Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup – $5 Dinner Challenge

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on March 22, 2010

It’s Monday night. And time for another $5 Dinner Challenge!  This week’s slow cooker meal comes from Jennifer.

Jennifer is wife to Jason and mom to five-year-old Emma.  She blogs at Saving and Giving where she encourages people to save money and be generous.

1 pound dry black beans
1/2 pound diced ham
5 cups of water*
5 tsp. chicken bouillon*
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 Tbs. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. cornstarch

*You can substitute 5 c. of chicken broth for the water and bouillon.

1. Soak black beans overnight. Drain and rinse beans. Place in a pan, cover with water, and simmer on low for an hour. Drain beans again.
2. Place all ingredients except cornstarch in the slow cooker.
3. Cook on high for 4 hours. (Erin’s note here: From what I know about slow cooking beans, it won’t hurt to cook them longer…say if you’ll be at work all day.  Cook them longer, then proceed with directions below.)
4. After 4 hours, use a slotted spoon to remove 1 cup of cooked beans and ham. Place them in a blender or food processor with a little bit of the broth. Puree, and return to the pot. Whisk pureed bean mixture into the broth.
5. Combine cornstarch with cold water in a small bowl. Mix. Add to the slow cooker. Mix with a whisk.
6. Let cook for an additional 30 minutes or until broth thickens a bit.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Liz@HoosierHomemade March 22, 2010 at 7:13 pm

That sounds good! Great for the upcoming leftover Easter ham!
Thanks so much for hosting!


FrugalFriend March 22, 2010 at 7:20 pm

I am trying really hard to add more beans into our diet. So far, no success. But we’ll keep on trying. Thanks for the recipe!


Michelle March 22, 2010 at 7:55 pm

yum….I love black bean soup and I have everything for this particular recipe…thanks for sharing!


Alea March 22, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Black bean soup is a favorite at our house! For some reason the last time I made it (from my memory, which is faulty at best) I made it too hot, I think I will use your seasonings as a guideline as it looks flavorful, but without the bite of some bean soups.


Becky L. March 22, 2010 at 11:46 pm

Erin, just dropping in and saying hi and gonna use some of your recipes from new cookbook this week, finally.
I posted about my coupon binder and there’s a link to your coupon binder post. Thanks for your inspiration!!


Becky L. March 22, 2010 at 11:48 pm

@Becky L., ooppss—this is ready to post yet, til Wed, 3/24. I forget that I’ve got it scheduled to post in the morning on Wed. :p–Becky


Laura J. March 23, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Can you use something other than ham? Maybe turkey bacon?


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom March 23, 2010 at 1:05 pm

@Laura J.,

Yes, that would totally work. The ham is to give it some extra flavor. Turkey bacon would accomplish just that.


Laura J. March 24, 2010 at 10:51 am

@Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom,

Any suggestions on preparation? Should I cook the bacon a little first or just drop it in the pot like I would do the ham?


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom March 24, 2010 at 10:57 am

@Laura J.,

I think either way works…to get the most flavor, you could just drop it in as if it were ham. It will get cooked!

Anyone else have thoughts on that?!?


Dee Johnson April 29, 2012 at 11:24 pm

I sometimes use smoked turkey pieces instead of ham or smoked ham pieces in my beans or greens. I don’t know if it would work for this recipe, but you could try it.
This recipe sounds yummy! :)


Joelle March 23, 2010 at 1:40 pm

I am so excited to make this black bean soup. The days my daughter has dance I have “slow cooker recipe day.” This helps us to get out the door on time. I will add this to my recipe list. Thanks!


Tamara March 27, 2010 at 1:00 pm

I wonder why the recipe calls for soaking THEN cooking for an hour THEN putting in the crockpot. Seems like a lot of work. When I cook beans in the crockpot, I just soak them and then cook for about 4 hours on high. Seems like I could do that for this soup too.

Any thoughts? I am going to make this for my in-laws on Tues and don’t want to mess it up.


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom March 27, 2010 at 8:59 pm

It should work using the method you suggested. If anything you might have to cook them longer than 4 hours. I’ve always cooked beans on low for longer in the crockpot.



Miss T March 29, 2010 at 12:25 pm

This black bean soup sounds delicious. For another pulses recipe check out my blog. The Curry Chickpea with Rice dish is great. It’s easy, quick and cheap.


Christine Milczarek April 30, 2012 at 12:16 am

This looks yummy but what would I serve it with? Serving over rice wouldn’t work would it? Suggestions?


Marlie May 8, 2012 at 9:51 pm

I was thinking soft tortillas or chips w/salsa or guacamole and a salad.


Marlie May 8, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Does this soup freeze well?


Marlie July 9, 2012 at 6:26 pm

It doesn’t say how much cold water to mix with the cornstarch. I did 2 tsp. Hope that’s right.


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