Black Bean Soup *Panera Bread CopyCat Black Bean Soup

Soup Season is my favorite! Soup is perfect all year long. We have slurp-able Spring Soups, light Summer Soups, filling Fall Soups, and hearty Winter Warming Soups.

Copycat Panera Black Bean Soup

Going out to eat can often be a tough thing to do when you are trying to make sure to make healthy choices in all aspects of your life. Lucky for us all – Panera makes it easy to think about what you are ordering before you make any bad choices! I love that they list their fat/calorie counts right on their menu boards so you can figure your meal before you regret a decision. Recently when I went out to lunch with my Grandmother, we stopped at Panera for lunch and in my effort to eat healthy, I decided to give their Black Bean Soup a try.

Black Bean Soup thick and with a little kick

Long Story Short… I have not been able to get this soup out of my head and knew that I needed to get it back into my mouth and stomach as soon as possible.

Luckily for all of us, Black Bean Soup is not only a light and healthy soup which is loaded with protein (about 1/4 of what you need for the day) and iron, BUT it is also super easy to make. You can play with your level of spice, easily make it a thinner soup by adding more broth, or even put more vegetables in there if you want.

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup thick like Panera

A bowl of Soup like this is a delicious lunch just by itself. If you are cooking for a crowd, throw this together with a quesadilla or a great panini and you have a hearty dinner that still leaves you some calories to enjoy some dessert!



Black Bean Soup *Panera Bread CopyCat Black Bean Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2 - 4 depending on bowl size and sides
  • 1 Medium Onion, small dice
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks of Celery, finely chopped
  • ¼ Red Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Cups Chicken Broth (more or less as needed)
  • 2 Cans Black Beans (15 oz), rinsed
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin
  • ½ tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • about 1 tsp Lemon Juice (optional)
  1. Add your chopped vegetables to the oil in a soup pot over medium high heat. Saute until onions are translucent. Add the chicken broth and raise to high heat.
  2. Add your black beans along with the spices and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a slow rolling boil and let cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Take about ⅔ of your soup and put into your high quality blender (OR use a stick blender) and puree until mostly smooth. Alternatively, you can use a potato masher and work the beans until you’ve reached the desired consistency. Be sure to make sure there are still some whole beans in there. Add more liquid (stock OR water) as needed until the soup in just the right consistency for you.
  4. Add the lemon juice and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Serve up in individual bowls with your favorite garnish (sour cream, chopped green onions, shredded cheese, etc.) and make it a full meal with a side salad or sandwich!

Adapted slightly from Chef Pablos 


Thick Black Bean Soup


If you want dessert but still want to keep it healthy, please try…

* Black Bean Brownies

* Snickerdoodle Dip (made with chick peas)

* Flavorful Red Fruit Salad

* baked Apple Chips

* “Ice Cream” made from Bananas



And I leave you with this, Today’s Question of the Day… Do you visit Panera, and if so – what is your favorite part about eating at Panera?


Black Bean Soup *Panera Bread CopyCat Black Bean Soup — 15 Comments

  1. This was tasty, but it didn’t quite turn out like the picture! Even though I pureed the amount written in the recipe, it was still very watery. Ended up thickening it with cornstarch, which gave it a delicious thicker consistency. Also added some garlic salt and garlic powder. Thanks for sharing!

    • Glad you were able to make it work, sorry it turned out so watery in the first place! I had to keep adding water actually because it kept seeming to thicken up. Thanks for stopping by and giving me the feedback, I’ll have to cook it again and see if I run into issues (not like we’d have to twist my arm to make this one again though)!! Keep Warm!

  2. We really enjoyed this soup. It didn’t look like the picture but I didn’t think it was too watery. I’ll probably leave more whole beans next time I make it (more like half and half). Delicious! This will be a regular recipe in our house.

    • Excellent Kelly, glad to hear it was a hit in your house! Kinda hoping the weather takes another cold snap so I have an excuse to make something warm & filling like this again 🙂

  3. Amazing! The consistency was right on. We added a little shredded chicken to individual bowls and it was the best meal for our snowy day. My husband doesn’t like chili and I think I found a wonderful alternative!

  4. Trying this tomorrow, but with dried beans instead of canned. They’re soaking now!

    • …I am usually too forgetful to be able to remember to soak my dried beans, which I why I depend on canned (and just stocked up at Shop Rite’s yearly can-can sale). YUM, enjoy!

  5. I added extra black beans and chicken broth and puréed some of the black beans with salsa for a little extra zip. It was very tasty!

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  7. I have made this recipe over and over just as it is written and it is perfect. The only change I would recommend is to double the recipe! I do add chopped carrot for more veggies and more color.