Black Bean Soup

Back in college, a great local cafe stayed opened into the wee hours ladling up their version of this stuff. The first time I slurped some[ of it down after midnight, I decided to make black bean soup my own tradition. Mine is hearty and smoky, and if it's lying around, I'll also throw in a can of beer for good taste and in keeping with the spirit of a good night on the town. Like the onion soup, you'll want to make this ahead of time so you're not faced with the prep-work when you and your friends just want to kick back and chow down after a long night. Using smoked bacon makes all the difference in the world because those beans are just begging for that rich, smoky flavor.]

Total Time:
40 min
15 min
25 min

8 to 10 servings

  • 10 slices bacon, finely chopped
  • 2 medium onions, chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 6 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups canned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 4 (15 1/2-ounce) cans black beans, drained but not rinsed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
  • Sour cream, for garnish
  • Grated cheddar, for garnish

Put the bacon into a large heavy pot and place it over medium heat. Cook until it starts to give up its fat, about 4 minutes. Stir in the onions and cook, stirring, until they start to turn translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until you can smell it, about 1 minute. Add the broth, tomatoes, ketchup, Worcestershire, and chili powder. Stir in the beans, turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the soup is bubbling gently and cook 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, pick off all the thick stems from the cilantro. Wash it and shake dry. Chop the cilantro coarsely and stir it into the soup when it has been simmering 10 minutes. cook until the soup is thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice. Serve with the garnishes.

