Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr
6 servings

Cumin and fiery serrano chile infuse this simple soup as it cooks, and a dollop of sour cream provides a refreshing foil for the spicy flavors. For less heat, seed the chile first or use a milder pepper, such as jalapeño. You can also omit the chile altogether, if you prefer.

How to Make It

Step 1

Sort and wash beans; place in a large bowl. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans; cover and let stand 8 hours. Drain.

Step 2

Combine beans, broth, and next 5 ingredients (through chile) in an electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW 10 hours. Discard bay leaves. Stir in juice and salt. Ladle 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 6 bowls; sprinkle each with 2 teaspoons chopped cilantro. Top each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons sour cream. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired.

Chef's Notes

This recipe has been retested for Cooking Light Slow Cooker Tonight, 2012

Ratings & Reviews

SarahBurgdorf's Review

December 01, 2009
I think quality ingredients are key for this recipe. I use cumin so frequently that I always have a fresh bottle on hand. Fresh vibrant cilantro is also key. I also highly recommend braising the onions along with a boneless skinless pork chop. These additions to the recipe are a simple way of raising the flavor profile without adding to the calories significantly.

jyogam's Review

March 27, 2009
Bland and boring. After 10 hours in the crockpot, it still wasn't finished. I've had much better black bean soup recipes from CL.

bonnierich13's Review

April 12, 2010
very easy to just soak bean overnight then pop them into the crock pot. great over brown rice or quinoa. I've made this now 3 times. I actually put the cilantro & lime juice into the crock pot to cook with it; made this mistake the 1st time doing this soup, and liked it better than the "real" version. Great as a vegetarian meal with rice, or to go with grilled chicken or pork (done in crock pot also-I'll have both going at the same time!).

TaraGoesClean's Review

April 01, 2009
MMmm! My black beans were delicious! There are a few tweaks that need to be made in the recipe but it was easy and I thought it was really tasty. It didn't really turn out like a soup though - it wasn't a thick enough consistency. I'd say if you wanted to make a really yummy side of black beans this would be your recipe. You'd probably get a thicker, soupier consistency if you could puree some of the beans after they're cooked and then re-add them to the pot like other reviewers suggested (I'm gonna try this next time). Also, I found that 10 hrs on low wasn't quite long enough. Really it needs to be about 16hrs or possibly needs to be on a high setting instead. Gave 4 stars for taste but is more staple recipe.

cathomas1973's Review

February 23, 2009
Overall, this soup is terrific - the best homemade black bean soup I've had. I made this with 3 cans of black beans (drained and thoroughly rinsed) instead of using dried beans - much faster! I also seeded the chile, but found that there was almost no kick at all, and I am not usually one to like chile peppers. Next time I make this, I may try it with a 4 oz. can of diced green chiles and see how that works. Definitely don't skip the sour cream and cilantro - they really add a lot of depth to the flavors. This one is a keeper!!

Hillary's Review

February 24, 2009
I'm not sure what went wrong with this recipe. Followed the directions exactly, except substituted veggie for chicken stock When I got home from work after the soup had been cooking for 12 hours the beans were still not tender and the liquid looked like gray sludge. I cooked it for another couple of hours on a higher setting. The beans got more tender, but soup did not look or taste appetizing. Wound up throwing it out.

Shandyc's Review

March 15, 2009
Loved it- very easy to make, of course it takes long when you figure in the time for soaking the beans- but there is nothing much to do after that. I did not have any problem with it being watery, but I did use an extra serano chili and it was HOT... but really tasty. We added fresh cilantro after heating up each serving and then about a tbls of fat free sour cream. Husband who would never eat black bean soup loved it. Great leftover!

seffken's Review

February 14, 2012
My husband and I love this recipe. We've been making it for years because it's delicious and budget friendly.

StacyYC's Review

March 01, 2009
I wanted to love this recipe - so easy and made in a slow cooker - but I didn't. I used my immersion blender to thicken it up a bit - it was too watery for my taste. You need the cilantro and sour cream to liven it up.

kaykaypee's Review

March 03, 2009
Without the cilantro and sour cream, this soup in inedible. With the cilantro and sour cream it is barely edible. Very boring and bland....I also used my immersion blender to change the definetly was thicker but still not that tasty.