Best Pinto Bean Soup

This Pinto Bean Soup recipe transforms your kitchen with the delicious aromas of a simmering, easy, tasty soup. It’s simple to make and full of all the smoky, savory flavors you’ve grown to love in traditional soups. Serve this homemade vegetarian soup with cornbread or dinner rolls and with a dollop of creamy vegan sour cream and hot sauce.

Serve all your favorite soups with this amazing vegan cornbread.

Two bowls of vegan pinto bean soup sit one in front of the other. The bowls are full of carrots, potatoes, green onions, and pinto beans. On the side are slices of cornbread.

I’m celebrating national soup month, so be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post (past the recipe) for links to some more awesome soup recipes.

Making Pinto Bean Soup Vegan

I made this pinto bean soup vegan with a Southern flair, by adding smoke sauce to the recipe and, of course, leaving out the meat. It was an easy recipe to veganize.

If you’re looking for nutritious dinner ideas, pinto beans boast a lot of protein (and fiber), meaning this healthy recipe is easily converted to vegetarian. My mom grew up in the Missouri Ozarks and she tells me that they ate a lot of beans when she was young. It was all they could afford! And, in fact, they very seldom had meat like ham and bacon, because they couldn’t afford that either.

Why This Recipe is a Winner

  • Using canned pinto beans makes this recipe so easy to make and still creates a delicious, hearty soup
  • Adding smoke sauce creates a flavor as if it was cooked with bacon
  • Adding sliced carrots, celery, and potatoes add a variety of flavors and textures to every bite
Two bowls of pinto bean soup are shown on a table, one is in the center and the other is only partially visible in the top left hand corner. There re slices of cornbread sitting around the bowls.

What You Need

You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Olive oil
  • Onion – I used a yellow onion, but you can substitute white or red onion.
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes — I find russet potatoes or gold potatoes work best.
  • Pinto beans — You’ll need 3 15-ounce cans of pinto beans.
  • Spices — You’ll need garlic powder, dried marjoram, and dried thyme.
  • Liquid Smoke — You can buy this next to the BBQ sauce in most grocery stores.
  • Broth — I recommend a high-quality vegetable broth, which is why I use Better than Bouillon Vegetarian base combined with water.
  • Bay leaf
  • Salt & pepper to taste.

How to Make Pinto Bean Soup

Make this simple soup with these simple steps:

  1. Cook Aromatics & Potatoes — Begin by adding oil to a pot and cooking onions, celery, carrots, and potatoes. Once those are tender, add the beans, spices, bouillon, water, and a bay leaf.
  2. Simmer — Cook that for 30 to 40 minutes, and then the soup is ready.
  3. Thicken — I like to mix about half of the beans in a food processor or blender and return it back to the rest of the pot to create a very thick soup broth.

Crock Pot Tip — Alternatively, you can cook this recipe in a crockpot by following the first step above, and then transferring everything to a crockpot and cooking on low for about 4 hours.

Serving Suggestions

Storage Tips

Transfer cooled soup to an airtight container. It will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. It can be frozen in freezer-safe containers for up to 2 months.

Marly’s Tips

  • To make this soup fast, cook the carrots and potatoes in a microwave for one to two minutes until just tender. Then transfer them (including the liquid) to the pot with the onions and celery
  • Be sure and add a bay leaf as the recipe simmers — it makes a difference
  • Transform this into a Mexican dish, by adding a tablespoon of taco seasoning
  • Try adding half black and pinto beans for a more colorful soup
  • Make this even heartier by adding sliced vegan sausage (I buy vegan sausages from Sprouts, Natural Grocers, or the health food section of my local grocery store)
  • Alternatively, you can add vegan chicken pieces to add a meatier texture.

Best Vegan Soup Recipes

If you love this pinto bean soup, you will want to try your hand at some more vegan soups! Here are some more recipes you’ll love:

A bowl of pinto bean soup is front in center in this photo. The light is shining on all the ingredients in the bowl, including the slices of carrots, potatoes, and beans. There is a stack of cornbread behind the soup, and a bowl of dried pinto beans behind that.
A bowl of pinto bean soup is front in center in this photo. The light is shining on all the ingredients in the bowl, including the slices of carrots, potatoes, and beans. There is a stack of cornbread behind the soup, and a bowl of dried pinto beans behind that.

