Pinto Bean Soup

$3.51 recipe / $0.88 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.41 from 5 votes
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I’m a soup all-year-round type of gal and when that soup is made with just a few inexpensive ingredients and takes less than 30 minutes to make you know it’s going in my regular rotation. This super simple Pinto Bean Soup is a southwest version of our viral Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup, and it’s every bit as easy and delicious. Plus, you can go wild with the toppings to make it more fun!

Close up overhead view of three bowls of pinto bean soup with sour cream and green onions.

What’s in Pinto Bean Soup?

This incredibly simple soup only needs eight simple ingredients, most of which are pantry staples. Here’s what you’ll need to make pinto bean soup:

  • Garlic and Olive Oil: The soup starts by sautéing minced garlic in oil to create a deep savory base flavor.
  • Canned Pinto Beans: The bulk of the pinto bean soup is, surprise-surprise, pinto beans! We use a combination of whole beans and puréed beans to create both a creamy texture and something to sink your teeth into.
  • Spices: We used a simple mix of chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper to season this soup, but you could get creative and use your own seasoning blend if you prefer!
  • Vegetable broth: Vegetable broth adds volume, flavor, and salt to this soup. We use Better Than Bouillon to make our vegetable broth, which is very flavorful and contains a decent amount of salt. If you’re using a less flavorful broth your soup won’t be quite as scrumptious. If you’re using a low-sodium broth you may find that you need to add a little salt to your soup at the end to help make the flavors pop.

Is This Soup Spicy?

This soup can be made spicy OR mild. If the chili powder you use is spicy, your soup will be spicy. I used McCormmick’s chili powder, which is very mild, so I also added a pinch of cayenne pepper to the soup. It’s not enough cayenne to really make it hot, it just adds a little dimension. If you prefer a spicy soup you can use a spicy chili powder or add more cayenne.

What Else Can I add?

Soups like this are fun because they’re a blank slate for making your own creation. Here are some other fun ingredients that you could add to your soup:

  • Jalapeños (dice and sauté with garlic)
  • Canned diced green chiles (either leave diced or purée with the beans)
  • Fire roasted diced tomatoes (either leave diced or purée with the beans)
  • Onion (sauté with the garlic)
  • Corn kernels
  • Sliced or diced carrots
  • Tajín

Toppings for Pinto Bean Soup

Much like chili, this soup is great with all sorts of fun toppings! So scan your fridge and pantry and add some more flavor, color, and texture to your bowl. Here are some topping ideas for this pinto bean soup:

  • Tortilla chips
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded cheese
  • Fresh jalapeños
  • Cotija
  • Cilantro
  • Green onion
  • Avocado
Overhead view of a pot full of pinto bean soup with a wooden spoon.
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Pinto Bean Soup

4.41 from 5 votes
This easy Pinto Bean Soup is a simple and filling meal for when money is tight but you still want something flavorful and comforting.
Close up overhead view of three bowls of pinto bean soup.
Servings 4 1.25 cups each
Prep 5 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 15oz. cans pinto beans, divided ($2.37)
  • 4 cloves garlic ($0.35)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin ($0.02)
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano ($0.02)
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper ($0.01)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth* ($0.37)
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Instructions 

  • Pour 1 can of the pinto beans (with the liquid from the can) into a blender and purée until smooth. Set the puréed beans aside.
  • Mince the garlic and add it to a soup pot with the olive oil. Sauté over medium heat for about one minute.
  • Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper to the pot and continue to sauté with the garlic for one minute more.
  • Drain the remaining 2 cans of pinto beans, then add them to the pot, along with the puréed beans and vegetable broth. Stir to combine.
  • Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring the soup up to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat slightly and let the soup simmer (without a lid) for 15 minutes. The soup will thicken slightly and the flavors will deepen as it simmers.
  • After simmering for 15 minutes, the beans should be extra soft. Use the back of a large cooking spoon to smash more of the beans and thicken the soup further.
  • Taste the soup and adjust the salt or seasonings to your liking. Serve hot with your favorite toppings!

