Pinto Bean Soup

Cowboy Bean Soup

This Cowboy Bean Soup recipe is so simple and the final dish is impressive, complex and filling. Autumn and winter are the best seasons for making this vegetarian bean soup.  We make pinto bean soup in the autumn to keep warm and in the winter for calorie control when we take on that annual New Year’s Resolution to eat healthy, vegetarian food.  Pinto beans are very healthy and the fresh chilli will perk up any cold, dark day.

vegetarian bean soup

Easy Vegetarian Bean Soup Recipe

You can also easily make this vegan by changing the garnishes. We have based our pinto bean soup from traditional TexMex recipes but adapted it for the British home cook. Most of the ingredients you’ll have on hand so this is a great bean soup recipe to bookmark for when you need a recipe for something quick, filling and hands-off. 

We love this bean soup as an alternative to our beef and black bean chilli. Not only as a vegetarian alternative but also because this bean soup gives us a break from tomato-based chillis.

Pinto Beans 

Pinto Beans are the traditional bean for refried beans but they delicious in so many dishes. I love how they soak up the flavours of anything paired with them. Plus they are low in fat and high in fibre. 

waitrose pinto beans

This soup is best when made with dried beans, like these from Waitrose, that have been soaked overnight.  The final dish will be more creamy and filling than using canned beans.

Serve Our Soup

This soup was inspired by the Serve Our Soup campaign with Donate to this great charity that delivers an employment programme, to give people skills and stability needed for their smooth transition back into society and into a career for life.

Pinto Bean Soup

Use dried beans that have been soaked overnight or toss together for a mid-week meal with canned beans.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 13 hrs 30 mins
Course Lunch, Soups & Salads
Cuisine American, Mexican
Servings 4 servings


  • Stick Blender
  • Non-Stick Pot


  • 250 grams pinto beans dried, picked over and soaked overnight
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 2 birdseye chilis very small, use less if you don’t like spicy
  • 400 grams onions white, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
  • 1 litre vegetable stock

To Serve

  • 100 grams coriander leaves picked, minced
  • cheese shredded, cheddar or monterey jack
  • soured cream


  • Soak the beans overnight.
  • To make the soup, use a large non-stick pot, warm the olive oil over low heat.
  • Stir in the onions and birdseye chilis. Cover and cook on low heat until the onions are translucent but not brown.
    pinto bean soup - step1
  • Add minced garlic and cook for further 10 minutes.
  • Tip in drained, soaked beans (discard the soaking water) and stir into the soup base.
  • Add stock and bring to simmer (not boil).
    cowboy bean soup recipe - step 2
  • Simmer on low for about 1 hour until the beans are cooked through.
  • With a ladle, remove about half of the beans from the soup.
  • Either leave the birdseye chilis in the pot or discard them. The soup will be more spicy if you leave them in.
  • Using a stick blender, blend the contents of the pot until smooth.
  • Add back the reserved beans and onions.
  • Heat through. Stir in coriander just before serving.
  • Serve in bowls with additional garnish as desired.