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!
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!
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.
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!
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 Recipe
- 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
- 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.