This Mexican-inspired pinto bean soup is creamy, packed with flavor, and hearty enough for a meal! Bonus: it’s super easy to make and cooks up in one pot, making it perfect for weeknight dinners.
Pinto beans don’t get nearly enough love, if you ask me. Everybody makes such a fuss over black beans and chickpeas, but I never hear anybody rave about pinto beans.
Well, you know what? As a girl whose favorite takeout growing up was Taco Bell bean burritos (and who eventually went on create her own vegan version), I’m here to tell you that pinto beans rule. They’re savory, smoky, and they whip up deliciously creamy.
So today I’m celebrating the humble pinto bean, with some Mexican-inspired soup. Is this stuff authentically Mexican, you ask? No, probably not. Unless that happened by accident. I basically made this soup up, with my favorite bean burrito filling as inspiration.
But this stuff is so much better than anything that comes from a takeout window. And it’s almost as easy, hearty enough for a meal, and perfect for those chilly and rainy spring days we’ve been having where I live.
How to Make Pinto Bean Soup
Grab yourself a pot (you only need one!) and dice up an onion.
You’ll be sweating the onion in a bit of olive oil to soften it up. Next, add some garlic and spices: cumin, smoked paprika, ancho chile powder, and oregano. Cook everything for just about a minute before stirring in your broth, some pinto beans, and fire roasted tomatoes.
Let everything simmer for about 20 minutes. This gives the flavors a chance to mellow and the beans a chance to soften up.
Finally, blend it! I used an immersion blender (one of my favorite kitchen tools), but if you don’t have one you can always transfer your soup to a blender or food processor.
Season your soup with a bit of lime juice, salt and pepper.
Ladle it into bowls and top with cilantro, scallions, avocado, or whatever you like. I also served mine with some tortilla chips.
FAQ & Tips for Making Awesome Mexican Pinto Bean Soup
- How spicy is this soup? It’s spicy, but not very hot. In fact, the ancho chile powder is the only ingredient that adds heat. If you’re nervous about the heat level, add it at the end (after blending) to taste.
- Is it gluten-free? Yes!
- Can I use a different type of bean? Probably, though the flavor and texture will be a bit different. Black beans, navy beans, and cannellini beans should all work fine.
- This soup keeps in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. It’ll probably thicken up during storage. Add a bit of water when you reheat it, if needed.
Mexican Pinto Bean Soup
This Mexican-inspired pinto bean soup is creamy, packed with flavor, and hearty enough for a meal! Bonus: it's super easy to make and cooks up in one pot, making it perfect for weeknight dinners.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 3 (14 ounce or 400 ml) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (14 ounce or 400 ml) can fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
Coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil and place it over medium heat.
When the oil is hot, add the onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the garlic, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, and ancho chile powder. Cook for about 1 minute, until very fragrant.
Stir in the broth, beans and tomatoes. Raise the heat and bring the liquid to a boil.
Lower the heat and allow the soup to simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a bit of water if too much of the liquid cooks off.
Remove the pot from the heat. Use an immersion blender to blend about half of the soup (or get it as smooth or chunky as you like). Alternatively, transfer it in batches to a blender or food processor, blend, and return it to the pot.
Thin the soup with water if desired, then place it back on the burner for a few minutes to heat back up if needed.
Stir in the lime juice and season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.
Divide into bowls and top with toppings of choice. Serve.