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You only need 10 minutes of prep for this healthy Black Bean Soup recipe that’s made in the Crock Pot! The hearty and satisfying vegan soup is a Panera Bread copycat, so pair it with a crusty baguette and your favorite toppings for a delicious vegetarian meal!

Close overhead shot of a bowl of healthy black bean soup recipe topped with tortilla strips and green onions and lime.

The vegetarian black bean soup from Panera has been one of my favorite options ever since that restaurant opened when I was in college. Imagine my delight when I created a homemade black bean soup from scratch that tastes exactly like the restaurant’s recipe! It’s thick, creamy, nutritious — and it can be prepared in my slow cooker. Hooray!

Close up front shot of black bean soup recipe in a blue and white bowl with toppings and sliced green onion on top

How to make a healthy Black Bean Soup recipe:

Finding a filling meal that is easy to prepare in advance, pleases a crowd of differing palates, and caters to most allergy and dietary restrictions can be HARD. After all, whatever you serve still has to taste good!

I love that I can put together this very affordable pot of soup in about 10 minutes, and then I can let my Crock Pot do the rest of the work!

Ingredients for Black Bean Soup:

  • Dried black beans
  • Vegetable broth
  • Onion
  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Bay leaf
  • Cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper
  • Liquid smoke (optional)

First, place all of the ingredients in a slow cooker.

Process shot of ingredients for black bean soup in a slow cooker

Cover and cook on LOW for about 8 hours or on HIGH for about 4-5 hours. Once the beans are tender, discard the bay leaf and use a handheld immersion blender (or a regular blender) to puree the soup until it reaches the desired consistency.

Using an immersion blender to puree black bean soup

Ladle into bowls and garnish with all of your favorite toppings!

Close up shot of healthy vegan black bean soup on a spoon

What do you serve with Black Bean Soup?

Set out a variety of toppings and allow your guests to dress up their own bowls. Here are some good options:

  • Tortilla strips or tortilla chips
  • Diced avocado
  • Sour cream
  • Sliced green onion
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Fresh lime wedges

I also like to pair the soup with a piece of crusty French baguette (just like they offer at Panera), which is a great vehicle for dipping!

Overhead shot of black bean soup in a bowl with baguette on the side

Cook’s Tips and Recipe Variations:

  • This recipe makes a relatively small batch of soup (about 5 cups total). If you’re feeding a larger crowd, double all of the ingredients. The cooking instructions remain the same.
  • Puree the soup until it reaches your desired consistency. It can be completely smooth, or you can puree about half of the soup so that some beans and a chunky texture remain.
  • Panera’s black bean soup recipe includes red bell pepper. You can add the bell pepper to this recipe as well! Just include a diced red bell pepper in the slow cooker along with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Panera’s version also has a bit of “kick” to it. If you like a spicy black bean soup, add cayenne pepper to taste!
  • Try adding a can of drained corn kernels to your soup after you puree some of it.
  • For a creamy black bean soup, reduce the vegetable broth to 3 1/2 cups. At the end of cooking, puree the soup and then stir in 1/2 cup of heavy cream.
  • If you’re not trying to keep the soup vegetarian, you can use chicken broth instead of vegetable broth. Try making the black bean soup with sausage, too! You can stir in diced smoked sausage that has been browned in a skillet, or browned ground sausage of your choice.
  • Leftovers of this black bean soup recipe will last in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • Can I freeze Black Bean Soup? Absolutely! Packaged in an airtight container, this soup will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • How long to soak black beans? You don’t need to soak the black beans at all for this slow cooker recipe! Just add the rinsed dried beans to the Crock Pot and they will be tender by the end of the day.

Close up shot of a spoon in a bowl of slow cooker black bean soup

More easy soup recipes that you might enjoy:

Close overhead shot of a bowl of healthy black bean soup recipe topped with tortilla strips and green onions and lime.