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Notes

*We use Better Than Bouillion to make our broth, which has a deep flavor and contains a decent amount of sodium. If you’re using a less flavorful broth, your soup will be less flavorful and you may want to increase the spices. If using a lower sodium broth, you may want to add some salt at the end to help the flavors pop.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.25cupsCalories: 335kcalCarbohydrates: 51gProtein: 15gFat: 9gSodium: 1330mgFiber: 15g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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Love bean recipes? Check out our complete roundup of Cheap & Easy Bean Recipes!

Side view of a bowl of pinto bean soup with sour cream and a spoon lifting the soup.

How to Make Pinto Bean Soup – Step by Step Photos

Puréed pinto beans in a blender.

Pour one 15oz. can of pinto beans (with the liquid from the can) into a blender and purée until smooth (you may still see some small pieces of skin, that’s okay).

Oil and garlic in a soup pot.

Mince four cloves of garlic and add them to a soup pot with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Sauté the garlic over medium heat for about one minute or just until the garlic becomes really fragrant (don’t let it burn).

Spices being sautéed with the garlic and oil.

Add ½ tsp chili powder, ¼ tsp cumin, ¼ tsp oregano, and ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper to the pot. Sauté with the garlic for about one minute more.

Whole beans in the pot and puréed beans being poured in.

Drain the remaining two 15oz. cans of pinto beans. Add the drained whole beans and the puréed beans to the soup pot.

Vegetable broth being poured into the pot.

Add two cups of vegetable broth to the pot and stir to combine. Turn the heat up to medium-high to bring the soup up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down slightly and let the soup simmer for 15 minutes (no lid). The soup will thicken slightly as it simmers and the flavors will deepen.

Beans being smashed on the side of the pot with a wooden spoon.

After simmering for 15 minutes, the beans should be quite a bit softer. Use the back of a cooking spoon to smash a few more of the beans to thicken the soup even more. Give the soup a taste and adjust the salt or any other seasoning to your liking.

Three bowls of pinto bean soup with toppings all around.

Serve the soup hot with your favorite toppings!

Sour cream being stirred into a bowl of pinto bean soup.

I particularly like sour cream because it makes the soup extra creamy and adds a light, bright flavor! What is your favorite topping?

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Comments

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  1. Better than it sounds like it would be. Followed the recipe and added a T of butter and a pureed chile in adobo. Will make again.

  2. A great base recipe! I made my own broth and added an adobo in sauce. Then I quadrupled the herbs and spices and aromatics, added a bag of roasted corn, some adobo paste and ancho chili paste instead of cayenne and chili powder simply because I had those pastes on hand. A teaspoon or so of roasted garlic bouillon added enough salt. My husband and I chowed down. I love recipes like this where you can add whatever you have on hand.

  3. The vegetable broth ruined this soup in my opinion. I used Better Than Bouillion so maybe if you used a different vegetable broth it wouldn’t be so bad. It over powered the soup and gave it a very unpleasant flavor. I tried adding different spices (even more beans) to try to compensate but couldn’t get it to taste good. Just awful.

  4. Decided to cook this due to the inexpensive nature of the dish, but I will make this again because it is unbelievably delicious. I’m shocked that something so simple can be so good. I served it with a baguette.

  5. Just made this soup! Wow so delicious! I followed the tip to add a can of fire roasted tomatoes. Thank you for a simple yet divine recipe!

    1. No, there’s not really a direct substitute, but this recipe is flexible and you can experiment with just about any herbs and spices. :)

    1. Yes, after you fully cook them. :) Each 15 oz. can is about 1.5 cups of beans. Then just make sure to add enough of the cooking liquid to purée some of them.

  6. This looks like another Budget Bytes classic. Reading through the recipe, I’m thinking that it reminds me of refried beans but easier to make. Even though this is basic, it’s inspiring because it can go in many directions.