black-bean-soup-toasted-cumin-seed-crema Recipes

black bean soup + toasted cumin seed crema

So, I told you about the brisket. Or, the way we talk about it, thhhuuuuh brisssssket, it’s deliciousness making our syllables stretch out melodramatically. We pulled it into tacos with slaw and pickled onions and it was a great end to a great year. But I bet I know what you’ve been wondering since then, “But no appetizer?” Well, let thie question vex your brain no longer: we had soup. (Jacob, however, got into the margaritas. Again.)

dried black beans
red onions

My friend Jocelyn made a wonderful black bean soup and she topped it with a toasted cumin seed crema and I just about died, the crema was so good. I mean, the soup was delicious but the crema was one of those toppings that was in lock-step with the soup: the richest, creamist, smokiest accent to a spicy, hearty soup. Since I’ve been slow cooker obsessed since that very day, I vowed to make a version entirely in my new BFF, and to top it with that toasted cumin seed cream. Frankly, the soup is just an excuse to get to it.

onions, beans, peppers and garlic

peppers and onion

Or it would have been if that, too, hadn’t also ended up being ridiculously good. Have I told you how awesome the slow cooker is for resucitating dried beans? There’s nothing better, period. I’ve always loved eating beans but the inconsistent and generally lackluster quality of canned beans frustrated me and the patience required to simmer something for hours on the stove eluded me. And now, with no presoaking, no simmering, just tossing cold dried beans in the slow cooker for just shy of three hours and they are perfection itself: bean nirvana. Throw in chipotle, peppers, garlic, onions and a healthy dose of cumin and you too can have this unbelievable soup from the tiniest effort.

black bean soup

One year ago: Almond Vanilla Rice Pudding
Two years ago: Crunchy Baked Pork Chops
Three years ago: Panakes, English Muffins and a Salade Lyonnaise

Black Bean Soup with Chipotle and Toasted Cumin Seed Crème Fraîche
Adapted from Bon Appetit

We finished this soup, by the way. Every last serving. We never do that. It’s magic, I tell you.

A big note about cooking times: The original recipe says 6 hours. Mine were done at 2 hours 45 minutes. Do black beans vary wildly in cooking time? Do slow cookers vary wildly in cooking time? These are all pressing questions. Check your beans at 3 hours, and holler at me in the comments if your cooking time ends up being much longer.

Yields 6 main course servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium-size red onions, chopped
1 medium-size red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium-size green bell pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 16-ounce package dried black beans
1 tablespoon chopped chipotle chiles from a can (this gives it a solid kick, dial back if you are wary)
7 cups hot water (I just used very hot tap water)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and both bell peppers and sauté until beginning to brown, about eight minutes. Add garlic and cumin; stir one minute. Transfer mixture to 6-quart slow cooker. Add beans and chipotles, then 7 cups hot water. Cover and cook on high until beans are very tender, about 3 hours. [See note up top.]

Transfer two cups bean mixture to blender; puree until smooth. Return puree to remaining soup in slow cooker. Stir in lime juice, salt, and pepper. Adjust seasonings to taste; we found we needed more salt. Ladle soup into bowls. Spoon dollop of toasted cumin seed cream (below) over each bowl and serve.

Do ahead: This soup keeps great in the fridge, and even thickens a bit. In a good way!

Toasted Cumin Seed Crème Fraîche
Hacked from Bobby Flay

1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
1 cup crema or crème fraîche (or make your own crema, make your own crème fraîche, or swap sour cream or yogurt, for a close-enough taste)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Place the cumin in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Toast until lightly golden brown. Place in spice grinder or mortar and pestle and grind until coarse. Stir it into the creme and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

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367 comments on black bean soup + toasted cumin seed crema

  1. Were you using Rancho Gordo beans? I find that they cook up MUCH faster than Goya or whatever supermarket brand I grab. I don’t have a slow cooker, but that’s what I’ve found on the stovetop, anyway.

    That might be my favorite picture of Jacob yet.

    1. deb

      Adrienne — Actually, I used supermarket Goyas that looked pretty busted! But I can only imagine how good this would be with Rancho Gordos.

      Teacher Cooks — I have also heard that cooking beans with salt in the water will impede their cooking/softening. I was tempted to use broth instead of water for more oomph (though it has plenty, especially once seasoned), but don’t have sodium-free broth.

  2. This does sound so good. I love soup made with beans. The creme sound like the perfect topping. I will have to say that I have never had any luck cooking dried beans in the crockpot without soaking. I see that you did not add salt. I read salt added to dried beans in the crockpot will make them crunchy. I will have to try once again without soaking them.

  3. kat

    This sounds smoky and delicious. Once again you have me salivating at the screen. I’m trying to make more use of my poor dusty neglected slow cooker this winter; I’ll definitely give this recipe a shot! (And the brisket, too.)

  4. As soon as I get my slow cooker back from my neighbor, I’m making this. Thanks for the genius idea about cooking beans in the slow cooker. I made chili last week with pinto beans I soaked…I forgot to cook them after soaking and the chili took forever to cook!

  5. I feel stupid! I see that you did actually use Kosher salt. So your beans cooked that quickly? I will really have to experiment without soaking. I just hate eating crunchy beans. I have even had this problem when precooking them for 30 min. Thanks so much for all the time that you spend on this site. It is very good!

  6. Susan

    Wow, this sounds delicous. I sure wish I’d had that cumin cream the other day for my 16 bean soup. I still have some soup, so I’ll whip it up for the leftovers. I am sue toasting the seed makes for an even more flavorful grind. Can’t wait to try that. Thanks, Deb.

  7. Oh, yea this is what I am talking about. HUGE fan of black beans and can’t wait to try this one out…especially since the temps keep dropping!

    seriously soupy serena

  8. Torrie

    Did any one try it with cumin powder? I am stuck at home and don’t have whole seeds to toast. Any thoughts on if it would work or should I wait until I can get the whole seeds?

  9. Next appliance on the list : slowcooker. My mom kept telling me to get one when I moved out, but I never knew how to use one, nor did I think they were anything spectacular. Why not just use a large crockpot over low heat?? Now I know. Thanks for the enlightenment!!

  10. I go through more cumin than any other spice in my cabinet- salt & pepper included!!

    How much would it detract from the recipe if one were to, say, skip the intial saute and just dump all ingredients raw straight into the crockpot?

  11. I made white bean chicken chili in my crockpot this weekend, and the sad old bag of white Goya beans I used (I think they had been lurking in my pantry for over a year!) cooked up with all of the chili ingredients in just under 3 hours on high. I do think some crockpots (especially the larger ones) tend to run a little hotter than others. My crockpot can get stuff boiling, whereas my sister’s smaller version only ever brings stuff to a simmer (at most). I’m going to have to add this to my list of stuff to try before the winter is up–especially because I think there is an equally sad bag of black beans lurking in my pantry!

  12. LKP

    Oh my goodness- si, por favor. I had a dish over Thanksgiving weekend in Martha’s Vineyard that had the same type of cumin-infused sour cream and I just about went straight to tastebud heaven. I swore I would make it at home… you have just given me a perfectly delicious reason now!

  13. sierra

    Yes, slow cookers do vary wildly in cooking time. I usually soak dried beans over night, then drain & rinse, and cook for 6 hours on low (probably the same as 3 hours on high) I don’t know if the soak & rinse really helps de-gas the beans – in my mind it does :)

  14. Fred

    mmm I’m a sucker for a good Black Bean soup recipe. The last time I made it it turned a lavender color and not really black. I’m going to try this. The spices, and other flavors sound great, I wonder if you go throw some dried carbanzos into the mix as well.

  15. I adore ground toasted cumin seeds – my favourite Madhur Jaffrey cookbook has lots of recipes that use them, so I do them in bulk! This looks utterly irresistible…as does wee Jacob. :-)

  16. Julie

    Older beans take longer to cook than fresher beans, I have found. When I have an old bag that has been sitting in my pantry forever, I give them a good six to eight hours.

  17. Meg

    I made some black beans in the slow cooker this weekend for the first time, and it did take them more like 6 hours to cook (also regular supermarket type). One thing that I did differently was to add cold water, but it’s hard to believe that it could make such a huge difference. Also, I was cooking the beans on their own, so there weren’t any hot veggies to get things going faster either.

    I’ve been wanting to make creme fraiche for quite awhile now- this is just the encouragement I needed to make it happen. Thank you!

  18. Absolute perfection! I was just skimming blogs for ways to use the rest of my can of chipotle peppers and lookeee here you are. Black bean soup is one of my staples, but the crema is a genius addition. My tiny refrigerator thanks you for making room for Wednesday cake.

  19. Kait

    Hello Mom of the cutest baby to come along in decades. I have a stupid question. Well not that stupid but still…
    What do black beans taste like? I have only ever had them in a dip with many other things mixed in, so I did not really get a sense of the bean itself. Most of the black bean dishes I have ever seen are spicy spicy spicy oriental dishes that I never had the nerve to try. Don’t get me wrong, I am a bean lover. But ever since I tried Fava Beans I have been a little leery of trying new ones.

  20. Sam

    I was just trying to decide what to make for dinner tonight – problem solved!! I love a good recipe to use my slow cooker for. I’ve had it for years and rarely use it. I think the older your beans are the more cookign time they’ll need. So you must have had pretty fresh beans. I’ll check mine after 3 hours and let you know how they are. I know mine are fresh as I just bought them last week.

  21. Jenna Meyer

    if you love beans in your new BFF you should need to meet your new SDBFF (my 4 year old, Ruby’s saying for Super Duper BFF) the pressure cooker, i made refried beans equally as good as the salvadorean restaurant down the street using my new pressure cooker in, get this–6 minutes!!!!!! (after soaking)
    The pressure cooker is the best thing to happen to since no knead bread!

  22. mixette

    Yesterday I “slow cookered” a whole bag of Rancho Gordo Cargamato Cranberry Beans because I had them on hand, and it was cold outside. I’m going to cook up all the remaining ingredients and morph those puppies into this soup for a group lunch tomorrow. Cumin crema – brilliant.

    I’m thinking some cornbread would be a perfect go-with.

  23. Andrea

    I have a big batched of cooked black beans in the their liquid sitting in my freezer. I’m going to try out this recipe with those beans and hope it turns out as great as yours!

  24. Deb, we’re bean cookers (dominican) and what will prevent the beans from softening is actually acid, not salt. At least in my experience. I’m sure someone like Shirley Corriher would have a better explanation but I salt my beans all the time in the early cooking, the acid however (shot of red wine or apple cider vinegar for brightness) doesn’t come until after softening.

    The soup looks delicious.

  25. As a well-seasoned bean cooker, I’ve noticed that cooking time on beans varies with each batch. I’ve heared the fresher the bean (not as dehydrated) the shorter the cooking time. I’ll definitely have to try that Toasted Cumin Seed Crème Fraîche next time I make black beans.

  26. Yula

    I have been making a version of this soup lately and I got to make it for about 5-6 times. The time for cooking the beans changes according to how fresh the beans are. I use organic black beans, and still the time of cooking varies from 1 hour and a half to 3 hours.
    It’s an amazing soup we love it.

  27. wow.
    this looks so delicious and i’ve never even attempted to make something like this before. your blog is my absolute favorite, and always my go to guide!

  28. Peggasus

    I do find that my (newer, larger, removable insert) Rival slow cooker cooks waaaaaay faster and hotter than my old ’70s all-in-one unit. I prefer the older one, actually. I have some garbanzos in it right this minute, for tomorrow night’s dinner.

    Cook’s Illustrated recommends that the soaking water for the be salted, but not the water they are cooked in, and me, I’ll just believe them.

    This soup looks wonderful! The only thing I might add would be a smoked ham hock. And crema is super-easy to make!

  29. Jennifer H.

    This soup looks fantastic! I have 3 crockpots (yes…3!), and each one cooks slightly differently. I think it really comes down to brand, size and how full you fill it. I use mine several times a week because I can throw things in while my toddler is eating breakfast (or lunch) and I don’t have to spend an hour in the kitchen at 5 pm with a screaming kiddo pulling at my pant leg! I put a bag of black beans and cold water in my largest crockpot on low at 8am this morning and they were done at noon. I probably could have even pulled them before that, but we were out running errands. I also have sweet and spicy chicken cooking in another crockpot for tacos to go with the beans tonight – yummy! This soup is going on my meal plan for next week! Good luck with your crockpot adventures – no mom should be without one!

  30. Deb,

    I’ve always heard (please forgive the potential puns throughout) that the reason for soaking beans is to eliminate a compound that causes gas. So without getting too personal, um, after tossing hard beans into a crockpot and going for it, did you notice any uhhhh… side effects?

    By the way, here’s a link to an about.com article that I got by googling beans, gas, science, soak and science.

    http://busycooks.about.com/od/howtocook/a/beanscience.htm

    Can’t wait to try the crema. I’m eating a mixed bean sort of soup right now. May have to indulge as is. Assuming that recipe works with the amazing Greek yogurt. :)

  31. Kathleen

    That looks incredible! We’ll have to try it! Our slow cooker has only been used once (embarrassing right?), but I am so leery of all those slow cooker recipes that call for condensed soups and all that…. Anyway, this one looks solid!