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Pairs Well With

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    370 Reviews
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    This is my third time making the recipe and I just had to give it 5 stars again. It's become a regular in our house! The bacon is a great component. My husband preferred that it was removed from the fat and added in chunks and pieces later at the end.
    Yummy and quick. An immersion blender is a must to perfect the texture.
    Drained and rinsed the beans (less gassy that way), sliced the onions to keep them chunky, used 2 cans of chicken stock, used a can of fire roasted tomatoes, and tripled the chili powder. A few pulses with the immersion blender thickens it up but still keeps it hearty. Served it with sliced avocado, scallions, and sour cream. Very flavorful! The bacon gives it a nice smokey flavor. Definite wow factor here!
    WOW, this is better than any I have had in a restaurant! I used a 15 oz. can of fire roasted tomatoes undrained instead of chopped, then briefly hit it with an immersion blender. Amazing!
    Fantastic! I used a lb. bag of dried black beans vs. 4 cans of beans. I soaked them w/ 2 TBSP. of oil overnight w/ plenty of water for expansion. I cooked the beans in a pressure cooker for 15 minutes w/ the addition of 2 TBSP. of oil, TBSP. of organic low sodium chicken broth (paste), and a stalk of celery and an onion chopped slightly for easy removal. I had turkey bacon on hand and used it.
    Amazing. I could hardly believe the other reviews because they were so glowing but it's true. This is one of the best soups I have ever tasted. I made two changes - cut the bacon in half and added 1 chipotle chili finely diced and a tsp of the adobo sauce. It tasted very spicy at first but then it mellowed.
    I think that this is the best black bean soup I have ever tasted. I used applewood smoked bacon and added a chipotle with adobo sauce. The lime juice really brings out the smokiness. My husband was not happy until he had finished off two bowls.
    Outrageously delicious! I cooked the bacon first, then used the rendered fat to cook the onions, etc. I used two types of bacon - applewood smoked and black forrest. I also added half a smoked chipotle with adobo sauce, which added a depth of smokiness. I cooked my own beans with 2 bay leafs separately. After the soup had cooked, I pureed half the beans, which definitely made it creamy with some texture. It's beyond yummy!
    Amazing depth of flavor and texture. The seasonings develop the soup into a savory and mouthwatering masterpiece. Made this just after New Year's and substituted chopped ham for the bacon. Also added 1 each chopped carrot and celery. This is worthy of a 4 star restaurant. If you are an aficionado of bean soup, this one should be added to your recipe box.
    Black Bean Soup - can not e-mail. Will not accept verification code!
    WOW WOW WOW Great, my wife just made it and I had to eat two bowls.
    Wow! This is truly the most delicious soup! The bacon and the worcestershire is what makes the soup so good. I only used half the bacon suggested and replaced the diced tomatoes with salsa. I also added one finely chopped red bell pepper and two cups of corn. Oh so good!!!
    Seriously delicious. My co-workers threatened to steal my lunch and my neighbor was begging me for the recipe. My fiance, who doesn't care for black beans and isn't a huge fan of soup, loved it. OUT OF CONTROL, people!  
    I made the following substitutions:  
    - some butter in the bottom of the pot instead of the bacon;  
    - 8-9 garlic cloves (which I diced) instead of 6;  
    - 2 fresh jalapenos instead of chili powder;  
    - juice from whole lime instead of just half.  
    If you're timid with spice, just 1 jalapeno (or even part of one) will work beautifully. Would also easily make a delicious VEGAN version if you substitute the butter for vegan-friendly cooking oil and the chicken stock for veggie.  
    The trick is the combo of Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, garlic, jalapeno, lime, and cilantro. A+. Garnish totally not necessary with these bright flavors, but would also be delicious. I'd probably stick to a simple garnish like lime, maybe a dollop of vegan or regular sour creme.
    Best black bean soup recipe ever!!!!!!
    Beyond Amazing!! i usually shy away from bean soups but had to try this one. So happy I did!
    Incredibly fantastic! There isn't a better recipe out there, so you can stop looking!
    Very good black bean soup. The best I'll ever tasted. I omitted the bacon and used olive oil. It didn't missed a beat it was very tasty. I'll make again.
    Wow I'm totally impressed. I never say this but this soup is better than any I've had in a restaurant. I used turkey bacon for lower fat. My whole family including the kids loved it!
    This soup is crazy delicious! It was so easy to make. I added a pinch of red pepper flakes. I also blended about half the soup and poured it back in the pot. It was creamy with pieces of bacon and chunky tomatoes floating around.  
    I will make this again when we have people over.  
    I highly recommend it.
    Tasty! Super easy. I cut the recipe in half because it's just me and my boyfriend... but after tasting it, I definitely wish I had made more. I omitted the bacon, processed half the beans before adding it to the soupstew, and only used half the amount of ketchup. I just polished off the leftovers... I recommend it!
    Really liked this. Would make it again.
    Love this recipe! We omit the ketchup in favor of tomato paste but I'm sure that makes a very small difference to the recipe.
    I love Black Bean Soup, but had never made it myself. This is the best Black Bean Soup I've ever had and it was so easy to make. I pretty much made it to the tee with a few exceptions...I used turkey bacon with just a little olive oil, added some fresh chopped jalapeño pepper and some green chiles for a little kick. Made enough to freeze for quick and easy lunches. This will definitely be a regular in my house.
    I substituted the canned black beans for 1 lb of dry black beans and cooked them on low in the slow cooker using 4 cups of chicken broth and two cups of water, bouillon, two cans of tomatoes, 1 tsp each of ground cumin and cayenne and everything else stayed the same....Well besides the bacon. I do not eat cured or smoked meat so I used 5 strips of Applegate smoke free and uncured Turkey Bacon. My family loves this recipe.
    Delicious, and easy. Instead of canned chicken broth, I use chicken stock that I make myself, a leftover from making Tyler Florence's Ultimate Chicken and dumplings. I make this soup about once a month and it gives me and my wife about three meals. Avocado makes a nice garnish.
    Quick, Easy and Tasty!
    I made this recipe exactly as instructed with the following exceptions; I thought I had four cans of black beans, but only had two cans and one 20 oz can of refried black beans. It worked out well and gave the soup a nice texture. Because my husband and I like a little heat, I added about a half tablespoon of red pepper flakes. I also only used half the cilantro, but will use the entire bunch next time. My husband loved it and had two bowls. Nex time, I might try adding a little celery and fresh habanero. What I liked best about this soup is that it tasted like I had made it the day before and the flavors had melded. I'll definitely make this weekend?
    I made this for the first time almost exactly like instructed. The only thing I did different was use fresh tomatoes and I pureed the black beans with them before adding to the pot. So good and easy! Even had plenty for lunch the next two days!!
    This is a great soup. I used my immersion blender to puree part of it to thicken it & added an additional can of stock. Because I used Heinz tomato ketchup with jalapeños, I didn't need the additional pepper & felt it didn't need the salt as well. I had cooked some bacon a few days before & didn't save any of the grease so I used olive oil instead. It was still really good & I bet you could even use coconut oil.
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