I love black bean soup like I love chili. It’s great on its own, but it’s also fun to get creative with toppings and turn it into a bowl full of fun (okay, maybe I get too excited about food). This awesomely flavorful and easy slow cooker black bean soup practically makes itself, which is perfect for hot summer days like this when you don’t want a pot of soup boiling away on the stove making your whole kitchen extra steamy.
What else is awesome about this soup? Wellll…. It’s vegan, super filling, low cal, high fiber, high protein, full of veggies, and costs next to nothing. Need I say more?
And about those awesome fun toppings? I ate mine with a dollop of sour cream, but you could do crispy tortilla strips, green onions, cilantro, pepitas, cheddar or pepper jack cheese, or even a scoop of cooked rice. Actually, just about anything that goes good in a taco would probably go awesome on top of this soup. Go wild!
Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup
Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup
- 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
- 1 yellow onion ($0.41)
- 2 ribs celery ($0.33)
- 2 carrots ($0.28)
- 1 lb. black beans (uncooked) ($1.75)
- 1 cup salsa ($0.85)
- 1 Tbsp chili powder* ($0.30)
- 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin ($0.15)
- 1 tsp dried oregano ($0.05)
- 4 cups vegetable broth ($0.53)
- 2 cups water ($0.00)
- Mince the garlic, dice the onion and celery, and grate the carrots on a large holed cheese grater. Rinse the black beans in a colander under cool running water and pick out any stones or debris.
- Combine the garlic, onion, celery, carrots, black beans, salsa, chili powder, cumin, oregano, vegetable broth, and water in a 5-7 quart slow cooker. Stir well.
- Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 6-8 hours (you want the beans to get VERY soft). Once the beans are very soft, use an immersion blender** to blend the soup until it is thick and creamy (leave some beans whole if desired). Taste the soup and add salt if needed (this will depend on the brand of vegetable broth used).
See how we calculate recipe costs here.
Step by Step Photos
Rinse the dry beans under cool water to remove any dust and dirt. If there are any pebbles or other debris, pick them out.
Add the beans to a 5-7 quart slow cooker along with 2 cloves of minced garlic, one onion (diced), 2 stalks celery (diced), 2 carrots (grated on a large holed cheese grater), 1 cup salsa, 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1/2 Tbsp cumin, and 1 tsp oregano. Add to that 4 cups of vegetable broth and 2 cups of water. Stir well, place the lid on top, and let it cook on high for 6-8 hours (the goal is VERY soft beans).
After 6 hours on high (it can go 8 hours if needed), the beans will be soft and floating around in a bunch of liquid. You want this to be a thick soup, so you’ll need to purée some of the beans (or all if you want it to be a super smooth soup). The easiest way is to use an immersion blender, but if you don’t have one, it can be done with a regular blender. If using a regular blender, let the soup cool until it’s no longer hot (warm is okay). blend about half of the soup in batches for a slightly chunky soup, or all of the soup for a smooth soup. When blending warm liquids it’s always a good idea to throw a towel over the top of the closed blender to catch any spray if it does build pressure and burst out the top. Never, NEVER, blend hot liquids. (speaking from experience).
I blended about half of my soup and left some beans whole for texture. Blending the beans also thickens up the soup considerably. Once it’s blended, give it a taste and see if you need to add salt. I used Better Than Bouillon soup base for my vegetable broth, which tends to be on the salty side, so I didn’t need to add any. If you’re using a low sodium broth, you’ll probably need to add a pinch to make the flavors pop.
And then go crazy with toppings! Woot!
Looks lovely! Do the beans need to be soaked beforehand?
Nope! You can follow the recipe exactly as written and it should produce successful results. (We just rinse them so they’re clean!) Soaking beans helps to soften them so they cook a little faster, but that isn’t necessary for this application since they spend such a long time in the slow cooker. ~ Marion :)
This recipe makes my mouth water. I need to see what I can do to get the sodium level lower. That is so most an entire day sodium intake for me. I look forward to trying it.
