Smoky Black Bean Soup

Smoky Black Bean Soup in bowl with spoon inside

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You can make this thick and hearty black bean soup with basic pantry ingredients, and in only 20 minutes!


  • 2 tablespoons oil (olive or vegetable)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 teaspoons sweet (non-spicy) smoked paprika (see notes)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste (see notes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 15 ounce cans black beans, undrained
  • 1 1/2 cups stock or broth (any kind)
  • Optional garnishes: diced onion, sour cream, cilantro, squeeze of lime, shredded cheese


  1. Heat the oil in a stock pot or dutch oven on medium heat. When the oil is hot, add in the diced onion. Saute for 2 - 3 minutes or until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add in the smoked paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder and cumin. Stir and cook for about 30 seconds or until the spices are fragrant.
  3. Add in the tomato paste, stir and cook for another 30 seconds or until the tomato paste has softened and mixed in thoroughly with the onion and spices.
  4. Add the cans of black beans, undrained, and stock to the pot. Stir to combine. Turn the heat up to bring the soup to a gentle boil. Let the soup boil gently, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until the soup is slightly thickened. (Turn the heat down if necessary to maintain a gentle boil.) The soup will continue to thicken as it cools. 
  5. Taste the soup and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Add your favorite toppings and enjoy!


Since this recipe uses a lot of paprika, you need to use a non-spicy (aka "sweet") variety of smoked paprika so the heat doesn't become overpowering (unless you like a TON of spice!). In my experience, most grocery store brands that don't specify sweet or hot will be sweet. But, to be sure, read the label before buying, or, if you already have some in your cabinet, taste a little before adding it to the soup.

If you don't have smoked paprika, try substituting regular paprika and add in an additional 1 teaspoon of cumin.

I ended up adding an additional 1/4 teaspoon of salt and black pepper to my soup after tasting it. You may need additional salt as well, but this will depend on how much salt is in the beans and stock you are using, and your personal tastes. Just don't be afraid to taste and add more if needed!

This recipe makes a total volume of around 4 cups, which will serve 4 as a side or starter, or about 2 - 3 as an entree. If you need to serve more people, this recipe is very easy to double or even triple!

This soup freezes well and will keep for 2 - 3 months in the freezer. 

Keywords: black beans, black bean soup