  32. @Marti I’ve been a vegetarian for 18 years, and most of the vegetarian pubs indicate that you are more likely to get gas from beans as you are just adding them to your diet. If you eat beans regularly then you should be fine without soaking or a Beano product.

  33. Lourdes

    If you use a pressure cooker, you can make this recipe in 30 minutes. My family is Cuban and black bean soup is a staple in our house. Do soak overnight with plain water. The reason for that is so that the beans take less time to cook the next day. This is particular important for black beans. The beans are then cooked in that same water and seasoned after they are done not just with salt, but also a pinch of sugar.

  34. Jennifer

    This recipe does sound delish and I am vowing right now to make it…soon!

    However, in case people decide to jump on the making beans in the slow cooker bandwagon I just wanted to point out that red kidney beans CANNOT be made from raw in the slow cooker! Here is a link on exactly why not:

    http://www.nzfsa.govt.nz/consumers/food-safety-topics/food-processing-labelling/slow-cookers/index.htm

    but basically the temp in the slow cooker does not get high enough to destroy a natural toxin in kidney beans that can cause severe nausea and other equally unpleasant side effects.

  35. Susan

    This sounds fabulous, and perfect for this crazy cold weather! Oddly enough, I’ve never been big on black bean soup, but I LOVE the black beans you get as a side at places like Victor’s Cafe or Havana Cuba (actually, those are the only excuse for eating at a place like Havana. Feh.) But Deb, I am slow-cookerless – how would you adapt this for stovetop cooking? Would you suggest doing a quick-boil/soak on the beans first, then starting the soup? Or just cooking it long and slow in a heavy pot?

  36. Cassie

    My slow cooker has 3 settings, warm, low, high…. so I could cook something on high in 3 hours that would take 8 hours (or more) on low. So maybe your slow cooker cooks at a higher temperature if it only has an on and an off.

  37. JC

    I have a Rancho Gordo Slow Cooker Question:

    I took a bag of Rancho Gordo Cargomento Cranberry Beans and put them in two inches of water in my Slow Cooker. I set it on high for 4 hours. When their 4 hours was up, I let them cool in their cooking water for another 3 hours. This makes 7 solid hours of cooking. I took a sample from the pot and the beans were decidedly CRUNCHY.

    HELP?

  38. Deb – this looks amazing, and I’ve been on such a black bean kick lately. I’m going to a friend’s house for a “Couples Game Night” on Saturday night, so I think I’ll stick this in the crock pot during the day and be the star of the party! :)

  39. Also – Would Jenna Myer mind giving exact instructions on her refried beans she made in her pressure cooker? I received a pressure cooker for Christmas (for canning), and I would love to do other things with it!

  40. Brenda

    JC–believe the directions say to cover beans by 2 inches, which means put beans in the pot and add water to 2 inches higher than the level of the beans. Any beans not covered won’t get done.

  41. Alright! Fine, I will pull out my slow cooker. I scared myself when I tried to cook kidney beans because apparently they are toxic and just a few can make you sick if undercooked and the slow cooker doesn’t cook them high enough? I’m still puzzled.I had to throw out an entire slow cooker of chili for fear of its toxicity. I’ll try these beans though. They seem much easier to work with.

  42. Jilian

    Im going to try this one sans slow cooker. I am sure you can revert to canned beans (although they lack the same flavor) and simmer the soup on very low for a few hrs to impart the flavors of the veggies and chilis..otherwise probably the dry bean, and soak method she mentioned earlier would work just as well, albeit much slower.

  43. Sarah Docherty

    Kari – see comment #55 – Jennifer posted a link about kidney beans and cooking temperatures. (I haven’t gone through the site yet, but she addressed what you were asking about.)

  44. These pictures are beautiful – I love all the colors of the peppers. My mom used to make black bean soup every winter and served it over rice with a lemon wedge on top. I like the idea of the toasted cumin crema, peppers and lime juice. I’ve read you do not care for cilantro, but for those who do, I imagine that a quick dice of onions, tomatoes and cilantro could be nice sprinkled on top next to the crema.

    1. deb

      Kidney bean questions — The link in the comment above simply suggests that you boil the kidney beans for 10 minutes before using them in a slow cooker. After that, you can cook them the rest of the way in your slow cooker. Not a lot of extra work!

      Adapting this recipe without a slow cooker — I’d put everything in a giant pot with a lid and cook it in barely simmering water for a few hours, or until the beans are soft.

      Questions about gas — Ahem. No, we felt no ill-effects from not presoaking the beans. And that’s the last I will discuss that, promise!

  45. This sounds fantastic! I also have a wonderful recipe for black-bean soup (from the Sugar Reef cookbook), but that crema sounds like it would be the perfect addish.

    As for Adrienne’s comment about Rancho Gordos, I have to second that emotion — I’ve never had any better than their black beans, and I have sworn off the canned variety ever since. The texture especially is worth the price of admission.

  46. Normally I soak, rinse, and cook my own beans, and even using grocery store beans it has NEVER taken me 2 hours to cook them. Last week I did big batches of black beans and chickpeas and it took 45-60 minutes of simmering until they were tender and creamy.

    I’ve made a few different tasty black bean soups, but the addition of chipotle sounds magical. Now if I could only remember to pick up cumin seeds which have been on my grocery list for the last three trips…

  47. sarah

    deb/commenters – do you have any experience cooking smaller meals in large crock pots? i received a 7 qt crock pot as a gift, but i think 3 qt would be more appropriate for most of my needs. i wonder if i can keep the big one (so i have it in case i’m entertaining or something), and just make smaller amounts of food in it. thank you!!

  48. Leighann

    @#79 sarah…you can make smaller batches of food in your ginormous crockpot by covering the ingredients with a sheet of aluminum foil(to keep that moisture in) and watching the timing very carefully, as your food is spread out over the bottom surface of the larger crock, and will cook much more quickly. Good Luck!

  49. Rhonda

    Cool, I was wondering what to do with the crema my husband brought home from somewhere. Will have to hit the spice store, my favorite thing to do and now I have an excuse. I’ve been so cold that this will be great.

  50. Bri

    I want to eat this every day for the rest of my life (and I haven’t even tasted it yet!)

    I’ve found with dried beans what really makes a difference is the water quality. When I lived in AZ, the water was so hard that I could cook beans for 3 days and they wouldn’t get mushy. I think it really depends on whats floating around in there.

  51. Sherri

    This is exactly what I needed tonight. I’ve got peppers and onions on the stove right now and the crockpot ready to go! That crema sounds divine <3

  52. ashlei

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ve been looking for a solid black bean soup recipe for weeks now, I tell you, and this sounds like my winner. I love slow-cooker soups..

  53. I have never had any luck cooking dried beans at all. Ever. I have heard that salt is bad and that tomatoes can cause them to be too hard, but I have tried almost everything else and still never got them to soften. Dried beans are my Everest. Unless someone here’s got some helpful tips, I think I have to stick to canned beans. Any advice?

  54. How funny, I’m making black bean soup tonight from an old NY Times recipe that was from Canyon Ranch. Trying to start the year off with some healthier meals, and black bean soup fits the bill. Thanks for sharing your recipe. The crema sounds like an incredible addition.

  55. Angela

    @79 Sarah: You probably could make a double batch of something and freeze part for later.
    I love the slow cooker but am hoping to find more “summer-y” recipes for it as it seems the perfect summer instrument, not getting the whole kitchen hot and all, but the stuff that works well in it is more wintery food. Oh well.
    and my experience with beans is as #52 Seanna Lea says…eat them often and they have much less effect.

  56. AngAk

    this soup looks fabulous, and the crema is a bonus. thanks

    one request—do you have any control over the ads on your blog?? because that belly fat ad is just so very annoying and gross. just wondering if it could be zapped.

    1. deb

      Belly fat ads — I have gotten so many comments about these, let me respond: I loathe them. They’re revolting. I have tried and tried to block them but they keep showing up from different URLs; they’re essentially spam. (Oh, and they pay poorly too, which is just further insult to all of our eyeball injury — I don’t, as several all-caps emails have suggested, actually value a few pennies over what is right and fit for this site.) This is a GoogleAds issue; this is Google failing to do what they set out to in November. They should pass soon; in the meanwhile, I’ll keep blocking their URLs as I can.

  57. I am with Jenna (#36) and Lourdes (#53) on the Pressure Cooker use for daily cooking. Especially when it comes to cooking beans. It is a time saver… and with a family to feed fast, nothing beats it. I make all kind of soup, ratatouille, fast-steam veggies before a gratin or to make purees, steaming beets, etc. You can start this recipe by sauteeing all the ingredients in the pressure cooker and then add the adequate amount of water needed. 30 minutes later, A table!
    PS: The Creme Fraiche with Cumin sounds really good!

  58. Laura

    I cannot wait to try this!! I used your brisket recipe the other night to rave reviews – did both the pickled red onions and green onion slaw. My 5 year old had THREE tacos (and she weighs all of 33 pounds!!) and proclaimed the pickled red onions the “best thing I’ve ever tasted!” Thought I owed you a thank you – I’ve tried many of your recipes and haven’t had a bad one yet . . . Great work!

  59. As a southern girl I feel I must warn you off adding salt to beans until the end of the cooking time (maybe 45 min or so before they are done). It will make them so tough that your dog won’t eat them and nobody wants that, now do they.
    I have used the Rancho Gordo beans and all I can say is that my daddy, a southern boy through and through who has eaten his FAIR share of beans, said they were the best he had ever tasted. Worth every penny.
    This picture of the wee one was precious but the one of him showing off his monkey ears made me want to cut it out, put it on my refrigerator and claim him as my relative………

  60. I didn’t mean to sound as if I hadn’t read the post . . . sorry about that! I have tried them in the slow cooker and that was a failure, too. I know sometimes people say they have trouble with rice and I think, “I have never had any trouble with rice!” I guess it’s that way with me and dried beans.

  61. Diana

    Jeremy @ #17: a slow cooker is the same thing as a crock pot. I think it’s a brand name issue, like some brand is *called* “Crockpot” and you aren’t supposed to call it that unless you are using that brand? Like Kleenex or Xerox.

    Kait @ #30 the spicy Asian dishes made with “black bean sauce” are an entirely different animal than black bean soup or other black bean dishes you often find in Latin/South American/Caribbean cuisine. Asian black bean sauce (also called douchi) is made with fermented soybeans. The fermentation process turns the beans black. They are not “black beans” like the kind used in this recipe.

  62. dear girl, you are missing the best most amazing black bean soup in the history of the world. 1/2 a lb of dried black beans soaked and cooked until tender and 1 or 2 jars of paul newman black bean and corn salsa blended until smoothish topped with this sour cream you posted. Or 3 jars of black beans and 1 or 2 jars of the salsa blended up. yummo

  63. Sallyann

    this is my favorite black bean soup recipe – I actually multiplied the recipe by 4 and cooked it in a huge stock pot for our annual holiday party (no presoaking of beans required — cooked about 4 hours total). It got rave reviews from everyone.

    I would also try making lime creme – add the juice and zest of one lime to your toasted cumin seed crema. It’s phenomenal with the soup – the zippy-ness of the lime goes great with the smokey flavors!

  64. Sam

    Reporting back after making this – my beans cooked for 4 hours and could have used another 1/2 hour but we were starving. They were right on the cusp of perfect doneness, just had a touch too much bite. My slow cooker’s fairly new and I had just bought my beans, so I hope they were pretty fresh.

    This was delicious, we all voted that it surpassed the Cook’s Illustrated black bean soup recipe I’ve been using for years. And so, so simple to throw together.

    1. deb

      Tara — You can use any of the above. The first two options will taste best.

      Soft bean comments — I’ve had no trouble getting my beans soft in the slow-cooker, and they were cheap-and-dusty Goyas, nothing fancy. I am hoping people who previously had trouble getting beans soft can/will with this method, as written above. No reason to season the soup, anyhow, until the end as you never know how the flavors will concentrate until it is done.

  65. Joanne

    Yum! I was inspired and made this for dinner tonight. My cooker took about 3 hours to cook the beans perfectly. It was a perfect meal for a chilly night. Thanks!

  66. Gwen

    Hard beans… from the experts. The most common culprit is hard water. Apparently the minerals in the water bind with something in the bean skins. The fix is salt. Yup, the stuff that has been blamed for years is the fix. Through some kind of chemical reaction it prevents that binding thing. The second issue is acidity but through testing it was determined that a little acid is ok and will only slow the cooking 20 minutes or so. It is possible to add enough acid to really slow them down but it would take something like an entire bottle of vinegar. The one other thing that can cause beans that never soften is really old and dry beans – for instance the beans I’ve been using for pie weights for the last 10 years would likely never cook up no matter what I did. So, really, if you soak your beans add 3 tablespoons of salt per gallon of water. If you’re cooking them without soaking go ahead and salt to taste. If you really don’t want to or can’t use salt you can soak/cook your beans in distilled water. The above info is paraphrased from Cook’s Illustrated and they generally know what they’re talking about.

