This easy Chicken Black Bean Soup is a deliciously hearty lunch or dinner that can be on the table in 20 minutes. Canned black beans, your favorite salsa, and some spices help it come together quickly and easily. Its warm, spicy flavor and thick rich broth will keep you coming back to this classic, quick and easy soup. Healthy, low carb, and gluten-free with a vegetarian option.
I'm always rushed in the evening so anything that can save me time and get dinner on the table in a timely fashion is A1 in my book. This easy-to-throw-together black bean soup checks all the boxes.
I love to make soups. They are a simple, hearty, and usually healthy meal that uses easy-to-find ingredients and can either be slow-cooked all day or made quickly on the stovetop. Soups like my homemade Vegetable Beef Soup, Chicken Tortilla Soup, or my new favorite, this quick and easy Black Bean Salsa Soup are always on the menu. Plus they freeze easily so you get a few meals out of prepping one recipe.
Why You'll Love Spicy Black Bean Soup
- EASY to whip up with just a skillet, a large pot and a blender. If you like a heartier, chewier soup you don't even need the blender!
- QUICK Dinner - just 20 minutes from start to finish
- FEW INGREDIENTS - Only 9 ingredients that you probably have on hand in your pantry
- HEALTHY soup containing plenty of fiber, lean protein, little fat and a bundle of antioxidants
- DELICIOUS meal that is hearty enough to stand alone or pair it with some tortilla chips or bread
This soup is great for any time of year and makes a delicious lunch or dinner in less than 20 minutes. Plus it has all your favorite Mexican flavors in the mix! It's gluten-free, low carb, and can be made vegan too!
Rotisserie Chicken - is a great timesaver but you can also use leftover chicken. If you prefer to use raw chicken, use the directions for Instant Pot or Crockpot below.
Black Beans - are my go-to for Mexican cuisine but you can also sub in kidney beans, pinto, or cannellini beans
Salsa - use chunky salsa for a more robust soup. I like to use a medium to spicy version such as Chi Chi's Restaurant Style Medium Salsa.
Onion/Garlic - sauteing the vegetables adds a sweet caramelized flavor from the onion and a somewhat nutty flavor from the garlic. Yellow or white onions can be used.
Seasoning - salt and pepper enhance all the flavors while cumin boost flavor adds an earthy, warm depth
Chicken Stock - makes a great base for the soup. If you want a vegetarian or vegan soup, simply use vegetable broth and eliminate the chicken.
Cilantro - lends a herbaceous flavor with notes of pepper and citrus to the overall dish. It is best added just prior to serving as it loses much of its flavor when cooked. If you are not a cilantro fan, try thinly sliced green onion in its place.
Lime - just a squeeze of lime brightens the black bean soup and helps balance all the flavors.
How To Make the Best Black Bean Soup
- Heat oil in a medium skillet and add chopped onions. Saute for 4-5 minutes or until browned and soft. During the last minute, stir in the garlic. (photo 1)
- In a blender, combine one can of black beans with chicken stock. (photo 2)
- Pour in salsa, mild, medium or hot. (photo 3)
- Add sauteed onions and garlic. (photo 4)
- Lastly, sprinkle in cumin. (photo 5)
- Puree until smooth. (photo 6)
- Pour into a large saucepan and add remaining beans. (photo 7)
- Stir in chicken and bring to a simmer. (photo 8)
- Once hot, add lime juice. (photo 9)
- Sprinkle in cilantro then salt and pepper to taste. Stir and let simmer for several minutes to allow flavors to blend. (photo 10)
For a change of pace, make a soup bar and let everyone add their own toppings. Can't think of a better way to start a family dinner. It's bound to get the conversation going.
Crockpot and Instant Pot Black Bean Soup
Crockpot version – use about ¾-1 pound boneless chicken thighs in place of rotisserie chicken. Add everything but the cilantro and lime juice to the pot and cook on low for 5-6 hours. Remove chicken when done and shred. Return the shredded chicken to the pot, add cilantro and lime juice, stir and serve.
Instant Pot version – Use 2 large chicken breasts in lieu of rotisserie chicken. Add everything to the instant pot except the cilantro and lime juice. Cover and cook on soup function (or high pressure) for 10 minutes. Quick-release pressure, shred chicken breasts then return to the pot and stir in cilantro and lime juice. Taste and season. If the soup is too liquidy, let it cook on the saute function for a bit longer until slightly reduced.
Tips & Variations
- You won't regret sauteing your onions and garlic. It brings out the sweetness in the onion and a more rich flavor.
- I like to puree half of my soup mixture to give it a more creamy and rich consistency.
- Vegetarian - This is an easy soup to make vegetarian. Omit the chicken, use vegetable broth in lieu of chicken broth and add more vegetables such as diced or shredded carrots, red bell pepper and corn.
- Vegan - Make this easy black bean soup vegan by omiting chicken, subbing vegetable broth for chicken broth and making sure your salsa variety is vegan. Top with vegan cheese.
- Add corn for a southwest take on black bean soup.
- For a Chicken Black Bean Tortilla Soup stir in tortilla strips.
- Like your black bean and chicken soup a little spicier? Try a hotter salsa or add ½-1 diced fresh jalapenoes. Like something with a more unique taste? Opt for a green or chipotle-style salsa.
How to Store/Freeze Chicken Black Bean Soup
Store - The soup can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
To freeze - allow the soup to cool then place in either an airtight plastic or glass container or in a freezer-safe resealable bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator then warm on the stovetop over medium heat.
What to Serve with Mexican Black Bean Soup
Serve this soup with your favorite Mexican garnishes such as lime slices, sour cream, shredded cheese, sliced avocado, minced jalapeno, chopped cilantro, and tortilla chips.
More Soup Recipes
Chicken Corn Chowder - another quick & easy soup filled with corn, chicken and vegetables, nestled in a thick creamy base that you’ll think is chock full of calories but it’s not!
30 Minute Chicken Noodle Soup - easy homemade soup using either rotisserie chicken or leftover turkey or chicken. Just add chicken broth, your favorite pasta and a few vegetables for a healthy, satisfying, flavorful lunch or dinner.
Seafood Gumbo - this really is the best gumbo this side of N’awlins! Super flavorful and easy to make soup, that is all about shellfish, andouille, okra, chicken, and spice.
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Easy Chicken Black Bean Soup
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ½ yellow onion chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced (or 1-½ teaspoons minced garlic)
- 30 oz black beans drained & rinsed (2 15-oz cans)
- 2 ½ cups chicken stock
- 1 cup prepared salsa
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 ½ cups rotisserie chicken shredded
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped
- Juice of 1 lime (about 2 Tablespoons)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Garnish: lime slices, sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped cilantro, tortilla chips
- Heat oil in a medium skillet and add chopped onions. Saute for 4-5 minutes or until browned and soft. During the last minute, stir in the garlic.
- In a blender, combine one can of black beans, chicken stock, salsa and cumin. Puree until smooth.
- Pour into a large saucepan. Add remaining beans and chicken and bring to a simmer.
- Once hot, add cilantro, lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Stir.
- Let simmer for several minutes to allow flavors to blend.
- Serve with any of the following garnishes: lime slices, sour cream, shredded cheese, sliced avocado, minced jalapeno, chopped cilantro, and tortilla chips.
This post has been improved with more in-depth information. It was first published September 19, 2013.