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Instant Pot Black Bean Soup

~ This hearty, comforting Instant Pot Black Bean Soup tastes like it’s simmered for hours. But the layers of rich flavor develop quickly and easily in your pressure cooker! Perfect for weeknight dinners on busy evenings or for cozy, effortless weekend meals … and it even freezes beautifully so you can make it ahead, too. (with Vegan/Vegetarian options) ~

This Recipe Is:     Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Freezable    Make Ahead    Vegan / Vegetarian Options    Gluten Free (see note)  

Overhead of the finished Black Bean Soup in handled brown bowl with garnishes scattered on a serving plate beneath.

A steaming bowl of this hearty Pressure Cooker Black Bean Soup is pure, cozy-day comfort food.

A satisfying, deeply nourishing meal you can easily pull together with just a few minutes of effort …

… but that’ll keep your whole family coming back for more. (Trust me I’ve seen the “more” in action, firsthand! This one’s a real keeper!)

Pro Tip: No Instant Pot Pressure Cooker?

No Problem! We’ve got a stovetop version of this Easy Black Bean Soup, too!

Why We Love This Black Bean Soup So Much (And You Will, Too!)

This soup recipe is inspired by a Cuban Black Bean Soup we’ve been ordering from our local Rockne’s restaurant for a decade or more. (Yes … we’re addicted! It’s really the only reason I ever go to Rockne’s, but Scott and I absolutely crave that soup BIG TIME.)

I just had to figure out a way to recreate it at home.

And of course, it had to check all three of my must-have boxes:

  • crave-ably delicious!
  • quick & easy!
  • and healthy, too!

With a little tinkering, I figured out how to capture the delicious restaurant flavors we loved, all within my easy-healthy parameters, too!

Closeup of soup served in crockery bowl, so you can really see the texture of the black beans and sausage.

Seriously Delicious … and Brimming with Nutrition!

It all starts with a flavorful, savory base of onions, garlic and green peppers.

Add to that the right combination of spices and a background of seasoned sausage, and this soup develops deep, rich, hearty layers in just minutes.

And with all those veggies and healthier sausage, this soup delivers its scrumptious flavors like a gift … with plenty of nutrition hidden inside! Protein, fiber, micronutrients … it’s all in there. But you’ll be too busy reaching for seconds to worry too much about all that. (Don’t you just love recipes that simply happen to be healthy for you, without even trying? Win!)

Quick!

Many Instant Pot Black Bean Soup Recipes begin with dry black beans. No doubt, Instant Pots do a fantastic job cooking dried beans.

BUT … even with a pressure cooker, dry black beans take much longer to become soup (often 45 minutes – 1 hour), versus simply starting with canned black beans like I do here (cooking under pressure in just 4 minutes).

Canned beans are one of my go-to, secret pantry-staple weapons for FAST recipes. (No kidding all sorts of canned beans are probably the #1 most common pantry staple you’ll find in my cupboard at all times. With canned beans on deck, in a jiffy I can whip up Old-Fashioned Kidney Bean Salad, White Bean Hummus, “Pumpkin” Vegetarian Chili, 5-Minute Rice and Beans … the list absolutely goes on and on!)

Recipe ingredients like black beans, sausage and spices prepped on cutting board with Instant Pot waiting in background.

Easy!

Your Instant Pot is perfectly suited to creating these quick but deep flavors, since you can use the sauté function to begin building the flavor profile, and then flip straight to pressure cooking all in one pot. (Gotta love how easy Instant Pots are … and how few pans you have to clean up later!)

But again … not to worry, if you don’t have an Instant Pot, we have a stovetop version for you, too.

Adaptable!

I typically use either chicken or turkey sausage (the pre-cooked kind you usually find near the hot dogs), but I’ve also tested this recipe with plant-based sausages. Use whichever you prefer to meet your dietary goals.

And, you can choose a spicier sausage if you like extra heat.

