Black Bean Soup

This black bean soup is full of flavor thanks to the addition of some ham! It’s loaded with veggies, protein and is spiced to perfection!

If I ever have any leftover ham, I usually like to use it in some Ham Fried Rice, or a casserole. But now I’ve discovered this tasty black bean soup recipe to use it in!

Black Bean Soup in a white bowl

Black Bean Soup with Ham

Guys, I’ve made about 5 different versions of black bean soup over the years and none of them were big hits. They were either too bland, too chunky, or the beans were too hard. We’re pretty picky as you can probably tell, but we had some amazing feijoada in Brazil and crazy good black bean soup in Mexico… both of which have seemed impossible to top.

After a lot of testing, I decided my recipe was missing a key ingredient: ham. That’s right. If you’ve still got a ham hock leftover from Easter, you’re in luck! If not, you can easily use leftover sliced ham or thick cut deli meat.

This recipe isn’t super complicated. It has a lot of ingredients but I promise they all contribute to the flavor of the soup. The most work you’ll do is chop veggies/ham and open cans. Simple, right?! The rest is all done on the stove. So give this one-pot soup recipe a try—you won’t regret it!

Black Bean Soup with Ham in a white bowl

How to Make Black Bean Soup

CHOP. Start by chopping up an onion, a red bell pepper, half of a green bell pepper, a jalapeno, 5 cloves of garlic and a few slices of ham (or if you don’t want chunks of ham you can use a ham hock and toss it in a little later).

SAUTE. Saute the veggies in a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat until soft and then toss in the ham, 3 cans of black beans, 1 can of Rotel tomatoes and green chiles, 2 cans of chicken broth and a handful of seasonings. I used cumin, coriander, chili powder, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, salt, black pepper. I also tossed in some apple cider vinegar, hot sauce, freshly squeezed lime juice and a little bit of cilantro.

SIMMER. Once everything came to a boil I let it simmer for about an hour, maybe a little more. The longer you let it go, the better it will taste. Just to clarify, the recipe as written says 1 hour. I felt like at that point the beans were tender enough and the flavor had developed to the point where we could call it good (but feel free to let it go longer- up to 2 hours).

BLEND. As soon as it cooled a bit I used my immersion blender and gave it a few whirls. This is totally optional. You can keep the soup chunky (as-is) or pour a portion of it in a blender to smooth it out, or do the entire thing until it’s smooth. We liked a little of both, that way the broth was thicker and more substantial.

GARNISH & SERVE. We garnished ours with a dollop of sour cream (which I highly recommend), some cilantro and a few slices of jalapeño. It was divine! So flavorful and it had just the right amount of heat. 

Alternative Methods

Can you use dried black beans? Using dried black beans is totally an option, you just have to pre cook them before incorporating them into the soup. You can even make the black beans in the instant pot, try this recipe!

In the Crock Pot: To make this in the crockpot you just have to combine all the ingredients in the crockpot on low for about 6 hours. Then you can take a little bit out and blend it to make it really smooth before mixing that back into the soup as a whole. This will make the soup the perfect balance between smooth and chunky.

In the Instant Pot: To make this in the instant pot you can saute the veggies for about 3 minutes until they are translucent. If you want to make this recipe in the instant pot you need to use dried beans. Add in your dried beans and vegetable broth and cook on high for 30 minutes before manually releasing the pressure. Then you may need to still blend it a little bit to get a nice smooth texture!

Black Bean Soup Recipe topped with sour cream and jalapeños

Serving, Storing, and More

Try serving black bean soup with any of these recipes:

You can STORE the soup in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. When you reheat your soup you should add a little bit of extra water because the soup thickens a lot after refrigerating. You can either reheat it in the microwave or in a pot on the stovetop. 

Black bean soup can be FROZEN very easily. Just make sure that the soup is cooled completely before placing it in a freezer safe tupperware or in a freezer safe bag. You can lay the bags on a baking sheet to solidify it while it’s flat. This simple step will save you storage space since it’s easier to store flat frozen bags of soup. It will last for about 6 months in the freezer.

When you’re ready to eat the leftovers you can defrost it in the fridge overnight before rewarming it in the crock pot over on the stove.

