and then down to a simmer. Cook for an hour on medium heat. When the beans are softened, add the other seasonings and the chopped parsley.

    Serve with fresh, hot cornbread.

    • Hilah on June 6, 2012 at 1:03 pm

      Ha! We decided to just bleep the F-word. All lesser cuss words welcome in entirety! 😉
      Thanks for sharing your recipe. Gosh, it sounds so good! I love lima beans.

  2. Diane on June 5, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    Damn. I was feeling all clever because I was going to tell you that I had a black bean soup recipe that included grated orange peel . . . but you beat me to the citrus punch, so to speak!

    • Hilah on June 6, 2012 at 1:04 pm

      Oh well, orange zest isn’t quite the same as juice so you are still clever, Diane! But you knew that already. 😉

  3. Peter on June 6, 2012 at 10:15 am

    Awesome! So when will you be over to make it?????????

    • Hilah on June 6, 2012 at 1:05 pm

      You know that’s not in my job description, Peter!

  4. genskie on June 9, 2012 at 3:22 am

    yummy!… We usually make a filipino version of this and eat it with rice… i am not exactly sure but peeps in here usually cook bean soup every friday… maybe because that’s the easiest dish to cook when you run outta food stock in the kitchen.
    I love your make up here… specially the lipstick

    • Hilah on June 10, 2012 at 7:09 pm

      Thanks, Genskie!
      I think bean soup on Friday is common in a lot of Catholic households, too. But you’re right that it’s made from things that are in the pantry so it is good for those times when you haven’t gone shopping.

  5. Janice on November 28, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    My husband made this recipe to take to Thanksgiving dinner today. It was great. The flavor doesn’t fall short like so many vegetarian recipes do. Everyone enjoyed it and it got lots of compliments. The citrus is a really nice edition, like you say it really brightens the flavor.

    Everyone also really enjoyed the pumpkin/caramel cupcakes.

    • Hilah on November 28, 2013 at 8:20 pm

      That’s great, Janice! Very nice to hear. 🙂 Thanks for writing.

  6. Allard Kragt on August 12, 2014 at 2:43 am

    I tried this out yesterday and it was good! I didn’t have any cilantro like it says in the recipe, I think that will make it perfect. (Also I added pineapple juice instead of orange juice, because that’s what I had)

    I’m making this for a dinner party next month (haven’t decided on the rest of the courses yet).
    I think beer would go well with this, any suggestions for a type of beer?

    • Hilah on August 13, 2014 at 8:25 am

      I love the pineapple juice idea, Allard! Sounds great.
      I’d choose a pale lager to go with this. That’s my preference when I’m having spicy food or just foods with a lot of spices. 🙂

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