A hearty soup for cold nights
This Pressure Cooker Black Bean Soup is a household favorite in the cold fall and winter months. It's the best kind of hearty, stick-to-your bones meal that is always welcome on an especially chilly night -- and is just as good, if not better, the next day. Hearty black beans cook down with bacon, garlic, onion, both poblano and jalapeno peppers, and warm spices until they become tender and almost creamy.
I love to top this black bean soup with a bit of shredded cheese, a sprinkle of green onions, and a dollop of sour cream on top, and serve it with a side of Brown Butter Buttermilk Skillet Cornbread. I've also included instructions for enjoying this soup with canned black beans or dried black beans, depending on your preference.
Should I use canned beans or dried beans for black bean soup?
You can use pre-cooked canned black beans or dried black beans for this Pressure Cooker Black Bean Soup. I find that dried beans retain more "bean" flavor than canned, but we use canned beans just as much (if not more) than dried beans because they are a staple in our pantry for other dishes.
For canned beans, this black bean soup will only require 25-minutes of pressurized cook time at high pressure.
Do I need to pre-soak dried black beans?
No, you do not have to pre-soak your black beans before making this soup. However, I prefer to pre-soak mine for a few reasons:
- Firstly, it helps the beans cook more quickly. Pressure-cooking your beans already cuts down on cook time significantly compared to cooking them on the stove or in a slow-cooker, however, an overnight soak helps cut down on the cook time even further by partially hydrating the beans.
- Secondly, it helps the beans cook more evenly and helps prevent them from rupturing (the latter is not an issue for this recipe though because you want the beans to break down a little bit).
- Thirdly, soaking the beans can make them easier to digest. If (like me) you also have GI issues, soaking the beans can help reduce the gas-producing indigestible carbohydrates as well as phytate content (AKA phytic acid).
Pre-soaked dried black beans
The night before I plan to make soup (or first thing in the morning) I transfer the dried beans to a large bowl and cover with water (2-inches above the beans), then cover the bowl and allow to rest for 8-12 hours. After soaking, you'll want to drain the beans well and give them a good rinse rather than using the liquid the beans were soaked in.
For dried beans that have been pre-soaked, you'll want to increase the broth (or water) by 8 oz / 1 cup and double the pressurized cook time to 50-minutes at high pressure. Though the beans will likely be fully-cooked about 30-35 minutes at high pressure, I prefer to leave mine in a bit longer to help further break the beans down to a softer bite comparable to the texture of the canned beans after cooking.
Un-soaked dried black beans
If the time and digestion improvements are not issues for you, you can use unsoaked dried beans. If you choose to start with dried beans that have not been presoaked, you'll want to give them a good rinse before cooking, then increase the broth by 32 oz / 4 cups (The broth or water should cover the unsoaked dried beans by about 1 ½ - 2 inches) and increase the pressurized cook time to 65-minutes at high pressure. Again, the beans will likely be fully cooked before this point, but I prefer to leave mine in a bit longer to help further break the beans down to a softer bite comparable to the texture of the canned beans after cooking.
What should I serve this Black Bean Soup with?
Though this Pressure Cooker Black Bean Soup is delicious on its own, adding a few toppings makes this dish extra tasty. Some of my favorite black bean soup toppings are:
- Sour cream
- Shredded cheese - cheddar, Monterey jack, pepper jack, or cotija
- Chopped onions - yellow, red, white, or green (scallions) -- or Pico de gallo
- Diced avocado
- Lime wedges -- nice to tame the heat a bit when the peppers are especially spicy!
- If the peppers feel especially mild, a splash of Tabasco is nice too!
I also love to pair it with a side of Brown Butter Buttermilk Skillet Cornbread.
What tools do I need to make this recipe?
- A colander
- A cutting board
- A chef's knife
- A kitchen scale
- Liquid measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- A wooden spoon or spatula
- A small paper-towel-lined prep bowl
- If you are pre-soaking dried beans rather than canned you will also need a large mixing bowl and a bowl cover (a clean kitchen towel is fine)
- An electric pressure cooker (see below)
Are you looking to upgrade to your cooking tools or replenish your pantry? Check out my kitchen tools shop page and pantry staples shop page to find my must-have kitchen tools, pantry items, and other Whip & Wander favorites.
Which pressure cooker do I use?
I use the term “pressure cooker” rather than “Instant Pot” very intentionally because I want it to be flexible for those who may use other brands. I personally use an Instant Pot Ultra 6qt, but this Pressure Cooker Black Bean Soup can easily be made in other electric pressure cookers as well.
The reason I mention this is because there are often variations to the cooking time in the different machines. With my prior Cuisinart machine, I found that my dishes cooked much more intensely, so I likely would have lowered the amount of time that I cooked this soup in that machine. For the Instant Pot model I have, I find that the Black Bean Soup cooks perfectly in about 25-minutes on high pressure for canned beans, 50-minutes on high pressure for pre-soaked dried beans, or 65-minutes on high pressure for unsoaked dried beans, with at least 15-minutes of natural pressure release afterward.