  67. Amy

    In response to the cooking time question – different “slow cookers” run at different temps. I have an oval Rival Crock Pot with a removable insert that is not really a slow cooker at all. I have to be very careful with it or almost everything I cook in it will turn to mush in the suggested cooking times even on low. Cooling the whole insert, with the food in it, in the fridge overnight works to extend the time about an hour if you are going to be away from the slow cooker the next day. If you are looking for great main-dish non-meat recipes, the book “Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker” is fabulous.

  68. stephanie

    hey deb, i love this recipe but i just wanted to say THANK YOU for responding about the belly fat ads! i actually for a moment thought my laptop might have a virus until i stopped and thought about it – but i am seeing this on almost every website i visit (and ALL the foodie ones)! they are so intrusive. i hope it gets sorted soon but of course it won’t stop me from checking out the foodz, i’m a junkie!

  69. Kelly

    This soup sounds good, and I want to try it. On the salt-to-beans thing, my mother in law actually got really upset with me New Years Day because I added salt to black eyed peas that we were cooking the fast way. She was mad because she said salt impedes the cooking. But they were actually done in less than an hour! So I wonder if it’s an urban myth.

  70. Deb/Sarah:
    To ensure soft beans, add 1 t.baking soda when cooking and add salt near the end of cooking time.

    Regarding large slowcookers–I have both a 3 qtg and 6.5 qt slowcooker, and I use them both often. The small one is good for beans, one-meal stews, lentils etc. The larger one is perfect for double batches of stews and soups (think:freezer!), stock, or tomato sauce in bulk (I am currrently prepping for a pizza/salad lunch for 20 with this very thing!).I have even tried a lemon-poppyseed cake in the big one (lined with parchment), but I’m sure it is nothing like the one you posted two days ago!!

  71. beth

    In BF’s Mesa Grill cook book he makes the cumin crema to garnish but also several other tasty looking toppings. I’m going to make the others along with it this weekend. Thanks for the motivation and the bean cooking technique!

  72. All of these different bean tips are so confusing (and intriguing)! If I were to make something like chili in my slow cooker would the beans still work like in the black bean soup? I have always used canned and am nervous that I would ruin a whole batch of chili trying this… not that it would be the first batch of chili that I have ruined…

  73. Susan

    This looks fantastic–especially that crema–an excellent excuse to pull the slow cooker down from its high shelf. The only things I will change–because I’m frugal and lazy and always tinker with recipes anyway–are 1) substitute a few healthy shakes of Bufala chipotle sauce for the spoonful of canned chipotles (love the stuff: it’s cheap, a bottle lasts forever, available in Mexican markets or Fairway), and 2) instead of pureeing 2 cups in the blender, will simply wield the stick blender for a few seconds until it looks like the right texture. The stick blender is the best–so efficient, so compact, so much easier to wash and store than the regular blender.

  74. I’m thrilled to see that you’re posting slow cooker recipes! I received one for Christmas, and I was a little unsure as to how I could put it to use. I’m definitely going to give both of your slow cooker recipes a shot…beginning with that delicious chipotle beef roast! Jesus…

  75. This looks awesome! I grew up eating a similar soup, made with black beans and rice and topped with lime juice, green onions, radishes, and sour cream, but this looks like a yummy variation.
    Also, you must have read my mind – not 24 hours before you posted this, I decided I’d have to find a way to make black bean soup in my brand new slow cooker!
    Sweet. :)

  76. Jen-

    I wonder if Bon Appetit meant to put 6 hrs on low OR 3 on high. There’s no way it could take six on high! I love black beans. Even just cooked beans with pico d’ gallo with a bunch of cilantro is scrumptious!

    And about that ‘belly fat’ ad….anyone that knows you KNOWS you didn’t promote that. ;) Otherwise you’d be the most unsuccessful food blogger with appetite suppressing recipes. Bring on the belly fat! Food is to be enjoyed..and I’m super grateful that your site has allowed my family a variety of pleasurable meals. *BIGHUGS*

  77. Gretchen

    I’ve made black beans for soup in the crock, although not with this recipe. I cooked mine for way longer (like, 12 hours), because keeping them whole wasn’t on my agenda – perhaps those who are suffering from crunchy beans just need to keep cooking? I also cooked mine in half broth, half water, and the salt concentrated so much I had to do a second half-batch in just water to cut it. So, salt later in the process than earlier! My recipe called for a ham hock to add a smoky flavor; I substituted a single strip of Boar’s Head smoked bacon to great success – just tossed it in, and in the 12 hours of cooking, it disintegrated.

  78. Celeste

    I’ve been looking for a good black bean soup recipe and the fact that this is a slow cooker recipe is just a bonus!

    One caution, though: in general it’s safer NOT to cook with hot tap water. Hot water dissolves things more easily, so if you happen to have lead pipes or lead solder in your plumbing, your hot tap water is likely to dissolve some of the lead–and put it into your food. Just something to watch out for.

  79. alisonh

    I made this dish this morning and took it in to work, with little bowwls of the crema, some grated cheddar, and cilantro, and two loaves of french bread that were still hot from the bakery. 10 co-workers and it was gone in about an hour! Delish!!

    But *how* do you get the soup to look so black? I’m always tempted by pictures of blacker-than-night beans — only to end up with a bowl of grey-lavender.

    I’m not complaining; the taste is superlative. But I’d love it if it looked as stunning as your as well!

  80. The Paris Food Blague

    this is definitely going in my favorites. i love black beans, and have been looking for new recipes.

    you always have such beautiful pictures too!

  81. Leslie

    Yum. As soon as I saw this I had to make it — even though I had no black beans in my pantry. No matter — I used a combo of navy beans and red kidney beans — and I boiled a kettle full of filtered water and added it to the stock pot — good head start specifying hot water – although I wasn’t sure if you meant boiling, or just hot tap water. Anyway, I can tell you that boiling kettle water is very good! The beans took 2-2 1/2 hours to soften perfectly. I added some cubed naturally raised cured (nice and salty) ham to the mix at the end. Very very good! Love your site — and your adorable baby! Thanks for all the inspiration.

  82. Chasity

    Smitten, I make this soup about once a month! It’s WONDERFUL! We top it with fresh chopped tomatoes, cilantro and a dollop of Greek yogurt.

  83. After seeing this recipe yesterday, I made this last night (overnight on low) in my crockpot. I didn’t have bell peppers, so I omitted them, but otherwise made this almost as written. I just had some for lunch and it was WONDERFUL!!! I didn’t add the creme fresh on top but can see how that would add even another depth of flavor. I will be blogging about it tonight and giving you credit of course.

  84. Magen

    Just finished making a pot of this soup and am really looking forward to eating it for dinner. I followed the recipe precisely (even using hot tap water) and the beans were done after 3 hours on high. Thanks for the great recipes!

  85. I’m sitting here conjuring up a weekly shopping list… thinking about the giant bulk of black beans in my pantry and thought to looks at Smitten for inspiration. Perfect timing! THIS LATEST ENTRY IS PERFECT!

  86. mixette

    I made this today with the Rancho Gordo Cranberry Beans I cooked on Monday. I simmered all the other ingredients in stock for 1/2 hour, added the beans, and proceeded with the recipe as written. I had thrown in 2 slices of applewood smoked bacon when I originally cooked my beans and when I tasted the finished product I had a childhood-favorite-food flashback: Campbell’s condensed Bean With Bacon soup. But all grown up and way better!

  87. mixette

    @58 JC

    Since I just cooked the exact beans I thought I’d answer. There should be a good 2 inches of water above your beans in the slow cooker. Meaning that you’re pouring in about 5 or 6 cups of water. I cooked mine on high for about 6 hours and they were very soft. I was gone so I couldn’t monitor them. They might have reached “done” earlier but they were still delish and excellent in this soup.

  88. T.

    I might try a cream-free version of this for a vegan friend of mine who LOVES black bean soup. (Maybe I’ll use soy cream…)

    Also: I love this blog so much I featured it on my own blog. Your simple yet delicious recipes helped me learn how to really cook when I transitioned into the “real world.”

  89. David

    Have you ever “baked” a cake in a slow cooker? You have to use some sort of insert (I have the original “Bake and serve” pan that came with original 1970’s Rival Crockpots). The results are amazing!

  90. Tama

    This sounds wonderful. I think my question was actually answered by one of your readers posts…”how long in a pressure cooker” I believe your reader said 30 minutes but I would love some confirmation. I have a pressure cooker rather than a slow cooker and would love if you could have the timing included with any recipes requiring a slow cooker.
    Thanks

  91. Jessi

    soup BLISS & baby BLISS. love it. I’ve been looking for a great bean soup recently (I’m a soupaholic (yes, I’ve been attending SAA meetings for years, but I always need my next “fix” – can’t kick the habit – think it’s hereditary) … and this looks right up my alley. Can’t wait to try it. and oh, Jacob + Margaritas? Sounds like you’re off to a great start as parents. My dad introduced me to sips of his BRANDY at age 8. and I didn’t turn out so bad. :) happy new year to your beautiful family !

  92. Ben

    Making this fabulous looking recipe as I type. It was supposed to be for dinner but it us taking way longer to cook (almost 6 hours so far). I too chose to ignore the hot water suggestion (using some homemade stock instead cold from the fridge) because I couldn’t imagine it making that much of a difference. Won’t make that mistake next time. :-)

    Thanks!

  93. Gilda92

    I have a Zojirushi Thermal Cookpot. You put the ingredients into the inner pot and cook on the stove about 10 minutes boil, then put that inner pot into the outer pot and close the lid. No electricity. Your black bean soup, with the beans soaked overnight first, would take about 6 to 8 hours. You have to use it to believe it. Prepare the soup before you start work and come home to a cooked dinner.

    Anyone else use a thermal cooker?

  94. Rachel

    I am so excited to try this! I love black bean soup, and I think fairly healthy too! I think I will have to use yogurt though…hopefully it won’t be sacrificing too much. I also just discovered my slow cooker recently…I’ve had it for 5 years and just dusted it off a couple of weeks ago! I am wondering now why I haven’t done it sooner!!It is so fabulous not having to babysit low simmers on the stovetop. I am new here and I have to say your photography is gorgeous.

  95. I spent two years in Tampa, FL about forty years ago – there was a huge Cuban community and the food was wonderful. Of course, black bean soup was one of their specialties. I’ve made it for years but I can’t wait to try it with the cumin frache!

  96. made this soup last night with the carmelized onion, goat cheese cornbread. soup definitely took more like 6 hours. it was also the first time i had used my crock pot (yeah for christmas gifts!) i put more than two cups through my blender as it seemed a bit thin – but was good – dinner guests loved it but ill probably tweek it a bit next time i make it for myself. i used ground cumin and sour cream for the topping as it was what i had on hand and it worked out well. the cornbread however was amazing.

  97. clbtx

    @114 Lindsey

    I would not put uncooked beans into a chili. Most of your other chili ingredients would cook a lot faster than the beans so then you’d either have undercooked beans or overcooked everything else. I would make the beans separately and then add to your chili recipe near the end so all the flavors can blend together.

  98. Sarah

    Deb, I have been a regular reader of your blog for quite a while now and have made quite a few of your recipes, always with delicious success. This soup served as the starter for dinner last night, and was, as usual, met with approval all around.

    Thanks for all the cooking inspiration!

  99. eli

    NOT TRUE ABOUT THE SALT. I don’t know where the urban myth has come from, but at least once a week I dump a bag full of rinsed dry beans and kettle full of almost boiling water into my slow cooker, along with salt, bay leaves, and a few whole cloves of garlic, and it always turns out fine. In Spain they always salt the beans. It is true about acid, though. Never add tomatoes or vinegar until the beans are cooked because the acid will stop them from cooking thru.

  100. Sherie

    This is stunning to me…..cooking beans in a slow cooker was the ONLY way I knew how to do it growing up. Until I was in my 20’s, I didn’t even know that a)they came in cans and b)you could cook them stove top. They’ve been my “go to” for cold days and slow cookers for years.

  101. I did this as a 1-pot meal. I didn’t feel like borrowing the slow-cooker from my other, but I have my grandmother’s MangnaLite dutch oven that’s around 20lbs empty and is awesome for making curry and soup/stew. I halved the recipe because there’s no way my fiance would ever even think of eating anything that has the words “bean, soup or crema” in it (his loss, more for me). I sauteed the vegetables in it then added 32oz good quality vegetable stock instead of water (low sodium of course) with the .5lb of beans. It cooked for 1.5hrs covered on low then .5hr uncovered at medium. Came out spectacularly.