Vegan Pinto Bean Soup

Hearty, nourishing, and easy-to-make, this vegan pinto bean soup boasts rich flavors and vibrant colors. You'll love the 10 simple ingredients that make this soup so easy to make and yet remains a satisfying comfort food too. Serve with Vegan Cornbread for the win!
4.95 from 17 votes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 238kcal


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 2 large carrots , chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes , chopped
  • 45 oz canned pinto beans (~3 cans) , canned (with liquid)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon smoke sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Better than Bouillon Vegetarian
  • 4 cups water (see notes)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper


  • Place a skillet over medium heat. Add a teaspoon of olive oil and then the chopped onions, chopped celery, carrots, and potatoes. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes. 
  • When the onions and potatoes are tender, add the beans (plus liquid), spices, and smoke sauce. Stir to combine. 
  • Add the Bouillon and water. Stir to combine. Place the bay leaf on top of the broth and then cover and cook for 30 to 40 minutes. 
  • When the soup is ready to serve, remove the bay leaf, and then spoon roughly half into a blender or food processor and pulse. Return this back to the rest of the soup to make a thick soup. Add salt and pepper to taste before serving.
  • Serve with cornbread or bread. This soup will last in the fridge in a sealed container for 4 to 5 days. It can be frozen for up to 2 to 3 months.

Recommended Equipment

(The products above contain sponsored links to products we use and recommend)


If you don’t have any Better than Bouillon around, then feel free to sub vegetable broth.
Calories: 238kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 190mg | Potassium: 885mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2590IU | Vitamin C: 7.8mg | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 3.2mg

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.


A collage of different soup recipes are displayed with a text box in the middle that says "23 comforting soup recipes."

National Soup Month

It’s national soup month so I’m celebrating with some of my favorite food blogging friends!  What does that mean for you? You’ll get 23 awesome soup recipes to choose from! Now, not all of these recipes are vegan (and some are not even vegetarian), but just check with me if you’re interested, and I’ll see if I can create a vegan recipe for you.

So, without further ado, here are 23 tantalizing soup recipes to get your national soup month on the right track.

28 Responses to Best Pinto Bean Soup

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyHasNie Reply

    5 stars
    Thanks! It is wonderful!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      I’m so glad you liked it!

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for Marly Reply

    5 stars
    This recipe is really good. Me and my wife made some pinto bean soup for my employees here for them to have healthy foods and they liked it a lot. I will try more of your recipe and be commenting with you more. Thank you for sharing your delicious and healthy recipe.

  3. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyKaye Elle Reply

    5 stars
    I only used one can of beans to avoid bad gas and be a little more brothy.

  4. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyJulie Reply

    5 stars
    Delicious! The potato was a great addition. Served this to group of non-veg teenage boys, with toppings (cilantro, onion, salsa, cheese, sour cream) and chips available. Big hit. Thank you for the recipe.

  5. Avatar thumbnail image for Marlysite Reply

    5 stars
    Looks healthy and sumptuous.

  6. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlySarita Reply

    This was a wonderful soup. I add spinach, dash of cumin, and purée lentils to mine. I ate it with rice instead of cornbread. Thanks

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Sarita. Thanks for your comment. I’m so glad you liked this soup and I love your variations!

  7. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyRonda Reply

    I’m going to try this Crockpot Style. With two babies and two older girls, This is most of the time the way to go for us.
    I will just add more cook time. Maybe 3-4 hours.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Ronda! Yes, I have made this in the crockpot and having it simmer on low for 3 – 4 hours is great. And it smells fabulous too! And, OMG, you have a house full of girls! Love it! ❤️

  8. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyGreg T. Reply

    5 stars
    Thanks for this recipe, I have made it several times and it’s always satisfying and delicious. I use the smoked paprika instead of liquid smoke and skip the potatoes.

  9. Avatar thumbnail image for Marlyvex 3 Reply

    5 stars
    Thank you for that information you article

  10. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyJason Reply

    4 stars
    Good recipe. Used minced real garlic instead of powder. I think next time I’ll double the salt, halve the dried herbs (I’m assuming the recipe means dried), and halve the liquid smoke. The liquid smoke does an excellent job of approximating ham/bacon flavor, but I thought even 1 tablespoon overwhelmed the other flavors in the dish.

    Also, there’s an error in step 2, it says, “When the beans are tender, add the beans”.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Glad you liked this recipe Jason. Your changes sound good. I love that smoky flavor but I know it’s not the same for everyone. I love it when someone owns a recipe and makes changes to meet their own tastes!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyKaye Elle

      Agree about the liquid smoke. Just a tad bit overpowering. But I still loved the flavors in the end.

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