30-Minute Black Bean Soup

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Managing Editor of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

30-Minute Black Bean Soup

About This Recipe

Yield:Makes about 2 quarts, serving 4
Active time:20 minutes
Total time:30 minutes
This recipe appears in: 3 Easy Bean Soups in 30 Minutes or Less


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 green bell peppers, stems and seeds discarded, finely diced
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced on a microplane grater
  • 1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, stems and seeds discarded, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
  • 1 chipotle chili packed in adobo, finely chopped, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from can (optional)
  • 1 quart homemade or low-sodium canned chicken broth
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, with liquid
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • To serve (all optional):
  • Roughly chopped cilantro leaves
  • Mexican-style sour cream
  • Diced avocado
  • Diced red onion


  1. 1

    Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add peppers and onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, jalapeño, cumin, and dried chili flakes and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chipotle and adobo sauce (if using) and stir to combine. Add chicken broth, beans and their liquid, and bay leaves. Increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a bare simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

  2. 2

    Discard the bay leaves. Use a hand blender to roughly puree part of the beans until desired consistency is reached. Alternatively, transfer 2 cups of soup to a blender or food processor and process until smooth (start on low speed and increase to high to prevent blender blow-out). Return to the soup and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt.

  3. 3

    Ladle soup into individual serving bowls and serve immediately with cilantro leaves, sour cream, diced avocado, and diced red onion (as desired).


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