  102. this recipe sounds great. I love soup and black beans! perfect. I was wondering for some reason i can’t find chipotle chiles from a can, where/what brand did you find yours from?

    thanks,
    jenna

  103. I’ve only discovered your blog today. Wow! It’s one I’ll visit very, very often for inspiration both in terms of cooking but most certainly in terms of photograping the food. Your photos are amazing.

    I don’t know if you are actually a Deborah :) I’m also Deb for short and I also blog about food and a lot of other things. Among them my other huge passion – racehorses.

    What kind of camera do you use? I’ve only recently bought a Canon 40D and I’m very pleased with it :)

  104. Rachel

    hmm using a pressure cooker…I have never owned or used one, I remember my mom had one and it looks kind of scary to use! I’m afraid I will blow up the kitchen!

  105. Luisa

    I have a black bean soup recipe that I have been using for years that I really like. It calls for 3/4 tsp paprika. This year I happened to have purchased some Spanish smoked sweet paprika and OMG! It was over the top wonderful!
    I’m just sayin’…

  106. Geraldine

    I do not own a slow-cooker, a food processor, or a pressure cooker. My pathetic grocery store did not have red bell peppers, much less whole cumin seeds or canned chipotles. AND YET THIS SOUP WAS STILL AMAZING. Seriously, I am considering bathing in it.

  107. Rachel

    made this today along with the corniest corn muffins on this site. heavenly. Thank you for posting a recipe using a slow cooker! I love to see vegetarian slow cooker recipes.

    fyi- my cheap bag of dried black beans cooked within 3 hours (using super hot, but not boiling, very hard water).

  108. It’s always wonderful to discover new recipes and uses for the slow cooker! My poor slow cooker is my “indentured servant” since I use it almost weekly to make bone broth. I like my bone broth to simmer for 12 to 24 hours for the maximum nutrition. The slow cooker is the only safe way to really do this.

    Thanks for all your wonderful recipes! Every recipe that I have tried has always been fantastic!

  109. Amanda S.

    For all of those questioning variations based on what you have on hand, those without a slow cooker, or for those with only canned beans- I share my story…

    I had 1 sad looking red pepper, a sad looking orange pepper and a green bell pepper dying slowly in the fridge. As I needed to use up all 3, I chopped them up with the 2 red onions and tossed them into my large saute pan with a glug of grapeseed oil because I am short and it was easier to reach than the olive oil my tall boyfriend clearly last put away. I let them cook and cook, adding in the 4 tsp. cumin and a little more than called for minced garlic when they began to soften and brown. I realized I only had whole adobe peppers in sauce saved in the fridge, and I like a lot of heat, so I chopped up 3 tbl. worth and tossed those into the pan as well. Because I don’t have a slow cooker and had lots of canned beans on hand- I moved the saute pan off the hot burner, added my soup pot to it, transferred the contents of the saute pan and added the following: 2 large cans drained and rinsed black beans, 1 small can drained and rinsed black beans, 2 cans Goya black bean soup in whole, and a little over 2/3 a container of chicken broth. It’s all simmering on the stove, smelling incredible and so far tasting heavenly. When the veggies are softened to my liking I’ll puree some as called for.

    Deb is the inspiration, the MASTER, the 6 pudding attempts to perfection wizard and she takes incredible photos- channel Deb, BE DEB- and people- conquer some wickedly delicious black bean soup without fear! Deb is with you!!!

  110. Melissa

    OK. Just made this tonight! My beans were ready in exactly 3 hours too… I can’t imagine cooking them for 6. I used (gasp) Wal-mart brand beans because the only alternative was a 4lb bag of Goyas. I made the “crema” from what I had on hand in the fridge – 1/2 cup of greek yogurt mixed with 1/2 cup of light sour cream. Very tasty. This recipe is sooo good, easy, cheap, and healthy! Thanks a bunch.

  111. I made this tonight and it was spectacular. The beans (a 99¢ store-brand) came out tender and velvety. So much better than when I’ve made black bean soup on the stove-top. Since the consistency was very thin right after it finished cooking, I decided to serve the soup with some plain white rice, and that made the soup a little heartier. I made my “crema” with crème fraîche, cilantro and a touch of lime juice, which was delicious. This recipe is a keeper and I’ll be making it in my slow cooker from now on. Great post!

  112. Zoë

    I’m excited to make this this weekend, but when I went to print it there was no picture on the printable page. I love having one picture on my printed recipe. Please please please bring this option back!

  113. Rebecca

    Wow, black bean soup is my husbands favorite! I can’t wait to make this. I’ve tried a few bean recipes, but never had luck. I am quite confident this will work out! All of Deb’s recipes are to DIE for!!! :)))

  114. MoFrat

    I cooked this last night! Mine took 5 hours, I’m not sure if its my slow cooker, the altitude or what. But either way it turned out delicious. A little thin, so next time I’ll try to reduce it the last maybe 45 minutes and see if it thickens a bit. I will definitely add this to my regular meals! yum.

  115. I’ve always had the WORST trouble making beans from dried beans. I don’t know what my issue is. This post was the nudge that made me finally purchase that slow cooker that had been languishing on my amazon wishlist forever. Thanks! Can’t wait to make thhhuuuuh brisssssket!

  116. Sarah

    I made this and thought it was great. I did end up adding more salt, cumin, chipotles, and lime than the recipe calls for (I guess I just like a real flavor kick), but it turned out wonderfully and I’ll definitely make it again.

  117. Robyn

    I made this this evening, and my apartment smells heavenly. I did make it on the stove – barely even simmering, covered, for 3 hours – rather than in a slow cooker.

    While the texture seems fine after I blitzed a few cups of the soup, it doesn’t taste as wow as it smells. I also added more cumin, salt, and pepper, and it’s good, but I’m wondering if’s not as powerfully flavored because it wasn’t in the slow cooker?

  118. Lisa

    Love this recipe. Made it today even though it was nearly 60 out. Followed recipe and it took about 4 hours for my beans to be soft. I pureed the whole batch and wow is this stuff good. Thanks Deb!

  119. For those of you without a slow-cooker, I just pulled my batch of soup of the stove — took almost 6 hours in the dutch oven, low heat, covered. Had to add a cup of water every now & then – probably 4 additional cups to the original 7. And the soup is indeed magical! You rock Deb. Best black bean soup recipe I’ve tried, and I’ve made many (added bonus — super cheap! I kept my Rancho Gordos in the pantry and used cheap beans from the grocery, which were perfect.)

  120. my soup took about five hours for the beans to soften. i used a immersion blender to puree about half of it. we added a bit more salt than the recipe called for and in addition to the crema, we had a little pile of salsa fresca on top.

    we ate it as a main course and finished the pot. it was GOOD. thanks, deb!

  121. Melissa

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was wonderful! I couldn’t find creme fraiche so I used sour cream and it was just heavenly! I will definitely make this again. My beans took about 4 hours to soften.

  122. Rachel

    Thanks a million for this one. I am a big fan of the black bean. I have no slow cooker and was short on time so I adapted w/ 2 cans of black beans and hardly any added water. OMG, this was so good.

  123. marianne

    Made my batch today and it was fabulous. Used Goya beans and the 3 hour cooking time was right on the money for me. Thanks for this awesome yet simple recipe!

  124. Hillary

    Hi! I bought the ingredients to make this later today. I could not find a can of chopped chipotle chiles. I bought a can of fire roasted chopped green chiles. How would you adjust the seasoning? Should I add red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to account for the fact that the green chiles will not be as hot? Thanks!

  125. Rhonda

    The crema sauce is excellent. Really. Even on the soft chicken tacos. And FYI, the water does make a difference, the heavy metals, etc. that are put in or are left in the water. Besides the smell in the summer-yuck. I stick to my Ozarka spring.

  126. I made this today, and couldn’t figure out why on earth, after 6 hours on high, my beans were still hard. I had no idea that how full the crockpot was could make a difference. 3 extra hours is what it took for me in a large oval Rival brand. I also never knew the thing about the acid, and as most of my dry-bean experiments were failed Chilis, obviously the tomatoes weren’t helping. So, thanks to your commenters for finally answering a question I’ve been beating my head against for years. (And thanks to you for such a great blog.)
    xo!

  127. Christi

    I’m so happy someone posted in the comments about hard water. We have very hard water so instead of using tap water I used the filtered water. Finally!!!!! Success in making something with dried beans besides wet hard beans in a pot!! ;) I had no idea it was the hard water that was causing all the problems.

    I made this recipe yesterday. It took about 4 hours for the beans to get tender on high in the large oval crock pot. Used a very old bag of Goya black beans.

  128. Made this on the weekend. I had to vacate the crockpot for another dish after 6 hours of cooking the beans. Finished it off with another 2 hrs on the stove. It is delicious, and next time I’ll add 2 chipotles.

  129. Robin Packer

    One more tip on black beans… I always cook them with either a ham hock or some bacon skins to add flavor, and a bay leaf, salt and a healthy pinch of baking soda (per Cooks Illustrated). The baking soda helps the beans stay black. Also, there is no need to soak black beans before cooking, and that is just one of their differences from other beans. Be careful though, black beans are different from other beans (like the no soak thing where as other beans won’t turn out too well with out the soak). Therefore they may be able to have the salt while others can’t. But I tend to eat beans right out of the pot as they are done cooking, as do some of my children – these are that good! I can’t wait to cook up a pot of this soup!!

  130. Nicole

    I made this in my Dutch oven for dinner tonight. Beans were done in two hours, simmering on medium-high heat. After adding the pureed beans back in the pot I also added another cup of water. If you don’t have a slow cooker it’s easy to make on the stove.

  131. Michele

    This looks SO good! I love black beans. Can’t wait to try it.

    I assume the canned Chipotles you used are the ones that come in adobo sauce? I think those are the only type I’ve ever seen.

  132. Rebecca

    This soup is so delicious – but make sure to save some for lunch! It tasted even better for lunch, especially on a blustery, rainy afternoon.

  133. Rachel

    It took about 6 hours for the beans to soften in our slow cooker, For my taste I had to add a bit more lime juice and chipotle. It was really yummy!The aroma was fabulous too… I have also had this topped with a mexican crumbly cheese similar to feta, although the crema was very rich and decadent and complemented the soup nicely Perfect cool weather soup!
    I think someone should manufacture chipotles in a tube like they do with some brands of tomato paste now. It would be so convenient that way! My next million dollar idea!

  134. I’ve been trying black bean soup recipes for a couple years now and have had a hard time finding one that I like….I LOVE this one. I love the smokiness from the cumin and the chipotles! Just the right amount of heat and smoke….and nice and creamy after blending….

    I used some supermarket goyas and they took about 3.5 hours to soften. The soup is delicious – and its my lunch for the week at work!…I’ll be posting it on my blog as well in a couple days!

    thank you!

  135. mrs r

    I made this over the weekend in my Hamilton Beach slow-cooker. I used store-brand beans and cooked it on high as instructed, but my beans took nearly 5 hours to soften.
    The soup went perfectly with halibut tacos last night, plus there’s enough left over for lunch this week. I made a slightly different crema to go with the halibut tacos – yogurt, lime juice, chili powder and salt and pepper – and it went as well with the soup as with the fish. I’ll try the toasted version next time though. Thanks Deb!

  136. Okay Deb I am getting back with you after making the Black Bean soup. It was great. I used a rival 6 qt slow cooker. I put them on a 4 pm went to the gym and back by 6:45 and they were done. I did not deviate from your recipe at all. Will be posting on my blog soon. I did read in the cookbook that came with the slow cooker that dried beans especially kidney beans ( which I have much trouble with) are not the easiest beans to cook in a slow cooker. Sugar,salt, acid and hard water can affect the cooking of kidney beans. Anyway, the soup was a hit! Thanks for the recipe.

  137. Lisa

    Hi, Deb! Just made this soup for dinner tonight. It took me about 30 minutes to prep and I had it in my crock pot by 8:30 a.m. I checked it at 11:30 a.m. and the beans were still very hard. Checked again at 2:30 p.m. and still not as soft as I’d like. I processed about four cups of the soup in the blender at 3:30 and transferred the whole thing to a pot on my cooker, cooked another hour and then served, completely forgetting about the lime and the crema. No matter, my family devoured it! My husband made some polenta “croutons” to go on top (which were amazing). The beans still never got as soft as I’d have liked–I don’t know if it was the quality of the beans or my crock pot, whose lid is ill-fitting. Again, no matter because we devoured all of it and this soup will certainly be made several more times this winter.

  138. Annie

    I made this tonight and it is indeed delicious. I got a slow cooker for xmas, and am super thrilled to see some recipes on this blog!

    Mine was a little thinner than I would have liked; I think next time I will use less water (maybe 6 cups instead of 7), and perhaps add a little more chipotle. I had trouble finding plain chipotles; could only find them in adobo sauce. I just rinsed the sauce off of them then cut up.

    I also felt cornbread would be a good side…so I got a jiffy mix (sacrilege, I know, but I wasn’t in the mood to make from scratch) and added some fresh jalapeno and goat cheese. They were the perfect accompaniment to the soup & cumin topper.