Mmmmmmm … ready to make some? Let me walk you through just how simple it is!

How to Make Instant Pot Black Bean Soup

Step #1

Begin by setting your Instant Pot to the SAUTE setting. Heat a little olive oil and then add your chopped onions, sausage, green pepper and garlic.

First recipe ingredients sauteeing in Instant Pot with spices and black beans waiting alongside.

Cook it all just until the onions are beginning to soften and become translucent, which should take about 4-5 minutes. It’s important to stir frequently during this sauté step, to be sure your garlic doesn’t burn.

Step #2

Once your onions have started to soften, turn off your Instant Pot, and then add 1 can of veggie broth.

Stir everything around, scraping the bottom of the Pot’s cooking insert, to deglaze and loosen up any browned bits (which are yummy and add a terrific flavor boost you don’t want to miss out on that).

Step #3

After deglazing, you add your tomato paste, a bay leaf, and your seasonings (some salt, oregano, cumin and black pepper).

Broth, tomato paste and spices added to Instant Pot.

Give it all a stir to combine. Then add your black beans (don’t forget to drain off the can’s liquid and rinse them off), and stir it all through once again.

Now you’re all ready for the Pressure Cooking stage.

Black beans added to other soup ingredients in pressure cooker.

Step #4

Close your Instant Pot’s lid.

Pro Tip: That Pesky “Venting” Knob!

Make sure the “venting” steam release knob is set to sealing, not venting when you start cooking. I always have to remind myself to double-check this, every time I use my Instant Pot.

It’s easy to forget, but your Instant Pot won’t build pressure properly if the “venting” knob is open during cooking.

Set your Instant Pot to the SOUP (high) setting for 4 minutes … and let your pressure cooker work its magic. (It takes my 6-quart Instant Pot Duo60 about 15 minutes to build enough pressure to seal and then begin the 4-minute cook time.)

Step #5

Once the 4-minute cooking time is finished, CAREFULLY manually vent the steam via the steam release knob.

Pro Tip: Instant Pot Manual Release Venting

Manually venting (or “quick venting”) your pressure cooker means that you open the steam release knob, as opposed to a “natural release” where you just let the Instant Pot sit for awhile (sometimes upwards of 30 minutes) to slowly depressurize on its own.

If you’re new to Instant Pot cooking, I can tell ya … that steam comes out fast during manual venting, so make sure to stand back in order to avoid steam burns when doing a manual release. I like to use a long-handled wooden spoon for this. You might want to slip on a protective oven mitt, too.

Finished soup, still in Instant Pot, with a wooden spoon dipping in.

Remove the bay leaf and serve up your steaming soup with your desired garnishes and toppings (I’ve got some suggestions for you on that in a sec).

Lather, rinse, repeat … ’cause mmmmmmmm YESSSSSS this is so, so good and you’ll be making it often!

How to Adjust the Thickness of Your Black Bean Soup

This recipe is intended to be fairly thick and hearty. And, like most bean soups, this Instant Pot version will continue to thicken up even more as it sits, or after being refrigerated (if you happen to have leftovers).

But what if you’d like a thinner soup, or if you want to thin it out a bit when you reheat it? In that case, I recommend buying a second can of broth to thin the soup to your liking.

Black Bean Soup served in brown bowl on yellow plate, with spoon dipped in and roll on the side.

Honestly, I usually don’t bother with extra broth, since I like this soup just as much when it thickens up a bit. And, full disclosure: I’m just kinda lazy about that sort of thing.

But you should feel free to customize it exactly the way you like it best!

Vegetarian Version (or Vegan or Gluten Free)

As I mentioned above, it’s really easy to adapt this soup if you’d like a vegetarian or vegan version.

Simply swap in your favorite brand of plant-based sausage. One that I like is Field Roast. Their Italian Garlic & Fennel variety is good in this Instant Pot Black Bean Soup recipe, and I bet their Spicy Mexican Chipotle variety would be great for all you heat-lovers.

