Pinto Bean Soup Recipe

Pinto bean soup is one of those comfort soups that tastes really comforting and homey on a chilly evening. It’s light but surprisingly filling, thanks to all the fiber, and it tastes like you’re back in grandma’s kitchen.

I have kind of a funny story about this soup, or more specifically, the beans. The thing is, during Covid and the subsequent shutdown, I admit to panicking a bit, as many people did. I dutifully stocked up on things like toilet paper and dry pantry goods just in case the world came to a complete end.

A write crock of Pinto Bean Soup sits on a cutting board with a wooden spoon and a white towel.

Fast forward to the time we could start going back into stores like Costco, and I’m sure you can see where this is going. I stocked up in a huge way. To this day, I have a fifty – yes, fifty – pound back of pinto beans I’m desperately trying to use up. The funny part is, I haven’t even opened it yet because I have so many other jars full of pinto beans that I had previously stocked my pantry with! And pinto beans aren’t the only beans I have.

If the zombie apocalypse ever happens, I’m your girl. Head to my house for the beans!

What Does Pinto Bean Soup Taste Like?

Many recipes on the web give you a Latin flavor profile for pinto bean soup. It’s delicious, and I plan to post a recipe for it here soon. However, in this case, it has a definite herbal flavor profile that is reminiscent of old-world cooking. Something delicious Grandma would make, especially if you weren’t feeling well.

A closeup of a white crock filled with Pinto Bean Soup.

Can I Use Different Beans?

Sure! White beans are a great choice with this broth. Kidney beans could potentially work, but I don’t think they would be soft enough here. Things like navy beans or cannellini beans would be perfect.

What Can You Serve With Pinto Bean Soup?

The best thing to serve with pinto bean soup is buttered toast. The combination is absolutely delightful. You can also serve a green salad on the side if you want a more well-rounded meal. Garlic bread will also work here, though for me personally, toast would be preferable.

Pinto Bean Soup Variations

As mentioned, I’ll have a Mexican version coming your way soon. But for now, here are some suggestions:

  • Add a can of diced tomatoes (no sugar added, of course)
  • Try other vegetables, such as cauliflower or broccoli.
  • Try adding other herbs such as basil or even a blend like Italian seasoning
An overhead view of a white crock filled with Pinto Bean Soup.

About The Ingredients

Dry pinto beans – You can soak these overnight if you wish, but I never bother and it turned out great. The choice is yours.

Chicken stock – Or vegetable broth. No sugar added, in either case.

Red onion – You can also use yellow onion if that’s what you have on hand.

Carrots – Dice these small so they roughly match the size of the beans.

Celery stalks – You can slice or chop these, whichever you prefer.

Garlic cloves – I pressed mine because I find it gives the best flavor that way. But you can also mince your garlic if you prefer.

Bay leaf – Use multiple smaller ones if you only have smaller sizes.

Dried thyme

Dried oregano

Salt

Ground black pepper

Extra virgin olive oil

Optional Toppings

  • Chopped parsley
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Whole wheat croutons

How To Make Pinto Bean Soup

Pinto Bean Soup Recipe ingredients gathered on a wood cutting board.

Gather and prep all your ingredients according to the recipe below.

Cut, raw veggies in a large soup pot with oil.

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, then add the onions, carrots, and celery. Cook for about 5-7 minutes or until the onions are translucent.

Sautéd veggies with minced garlic added, in a large soup pot.

In the last minute of cooking the veggies, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more, stirring constantly to keep the garlic from burning.

Spices and dry pinto beans added to cooked veggies in a large soup pot.
Broth added to soup ingredients in a large soup pot.
Bay leaves added to a pot of soup.

Stir in the pinto beans, chicken or vegetable broth, the spices, and finally add the bay leaf. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours or until the beans are tender.

An overhead view of a white crock filled with Pinto Bean Soup.

Once the beans are cooked, remove the bay leaf and discard. Season with salt and pepper and any optional toppings to taste, and enjoy.

Storage

Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to three days if you use chicken broth and up to five days if you use vegetable broth.

Freezing

This freezes really well! Freeze in a freezer-safe container for up to six months.

Reheating

This can easily be reheated on a stovetop or in a microwave.

More Delicious Soup Recipes

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A write crock of Pinto Bean Soup sits on a cutting board with a wooden spoon and a white towel.

Pinto Bean Soup Recipe

Delicious soup like grandma used to make.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 6 cups
Calories: 193kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cups chopped red onion
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cups diced celery
  • 4 medium garlic cloves (pressed or finely minced)
  • 1 large bay leaf (or 2 smaller leaves)
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 6 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 1 cup dried pinto beans (soak overnight if you prefer that)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Optional toppings

  • chopped, fresh parsley
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • whole-grain croutons

Instructions

  • Gather and prep all your ingredients.
    2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, 1 cups chopped red onion, 1 cup sliced carrots, 1 cups diced celery, 4 medium garlic cloves, 1 large bay leaf, 1 tsp. dried thyme, 1 tsp. dried oregano, 6 cups chicken broth, 1 cup dried pinto beans, salt and pepper, chopped, fresh parsley, grated parmesan cheese, whole-grain croutons
    Pinto Bean Soup Recipe ingredients gathered on a wood cutting board.
  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, then add the onions, carrots, and celery. Cook for about 5-7 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
    2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, 1 cups chopped red onion, 1 cup sliced carrots, 1 cups diced celery
    Cut, raw veggies in a large soup pot with oil.
  • In the last minute of cooking the veggies, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more, stirring constantly to keep the garlic from burning.
    4 medium garlic cloves
    Sautéd veggies with minced garlic added, in a large soup pot.
  • Stir in the pinto beans, chicken or vegetable broth, the spices, and finally add the bay leaf. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours or until the beans are tender.
    1 large bay leaf, 1 tsp. dried thyme, 6 cups chicken broth, 1 cup dried pinto beans, 1 tsp. dried oregano
    Bay leaves added to a pot of soup.
  • Once the beans are cooked, remove the bay leaf and discard. Season with salt and pepper and any optional toppings to taste, and enjoy.
    salt and pepper, chopped, fresh parsley, grated parmesan cheese, whole-grain croutons
    An overhead view of a white crock filled with Pinto Bean Soup.

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible. Data does not include optional toppings.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 193kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 906mg | Potassium: 655mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 3658IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 2mg

Author: Tiffany McCauley

Title: Food and Travel Journalist

Expertise: Food, cooking, travel

Bio:

Tiffany McCauley is a nationally syndicated journalist and an award-winning cookbook author and food blogger. She has been featured on MSN, Huffington Post, Country Living Magazine, HealthLine, Redbook, and many more. Her food specialty is healthy comfort food recipes.

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