  139. Laura

    Like Megan in comment 188, I did this on the stove but didn’t find myself with her issues. Followed Deb’s directions – including just putting on a low simmer with a covered pot. Was done in the 3 hours. Huh. Just got lucky? Didn’t use a dutch oven. I might add a bit more salt and chipotle but that’s all to taste. I’m a huge fan of black bean soup and excited to finally have my own – so cheap and easy! Also, I’m new to this site and LOVING it…. have tried SO many things in the last month and all are fabulous

  140. Made it last night and it was fantastic. So flavorful, but alas, I needed the full 6 hours of cooking time. But it was totally worth it. Thanks for another great recipe.

  141. Lisa C.

    Made this a couple nights ago and it is sooooo good. My beans took a bit longer than 3 hours to cook – probably 4.5 hours. But, I have a really old crock pot so it probably doesn’t get as hot as a newer one does. I also couldn’t find plain chipotles – only in adobe. I just used it instead and it was great. I loved the toasted cumin seed crema! Thanks.

  142. Fred

    I made this, this past weekend. It was good timing, because it is now raining and freezing cold here in San Diego, Ca. My beans took about 4 hours to completely cook. I’m extremely happy to have a workable Black Bean Soup recipe. I only made two changes; 1) I used plain Greek Yogurt, and 2) Nutritional Yeast, sprinkled on top. Next time, I’m adding a ham hock to the soup for a little of that pork flavor needed in Black Bean soup.

  143. Kate

    I made this two days ago and my husband and I both LOVE it! He felt it needed a little more garlic, but I thought it was perfect. My husband is also obsessed with the stick blender I got for Christmas, so our whole soup was more or less completly pureed, but we actually liked it that way!

  144. Rachel

    I have to say I have also found a new way to make black bean dip too! I tasted a bit of the beans/onions/peppers in the blender, and it was so delicious, they almost didn’t make it back to the soup!

  145. nancy

    Tried this and it just didn’t work out for me. I went back over the recipe to see what I might have done wrong, but nothing leaps out…The beans were plenty tender but the spices just didn’t meld right and the texture, even after chilling in the fridge and reheating a couple days later, was way too runny.I’m going to try pureeing the whole works to see if that improves the texture.

  146. msue

    Fantastic soup! Made it in my All-Clad 6.5 quart cooker yesterday (about 4-5 hours total), then let the flavors meld in the fridge overnight before serving it for tonight’s dinner.

    My tweaks: more lime juice than called for, maybe twice as much, and about double (or more) chipotles in adobo. I used 4 cups turkey broth for part of the liquid, but plan to add a ham hock (like Fred #213 and previous commenters) next time. For service, I set up a help-yourself condiment bar with tomatoes, cilantro, avocado, and that delicious crema (which I made with Greek yogurt).

    The soup was a huge hit here. Pretty soon I’ll make it again and freeze portions for those too-tired-to-cook nights. Thanks for posting this!

  147. I made in my brand new electric pressure cooker which by the way I adore- at about 9 minutes on high pressure the whole thing came in at around 30 minutes. I had to search to see if anyone else had succumbed to the ham hock’s siren’s call. I see I am not alone in the perfect marriage of ham and bean. MOST DELICIOUS!!!!

  148. Jen

    Whenever I make dry beans in a slow cooker I “quick soak” them to make sure they get tender. To quick soak add beans to a pot and cover with water by a few inches (do not add salt). Boil for 10 minutes then remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 1 hour. Drain and use the beans in your recipe.

  149. Cook on Bainbridge

    Beans do vary greatly but I’ve also found a real variation in slow cookers as well. Newer ones seem to run hotter than older ones. (and Im lucky enough to have an ssortment) Someone once told me it was due to food safety issues causing them to eliminate the low temp of the old slow cookers. I’m all for proper food handling, but really, a lot of the good old things get ruined in the name of “food safety”.

  150. Hillary

    I made this the other day and we enjoyed it last night! Unfortunately, I could not find chipoltes in a can and used green chilies instead. The soup definitely lacked spice and was on the bland side. I added some cayenne pepper to help. I will make this soup again, but only if I can find chipoltes because I think it is probably critical to the taste of the soup. I have a new crock pot and 3 hours was just perfect. I used an immersion blender in the crock pot at the end to puree some of the soup (still left whole beans for texture) and it worked perfectly. My fiance was not excited about the prospect of black bean soup, but he did like it and even took some for lunch today. Deb, thank you so much for all of the wonderful recipes, helpful tips and beautiful pictures. I love your website and visit it every day!

  151. Jose

    To Torrie [Post #15, dated 1/12/2010] – Yes, I think you can definitely use ground cumin for the crema. If you want to get a toasted, roasted flavor, heat up a non-stick skillet over medium heat, and then toss in the cumin powder, swirl in the pan and just when it starts to smoke and you get the aroma, quickly dump the ground powder out of the pan. This happens in a matter of seconds, so just be alert! He he he. I also sometimes use a piece of aluminum foil in the pan, and that way the pan stays clean, and you can quickly lift the foil out of the pan when the cumin is ready, and it’s easy to pour into the crema. Good luck!

  152. Katie

    Hey – first off, I LOVE your website! This is the first time I have posted but have been loving your recipes for months!
    Anywho….just wanted to say that I used dried beans from Whole Foods and they took over 6 hrs to cook. Bummer on Sunday night, but great dinner on Monday night! Flavor was amazing, will definitely cook again.
    I also used an immersion blender, so much easier for clean up!
    Thanks again for all your great posts!

  153. Growing up in a Cuban community, there is an unwritten law when it comes to black beans. I love when people stretch and modify these laws. This recipe looks great and very close to what I have eaten for years, sans the chipotle peppers. Another difference is we always topped our soup with chopped onions (which had been resting in olive oil for an hour or so) and a couple hearty dashes of red wine vinegar along with the lime juice. Parfait!

    Oh and thanks for the simple tomato sauce. I am currently on my last jar of homemade Marinara crafted by my best friend for Christmas. It’s always such a joy to receive, but so sorrowful when the jar is empty. This may make the withdrawal more bareable.

  154. Julia

    I made this black bean soup last night minus the crema and it was just ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!!! Made it in a regular large saucepan (soaked beans the night before) and used all the ingredients exactly as in the recipe. Just seasoned it generously with the cumin, salt, pepper and the adobo chipotles (and I added some dried oregano as well). Had it with some avocado toasts. OMG, THE perfect antidote for a week of rain!!! This recipe is going in my folder for repeats – sooooo good and so darned easy. Thanks Deb!!

  155. Trish

    Hi there!

    As a legume lover, specifically black beans (and also a Latin chick, but these too are not related, lol) I must say that this recipe is indeed very good (even with the tomatoes -they do give you gas when mixed with beans, or at least that’s what they say here).

    Deb, as I saw your comment on using broth, I’m daring to give you some tips from my Venezuelan kitchen (basically because our main dish includes black beans as a side dish):

    – Beef broth makes REALLY GOOD black beans; last week I used about 2-3cups of beef broth (I boiled 1/2 kg of beef with 1 big onion and 1 big green pepper). This has always been my mom’s secret -which she forgot to mention when she gave me the recipe.
    – The trick to prepare any kind of beans in a very short time (let’s say 1-2hours tops if using med-high temp) is to pre-soak them for 12 hours with enough water and some sodium bicarbonate/baking soda (1 kilo beans needs 2 teaspoons). Believe me it works; in my country we still cook from scratch every single day and many of us don’t use slow cookers (they are an unknown item for the majority of my fellow countrymen, I don’t actually think they sell them here). I just leave my beans soaking the night before going to bed, and the next day just before cooking I toss that water, rinse the beans very well and cook them as the recipe calls. And no, it doesn’t change the black beans flavor at all.
    – Try fresh coriander when cooking black beans. (It is usually added at the end to enhance flavor, but I think that at whatever point works, specially for those who like the flavor but not too strong)
    – If you ever run into “sweet pepper” (Capsicum chinense), which translates to “ají dulce” in Spanish, you can try preparing a stir-fry of sweet pepper, onion, red pepper and garlic until it gets a golden tone, add 1 tsp of cumin, remove from fire and add to the black beans 10-20 minutes prior to adding the salt.

    Well, I hope you find these useful. (specially the baking soda “secret”)

    Saludos :)

  156. Leah

    I am a Rancho Gordo devotee, but had never tried them in the slow cooker until I read about that on your blog (the end note on the barley risotto recipe). I have a wide variety, but I threw in a big handful each of the Mayocoma, the Vaquero and the Carmagentos plus water and a glug of olive oil. The water must be 3 inches above the beans. Turn it on high and in 3 hrs. you have a beautiful, velvety, silky pot of delicious beans. Salt and pepper to taste. Thank you, Deb!

  157. Elisa

    I tried this- in my slow cooker, set on high, the beans still weren’t done after 4 1/2 hours. I transferred to stove top, and they still aren’t done two hours later! We ate it anyway because my kids can’t wait that long and we did like the crema with cumin seeds.

  158. Katherine

    I made this last night and it turned out great! I halved the recipe in my tiny crockpot, and it took about three hours. There were only happy sounds at my table! Thanks.

  159. vernonlee

    Just made this in my new crock pot last night/this AM and it is delicious – but I made a few adjustments:
    – I used 2 chipotles with their sauce
    – added about 1 tsp more each salt & pepper (perhaps even more salt – I just kept adding to deepen the flavor)
    – added extra tsp of cumin
    – added dash (prob 1/2 tsp) of Tapatio hot sauce
    – added 1/2 tsp ancho chile powder
    When it was finished cooking in the slow cooker, I realized it lacked a more rounded, deeper flavor than I prefer, hence the additions above. I also like my beans a bit thicker than an actual soup, so I finished it on the stove on a low flame with the lid off for about 45 minutes to reduce some of the liquid. Next time I’ll probably drop 2 of the 7 cups of liquid so it starts out thicker.

    Anyway, these were adjustments to suit my taste, a common occurrence when I taste something, think about what would improve it, and end up tossing in random sauces and spices to color in some of the flavors I think are missing.

    Delicious!

  160. Alison

    Delurking to say that not only is this soup excellent the first time around, the soup and the crema are both incredible over huevos rancheros the next day!

  161. Laura

    Yum! This was delicious. I don’t have a slow cooker, so I cooked it in the oven (covered) for a little over 2 hours at 325F. It was wonderful and, as you said, is even better the next day. Thanks for posting!

  162. Black beans are so hard to find in Australia… absolutely no one cooks with them so they were tucked away in a dusty corner of the deli. I dug them out though and they will be lining my pan in the future. Yum.
    p.s. I ADORE the idea of cumin creme frache (‘cept again it’s only in delis over here).

  163. Jane

    I made this in my slow cooker yesterday. I checked it after about 3 hours and the beans were pretty much done, but I thought they could use a little more time. I was about to head out so I moved the slow cooker to LOW and left them for another 2 hours or so while I ran some errands and then made the crema. At that point the soup was just perfect!

    Rather than using my blender I used my immersion wand blender thing for a few seconds until the soup looked right. By the way, those hand blenders are the best crock pot accessory ever because you can blend your soups in the pot without having to mess with pouring hot liquids into your blender.

  164. Jonathan

    This soup was excellent. Huge hit at our dinner party. Added a little more chipotle and the spice level was perfect. Made it the night before. It thickened up but a little low-sodium chicken stock made it the perfect consistency.

    Definitely going in to my regular slow-cooker rotation.

  165. Abbie

    My experience was similar to Jane’s. I tried the soup this weekend and checked it after 3 hours and the beans were no where close to being done. I had started it late in the afternoon hoping for a late dinner paired with quesadillas but the soup was not ready. Instead I turned it on low overnight and had a delicious soup ready in the morning. I used my immersion blender for a minute and had the perfect consistency. I have eaten the soup for lunch the last three days!

    I have tried many black bean soup recipes. This is by far the easiest and best tasting. Thanks for sharing.

  166. Emily

    The child of a brazilian mother, I was oh so interested to see if this would work. I have eaten many a pot of fejouida, that would take my mother the better part of two days to prepare. You would not believe my excitement to find that dried beans could be prepared so simply! Thank you so much for the tips!

  167. Kris

    This topped with a wedge of lime and cilantro (not that it needs anything else) is to die! Thank you for a hearty meatless alternative to other cold weather stews/soups!

    I used distilled water this time (tried cooking dried beans in my slow cooker in the past with crunchy results) and it worked perfectly! <3hours for perfect beans, awesome!

  168. Debra

    I made this per the directions except that I soaked the beans over night. It is excellent. I may decrease the water next time though. With the soaking this was a little thinner than I would have preferred. Great flavor.

  169. Katie

    Splendid soup. We made this tonight with our Le Creuset. Soaked the beans for six hours beforehand, followed the instructions up until the slow cooker business, brought everything to a boil, and then covered it up and stuck it in the oven at 300 degrees for about three hours, adding a bit of extra water every now and then. A French oven does magical things to beans in the oven, especially rancho gordos.