For more tasty soups, check out:

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup Recipe

This black bean soup is full of flavor thanks to the addition of some ham! It's loaded with veggies, protein and is spiced to perfection!
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Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 15 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 374kcal
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  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion - OR red onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper - chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper - chopped
  • 1 jalapeno - seeded and minced
  • 5 cloves garlic - minced
  • 2/3 cup chopped ham*
  • 3 (14.5 oz) cans black beans
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can Rotel diced tomatoes - with chiles
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth - OR vegetable broth
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 lime - juiced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp cilantro - chopped
  • sour cream
  • cilantro
  • jalapeno slices
  • lime wedges
  • grated cheese


  • In a large stockpot or Dutch oven set over medium-low heat, saute the onion, bell peppers, and jalapeno in the olive oil until tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
  • Add the chopped ham (or if using a ham hock add it in now), black beans, tomatoes/chiles, chicken broth, cumin, coriander, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, apple cider vinegar, hot sauce, lime juice, bay leaves and cilantro.
  • Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for just a little over 1 hour (or more if you have time) or until the beans are tender. Remove the bay leaves (and ham hock if used). Use an immersion blender or place a few cups of soup into a blender (this will give you a bit of a thicker stock, but is optional). Serve and garnish as desired.


*You can use thick cut slices of ham and cube them in about 1/4" cubes or if you prefer to not have chunks of ham, use a ham hock and place it in the soup right after sauteing the vegetables. Remove it along with the bay leaves before blending or serving.


Serving: 6g | Calories: 374kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 896mg | Potassium: 1102mg | Fiber: 20g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 882IU | Vitamin C: 59mg | Calcium: 109mg | Iron: 6mg

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  1. HI Natalie I haven’t visited here in months because actually I don’t follow as many cooking weblogs as I used to or sometimes any at all. It was becoming an unhealthy compulsion for me, to the point where I actually spent more time “searching” for recipes than I did preparing dinner (not to mention eating the food, I mean that’s supposed to be the whole point, isn’t it!) So I had to go ‘cold turkey’ for a bit..and Now that it’s more manageable I’mgradually spending some (ONLY Daytime) time surfing the recipe blogs for things. Anyway I just read your post about being a professional blogger AND Mom and wife. I’mso impressed that despite how unrelentingly stressful doing this WORK for a living can be, you’ve hung in there (didn’t you originally have more than just 2 kids? like 20,.. just kidding!) and made this website an amazing success and a definitely great place to find lots of flavorful, creative recipes done with mostly ‘everyday’ ingredients. Thank you for what you do,ALL OF IT, so that we out here in the ether can derive so much benefit (not to mention sweet tooth satisfaction) from your wonderful ‘foodie output’. I certainly appreciate it, and being a ‘full time’ VEGETARIAN, I also appreciate that within the wide variety of recipes you put up here, you have a great treasure chest of vegetarian soups, sides and main dishes, some of which are so yummy and easy (or ONE OR THE OTHER) to make they are in my 2nd tier rotation for dinner dishes. (btw, that’s acatually better than it sounds; since I live alone and don’t have to ‘cook for a family’ most of my 1st tier meals are simple stuff that isn’t all that interesting, but still good: lentil and veggies soup, baked tofu and veggies, rice or quinoa and/or other grains-based casserole, grilled cheese about a hundred ways, frittatas, the occasional pasta w/ various sauces (including my new-fave, mushroom marinara- woo hoo!) Sorry to ramble on, just about to try your black bean soup (no ham or bacon, obviously) and will rate it when I do. But just to thank you first for sharing all the interesting history behind your blog, and the work itself (I never IMAGINED how complex and time consuming doing this full-time would be) and of course the lovely pics of your kiddos. Keep up the good work– and keep working on getting that work-life balance good enough.. From what I hear from a few folks I know who’re their own bosses, it’s really hard to know when to quit or have the disicipline for carving time out for OTHER THINGS. I’m glad you mentioned that you are striving to do this, even when it doesn’t seem to work out really well, at least you have the idea to do it and keep trying! Speaking of which –Gotta go now, my ‘foodie’ indulgence time is OUT for today! Happy Sunday (I’m in Cleveland, OH) and thanks for your amazing blog.