Slow Cooker Chicken Black Bean Soup

Healthy and easy to make, Slow Cooker Chicken Black Bean Soup is a creamy, flavorful, delicious crockpot dinner for those cold winter nights!

Slow Cooker Chicken Black Bean Soup with text overlay


 

If you enjoy slow cooker soups, you'll also love Loaded Baked Potato Soup, Beef Strognaoff Soup, and The BEST Chicken Noodle Soup!

We interrupt this month of holiday recipes to bring you a cozy, slow cooker soup that can be enjoyed all winter long!

It's probably no secret by now that I love cooking with beans. From side dishes to soups to crock pot suppers, beans are nourishing, filling, and inexpensive. It's easy to infuse them with other flavors and they require minimal prep work to pretty much cook themselves. And let's be honest here...is there anything more comforting than a big ol' pot of beans (or bean soup) on a chilly day?

Black bean soup in a white bowl with toppings of chips, avocado, tomatoes, cheese and cilantro

New Spin on an Old Favorite

One of my all-time favorite bean recipes is the Slow Cooker White Chili that I shared on the site last fall.

In fact, I went to make it last week and, lo and behold, I was out of dried white beans! But I did have a bag of dried black beans in the pantry, and that got my wheels a-spinnin'.

If white beans are good, would black beans, perchance, be better?

Close-up aerial view of a bowl of Chicken Black Bean Soup

7-year-old: "May I please have more? A whole bowl."
5-year-old: "Mama, you're the BEST cooker!"
2-year-old (who, incidentally, is currently subsisting on a diet of apple slices and cheese popcorn): "Mmm-mmmm...DEEEEE-wishous!"
Husband: "I think I like this even more than the white bean version."

Aerial view of two bowls of black bean soup and dried black beans spilled on the table

And gosh...it feels like blasphemy to admit it, but I enjoyed this Slow Cooker Chicken Black Bean Soup every bit as much as my old tried-and-true white chicken chili recipe. The variations between the two recipes are subtle but the final results are quite different, albeit delicious in their own respective ways.

Zoom shot of Chicken Black Bean Soup with toppings

Ingredients

To make this black bean version of my white bean recipe, here's whatcha' need:

  • Dried black beans. You may pre-soak your black beans before cooking if you wish, but it's not necessary and the recipe is not written with that requirement. The overall cooking time of your beans will be the same whether you soak or not. (Also, please see the "Notes" section at the bottom of the recipe card for more tips on cooking dried black beans in a crock pot.)
  • Chicken thighs. I usually have no hesitation tossing chicken breasts into slow cooker soups. However, in my experience, dried black beans sometimes require a longer, higher-heat cooking time in the crock pot than do other dried beans. And we all know that chicken thighs don't dry out as readily as chicken breasts! Also, do not be surprised if the exterior of your chicken pieces get "dyed" by the black bean juices while cooking. The taste is unaffected and everything will look normal once you shred your chicken.
  • Chicken broth. I recommend starting with low-sodium broth or stock and then adjusting the soup's saltiness to taste. Alternatively, you can use 8 cups water + organic Better Than Bouillon chicken base in lieu of broth. Or plain water will also work as well.
  • Rotel + additional diced green chiles + jalapeño. For a bit o' heat and lots o' FLA-VAH.
  • Spices. Specifically cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, and cayenne. Although often, instead of cayenne, I substitute chipotle chile pepper powder in recipes like this for a little smokiness with the spiciness.
  • Sour cream. This is an optional stir-in at the end, but it's highly, highly recommended. Because hellooo, silky, creamy broth! Take my word for it: Black Beans + Sour Cream = Match Made in Heaven.

And, of course, don't forget the toppings! Because, in my humble opinion, garnishing chili is key.

Bowls of Chicken Black Bean Soup with a stack of spoons and an avocado in the background

Garnishes

When hosting parties, I've been known to set up and serve a "Chili Bar, with a big crock pot full of traditional beef chili and another crock pot of chicken/white bean chili. I bake up a batch of cornbread muffins.

And then I pop open a bag of tortilla chips and set out bowls of shredded cheese, diced avocado, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, pico de gallo, chopped cilantro, pickled jalapeños...you name it! Everyone can garnish each kind of chili as he or she sees fit.

Close-up of soup

And the next time I host such a party, you can bet I'll be adding this black bean spin to the line-up! It would be yummy with any and all of the above suggested garnishes. Yum, yum, YUM.