  170. JoAnne

    Deb,
    Thanks for this! I’m always looking for a healthy meal that I can make for myself for lunch. I’ll eat this all week!

    I used Goya beans & it was done in my crock pot in 3 hours. Also, I used Greek yogurt instead of creme fraiche and it’s spectacular.

    I am constantly trying your recipes and have yet to be disappointed!

    -JoAnne

  171. kerrie

    I loved the sound of this recipe-and the pictures had me anticipating the smell all afternoon. Alas, the kids will hold their breath till they pass out if I put anything remotely spicy in front of them, so I used only half a tablespoon of the ancho chilies. I don’t know if it was that omission, but over all it was a bit bland. I couldn’t even save it by loading it up with the cumin cream franche (which by the was to DIE for!!!) I want this to work but I think next time I’ll try it with some veg or chicken stock instead of just plain water.

  172. Ann Marie

    Black Bean Soup FAIL! It has almost been 4 hours and my beans are nowhere near done. My boyfriend is on his way over for dinner right now! Maybe I can eat it tomorrow…at work all weekend.

    Everything else I made from SK.com has been fabulous. I should have read the comments earlier and allowed at least 6 hours for this soup.

  173. deb

    Sorry Ann Marie. I mentioned in the notes that the original recipe calls for 6 hours but that mine was done in less than 3. I’ve since learned that different slow cookers work much differently; obviously mine runs a bit hotter.

  174. Ann Marie

    It worked out okay. We ate Cuban sandwiches and a nice fruit salad I had prepared for the Bean Soup Dinner. Now I have a soup stash in my freezer…always nice during the winter! And my boyfriend still loves me!

  175. Kayla

    I made this and doubled the receipe and it took 3 hours on High in my cooker. It was wonderful, I took it to a family party and everyone loved it.

  176. Lynnie

    I made this over the weekend, and it was delicious…my slow cooker took about 5 hours to cook the beans, but it was fine, since I had time…it tasted even better the next day, and I used a reader’s suggestion and put a scoop of Greek yogurt on top…excellent!

  177. Jamie

    FAIL! I have been cooking this soup since 7:30 last night. It’s now 8am the following day. I even left the crock on over night, and the beans are still hard as a rock this morning. We were dying to try this soup, because we love Panera’s version. I left the crock on while I work today, hopefully another 8 hours will soften those suckers up. If not, looks like we’re having Panera for dinner!

  178. Reporting back, it did not go well. I started the slow cooker on HIGH for three hours, then left it on the lowest setting during the work day, then put on HIGH for another two hours when I got home. I’m not sure what happened, but the beans were never fully cooked. I had such high hopes for this recipe! Is it my crock pot? Was it my beans? I’d really love for this recipe to work out, so any advice is welcome!

    1. deb

      Kathryn — Yikes. Sometimes beans are old and stale and never really soften. Could that have been the case? (I find the biggest culprits to be those sold in plastic store-filled containers, as they’re not airtight; I do better with ones that come in pre-sealed bags.)

  179. Megan

    Delighted to see a vegetarian slow-cooker recipe! Anyway, loved the flavor of this soup, but I wish I’d read the comments about variability in cooking times–I finally had to stop the cooking after 5.5 hours because my kid and husband needed to eat, but there was definitely still some crunch to the beans. Would make this again, but would start the cooking a lot earlier and would definitely take the time to soak the beans the night before.

  180. Nicole

    Delicious! Flavorful and hearty, perfect after a long day of shoveling snow. I served the soup topped with avocado and cilantro, and served cornbread on the side. Even after soaking the beans for 4 hours and cooking them on high for 4 hours, they were, a little, how shall I say, textured. But that was my fault; I rushed since we were hungry. If I could do it again, I would add more to both sides of that equation. I look forward to making this again.
    Thanks for the recipe!

  181. Laura

    Thanks for the recipe! I made it today and loved the result, though it took much longer (more like 5 hours) in my slow cooker even though i presoaked the beans. I added a bunch of fresh cilantro at the end. Used light sour cream for the crema and also served it with slices of avocado. Yum.

  182. wjb

    This soup was absolutely delicious. Non-soaked beans were a leap of faith, but mine (just a supermarket bag o’ black beans) came out perfectly; firm outside, creamy inside, and not a single one of them exploded. I’m sold. The soup took 3 hours. One note on the crema: I used no-fat Greek yogurt, and it came out weird. I know that’s not terribly descriptive, but I definitely don’t recommend that particular substitution.

  183. Kristine

    I used black beans from the Whole Foods bulk bin, my soup, cooked on high* in a Rival Crockpot, was done in four hours. *( I turned the cooker to low for the last hour, because it was boiling like mad at the 3 hour mark.)
    Lovely soup, the addition of lime at the end with the salt and pepper adds a nice depth. I didn’t have chipotle chilis in adobo sauce, so I used Chipotle chili powder, about 1.5 tsp. Spicy!
    Not sure what all the hulabaloo is about those toasted cumin seeds though. I may not have toasted them long enough, or ground them course enough. I used lite sour cream. I was afraid I was going to burn them, but I did detect a lovely fragrance as I ground them, so I suspect they were done. Will see how I feel after reheating the soup.
    I have mad love for your blog and every recipe I try is fabulosa!

  184. Ashley

    Tried this recipe yesterday afternoon. I put the beans in at 3 on high, and they weren’t even done by 9 (never fear, dinner was saved by takeout from my sweet husband). I kept them on until 11, then refrigerated overnight, and will put them back in the slowcooker for today on low. Hopefully they will be done by dinner tonight…. The beans were just regular grocery store ones, perhaps next time I’ll try to find fresher beans. At least it smells wonderful!! Even if I have to scrap this batch and try again, I can’t wait to try this soup!

  185. Christina

    I made this yesterday for Ash Wednesday, and it turned out wonderfully! You have cured me of my fear of cooking beans (my last experiment with the non-canned variety was a horrendous failure). I put the beans in at 8am and set the crockpot for 6 hrs on low because I know my crockpot runs kind of hot and figured I could finish on the stove if need be when I got home from work. Lo and behold, after 6 hours on low in my Hamilton Beach wedding-present-of-awesome and then about 4 hours on the “warm” setting, the beans were done to perfection.

  186. FYI to all of you weight watcher members out there. I just converted this recipe using the E-tools recipe builder and this yields 6 pts per serving. Very excited that I am still able to enjoy this!

  187. sheila

    I’m making this now for the second time – just love it! I used sour cream instead of creme fraiche. Also, instead of scooping out 2 cups of the soup to puree, I just used my hand blender and pureed it right in the slow cooker. yummy, thanks.

    Oh and Jessica, how many cups is one serving? ie. 6 pts for how much?

  188. Rae G

    My cooking time was much longer too. The soup’s been on for about 4 hours and it’s still not done. The flavor is really great though. Whatever you do, don’t leave the chipotle out because the smokiness really makes the soup wonderful.

  189. leslie

    you inspired me buy a slow cooker! the beans are on (Rancho Gordo ‘heirloom’ black beans) and the brisket is in the fridge. the soup smells heavenly.

  190. Barbz

    Ya gotta love Texas… 73 degrees of gorgeous sunshine on Friday… and snow on the first day of Spring. (Yes. It does snow in Dallas!) So, I was compelled to ditch my plans to fill every corner of my balcony with flowers and instead stalked off to the grocery store for the components to make this delicious recipe. I was filled with doubt that raw, unsoaked beans would ever get done before the snow melted away. I even considered buying canned black beans. But, hey, Smitten Kitchen recipes never fail. And soon my apartment was filled with the amazing aroma of soup bubbling happily away in the crock pot. My grocery store brand beans cooked in about 3 hours. Since I’m not a big fan of hot spices, I dialed WAY back on the chipotles (used just under half a can). And the soup was still delicious! And, there is a bonus: leftover beans to use for Crispy Black Bean Tacos (a huge favorite that I have made several times!)

    Thanks for a great, budget-friendly and soul-warming recipe! Actually, thanks for providing so many wonderful vegetarian options! The details and insights that you provide have given me the confidence to try all sorts of new things – including Indian recipes. I’m really grateful to have discovered this site!

  191. I made this when you originally posted it and I loved it and so did my children, who are very picky about everything. The only thing was since I didn’t soak the beans and started it at about 8:00 at night, I got tired and didn’t want it to get over cooked so I only cooked it for four hours. The beans were still just a little hard. I made it again last night, I bought the ingredients from memory, came home and made everything. I soaked the beans about one hour and put it in the slow cooker for at 10pm and took it out at 7 am, just perfect except since I was doing it from memory I forgot the chiplote and I can definitely tell something is missing. Oh well, when I get home I’ll have to get that in there before we have dinner.

  192. RainyCityGirl

    This was the best black bean soup ever. I made it twice in the last 2 weeks and even my husband who calls black bean soup “mud” asked for it for lunch :) I just have one question. I started following your recipe for cooking beans, but my beans turn to mush very soon. I have been vigilant about the timings but the interval between hard and mush seems to be so small I miss it every time..which is great for soup- not so for salads. Do you think it is the quality of the beans. Mine are the bagged ones from Whole Foods.
    Anyway, thanks Deb for another great recipe. We have enjoyed many great dinners thanks to your blog posts.

  193. Qing

    I just ate two big bowls of this soup for dinner. Too much, I know, but I simply couldn’t stop after the first bowl. Ahhh, the toasted cumin seed crema, what a difference it made. I love how I could set everything up in the slow cooker in the morning and come home in the evening to have dinner ready. I probably didn’t need that much cooking time but I love soft beans so it works perfectly. I also love how adaptable bean soups are. I didn’t have enough black beans so I used some red beans and some lentil leftover in my pantry. I didn’t have the red pepper so I used more green pepper and used anaheim from my garden instead of jalapeno. It still turned out great.

    I love just bean soup. The next one on my list to try has bacon in it. Mmmm. :)

  194. Bob

    This is the first recipe of yours that I have attempted. I LOVED IT.
    I used the goya beans, and ended up letting them cook on low overnight.
    I did feel like the recipe needed a little more “heat”, so I actually added 3 whole chipotles, plus two spoons of the delicious adobo sauce from the can. Next time, I make this, I plan to throw in a bay leaf or two as well. Overall, it was delicious. I highly recommend serving it with cuban bread for dipping (if you can find it).
    Thanks for the recipe!

  195. Jen

    This is also my first recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I followed the recipe but had issues cooking the beans, similar to a lot of people above. I used the Goya beans as well, and cooked everything on high in my Rival crock pot for 8 hours, and the beans still weren’t ready. I switched it on to low overnight for another 6 hours, and they still weren’t ready. Switched back to high for another 2 hours, still not ready. Finally, transferred everything to a pot on the stove and simmered for another 2 1/2 hours – it took all that to get the beans nice and soft. I lost a lot of the liquid though, so after pureeing the beans I added a cup of vegetable broth to get a thick soup consistency. Next time I think I will soak the beans overnight and see if that helps. Waiting to eat the soup for dinner tonight, but took a sneak taste with the cumin crema (used 1/2 creme fraiche and 1/2 sour cream) and it was fantastic! Can’t wait to try more of your recipes. I absolutely love looking at your beautiful photos along with the background and the recipes. It’s a great website!

  196. Joel

    Hard beans are from acidic water, the proteins clench up. Baking soda changes the ph, it does work. And hot water from the tap is not recommended because the hot water tank can be a resting place for any lead in the water.

  197. Ana

    have always had success with black beans in our slow-cooker. Never have had them stay hard. Maybe beans just love me… who knows… But then, I use filtered water for them. Never had wondered about it previously…
    My mom (Mexican) says the BEST way to cook beans is to barely simmer (literally a bubble only once in a while) – all night long! Oh, with garlic!!
    My mother in law (Venetian Italian) swears by bringing beans to a fast boil, throwing the water out (cause it’s “poisonous”), and starting again. Her pasta&fagioli are ALWAYS amazing and I never can seem to get it just like hers! These 2 mom’s secrets’ are as to gas-reduction. The most wonderful way I’ve recently found is to sprout them first… works wonders… everyone had a wonderfully quiet night afterwards :)

  198. I’ve been craving black bean soup recently and of course I knew Smitten Kitchen would be the place to find a good recipe – and I was right. All this talk of “fresh” dried beans got me wondering about actual fresh black beans. I’ve never seen them anywhere. Has anyone ever eaten them? Cooked with them?

  199. Ana

    I planted some recently, but we were away, and the plant died just as it was giving beans… sob. I’ve never seen them fresh, but that’s just cause I don’t live in Cuba or southern Mexico… I’m sure you can find them fresh there when they’re in season.

  200. pete

    To serve as the Cubans do (at least the Cubans in Tampa), drizzle red wine vinegar and olive oil into the black bean soup. Adds a tang and a silkiness in one fell swoop. Learned this one at Tio Pepe’s Restaurant in Clearwater, FL.

