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Sopa Tarasca (Pinto Bean Soup) with Jalapeño Corn Fritters Recipe

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Let’s make Sopa Tarasca! It’s a creamy, silky Mexican-inspired soup made with pinto beans, warm chili spices, and whole tomatoes. And you NEED a big pile of the jalapeño corn fritters on top. Drooling over this one!

This recipe is a fan-favorite! It was originally published in 2021 as part of our Soup Series! View the full series.

This soup is a hug in a bowl.

It’s got a tomato and pinto bean base, with warm chili spices, a creamy silky thickness – and once you add in that generous pile of crispy, sweet, spicy melt-in-your-mouth corn fritters on top, the whole thing is going to have you coming back for more. And more. And then, okay, more again because this one just keeps getting better.

Will you make soup art on top with that Mexican crema, cilantro, and salty cotija cheese? We hope so.

Sopa Tarasca in a bowl with a spoon and jalapeno corn fritters on top of the soup.

Origins Of Sopa Tarasca

Sopa Tarasca (“Tarascan soup”) originated in the Michoacán state of Mexico and was given the name in honor of the indigenous peoples of that area, the Purépechas or Tarascos. It is made with tomatoes, garlic, onion, and our favorite little friend, pinto beans! It is also made with fresh or dried chiles native to that region, which help give it its warm smoky flavor.

We were first introduced to the soup by this video on YouTube from Pati Jinich. We made her beautiful recipe immediately and it was so very, very yummy! Pati used whole dried ancho chiles, which are often trickier to find at our local grocery store (although if you can find them, they are absolutely delicious to use!).

We made some ever-so-slight swaps based on availability and preference, like using ancho chili powder instead, cooking the onion rather than adding it raw, and tossing in some extra cumin, to come up with this cozy-as-all-get-out nod to a more traditional sopa tarasca.

Why It’s So Good

This soup has heat but not exactly spiciness (though there is ancho chili powder). It’s like, actual warmth but not just from soup temperature either, you know? It’s just warm. The sun peeking through the clouds, or sitting just the right distance from the fire pit, or a soft thick sweatshirt and a perfectly weighted blanket. That kind of warm. You’ll feel it and it’s so great.

The creamy thickness that the soup gets from the pureed pinto beans makes you feel like you really made something special for yourself, and listen, you did.

This is also a topping lovers da-ream.

  • A swoopy swirl of Mexican crema on top (sour cream would also be delightful)
  • A confetti of fresh cilantro
  • Sprinkle on some cotija cheese at the end and then sprinkle some more. Still holding the bag? Great, one more sprinkle it is.

What else are you thinking? Avocado chunks? Green onion? Chips? YES, YOU GET IT. You toppings champ, you.

Our hearts were specifically called to make and include some little crispy salty-sweet jalapeño corn fritters. Sure, it’s a lil’ extra step, and yes there is some frying involved, but we think we may have been put on this earth to eat these fritters and we take this job very seriously.

The other VERY FUN THING about this soup is that it is incredibly versatile. Not only as a toppings trough but you can get creative with the leftovers (speaking of which, the soup is *even better* the next day). Did we use it as a sorta simmer sauce for chicken tacos? Yes, we did. Would it make a fantastic enchilada sauce? We really think so, please report back!

How To Make Sopa Tarasca (Pinto Bean Soup)

This bowl of lovely is a pretty simple sauté/simmer/puree sitch, so here is how it goes:

  1. Get your onions and garlic going until soft and fragrant, then spice it up with the ancho chili powder and cumin.
  2. Add your tomatoes and simmer away baby!
  3. Blend that until smooth and return to pot.
  4. Add your pinto beans and some broth to the blender and buzz those up, too!
  5. Mix everything together and simmer
  6. Consider, AND THEN DEFINITELY GO FOR, making some jalapeño corn fritters to pop on top for serving.
Jalapeno corn fritters on a plate.

Let’s Talk Jalapeño Corn Fritters, Shall We?

Cutie, crispy, sweet, savory perfect little corn fritters. Oh my. OH MY. You would definitely commonly find this soup with some fresh crunchy tortilla strips on top, which would be great, but there’s just something so special about making one extra loop in the kitchen to get these guys in your bowl. The batter is simple and they fry up quickly and then you are rewarded with the most wonderful little stack of sweet corn goodness, floating in your soup. The top stays crisp and the bottoms get a little like a dumpling with juicy little bursts of corn and tiny kicky bits of jalapeño throughout.

Flavor: A+. Texture: 10/10 would recommend.

We’re so excited to have this one on heavy rotation this soup season, the best of all seasons. So, gather all your toppings and get yourself ready for this warmly-spiced and deeply flavored bowl of love (and fritters!🤩).

Spoon with a scoop of jalapeno corn fritters and sopa tarasca.

Sopa Tarasca: FAQs

Is this soup spicy?

There’s lots and lots of flavor in this soup plus some heat, but it’s not super spicy.

Can I use regular chili powder instead of ancho chili powder?

Yes! Just add a teeny bit of red pepper flakes in addition to the regular chili powder.

Can this be made in the Instant Pot?

It can! See notes in recipe card.

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Let’s make Sopa Tarasca! It’s a creamy, silky Mexican-inspired soup made with pinto beans, warm chili spices, and whole tomatoes. And you NEED a big pile of the jalapeño corn fritters on top. Drooling over this one! 

Sopa Tarasca

Jalapeño Corn Fritters

  1. Heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté until soft and fragrant. Add ancho chili powder and cumin; sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes; simmer for 15 minutes. Transfer mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. Return to pot. 

  2. Add pinto beans to blender; puree with water or broth. Return to pot and stir it into the tomato mixture. Simmer over low heat until ready to serve.

  3. For the corn fritters, pulse 1 cup of the corn in a food processor until smooth-ish. Mix your pureed corn with the flour, cornstarch, Cotija, jalapeño, and salt. Add in remaining 3/4 cup corn. Pour several cups of oil into a skillet for frying. Heat over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the corn batter in small rolled balls – about 1-2 tablespoons per fritter (a cookie dough scoop works well for this). Fry until golden on both sides. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.

  4. Serve soup topped with corn fritters, crema, Cotija cheese, cilantro, and anything else your heart is asking for. YUM.


Instant Pot Instructions: Sauté the onion and garlic in the Instant Pot with a bit of olive oil. Add in the ancho chili powder and cumin, and sauté an additional minute or two. Add in the tomatoes, pinto beans, and 2 cups or water or broth. Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes with a quick release when the soup finishes. Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth or puree everything right in the Instant Pot until smooth.

I actually made potato eggplant tacos and chicken tacos with the leftover soup – just use it like a simmer sauce to cook with your taco filling. Super yummy.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican-Inspired

Keywords: sopa tarasca, pinto bean soup, bean soup

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This recipe is part of our collection of incredible corn recipes. Check it out!

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