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. Serve this homemade vegetarian soup with vegan cornbread or dinner rolls and with a dollop of creamy cashew cream and hot sauce.

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.

Serve all your favorite soups with this amazing vegan cornbread.

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.

What Makes This Recipe Shine?

  • 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.

Key Ingredients

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, including substitution ideas:

  • Onion – I used a yellow onion, but you can substitute white or red onion.
  • 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.

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
  • 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.

Reader Reviews

So glad I made this soup. I followed the recipe and it was so delicious and satisfying.


More Vegan Soups

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. Serve with Vegan Cornbread for the win!
4.95 from 20 votes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Resting time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 50 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 (Liquid Smoke)
  • 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. 
    Onions are being cooked in the bottom of a saucepan.
  • 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. 
    A pot is full of broth topped with two bay leaves.
  • 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

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Vegetable Broth

I prefer using Better than Bouillon combined with water for a guaranteed high-quality vegetable broth. You can substitute your favorite 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.


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? Here are more soup recipes to choose from. Not all of these recipes are vegan, but I can create a vegan version for you.

34 Responses to Best Pinto Bean Soup

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyAnita Reply

    So easy to make and even my VERY particular husband loved it. Great blend of flavors

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Anita! I’m so glad you AND your hubby liked this soup! My hubby is in that category too so I know how it feels to win them over!

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyDawn Reply

    5 stars
    I like this recipe. I also added crushed tomatoes and mashed the soup to make it creamy. I also floated done chopped spinach when done and served with rustic bread. I try to put a lot of veggies in my soups.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Dawn. I love the idea of making this soup creamy. I will add that as an idea to the recipe notes. So glad you liked it!

  3. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyJennifer Smith Reply

    5 stars
    So happy to find a blog like this. I love it.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Thanks, Jennifer!

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