Black Bean Soup Recipe

4.67 from 3 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 8 hours
0 minutes
Total: 8 hours 10 minutes
Servings 5 cups
Calories 157.1 kcal
You only need 10 minutes of prep for this healthy Black Bean Soup recipe that's made in the Crock Pot!

Ingredients
  

  • ½ lb. dried black beans, rinsed
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt (or more, to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
  • Optional, for garnish: lime slices, sliced green onion, tortilla strips or chips, grated cheese, diced avocado, sour cream, fresh cilantro

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cover and cook until beans are tender – approximately 8 hours on LOW or 4-5 hours on HIGH.
  • Discard bay leaf.
  • Use a handheld immersion blender (or a regular blender) to puree the soup until it reaches desired consistency. You can puree all of the soup to make it smooth, or only puree about half of the soup if you like a chunkier texture. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. Ladle soup into individual bowls and garnish with desired toppings.

Notes

  • This recipe makes a relatively small batch of soup (about 5 cups total). If you're feeding a larger crowd, double all of the ingredients. The cooking instructions remain the same.
  • Puree the soup until it reaches your desired consistency. It can be completely smooth, or you can puree about half of the soup so that some beans and a chunky texture remain.
  • Panera's black bean soup recipe includes red bell pepper. You can add the bell pepper to this recipe as well! Just include a diced red bell pepper in the slow cooker along with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Panera's version also has a bit of "kick" to it. If you like a spicy black bean soup, add cayenne pepper to taste!
  • Try adding a can of drained corn kernels to your soup after you puree some of it.
  • For a creamy black bean soup, reduce the vegetable broth to 3 1/2 cups. At the end of cooking, puree the soup and then stir in 1/2 cup of heavy cream.
  • If you're not trying to keep the soup vegetarian, you can use chicken broth instead of vegetable broth. Try making the black bean soup with sausage, too! You can stir in diced smoked sausage that has been browned in a skillet, or browned ground sausage of your choice.
  • Leftovers of this black bean soup recipe will last in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • Can I freeze Black Bean Soup? Absolutely! Packaged in an airtight container, this soup will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • How long to soak black beans? You don't need to soak the black beans at all for this slow cooker recipe! Just add the rinsed dried beans to the Crock Pot and they will be tender by the end of the day.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 157.1kcalCarbohydrates: 34.5gProtein: 9.5gFat: 0.7gSodium: 367.5mgPotassium: 791.1mgFiber: 8.3gSugar: 4.6gVitamin A: 2315IUVitamin C: 7.8mgCalcium: 94mgIron: 2.7mg
Keyword: black bean soup, black bean soup recipe, Slow Cooker Soup
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in September, 2015. It was updated in December, 2019.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

  1. Yup, my hubby’s in full-out football season zone now too…and I’m with you–the season’s really more about that yummy food! And holy cow this soup definitely looks like a winner! Love that it comes together so easily, looks delicious, and that it’s so healthy too! Gotta try this one out for the next game day party! 🙂 Pinned!

  2. Wow does this soup look fantastic, Blair! I love how comforting this looks! Black bean is one of my favorites, but my husband doesn’t like it, so I hardly ever make it. I think I’m going to cave and try this out soon! Pinned!

    1. Thanks, Gayle! Definitely give this one a try. And your husband sounds like mine! Serve him some tortilla chips for scooping the soup and he’ll be a happy camper! 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    I made this with 2 cans of black beans and did 3 hours at low, as I’m at 9,000 above sea level, it takes months to soften dried beans…. literally! I then sauteed some kielbasa and dumped it in at the end. Oh and I used beef broth since I was putting in meat at the end. I also served this with the lime wedges, tortilla strips and some sour cream and shredded cheese! Yummmy thank you so much just what I was looking for. Happy Fall 😀

  4. 5 stars
    I cannot stop making this soup!
    It is perfect for these cold days. I made it even easier by using canned black beans. I puree one can and mix in the other . I also added turmeric for the healthy benefits and it taste great.
    Thanks for your great recipes.