  201. Jess

    I wanted to make some soup to keep in the fridge for lunch all week and I found this recipe yesterday afternoon. That’s right, I started making this yesterday around 6:00pm and it’s finally almost done, nearly 12 hours later. So, no, my slow-cooker (A digital Kenmore I’ve been using for years) did not finish these beans in 3 to 3 1/2 hours. I used Goya beans and put them in my slow cooker on high. 3 1/2 hours later they were not close to done. I waited another hour and a half, still not done. I turned down the slow cooker to low and went to bed. 5 1/2 hours later and I awoke to the smell of black bean soup (an interesting scent to wake up to) and they are nearly finished. I just put the cooker on Medium and think they should be done in an hour. Whew.

  202. I made this the other day. I soaked the beans for almost a whole day, and cooked it for about 5 hours in the crock pot and they were still a little too crunchy. Also, since I’d cooked it so long, the peppers and onions were total mush. However, I puree-ed all of it, and topped with a little cheese and the cumin sour cream it was still delicious.

    In the future, I think I will cook only the beans in the crock pot, and then add the onions and peppers during the last hour or so.

  203. Charlie

    I brought some dried chipotles back from my last trip to the US and have been looking for something to use them in. Any ideas how many dried chipotles the canned ones would be equal to? I have never used them before so don’t want to guess!

  204. Brett

    I used this recipe as a basis for making it in a pressure cooker. It came out so delicious! The only things needed to change are:

    1) used a little under 5 cups water
    2) cut a ham steak into a few large chunks and cooked with beans.
    3) Cook soup ~45 min at high pressure

    So tasty. I love this soup and I love my pressure cooker!

  205. Thanks for the recipe! I started it this morning and have enjoyed it for lunch and an afternoon snack so far. I threw in about two handfuls of lentils when I put everything into the slow cooker and then added some corn in the last half of cooking, too. I also threw in a bit of chipotle chili pepper for a bit of a smoky taste. It came out wonderfully.

    Love your blog and all the fantastic recipes!

  206. Abbey

    I’m not a huge fan of most soups, but as usual when I had a black bean soup craving this Friday your recipes came to the rescue!

    This soup is amazing. I made it in a plain old stockpot and soaked the beans for a few hours first, so cooking time ended up being around 2-2.5 hours. I probably should’ve added a little less water, but the next day it thickened up and was even better. Also forgot to add the lime the first time around and did it with the leftovers–it’s good without the lime, but it’s one of the things that makes it great.

    I also highly recommend spooning this over plain white rice, especially if you’re looking for a more filling meal (or want to use less soup and make it last longer!). It tasted great with that and the sour cream.

  207. Heidi

    I made this, and it was fantastic! Mine finished in 3 hours (I had beans from my CSA, so they were good quality). I couldn’t find chipotle chilis, so I used anaheim chilis and chilotle chili powder. I tasted it when finished and wanted more citrus. I had read a lot of black bean recipes before choosing this one, and was intrigued by one that used orange juice. So instead of squeezing in another lime, I squeezed in an orange, and wow! Fantastic!

  208. Deb,
    This soup was deeeeelish and relatively simple to make. I did give myself a pat on the back for all my chopping skills, but once the mixture was in the slow cooker, voila, I was free to enjoy a glass of wine and the wonderful aroma of black bean + slow cooker doing all the work :)
    And Ohmigosh(!!) to the crema – I used the Mexican sour cream version as opposed to the creme fraiche and have NO complaints. It really amps up the dish!
    My friends guffawed at the perfection of the meal, but little did they know – it was only going to get better. You were right, after sitting in the fridge overnight, the soup thickened up beautifully. I decided to add a little bit extra and slow cooked 2 chicken breasts in chicken broth, a little bit of salsa, some more chopped chipotle peppers and some ground cumin for about 5 hours (on low). I shredded the breasts and added the leftover soup for a fabulous dinner, night #2.
    I know you get it all the time, but you are just fabulous! Thanks for sharing :)

  209. Debra

    Made this soup per the directions and it is the perfect black bean soup in my opinion. The heat from chipotle is balanced out nicely with the sweetness from the red onion and red bell pepper.

  210. sara

    absolutely delicious — thanks for sharing this recipe!
    i used goya beans and a rival crockpot and it took closer to 6 hours for me so i was grateful for the heads-up about the possible differences in cooking time!

  211. Ed R.

    When I make black bean soup I use an old Cuban trick my mother taught me. The secret is to add a scant teaspoon of granulated sugar, more or less to taste, to the batch, say 20 minutes or so before it is finished cooking. It balances out the flavors of the finished product beautifully. Try it and let me know what you think.

  212. Deb, this was fantastic–perfect for a rainy day meal! I soaked my beans overnight and cooked them on high for 4 hours; they turned out beautifully, and my roommates can’t get enough. Thanks for the recipe!

  213. Alex P.

    Okay, disregard my above comment about whether a 4-quart would fit this recipe. I just went with it, threw everything and lo, it fit.

    Conclusion: 4-quart slow cookers are 100% game. Just don’t be like me and use yours for the first time without washing it out.

  214. Lucy

    Delicious soup! I don’t have a slow cooker, so I adapted the recipe for my Le Creuset 7.25 quart dutch oven. I quick-soaked the beans for an hour by boiling 8 cups of water and 3 tablespoons of salt and covering the beans with the boiling water in a heat-proof bowl. (Beans need to be drained and rinsed after soaking.) I sauteed the veggies in the dutch oven, added the beans, chipotles, and water, and brought the mixture to a simmer. Then I covered the dutch oven and put it in the lower middle rack of a preheated 275 degree oven. The beans were soft and buttery within two hours. Love this website!!

  215. Juli

    Unbelievable! I’m making my second batch as I write. The first time I didn’t use my slow cooker, and it was still delicious (I made it the old fashioned way by soaking the black beans overnight in cold water, then draining, rinsing, then finishing off on the stovetop). This time I’m using the slow cooker. I’ve been trying several different black bean soup recipes and none of them ever “hit the mark” before, but the difference is this one HAS NO TOMATOES! I think that’s the reason. I live in Texas, and we’ve been experiencing triple-digit temps (and it’s only June), but this is one soup recipe we’ll enjoy all summer long………it is silky and sublime, and I almost feel sad when the bowl is finished. Thank you for this wonderful recipe.

  216. Melissa

    My beans were just ready at the 3.5 hour mark and I let it continue to cook for another several while I helped a friend move. It was absolutely delicious. I gave some leftovers to another friend and she said that it was fantastic with a big dollop of guacamole mixed in.

  217. paige

    love this recipe. i cooked the beans in my le creuset and it took about 2 and 1/2 hours. yummy beans. i’ve been looking for a recipe like this. also thanks for the peanut sauce recipe. i tried that last week and my husband says it was bordering on perfection. however he wanted the spice a little hotter. i tried it again last night (he requested it again) but used regular soy sauce and it was way to saltly. next time i’ll go back to the low sodium soy sauce. thanks for your recipes!!

  218. Juli

    Well, I had to chime in; I’ve made this soup at LEAST four times since finding Deb’s recipe, and I have to say, this is the BEST black bean soup ever! Many years ago I lived on Florida’s west coast, and often drove up to Tampa to have dinner. I always ordered the black bean soup in the local Cuban and Colombian restaurants, then tried (unsuccessfully) to replicate the sublime velvety soup at home. My mistake? I always added tomatoes (just like my lentil soup recipes called for). WRONG! I made this and, eureka…THIS is it. I’ve made it on top of the stove and in my 6 qt. slow cooker, and the soup is spectacular either way. Since red peppers are ridiculously expensive I usually go with what I have on hand, which are green, but the taste isn’t sacrificed. I double the diced chipotles (which I rinse and seed when I take them out of the can), and add a few dollops of the adobo sauce too. Hey, I live in Texas and like my food spicy. The first time I made the crema with toasted cumin seeds I bought crema from my local Mexican grocery store. Meh…we thought it was too bland. So now I just thin some sour cream with milk and add the toasted cumin seeds. Much better, IMHO. Now one of our favorite meals on the rotation is THIS black bean soup with Arepas, shredded chicken and cotija cheese with avocado, and LOTS of cilantro. My family loves it, and you’d have to look far and wide to find something that tastes half this good.

  219. Leslie

    Hi! I am new to SK and obsessed! Potential rookie question: this soup looks amazing but I don’t have a slow cooker. Any advice on how to make this in a pot on the stove? Many thanks and much appreciation.

  220. Ilse

    We eat a lot of black beans in Guatemala, and I have found out that a great way to prepare them is by soaking them overnight. Then I wash them and cook them with garlic and onion in a pressure cooker for 40 minutes and they turn out tender and delicious. It is recommended to add salt after cooking them :)

  221. Lorri

    My cheap grocery store beans cooked in three hours on high in my 6 qt Crockpot. I do think I will add less water next time as the final soup tasted a little watered down. We ate the soup as a main course with cream biscuits. Great for a winter day! Thanks again, Deb!

  222. Laura

    I soaked my beans overnight in an attempt to ensure a faster cooking time (and decreased the water by about 3 C), and it still took 6 hours on high in my 6 quart Hamilton Beach SC. Great soup, though! I threw in some extra dried chipotle at the end to spice it up some more, and I added some lime zest to the cumin seed crema. Great combination!

  223. Lindsay C

    Deb and friends~ Wanted to pass along that these are my go-to beans for everything, not just soup. My favorite is to use them in huevos rancheros or tacos. Thanks Deb!

  224. mickie

    I made this tonight – delicious! I was hunting around for a recipe at 5pm, though, so I used canned beans (sorry. Will do dried beans next time) but it was still fabulous! I also added some carrots for extra veggies. The kids LOVED helping to grind the cumin in the mortar. This will be added to the menu list for meatless monday!

  225. I used this recipe for a mexican dinner party i threw this weekend, but made a few changes. I smoked a few chickens with hickory chips and took their bones to make a smoked chicken stock. I used that stock in place of the water. Then I served the soup with the pulled smoked chicken meat i saved. Hands down it was the best black bean soup I’ve ever eaten. Thanks for the recipe!

  226. Patti

    Maybe I’m missing something but whats the deal with the slow cooker and this recipe (or cooking any beans)? Does it make the beans taste better than if you had soaked and cooked? And why not cook this in a pressure cooker which would be much faster?

    1. deb

      Patti — The slow cooker takes more time, but it allows you to set it and walk away — go to work, run errands, go to bed for the night, etc. and then return to a fully cooked dish. I wouldn’t, of course, leave my apartment if the stove was on. I don’t have experience working with a pressure cooker (I don’t have one) but I do understand that they speed things up.

  227. Dawn

    I made a cheaper version with yellow onion, frozen peppers, bottled lime juice, and no creme fraiche, and it was still delicious. It took 5 hours on high in my slow cooker.

  228. Kate

    I made this tonight for the second time! First time this past fall before I got a crockpot. As I recall, we simply simmered the beans over low heat for a few hours in a dutch oven. Obviously we loved it, because we just made it again today in the crockpot for the first time. Delicious!

    We doubled the recipe this time. I threw everything in the crock pot around 1:00 PM, and the soup was definitely edible when we ate at 8:00 PM. Flavor-wise it was fab, but the beans didn’t get as soft as I would’ve liked. Next time I would probably let this cook overnight. That way if it’s ready in the morning, we can turn it off and warm up again later when we’re ready. And if it isn’t ready, we can let it cook a bit longer.

    Wonderful recipe. We served it with chopped cilantro, the crema (with a bit of lime zest added in), extra lime juice, and cornbread. So good!

  229. I threw this in the slow cooker yesterday before work. The beans simmered on low from 9-5 when I came home to find them… still crunchy. I bumped it up to high where they cooked from 5-8 and… were still crunchy. Around 10pm they were STILL crunchy so I finally just gave up, smoothed it out a bit with an immersion blender and added leftover carnitas (also from SK and SO GOOD, we were just done eating them as is). I seasoned quite a bit less than indicated (wanted to account for that carnitas) but found it way too salty. I brought some today for lunch and it’s still crunchy but very tasty, so I’ll try again. Maybe I just had a bad set of beans.

  230. I am making this dish today for probably the 10th time, and when cooked on high in my slow cooker, the beans have ALWAYS been done in 3-3 1/2 hrs. This is also my go-to bean dish–sometimes served with carnitas, sometimes with rice, sometimes as a soup, sometimes in burritos, and always at some point, leftovers are used to make southwest style eggs wraps for breakfast (with fresh pico of course).
    The dish is just so good and so simple. Aaaaand the kids all wolf it down every time which is awesome.

  231. Shay

    Did not use a slow cooker but soaked the beans overnight and cooked them for another 3 hours. Then mixed with the above mentioned spiced and sauteed vegetables…Delicious!

  232. Wader

    Made this tonight – I could not believe the dried beans cooked up in 3 hours, wow. It was delicious. I’m not a big chipotle fan so I subbed a can of fire roasted tomatoes, a tsp of Spanish smoked hot paprika and a tsp of smoked black pepper. It was great, best black bean soup I’ve ever had. Will be making this again.

