This hearty and healthy slow cooker black bean soup cooks for hours in your crockpot, with only FIVE MINUTES of prep! This recipe is made with bacon, but you can easily make it vegan/vegetarian by omitting it, or you can use ham instead. I love how smoky and flavorful this black bean soup is, and how it has a ton of vegetables packed into it as well. I like it served with crumbled cotija cheese, avocado slices, a squeeze of lime, and some fresh cilantro. You can even make it in your instant pot or on your stovetop with only a few recipe tweaks.
When I was a teacher, I worked 8-10 hour days. With a commute in and out of Boston, I was often gone for 12 hours at a time. Slow cooker meals like this saved my life!
This black bean soup requires only 5 minutes of prep, and you can let it cook for 4, 6, 8, or even 10 hours in your slow cooker. This dump dinner is really hard to mess up, precise timing isn’t necessary, and it’s a very forgiving recipe if you want to add or take away any of the ingredients. Which means you can come home after a long day and have dinner ready to go. The smell of the house as it cooks is incredible.
AND this recipe makes a ton, so you can keep some in your freezer for later.
How to make black bean soup in your slow cooker
- Add black beans (soaked, drained, and rinsed), bell pepper, jalapeño pepper, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and bacon to the slow cooker.
- Add spices- cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.
- Pour in chicken stock (or vegetable stock, to make this recipe vegan/vegetarian) and mix together.
- Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 8-10 hours in your crockpot.
- Stir in fresh cilantro and lime juice.
- Use a potato masher to mash the soup until it’s thickened a bit. All done!
How / why to soak the dry black beans
I love cooking with dry beans because they’re SO cheap, and they’re perfect for cooking low and slow in your slow cooker or pressure cooking in your instant pot.
But it’s important to soak, drain, and rinse your beans before cooking with them. This doesn’t take long, but it does take some planning ahead.
Soaking the beans in salted water does a few things:
- The salt helps flavor the beans and also helps make the skin softer, resulting in a creamier texture. Add about three tablespoons of salt to 4 quarts of water to soak 1 lb. of beans. Read more about it here.
- The water helps break down the indigestible parts of the beans, so they are easier to digest.
Cooking dry beans without soaking them first is possible, and many recipes swear by it, but I’ve personally found that pre-soaked beans are easier to cook, more flavorful, and much easier to digest.
How to cook black bean soup in your instant pot
The easiest and fastest way to make this black bean soup in your instant pot is to combine all the ingredients (except for the lime juice and cilantro) in your pressure cooker, cover, and set the pressure to manual, high for 15 minutes. Allow the pressure to naturally release for at least 10 minutes, at which point you can quick release. Then, stir in the cilantro and lime juice and mash until desired consistency is reached.
For extra credit, before pressure cooking, you can cook the bacon using the sauté function, remove it and set aside, then add the onions, celery, and carrots to sauté in the bacon fat for a little bit too. Then, add the remaining ingredients, including the bacon, and proceed.
How to cook black bean soup on the stovetop
Cook the bacon in the bottom of a large pot or dutch oven. Remove the bacon and set aside. Add the onions, celery, and carrots to the bacon fat and sautè until softened and starting to brown. Add the remaining ingredients, including the cooked bacon, except for the lime juice and cilantro. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 2 hours, until beans are completely cooked and tender. Then, stir in the lime juice and cilantro and mash.
How to make super smooth, creamy black bean soup
When you’re done cooking the black bean soup, you’ll use a potato masher to mash some of the beans to thicken it up. You can keep mashing them as long as you want- the more you mash, the creamier the soup will be. Or, you can take it a step further and use an immersion blender to puree the soup.
Other easy black bean recipes:
Other dry bean soup recipes:
- Slow Cooker 15 Bean Soup with Ham and Kale
- Instant Pot Split Pea Soup with Ham
- Greek Lentil Soup (Fakes Soupa)
- Instant Pot Chili with Ground Beef and Dry Kidney Beans
- Instant Pot Black Eyed Pea Soup
Did you make this slow cooker black bean soup recipe? Please comment below and Rate this Recipe
Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup
- 1 lb. dry black beans soaked, drained, and rinsed (see notes)
- 1 bell pepper any color, seeded and diced
- 1 onion diced
- 2 ribs celery finely chopped, plus the leaves if available
- 2 carrots diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 jalapeño pepper ribs and seeds removed, finely diced
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon cut into small pieces
- 4 cups chicken stock/broth
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more if needed
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper plus more if needed
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- juice of one lime
- crumbled cotija cheese, sliced avocado, sour cream, chopped red or green onions, hot sauce, or other fixings for serving (optional)
- Stir together all ingredients except for cilantro and lime juice together in a large slow cooker.
- Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
- Use a potato masher to mash the beans in the soup to thicken to desired consistency. Alternatively, you can do a few pulses with an immersion blender.
- Stir in fresh cilantro and lime juice.
- Serve with optional fixings.
- To soak the beans: cover the dry black beans with 4 quarts of water and 3 tablespoons of salt in a container and allow to soak for at least 12 hours or up to 48 hours in your fridge. Drain in a colander and rinse off with water before adding to the crockpot.
- To make this vegan/vegetarian, use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and omit the bacon. Add more smoked paprika for more smoky flavor.
- Freeze the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Refrigerate for about 5 days.
- To make this in your instant pot, combine all ingredients except for lime juice and cilantro and cook on manual, high pressure for 15 minutes. Allow to naturally release pressure for at least 10 minutes. Stir in cilantro and lime juice and mash until desired consistency is reached.
- To make this on the stovetop, cook the bacon in a large pot. Remove and set aside. Sauté the onions, celery, and carrots in the bacon fat until softened and starting to brown. Add the remaining ingredients, including the cooked bacon, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 2 hours, or until beans are cooked. Stir in cilantro and lime juice and mash until desired consistency is reached.
- 1-2 cups of frozen corn can be added in with the lime juice and cilantro at the end.
- The provided nutrition information does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. Feel free to calculate it yourself using this calculator or by adding the recipe to Yummly.
This recipe first appeared on Bowl of Delicious in October 2015 as “Smoky Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup.” The recipe has been adjusted and improved, as well as the contents of the post and the photographs.