Storage and freezing
When stored properly in airtight containers in the refrigerator, this Pressure Cooker Black Bean Soup should keep for up to 4 days. This recipe also freezes well for up to three months in airtight freezer-safe containers. To reheat, simply allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight then reheat in a pot on the stove or in a microwave-safe container in the microwave.
A note for special diets
This Pressure Cooker Black Bean Soup can easily be made friendly for dairy-free and gluten-free diets. If you'd like to make this dish friendly for vegetarian diets, you can omit the bacon and instead use a little olive oil for cooking fat and omit the chicken broth in favor of veggie broth.
Looking for more Dinner Inspiration?
Love this Pressure Cooker Black Bean Soup recipe? Here are some additional dinner recipes that you might enjoy:
- Pressure Cooker Split Pea Soup with Smoked Ham Hock
- Pressure Cooker Buffalo Chicken Soup
- Pressure Cooker Beef Bourguignon
- Chicken Poblano Chili
- French Lentil Soup
- Chili with Butternut Squash
- Roasted Broccoli Cauliflower Soup
This Pressure Cooker Black Bean Soup is a household favorite in the cold fall and winter months. It's the best kind of hearty, stick-to-your bones meal that is always welcome on an especially chilly night -- and is just as good, if not better, the next day.
- 8 oz (½ lb) uncured bacon, chopped
- 2 cloves minced garlic (may sub for 2 tbsp garlic-infused olive oil if intolerant)
- ½ yellow or red onion (about 150 grams) (may sub for 100 g / 1 cup green onion tops if intolerant)
- 1 large (about 120 g) poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 large (about 45 g) jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
- 16 oz (2 cups) chicken broth (see notes below for adjusted liquid measurements when using dried beans)
- 5 - 15 oz cans black beans, drained but not rinsed -- OR -- 1 lb dried black beans (see notes below for dried bean prep)*
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp Kosher salt
- ½ tsp Cracked black pepper
- Optional toppings: sour cream, shredded cheese, green or red onion (or pico de gallo), diced avocado, cilantro, lime wedges, hot sauce
- Set your electric pressure cooker to the saute function. Once hot, add the bacon and cook stirring regularly with a wooden spoon or spatula until browned. Reserve cooked bacon in a paper towel-lined prep bowl to the side.
- Carefully dispose of all but 3 tablespoon rendered bacon fat. If you are using the garlic-infused olive oil substitution instead of garlic cloves, you can dispose of all but about 1 tablespoon of the rendered bacon fat, then add the garlic oil at this time.
- Add the onion, poblano pepper, jalapeno pepper, and minced garlic cloves (if using) and saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly, until the onion and peppers have slightly softened. Turn the saute function off so that the bowl can begin to cool slightly.
- Add the chicken broth to the bowl and using your wooden spoon or spatula, scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the bowl. This will help prevent the pressure cooker from giving a burn notice during cooking.
- Add the black beans to the bowl along with the reserved bacon. Then season with cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Secure the lid and set to pressure cook on high for 25-minutes for canned beans, 50-minutes for pre-soaked dried beans, or 65-minutes for unsoaked dried beans.
- Once finished, natural release pressure for 15-minutes, then safely quick release the remaining pressure. Taste for salt and adjust if needed. Serve warm with optional toppings of choice and a side of Brown Butter Buttermilk Skillet Cornbread on the side.
Do I need to pre-soak my dried black beans? No, technically you do not have to pre-soak your black beans before making this soup. However, I prefer to pre-soak mine because it helps the beans cook more quickly and evenly and it can help make them easier to digest.
Pre-soaking dried black beans: The night before I plan to make soup (or first thing in the morning) I transfer the dried beans to a large bowl and cover with water (2-inches above the beans), then cover the bowl and allow to rest for 8-12 hours). After soaking, you'll want to drain the beans well and give them a good rinse rather than using the liquid the beans were soaked in. If you choose to start with pre-soaked dried beans (rather than canned beans), you'll want to increase the cooking broth or water by 8 oz / 1 cup.
No-soak dried black beans: If the time and digestion improvements are not issues for you, you can use unsoaked dried beans. If you choose to start with dried beans that have not been presoaked, you'll want to give them a good rinse before cooking, then increase the broth by 32 oz / 4 cups (The broth or water should cover the unsoaked dried beans by about 1 ½ - 2 inches).
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 566
- Sugar: 9 g
- Sodium: 2483 mg
- Fat: 10 g
- Saturated Fat: 3 g
- Carbohydrates: 98 g
- Fiber: 39 g
- Protein: 34 g
- Cholesterol: 10 mg
Keywords: pressure cooker, black beans, poblano pepper, jalapeno pepper