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Spicy Black Bean Soup from Scratch

  • Author: Lisa
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 1x


Spicy black bean soup with rich velvety broth. A delicious healthy soup that is hearty enough to serve for dinner. Easily vegetarian or vegan.


  • 1 pound of dry black beans (Turtle beans), pre-soaked.*
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (3 - 4 carrots, about 9 ounces)
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 medium onions)
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic (from 8 large cloves)
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry**
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped chipotle chilies plus 1 teaspoon of adobo sauce, from a small (7-ounce) can of chipotle chilis in adobo sauce.***
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 8 cups of good quality low salt chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, divided****
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1-2 teaspoons red wine vinegar to adjust seasoning

Optional Garnishes: 

  • Chopped red onion
  • Cubed avocado
  • Sour cream or yogurt
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Lime wedges


  1. In a large heavy pot, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté carrots, onions and garlic, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes, until soft and fairly dry. Don't brown. Add sherry and cook until it is fully absorbed, a minute or two. Add jalapeños, chipotle chilies, adobo sauce and cumin. Cook, stirring, for a minute or so.
  2. Add beans, stock, oregano and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook uncovered for 1 ½ - 2 hours, until the beans are tender. If the broth gets too thick, add a little water from time to time. After one hour of cooking, add 1 teaspoon of salt.
  3. Finish the soup: Depending on how thin the broth is, you may choose to purée or mash some of the soup to create a thicker, creamier broth. I like to purée about 1/3 of the soup, right in the pot, using an immersion blender. A potato masher also works well.
  4. Taste and correct seasoning with salt and pepper. Add a teaspoon or two of red wine vinegar to brighten the flavors. For more heat, stir in more adobo sauce.
  5. Serve soup hot in deep bowls garnished with your favorite toppings.


*HOW TO SOAK BLACK BEANS: Sort through the beans and pick out any small stones or debris. Place beans in a colander and rinse them thoroughly under cold running water to clean them. Put them in a big bowl and cover with cold water by two inches. Leave them in a cool place or in your fridge, to soak for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse them and they are now ready to cook.

**DRY SHERRY SUBSTITUTES. If you can't find dry Sherry use a dry red wine such as Cabernet, merlot, pinot noir or Zinfandel

***CHIPOTLE CHILI IN ADOBO SAUCE is a secret weapon for adding deep earthy flavor and spice to a soup, stew, sauce, dip or even slaw. Made from dried smoked jalapeño peppers that are rehydrated and marinated in purée of tomato, vinegar, garlic and spices, both the chilies. Be aware that the seeds are extremely hot. If you are at all sensitive to heat, I suggest you scrape the seeds out before adding chilies to the soup.

***SALT: As with any long-simmering soup or stew, it's best to salt cautiously and mostly at the end because store-bought stock is generally salty and will only get saltier as the soup simmers and water evaporates.

This recipe was adapted from Julia Moskin's The Best Black Bean Soup Recipe in the New York Times.

  • Prep Time: 30 min (plus overnight soaking)
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Category: soup
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: black bean soup, black bean soup from scratch