Cuban-Style Black Bean Soup

Black bean soup is a traditional favorite in Cuban cuisine. For convenience, we start with well-rinsed, canned black beans and add a seasoned blend of sautéed onion, garlic, bell pepper and jalapeños, then simmer and purée until smooth. For a bright finish we add a squeeze of lime juice and garnish with a dollop of sour cream, fresh cilantro, scallions, red onion, bell pepper and jalapeño pepper. Serve as a main or first course.

Cuban-Style Black Bean Soup

Cuban-Style Black Bean Soup

Yield: 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 quarts
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

A simple, speedy version of Cuban black bean soup flavored with onion, garlic, red bell pepper, jalapeno, cumin, coriander and lime juice.


  • 3 cans black beans (low-sodium if possible), drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 to 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • Juice of 2 limes


  1. Place the cilantro, scallions, 2 tablespoons of the chopped red onion, 2 tablespoons of the chopped red bell pepper and 1 tablespoon of the chopped jalapeño peppers in a small bowl. Combine well, cover and refrigerate to use as garnish.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the remaining red onion, red bell pepper and jalapeño and sauté until the onion is softened, 2 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking 2 minutes longer, stirring often. Sprinkle the mixture with the cumin, coriander and oregano. Add a few grinds of black pepper and combine well. Continue cooking until the spices are fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes, then stir in the chicken broth and black beans. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer 1 cup of the beans from the soup to a small bowl and set aside. Purée the remaining soup either with a hand-held immersion blender or conventional blender (if using a conventional blender, it might be best to purée two in batches).
  4. Return the reserved beans to the soup, stir in the lime juice, taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. To serve, ladle soup into serving bowls and garnish with the reserved cilantro mixture.