Bowl garnished with tortilla chips, cheese, gucamole, and tomatoes

So the next time you want to warm up on a chilly day with a steamy bowl of comfort food goodness, toss the ingredients for this Slow Cooker Chicken Black Bean Soup into the crock pot. It's a simple, hearty meal that's sure to become a new family favorite!

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Chicken Black Bean Soup.

Slow Cooker Chicken Black Bean Soup

Slow Cooker Chicken Black Bean Soup is a creamy, healthy, effortless crockpot dinner for those cold winter nights!
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 753kcal
Print Pin Rate

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried black beans
  • 2 pounds chicken thighs, fresh OR frozen
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic, fresh OR refrigerated jarred
  • 2 (4-ounce) cans mild diced green chiles
  • 1 (10-ounce) can mild diced tomatoes & green chiles, such as Rotel
  • 1 jalapeño, diced (seeds & membranes removed), OPTIONAL
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup sour cream

RECOMMENDED GARNISHES:

  • Crushed tortilla chips
  • Shredded cheese, sharp cheddar, Monterrey Jack, etc.
  • Salsa
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped

OPTIONAL GARNISHES:

  • Diced avocado
  • Guacamole
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Pico de gallo
  • Pickled jalapenos
  • Additional sour cream

Instructions

  • Rinse and drain beans and place in the bottom of a large (7- to 8-quart) slow cooker. Lay chicken thighs on top, and add garlic, green chiles, Rotel, and jalapeño (if using) to the slow cooker. Carefully pour chicken broth over ingredients, and season mixture with cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne (if using), and black pepper. Cook on HIGH for 6 to 8 hours or LOW for 10 to 12 hours or until beans are tender.
  • A half hour before serving, remove chicken to a plate or cutting board. Stir sour cream into soup and replace lid of slow cooker. In the meantime, cut chicken into large chunks and shred it with two forks. Add chicken back to the soup and taste for seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, or spices, to taste. Cover and continue to cook for 30 more minutes.
  • Before serving, garnish soup with a mound of crushed tortilla chips, a pile of shredded cheese, a dollop of salsa, and a sprinkling of fresh chopped cilantro...plus any other toppings you wish!

Notes

  • You may pre-soak your black beans before cooking if you wish, but it's not necessary. The overall cooking time of your beans will be the same whether you soak or not.
  • Black beans can take varying amounts of time to become tender when cooking in a slow cooker. This time can be affected by a number of factors, from the age of the beans to the heat level of your slow cooker.
    • Older model slow cookers often heat to a lower temperature than newer model slow cookers. Therefore, you must be familiar with how hot your particular slow cooker runs.
    • My favorite slow cooker is actually a model that doesn't get overly hot (similar to the heat level of older model crockpots). When I use it to make this recipe, I often have to cook on HIGH for 8 to 10 hours before the beans are tender. But again, I am familiar with how that particular slow cooker of mine runs cooler, so I expect it and plan for it.
    • Old beans can take considerably longer to cook than fresh beans. And using beans immediately after purchasing them from the grocery store doesn't necessarily mean that they weren't sitting in a warehouse for a long time prior to that.
    • I typically try to cook crockpot black bean recipes on HIGH. That way, if the beans are tender earlier than I anticipate, I can always switch the heat to WARM until it is time to eat. It's not as easy to "speed up" black beans that are still crunchy at dinner time. 😉
  • This recipe calls for chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts because of the potential for a longer, higher heat cooking time sometimes necessary for dried black beans. Chicken thighs don't dry out as readily as chicken breasts.

Nutrition

Calories: 753kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 54g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 166mg | Sodium: 543mg | Potassium: 1961mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 798IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 304mg | Iron: 8mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

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19 Comments

    1. Sure! Canned beans just won't need to cook for near as long. I'd cook the chicken thighs in the broth with all of the herbs and spices until cooked through (around 6 hours), only stirring in the rinsed/drained canned beans for the last couple hours of cooking time. This way they'll have time to absorb some of the flavors from the broth but they won't get overly mushy. Also, you'll need 3 to 4 (15-ounce) cans of black beans to substitute an equivalent amount for 1 pound of dried black beans. Hope that helps!

  1. 5 stars
    I love this soup! Easy to make, tastes great and is fairly healthy! We had it for dinner the first night and it’s been my breakfast since then!

    1. Ha ha...yay, Kathy! A soup that's good enough to eat for breakfast is the best endorsement ever. 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    Made this soup for the second time this week...absolutely delicious..I modified the recipe
    slightly and used a pre cooked chicken as it was on salel..added it for the last couple of hours.
    This is looking like a favourite!

