Mexican Pinto Bean Soup

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Instant Pot Mexican Pinto Bean Soup (Charro Bean Soup) packs just the right amount of heat and is full of healthy protein in a rich and flavor-packed tomato-beer broth.  

overhead shot of a white dish filled with chunky charro bean soup, topped with bacon and chopped cilantro on a stone gray backgrouond, with blue corn tortilla chips, limes, and cilantro in the background.

This pinto bean soup recipe comes from a fun new cookbook written by my fellow food blogger, Karen Lee Young, which I was sent to review. It’s called The Electric Pressure Cooker Soup Cookbook and filed with 100 Fast and Flavorful Soups to make in a pressure cooker. 

Instant Pot Soups are so quick and easy, and there’s so many creative, delicious pressure cooker soup recipes in this cookbook, you’ll want to try them all.

This recipe is called Mexican-Inspired Charro Bean Soup and can be found on page 52 of the new cookbook. It’s a riff on the author’s favorite Tex-Mex soup recipe, and it packs some serious spice. 

This is my adapted version of her recipe. I added directions for a quick soak option and I mellowed out the heat for my family. I’ve noted the original ingredients if you like things spicy. Either way, it’s a warming dinner for fall or any time of year. 

pinterest image with text that reads "Instant Pot Mexican Pinto Bean Soup: make it spicy or mild" imposed on a tight overhead shot of the soup in a white bowl, garnished with cilantro

How to Make Mexican Pinto Bean Soup

This Pinto Bean Soup recipe will work in any brand of electric pressure cooker, including the Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, or Power Pressure Cooker XL.

This recipe starts with dried pinto beans—you can use an overnight soak or the quick soak method.

For the soup, you build the flavorful base with smoky bacon, savory garlic, onion, and a broth infused with beer and green chilies. 

overhead shot inside an Instant Pot filled with beans, beer, broth, bacon, tomatoes, and chiles

Blending the Soup to Thicken

After pressure cooking, the soup is partially puréed. I like to use an immersion blender for this, as you can blend right in the pressure cooking pot. However, you can also transfer some of the soup to a high-speed blender or even a food processor.

You don’t need to blend the soup totally smooth, but a few pulses enhances the flavor of the broth and gives the soup a chunky texture that I love. Of course, you can blend the soup more if you like, or enjoy it as-is straight from the pot!

overhead shot of Instant Pot Pinto Bean Soup, with an immersion blender blending someo fo the beans, bacon, and tomatoes in the broth

Soaking the Beans

If you’re good about planning ahead, you can soak the beans overnight before you prepare the soup.

If you’re like me, however, and usually forget the overnight soak, use the quick soak method. All you have to do is cover the beans with water and cook at high pressure for 1 minute, then simply let the beans soak for 1 hour. 

45 degree shot of beans, toomatoes, and bacon on a wooden spoon, ready to serve

How to Flavor the Soup

The original recipe for Charro Bean Soup from the cookbook has quite a kick, due to the minced jalapeños, diced green chiles, and chipotle in adobo.

For my kids, I omitted the jalapeño peppers and replaced them with a can of diced green tomatoes. The remaining chiles in the recipe add enough heat to flavor the soup without being overpowering. 

Play around with the amount of spice that’s right for you! 

overhead vertical shot of Mexican Pinto Bean Soup, featuring a white dish filled with chunky charro bean soup topped with bacon and chopped cilantro on a stone gray backgrouond, with blue corn tortilla chips, limes, and cilantro in the background.

What Kind of Beer Is Best for Mexican Pinto Bean Soup?

The cookbook recommends a Mexican-style beer for the soup broth to help enrich the flavor. I used a bottle of Modelo Especial.

The book includes a helpful note that if you’re concerned that pressure cooking doesn’t cook off the alcohol fully, you can use the Saute function to bring the cooked soup to a simmer. I decided to deglaze the pan with the beer before pressure cooking to eliminate that concern.

You can also substitute the beer with chicken broth if you like.

close-up overhead shot of Instant Pot Mexican Pinto Bean Soup, featuring a white dish filled with chunky charro bean soup, topped with bacon and chopped cilantro on a stone gray backgrouond, with blue corn tortilla chips, limes, and cilantro in the background.

More Instant Pot Soup Recipes 

Try these protein-packed soup recipes for a pressure cooker next:

overhead shot of Instant Pot Mexican Pinto Bean soup, featuring a white bowl filled with chunky charro bean soup, topped with bacon and chopped cilantro on a stone gray backgrouond, with blue corn tortilla chips, cilantro, and an Instant Pot in the background.

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overhead shot of a white dish filled with chunky charro bean soup, topped with bacon and chopped cilantro on a stone gray backgrouond, with blue corn tortilla chips, limes, and cilantro in the background.
Yield: 6-8 servings

Mexican Pinto Bean Soup

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours

This pressure cooker / Instant Pot Mexican Pinto Bean Soup recipe packs just the right amount of heat, plus protein-packed beans, onion, and garlic in a tomato-based broth.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried pinto beans
  • 6 bacon slices, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 jalapeños, deseeded and diced, optional
  • 1 bottle (12-ounces) Mexican-style beer**
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 can (4-ounces) diced green chiles*
  • 2 cans (10-ounces each) diced tomatoes with green chiles (we used Rotel Mild)
  • 1 small chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Quick-Soak the Beans

  1. In the pressure cooking pot, combine the beans with 8 cups of water. Seal the lid in place and select High Pressure and a 1 minute cook time. When the timer beeps, turn the pressure cooker off and let beans soak for 1 hour. Remove the lid, rinse and drain the beans, and set aside. Wipe out the cooking pot.

Make the Soup

  1. Select Sauté on the pressure cooker. When the pot is hot, add the bacon and cook for 5 minutes or until crisp. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Leave about 1 tablespoon of bacon fat in the pot. 
  2. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeños (if using), and cook for 2 minutes or until softened. Add the beer to deglaze, scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Add the soaked beans, chicken broth, oregano, cumin, bay leaves, diced green chiles, diced tomatoes with green chiles and their juices, and chipotle pepper in adobo, and stir to combine.
  3. Lock the lid in place. Select High Pressure and a 20 minute cook time. When the cook time ends, allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes, then finish with a quick release. When the valve drops, carefully remove the lid. Discard the bay leaves.
  4. Using an immersion blender, traditional blender, or food processor, partially blend the soup for a thicker consistency if you like. 
  5. Stir in the cooked bacon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

*If you like it spicier, the original recipe includes 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced, in place of the canned green chiles.

**You can substitute chicken broth for the beer if you prefer.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 165Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 422mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 6gSugar: 3gProtein: 9g

Nutrition information is calculated by Nutritionix and may not always be accurate.

Disclosure: I was sent a free copy of The Electric Pressure Cooker Soup Cookbook, but all opinions expressed are always my own. 

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