Right there with you, Grandma AK!
The sodium has a lot to do with your choices of broth and salsa. Storebought salsas and broths can have a truly wild amount of sodium in them. If you’re making your own, of course you can control the salt level to your needs, but if you’re buying, be sure to check the labels! Newman’s Own was recommended to me as a lower-sodium salsa and it’s pretty good, especially for an application like this I think.
I use the Wegman’s store brand vegetable culinary stock as the lowest-sodium option I can readily find. Pacific also makes a lower-sodium vegetable broth, but it’s twice the price and slightly higher mg sodium. I know Beth recommends concentrates for broth, and I get why, but I find the concentrates tend to be extremely high in sodium, as can other common brands like Swansons. I hope this helps!
Tip: use fire roasted or a smoky salsa. Yum.
The only brith I have on hand is turkey or chicken. Will either one of these work? I’m looking forward to making this. It looks delicious!
Of course! Substitute in equal parts.
I have five cans of black beans I don’t want them to go to waste. How will I change the receipe in order to use them rather than uncooked ones?
You’d need to reduce the liquid considerably, but I’d need to test the recipe before offering a concrete suggestion. You might like this black bean soup that is designed for canned beans, instead. :)
Do you have to blend the beans at the end to make it a puree? I tend to like a chunkier soup…
No, you can leave it chunky if you prefer. :)
I have made this several times and it is definitely a favorite. Never have altered the recipe at all – it is perfect exactly as written. Love it!
So this came out great! What I do when making bean soups many times, I will add a can of refried beans, in this case refried black beans. I do this if it seems the soup will be too thin for my taste. It isn’t “home made” but it does work and nobody knows I “cheated.” So it doesn’t count!
I can’t get out and have all but the dried black beans. Can I substitute canned black beans? If so, how would you suggest I alter the rest of the recipe?
That’s something I’d really need to test before offering a solid suggestion because substituting canned beans for the dry beans will also alter the amount of liquid used. Generally I find that one pound of dry beans is usually around three 15oz. cans of beans, but I’m not sure how much less liquid you’d need or how long it would need to cook (since the beans are already cooked).
This recipe was perfect. I was a little worried about not soaking the beans but they were perfectly cooked. I did hold off on adding the salsa to the last 2 hours of cooking. Other than that I followed the recipe exactly. The combination of spices were great and the cooking time in my crock pot was perfect. Thanks for the recipe.
I love this soup so much. I’ve made it probably 50 times in the last few years. I use black turtle beans (the only dried black beans I can get in New Zealand). I use a can of diced tomatoes instead of salsa. So great to pop it into the slow cooker in the morning and come home to a delicious warm thick soup. I love it with sour cream, grated cheese, spring onions, and sourdough bread. Cheap and delicious. Thank you budget bytes!
It was ok. If I had had tortilla chips on hand it would have been more like eating black bean dip.
This black bean soup is delicious! The only change I make to the recipe is soaking the black beans.
This looks delicious! Can it be made in the Instant Pot? If so hat would the cooking time be?
Thank you, Jean
I made this last night in an instant pot – mostly because I totally forgot to put it in the crockpot in the morning. I did it for 30 minutes with about a 5-10 minute slow release. I was scared the beans wouldn’t be soft enough but they were absolutely fine. I used an immersion blender and it was great. I do think it came out a little thinner consistency so I might add a little less liquid next time but my whole family loved it.
I love this recipe! I must say that I have always soaked the beans and there has been no crunchiness. I also don’t tend to add too much salt until the soup is done because I read somewhere once that this Makes it take forever. My kids eat it up and I tend to either use store bought salsa or chop some tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeño without the center, and onions(a rough pico de Gallo) and put it in there if I don’t have that. I love this recipe and I love it with Beth’s corn bread recipe. It does demand some sort of cheese/sour cream combo at the end!