If you’re following a gluten-free diet, just be sure that the brand of sausage you select is, indeed, gluten free. Most should be, but there are some exceptions, so check the labels to be certain.

NOTE: It can be tricky to find a sausage that is BOTH plant-based and gluten free, as many plant-based sausages contain ingredients like vital wheat gluten.

And just a side note, but if you’re always on the lookout for great plant-based recipes, definitely check out my collection of the very BEST Vegetarian Meals, submitted by food writers all across the Internet. 😉

How to Serve Up Your Yummy Soup

  • I like to serve my Black Bean Soup next to some soft-and-crusty whole grain rolls for dipping.
  • To make it extra-special, try serving it in individual bread bowls. You can easily make your own bowls out of tortillas or flatbreads. Check out the surprisingly easy technique I use to make my Cumin-Dusted Bread Bowls. They’re perfect with this soup (and yes your friends and family will be super impressed!).
Soup served alongside whole grain rolls with extra cheese nearby.
  • And what about toppings?
    • Our go-to toppings are reduced-fat sour cream, reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese, green onions, and fresh, diced tomatoes.
    • My spice-loving husband usually drizzles on some hot sauce, too.
    • But, you could go a different (kicky!) route with some thinly sliced jalapeños and pretty little lime wedges, along with a drizzle of sour cream and maybe a sprinkling of cilantro.
    • Some finely diced sweet onion and red bell pepper could be nice, too. Get creative!

FAQs At-a-Glance

Can I Substitute Dried Beans Instead of Canned Beans in This Recipe?

This Black Bean Soup was specifically designed to be ultra fast and easy, which is why I choose canned beans here. They slash the pressure cooking time from around 45-60 minutes for dry beans to only 4 minutes for canned. Now that’s FAST!

How Do I Make This Soup Spicier?

One easy option is to choose a spicier sausage. You can also offer hot sauce at the table, so everybody can add more or less heat to taste.

How Do I Freeze This Instant Pot Black Bean Soup?

You have a couple of options. (1) Once your soup has cooled, you can ladle the entire batch into large freezer bags or freezer-proof containers (if you’re into stockpiling or meal prepping big-batch meals). (2) Alternately, though, I prefer to spoon single portions (about 1 cup each) into sandwich-sized zipper bags. Freeze them flat, and once frozen, combine all the zipper bags into one larger gallon bag so they don’t get lost in the freezer. Voilà … you’ve got pre-portioned, individual servings you can pull out as needed! This soup should keep well in the freezer for up to about 3 months.

Do I Have to Use Sausage in This Soup? (What If I’m a Vegetarian?)

Not all recipes for black bean soup include sausage. But, as noted in the post above, I highly recommend including some sort of sausage for this particular recipe. The extra flavor the sausage adds makes the soup even more delicious than if you leave the sausage out (which is why, even for vegan and vegetarian versions, I recommend a diet-appropriate, plant-based sausage, rather than omitting the sausage). I typically choose a lower-fat (chicken or turkey) sausage, but vegan and vegetarian sausages can work great, too.

Mmmmmm … don’t you feel all cozy and happy just looking at this soup?

Two hands lifting bowl of Black Bean Soup that's been garnished with scallions, sour cream and cheese.

Your family will love that it’s so hearty and delicious. And you’ll love how darn quick and easy it is to throw together. (And how there’s just ONE pan to wash after dinner.)

Thanks, Instant Pot! Now my favorite, restaurant Black Bean Soup is even more favorite-y!

~ by Shelley

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Closeup of the top of the soup bowl, with garnishes and a roll alongside.