  233. Jenn

    Making this for the second time – it is so easy and so good!!! To make it a little thicker I ladle out some of the liquid and blend it with cornstarch then add it back to cook a little longer.

  234. I never think about doing black bean soup. It feel wired and something strange for me. But this make me feel “Oh, it must be yummy and I should give a try”.
    It’s easy. I’ll make it in this Sunday night.
    Thanks.

  235. Maggie

    I finally made this yesterday. I realized at the last minute that my crockpot is too small (added a big one to my Christmas list!) so made it on the stove top in a Dutch oven. Took about 1 hour, 45 minutes. Didn’t do the crema, just sour cream. But it was great, really warming and delicious.

  236. Ellen

    It is worth buying a slow cooker just to make this soup, which is absolutely delicious (not to mention easy). FYI, it look five hours for the beans to be tender. I will be making this again soon and would love to see more slow cooker recipes as well. Thanks so much!

  237. deb

    Smaller skillets and nonstick ones make it harder for things to brown at the estimated time, but you can just cook the vegetables longer until they do. A little browning really enriches the flavor base of the soup, so it’s worth waiting until you get it.

  238. I made this last night and it was fabulous! It’s exactly the type of black bean soup I have been looking for. Mine had to cook about 4 hours on high. Also, I didn’t have the ingredients for the crema, so just went with an avo, green onion and cheddar cheese topping which made for a hearty main dish. It was delish and will be my new go-to soup! Thank you!

  239. mp

    I just made this without a slow cooker – I used a regular pot with a tight fitting lid, and kept the heat at a low simmer the entire cooking time. I used regular dried Goya beans, and they were pretty soft after 3 hours, at 4 hours, they were done! I followed the recipe exactly, except for doubling the chipotle…it is delicious!

  240. katie

    this was disappointing! i have loved every smitten kitchen recipe, but somehow this ended up completely flavorless. i keep reading and re-reading the ingredients to make sure i did everything right. now i need to figure out how to dr it up! it tastes like water and beans. i can’t believe i actually sauteed all those peppers, onions and garlic. ZERO FLAVOR! :-(

  241. Ok, I have commented already. But am I allowed to come back again and say how much I love you for giving the world this recipe? We make it almost weekly (we are mostly vegetarian around here and so it’s a dish everyone enjoys, and most of all the kids–they go crazy when they smell it cooking!) And I love that it is SO STINKIN affordable (being that it is a BEAN soup and requires no BROTH or STOCK!) we love it so much. thank ya!

  242. Tara

    I tried making this in a regular pot at very low heat for about 3 hours and what I ended up with was a very tasty bean dip! Is this because I didn’t use a slow cooker?

  243. Michelle

    I made this tonight in my pressure cooker and it came out great! I soaked the beans for about 5 hours first, but I don’t think the soaking made much difference. After sautéing the veggies, I just added in the beans and water and cooked on high pressure for about 20 minutes until the beans were done. The pressure cooker is a nice way to make this into a relatively quick weeknight meal.

  244. Lady Montagu

    Hmm, this is seriously good stuff! I am usually not a big fan of black beans – when I lived in the US, my flatmates in our quasi-communal house with rotating cooking duty cooked them all the time, and their dishes were….well, let’s say they didn’t have gourmet standard:-) But this recipe absolutely convinced me, especially the cumin crema, which elevates it from good to fabulous.

    I pre-cooked the soaked beans – unfortunately, I do not own a slow-cooker yet – sauted onions, pepper, etc according to recipe, then added black beans and water and simmered it for about 2 hours. I only think I might add less water next time (about 1 cup), because the stovetop version seems to become more watery.

    Many thanks for the recipe!

  245. Susie

    I made this soup two days ago OMG the best!! I did use have chicken broth and half water it was awesome!! It took about 3 hours to cook what a great recipe.

  246. Mary

    I make this recipe about every two weeks. Everyone in our family, including a picky three year old – LOVES it. Thank you for sharing.

  247. Annie

    Deb – Let me just say first that I love your site and everything you do to make me a better cook – thanks for everything you do every day! But I had a hiccup tonight and need expert help. It’s 11 PM and the beans have been in the slow cooker on high for over 8 hrs and they are still quite crunchy. And they were goyas! How did I get this so wrong?!? Thoughts?

  248. judy

    I just made this soup today. I love the simplicity. I doubled the recipe. I bought bulk dried beans. I used a really old crockpot on high. The beans were perfect at 4 hours. My additions: 2 more cloves of garlic, doubled at least the chipotles, and 2 tablespoons instead of teaspoons of salt. The lime juice really adds the extra richness in flavor. Thank you fir a new recipe staple. I’m going to be more adventurous with beans now.!

  249. Shoshana

    just made this in my new slow cooker, which i feel luke warm about. The soup, however, tastes fabulous. It is watery right now because we have not finished pureeing the 2 cups of cooked soup to thicken it. I think once we do this it will be just right! The taste is great, but I think I would double the spices next time I made this soup – the seasonings are a little dull for my pallet.

    this and the homesick texan carnitas are on the menu for a dinner party at my place! thanks for introducing delicious and fun food to us all!

  250. Anna Rikki

    I made this today, and it was a raving success! I added a little extra chipotle for some kick, but we really like spicy food. My beans cooked perfectly. I used fresh beans and cooked them on high for 4 hours or so. Excellent recipe!

  251. Kathryn

    Hi Deb – Would the slow cooker black bean recipe in your cookbook work as a soup if I pureed some of it? I am feeding some folks who don’t care for green or red peppers. Thanks! xo

  252. David

    I made this last weekend using a pressure cooker and it came out great. I cooked for 30 minutes at 15 psi. It was a little soupy right off the stove; had I planned on serving it right away I might have simmered it down a little. As it was, I planned to serve it the next day and, as Deb said, it thickened very nicely in the fridge overnight. I’ll definitely make it again.

  253. Michelle

    @natalie (342) – Freeze away, dear! I’ve now made this 4 times and it freezes and thaws beautifully.

    DEB, Deb, Deb! – Thank you for another great one. No pre-soak?! No way! – YES way! Perfect every time.

  254. Leslie

    Deb!

    I’ve cooked numerous recipes from your site and I am never disappointed. Thank you for your hard work and insight with each recipe posting. This soup was amazing! Due to time constraints, I cooked these in the slow cooker on low for 6 hours but found after 6 hours they needed another 1.5 hour on high. The toasted cumin seed crema knocked this dish out of the park for me. I added chopped cilantro and avocado cause that’t how I roll….and I’ve got lunch for the week. Winning!

  255. Kim

    I have my mother’s old crock pot (@1975!?)that I’ve never used before. It has a high and low setting. Which should I use? (BTW. the mushroom bourguignon recipe on this website is a favorite of mine!)

  256. Kim

    I must have been tired last night. I just looked again and saw that the recipe says cook on high. That’s what I’ll do!

  257. Kim

    Excellent recipe! Beans took about 4 hours. Pureeing 2 cups of the soup as suggested made the texture fabulous. I added coriander, small amounts of thyme and oregano and a dash of red wine because it’s almost impossible for me to follow a recipe exactly. A little cilantro with the cumin creme made for a great finishing touch! Would definitely make again. Also thinking this recipe (or leftover soup) could be tweaked to make a fantastic sauce.

  258. Hi Deb, I love your recipes and have been following you for a few years. We love black bean soup at our house. My daughter has a soy allergy that triggers her eczema. I was looking for the chipotles in a can, and all the ones I found contained soy. What would you use to substitute for the chipotles? Thank you for all your excellent recipes!

    1. deb

      Courtney — You might buy some dried ones and rehydrate/puree as needed. The smokiness is really lovely, and you shouldn’t have any extra junk in them then.

  259. Thank you so much Deb! I’ll look in the dried spice aisle. For some reason, I just looked amongst the cans. Your suggestion sounds great. Can’t wait to make it. By the way, every time I visit my mom, I have to make your shakshuka and your huevos rancheros. Also, thank you for introducing me to Ottolenghi through your blog. The Jerusalem book is gorgeous.

  260. Rachel

    I just made this in the slow cooker and it is very tasty! My dried chipotles refused to rehydrate so I subbed some smoked paprika and regular chili powder. I did find the soup to be very thin, even after blending. Next time I’ll make it with 5-6 cups water. Served over rice it will be just fine.

  261. Gabs

    I just made this for the first time (somehow I’d missed it for five years!)It was absolutely delicious. Deb, I don’t know if you still read comments on old recipes, but I added quartered preserved limes to each bowl out of desperation since I forgot a lime at the store. It added the perfect saltiness/tanginess to the soup.

  262. alex

    Made this for lunch on the weekend and took the rest to work – so delicious & comforting – and travels/keeps well too! I made a sort of guacemole crema to swirl in – mashed avocado loosened with bit of soured cream, salt, pepper and a squeeze of lime juice. This will definitely become a regular!

  263. Kara Vitek

    I had a bag of pinto beans on hand and subbed the pintos for the black beans. We are singing praise because this soup is so good and so awesome to come home to. Cool beans! Thanks, Deb!

  264. andi

    I made this yesterday with great success (no crock pot, used my Le Creuset) with one exception: mine doesn’t look anything like your photo, even though I made it exactly as is written. The soup is brown, more like a lentil, than black. Any clue as to why this should be? BTW: I’m newer to your excellent site, and discovered it courtesy of my daughter who received your cookbook as a housewarming gift. I love your “voice”, recipes, and beautiful photos (especially those of your “delicious” children). Thanks!!!

  265. Lynne

    Recently purchased your wonderful cookbook, smitten kitten!
    Just finished making the slow-cooker black bean ragout and was wondering
    if it is normal to have so much cooking liquid left? Started with the 10 cups of chicken broth as stated and after 6 hours, still have 5 1/2 cups left. Is that
    normal? I am new to your website and was unsure where to get an answer. thank you

    1. deb

      Lynne — When I tested (and tested, and tested) it for the book, the liquid was just right. When I made it again two months ago? Same as you, too much liquid (although not 5 cups, less). I wish I knew what caused it. Feel free to pour some liquid off; will have no affect on final taste.

  266. Patrice

    Hey Deb! Wondering if i could do this on the stove top versus a slow cooker? I see that someone else had some success with the stove top but I am not sure how to convert the cooking times. Any suggestions?

  267. drew

    So I’m a bit of a novice at cooking dried beans, but I’d always heard that if you don’t ditch the soaking liquid then it is Gas City later on! And this recipe sort of combines it all into one so that the soaking liquid IS the soup. Does anyone have any empirical evidence on this notion? How did we do after this soup lol? It looks delish, just wondering if i need to put a bottle of beano on the table? Thanks!!

  268. Shelley

    Does anyone else use epazote when they cook black beans? I use a couple/few tablespoons … and haven’t seen the ingredient in very many recipes lately. It’s been a staple in southern Mexico when cooking beans, and the herb/plant is purported to reduce the effects from the gas (try it with lentils and other beans as well).

  269. stacy

    if you don’t presoak the beans and then throw out the soaking water, aren’t the beans more, um…’gas producing in the humans who eat them?’

  270. Noelle

    This looks fabulous and I’m making it tonight. It reminds me of sopa negra, which is a traditional Costa Rican black bean soup, usually served with the addition of a gently poached or fried egg. I’ve been craving it lately so I’m adding poached eggs to your recipe!

  271. Nancy

    Amazingly delicious for almost no effort–a keeper. Would also add shredded sharp cheddar and small croutons next time, maybe even a few raw diced red onions…

  272. This is an absolutely perfect black bean soup. We’ve been enjoying it all weekend. So nice not to have to soak the beans too. I made it with cornbread and an Israeli salad with avocado, which people could put on top of the soup if they like.

  273. Paula Meier

    My niece asked that I make her some black bean soup, so I immediately went to your blog for help.

    We doubled the recipe to be able to enjoy some and freeze some for a later date. As her crockpot was not large enough to accommodate this, we made it on the stove with great results. The beans were done in just about 2.5 hours, with no soak, starting with hot water. Smells wonderful. I am just waiting for it to cool so I can blend some of it. We had no creme fraiche, so we are making our own with sour cream and “ultra pasteurized” whipping cream. With no cumin seeds, I am taking someone’s suggestion to put ground cumin on foil in a frying pan to toast.

    Yum, can’t wait for dinner.

  274. cparks121

    Deb is right, the chipotle does pack some heat! I added probably 1 tsp more than the recommended 1 Tablespoon, so just be careful if you’re sensitive to spicy food. I also made Deb’s Corniest Corn Muffins on the side and topped the soup with diced avocado. I’ll look forward to the leftovers all week!

    However….if you’ve made Deb’s Black Bean Ragout from her cookbook (also online @ The Happy Foodie), I’d stick with the Ragout. It’s much more flavorful and I prefer the texture over the soup. We make the Ragout at least once a month – those beans are just unbelievably delicious.