  3. 5 stars
    Delicious! I made this tonight (and, after reading the comments as well as other blogs re: cooking with dry beans) I'm guessing that my black beans were "geriatric" lol. They did not soften after 9 hours in the crock pot, though I am a "soaker" and presoaked them the night before! No worries, though, because I transferred to the stovetop and cooked at a med-high for another hour or so, and they finally softened. My hubby and 4 kids (even the 9 mo old) LOVED it! Especially topped with sharp cheddar, fresh onions, sour cream and avocado. Thank you for sharing! I've been enjoying many of your recipes!

  4. This winter I've been making a different healthy soup every week to take to work for my lunches. All have been wonderful except for this one. Unfortunately I was very disappointed in this recipe. I ended up having to cook it for approximately 16 hours to get the beans tender! And my crockpot is a newer model which has worked perfectly on many other recipes, especially soup recipes. With the extended cook time, the chicken has turned BLACK because it has absorbed the color from the beans. It now looks like shredded beef. The soup is barely edible, but because I hate to waste all the ingredients, I will try and eat it. I would never serve it to my family or guests. I think it would have been better to use canned beans instead of dry beans, or to maybe cook the beans separate from most of the other ingredients initially. Not sure what would improve it, but I wanted to save others from wasting their time and money on ingredients. So sorry.

    1. Hi Joan! I'm so sorry to hear about your disappointing experience. However, it sounds like your problem had to do with the age of the beans you used, not the recipe itself. Dry black beans should never take 16 hours to soften in a slow cooker. I have made this recipe (and other slow cooker recipes calling for dry black beans) many times, and the beans always soften within 8 hours in my newer model slow cooker. You can look up other slow cooker black bean recipes and see that they call for comparable cooking times to this one. So I'm guessing that either your beans had been in the pantry for awhile, or if you recently purchased them from a grocery store, they were probably stored in a warehouse for some time before you bought them. Old dry beans take significantly longer than normal to soften, and sometimes they never completely soften at all. From the US Dry Bean Council (http://www.usdrybeans.com/recipes/recipe-facts/):

      HOW LONG CAN I STORE DRY BEANS? Dry beans keep up to a year in an airtight container in a cool, dry environment, away from direct sunlight. During storage, beans may either absorb or lose moisture, which will affect the soaking and cooking time. If stored longer than 12 months, or exposed to unfavorable storage conditions, beans may never soften sufficiently, no matter how long they’re soaked or cooked.

      HOW LONG SHOULD I COOK DRY BEANS? Exact cooking time depends upon altitude, bean variety, water hardness, and the age of the beans. Generally, most beans will cook to the desired firmness in one to one-and-one-half hours. Test frequently by tasting, or mashing a bean against the side of the pot with a spoon fork. Cooking beans in a slow cooker takes six to eight hours, or overnight.

      I'm truly sorry for your wasted ingredients, but I hope this helps you understand what most likely happened. Have a great rest of the week!

    1. Hi Jamie! Yes, my beans were perfectly cooked in 8 hours, though in the recipe directions I did indicate to cook "until beans are tender," because I know that the cooking time of beans can be variable. I do have a relatively new slow cooker that seems to run pretty hot, so an older crock pot may take longer to soften the beans. There are also a variety of factors that can cause beans to take longer to cook in certain circumstances, which I discussed at length in this post: https://www.fivehearthome.com/2014/10/02/slow-cooker-charro-beans/. You can also increase the heat to high at the beginning or end of the cooking time to shorten the duration. I'll update the recipe directions to give a more flexible cooking time range, since everyone's slow cooker runs differently and I don't want anyone to think that the beans will be cooked in 8 hours in every single instance. Thanks for your input and I hope this helps! 🙂

      1. Thanks for that info! 🙂 I am going to make this for tomorrow night, it is cold and rainy here and this looks SO good to me! It could be because I am pregnant but I need it ASAP! 🙂

        1. You're so welcome, Jamie! I hope you enjoyed this soup...it's definitely perfect for a cold and rainy night. And congratulations on your impending new arrival...very exciting! 🙂

  5. I don't think I've ever made chili any other way than in a slow cooker and whenever I use black beans I feel like it gives me permission to spice it like a taco. Which is arguably one of my most favoritest foods ever! Yum! Pinning!

    ~Meaghan

    1. I'm with you, Maeghan...black beans are just begging for taco-type seasonings. 😉 Thanks so much for stopping by and for the pin...I hope you're having a fabulous December!

  6. Samantha, this looks like my kind of comfort food! Also, the fact that it cooks in a slow cooker is just perfection 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Amy! And I couldn't agree more...a great recipe is even better if you can make it in a slow cooker. 😉