Few cozy winter soups can rival a hearty pinto bean soup! Pinto beans are not only packed with protein and fiber, but also have a deliciously creamy texture that makes this soup extra comforting. And best of all, it's easy to make using just a few simple ingredients, with no extra dishes to wash up. So, if you're in the mood for a warm and satisfying meal, give this easy pinto bean soup a try!
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💭 Why you'll love this recipe
- It's hearty and filling. Pinto beans are packed with protein, fiber, and other nutrients including iron and potassium making them a perfect choice for a satisfying meal. Just like these delicious homemade refried beans, this pinto bean soup recipe is a hearty, delicious weeknight meal for the winter months!
- Easy peasy recipe. This Instant Pot pinto bean soup is easy and comes together in 25 minutes, so it's perfect for busy weeknights. Throw everything in the Instant Pot and let it simmer until beans are tender. Hard to beat that.
- It's full of flavor. This pinto bean soup is seasoned with sun-dried tomatoes (my secret ingredient for explosive flavors!), red chili pepper, garlic, onion, and other warm spices. Trust me, this soup is anything but boring!
📋 Ingredients and notes
You'll need sun dried tomatoes stored in oil, oil from the sun dried tomatoes, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, red chili pepper, bay leaves, oregano, sage, cumin, salt, black pepper, tomatoes, pinto beans, vegetable stock, and fresh parsley,
Notes and Variations
- Substitute pinto beans. If you're in a pinch and don't have pinto beans, chickpeas, kidney beans or canned white beans will all do the trick.
- Saltiness. Choose beans without any salt added! You can also use broth that is low or non-sodium. I find that it's much easier to control the flavor this way.
- Broth alternative. To make the dish more flavorful, I recommend using vegetable broth or a vegan chicken broth. You can also add a spoonful of vegan bouillon or a cube of it if you want to amp up the flavors. Just be sure to taste it and adjust the seasoning according to your liking.
- Variations on tomatoes. Sun dried tomatoes add an awesome depth of flavor to this recipe, but you're welcome to leave it out. Substitute the oil with olive oil or avocado oil, and you're all set. Check out this post for some great olive oil substitutes!. I have used fire roasted diced tomatoes to add an extra dimension of flavor here but this is optional.
- Red chili alternatives. I use fresh red chili in this recipe, but you can use jalapeños, Kashmiri red chili, regular chili powder, Ancho chili powder, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, or omit it altogether based on your spice tolerance.
📖 Make this easy, one pot pinto bean soup!
To cook the pinto bean soup, first set the Instant Pot to sauté mode. Add oil from sun dried tomatoes or olive oil followed by chopped onions, carrots, and celery and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the chili pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring frequently, until the garlic is fragrant, but take care not to burn it.
Then, add the oregano, sage, cumin, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Cook for another minute until the spices are well integrated.
Add the fire roasted tomatoes, give it a stir a continue cooking until bubbly for another 2 minutes. Add beans and vegetable stock, then add salt and black pepper to taste, and stir it well. Close the lid and set to the sealing position, then cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.
Once cooked, do a quick release carefully! Check the consistency of the beans, they should be cooked but not mushy. If so, turn the Instant Pot off. If it hasn't cooked to your desired consistency, typically just leaving the beans in the warm Instant Pot will finish cooking it.
Finally, let it sit for a few minutes for the flavors to fully absorb, then sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley or fresh cilantro (and any other toppings, like tortilla chips or a dollop of sour cream) and serve hot!
P.S., I love serving these with my cheddar biscuits as a great flaky side!
👩🏽🍳 Tips for Making Pinto Bean Soup!
Pinto bean soup is perfect for when you're craving something warm during winter. Here are five tips to get it right each time.
- Using dried beans. I use low sodium canned beans (drained and rinsed). But you can use dried pinto beans as long as you soak them overnight. This softens the beans, making them easier to cook. Another trick is to wait until beans are tender and add a splash of apple cider vinegar and a pinch of salt. This helps with digestion and increases the flavor profile of the beans.