Instant Pot Black Bean Soup

This Instant Pot Black Bean Soup has such rich, cozy flavors … in just minutes! Plus, it freezes beautifully for make-ahead meals, too.
• Ready in 30 Minutes or Less • Freezable • Make Ahead • Vegan / Vegetarian Option • Gluten Free (see note) •
4.72 from 7 votes
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Prep Time: 7 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 6 1/2 cups

Ingredients
 

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion (about ½ a large onion)
  • 1 (3-ounce) Italian, Cajun or Cuban-style chicken or turkey sausage link (cut into about 18 slices and then cut into quarters, to yield about ½ cup)
  • cup finely chopped green pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can vegetable broth (+ an optional second can, see note)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 (15-ounce) cans black beans (preferably organic or reduced-sodium), rinsed and drained
  • optional for serving: reduced-fat sour cream reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese, thinly sliced green onions, and finely diced tomatoes

Instructions
 

  • Set Instant Pot to SAUTE and heat oil in insert. Once oil is hot, add onions, sausage, green pepper, and garlic. Cook until onions are softening and becoming translucent, about 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently so garlic doesn't burn.
    First recipe ingredients sauteeing in Instant Pot with spices and black beans waiting alongside.
  • Turn off Instant Pot, and add 1 can broth, stirring to deglaze and loosen any browned bits.
  • Add tomato paste, bay leaf, salt, oregano, cumin, and black pepper. Stir everything to combine, and then add black beans and stir again.
    Black beans added to other soup ingredients in pressure cooker.
  • Close Instant Pot lid (making sure the "venting" steam release knob is set to sealing, not venting). Set Instant Pot to SOUP (high) setting for 4 minutes. (It takes my 6-quart Instant Pot Duo60 about 15 minutes to build enough pressure to seal and then begin the 4-minute cook time.)
  • When cook time is completed, CAREFULLY manually vent the steam via the steam release knob (being cautious to avoid steam burns).
  • Remove bay leaf and serve with desired garnishes and toppings.
    Black Bean Soup served in brown bowl on yellow plate, with spoon dipped in and roll on the side.

Notes

Vegan / Vegetarian option: Rather than omitting the sausage for a veggie version, I recommend selecting a plant-based sausage. Don't worry if you can't find a Cuban or Cajun version Italian or a spicy Mexican variety will work great, too. Regardless, the flavor boost from including the sausage is well worth it, which is why I urge you not to omit the sausage altogether.
Gluten free tip: In general, the ingredients for this soup should be gluten free. Be sure, however, to double-check the brand of sausage you select, as some rare brands may not be acceptable. (Also, note that plant-based sausages most likely will NOT be gluten free, as many contain ingredients like vital wheat gluten.)
Optional second can of vegetable broth + make-ahead tips: We love this soup really thick and hearty. However, if you prefer yours thinner, you can add just a bit of additional broth to thin the soup to your desired consistency. Also, this soup will continue to thicken as it sits. It refrigerates and freezes well, so it's a great make-ahead, but when you reheat it, you may also find that you'd like to add a little extra broth at that time.
Adjusting the spiciness: If you want more of a Spicy Black Bean Soup, be sure to look for a spicy sausage. Also, another great option is to pass some hot sauce at the table when serving, which allows everyone to adjust the heat to their liking.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 cup | Calories: 441 | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0g | Unsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 521mg | Carbohydrates: 74g | Fiber: 26g | Sugar: 4g | Protein: 30g

* Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only, and may vary depending on your choice of ingredients or preparation. No guarantees are made regarding allergies or dietary needs. Always consult a physician or dietician for specific advice and questions.

Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Diet: Low Fat
Author: Shelley © Two Healthy Kitchens LLC at www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com
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2 Comments

  1. I just made this for dinner. Super easy and quick. It taste just like Rockne’s soup. I added some rice to it as an additional topping. Definitely putting this on my dinner rotation!

    1. Oh, thank you for this wonderful comment, Maddie! I’m super excited that someone else who knows and loves Rockne’s Black Bean Soup thought that this was a spot-on homemade version. Honored to have it become part of you regular rotation – that’s high praise, for sure! 😀 ~Shelley

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