- Substitute the beans. I know, this is a recipe for pinto bean soup, but you can totally substitute pinto beans with kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas, cannellini beans or navy beans.
- Use fresh herbs for garnish. Adding fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro not only looks pretty but also adds a touch of herbaceous flavor to each bite. So be sure to chop up some fresh herbs to garnish your soup before serving!
- Don't be afraid to experiment. You can try adding different spices or vegetables along with the soup to find what you like best. I've added zucchini or yellow squash during the summer; stirred in some spinach or greens at the end during the winter. The soup is super versatile!
- Let the soup sit for a while before eating. Once all the ingredients are in the pot and the soup is cooked through, turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. This allows all the flavors to come together so you can enjoy them to their fullest!
Yes, this recipe is super easy to make without the Instant Pot! Heat a large Dutch oven or pot on medium high heat. Then, follow all the sauté steps in the same order. Then, once you add the canned pinto beans and vegetable broth, cook for about 10 to 15 minutes on the stovetop (instead of 5 minutes in the Instant Pot) until the beans are tender but not mushy.
Pinto beans are high in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Additionally, pinto beans are a good source of antioxidants, which aids in the prevention of various chronic diseases!
Pinto beans have a nutty, creamy taste that makes them a versatile ingredient in many different dishes. They can be used in soups and stews, or simply boiled and served as a side dish.
🍴 Serving and storage suggestions
This pinto bean soup is super versatile when it comes to serving suggestions.
- Serve it as-is with any type of crusty bread, dinner rolls, or cornbread. This is what I usually do when I make a large batch (it's an awesome lunch option!)
- Sometimes, I like to use an immersion blender to puree a part of the bean soup, so it becomes more of a stew. You can serve this over cumin rice for a delicious, hearty meal.
- You can add some fresh jalapeños, radishes, red onions; pickled jalapenos, onions or radishes; sliced avocado, or tortilla chips for additional texture.
- Give it a quick squeeze of lime juice on top to add a bit of acid to the dish! Then, top with sour cream or cheese of your choice (e.g., vegan or regular cotija cheese would work great on top of this recipe or check out out one of these cotija cheese substitutes!)
This pinto bean soup can be kept in the fridge for up to 4-5 days in an airtight container.
It can also be frozen for 1-3 months in a freezer-safe container. I suggest that you portion the soup into single or double servings, so you can just thaw the portion you want to consume later!
To reheat, simply add a tablespoon or two of water or vegetable broth until it is thinned out into your desired consistency. Then, warm them over medium heat on the stovetop or microwave.
If you're in the mood for something cozy, here are my favorite soups and stews:
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Pinto Bean Soup
- ⅓ cup sun dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
- 1 tablespoon oil from sun dried tomatoes, substitute olive oil
- 1 onion, medium, chopped
- 1 carrot, medium, chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 red chili pepper, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon sage, chopped
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt, adjust to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper, adjust to taste
- 14 oz diced tomatoes, 1 can, fire roasted works too!
- 14 oz pinto beans, 2 cans rinsed, drained
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped, substitute with chives
- Set the Instant Pot to sauté mode. Add oil from sun dried tomatoes (or olive oil). Once hot, add chopped onions, carrots and celery and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally until aromatic.
- Add the red chili peppers, sun dried tomatoes and garlic. Stir and add oregano, sage, cumin, salt, pepper and bay leaves. Cook another minute.
- Add canned tomatoes, give a stir a continue cooking until bubbly for another 2 minutes.
- Add beans and vegetable stock, then add salt and black pepper to taste, and stir it well. Cover with the lid and set to sealing position. Then, cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.
- Once cooked, do a quick release carefully. Check consistency of the soup. The beans should be well cooked, but not mushy.
- Sprinkle fresh chopped parsley and serve hot!
- If using dried pinto beans, add 2 cups to a bowl with cold water and soak for 15 to 30 minutes. Cook for 20 minutes in the Instant Pot first, and check the consistency. Cooking time may vary more or less depending on the age of the beans, new harvests usually cook faster!