Sopa Tarasca (Pinto Bean Soup) with Jalapeño Corn Fritters Recipe - Pinch of Yum
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Sopa Tarasca (Pinto Bean Soup) with Jalapeño Corn Fritters

50 reviews / 4.9 average

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.

What else, besides the fritters, can I serve with this soup?

Tortilla chips, homemade tortilla strips, or our jalapeño corn muffins would be really, really good.

Can this be made in the Instant Pot?

It can! See notes in recipe card.

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

Sopa Tarasca (Pinto Bean Soup) with Jalapeño Corn Fritters

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


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! 


Units Scale

Sopa Tarasca

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • one 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
  • two 14-ounce cans pinto beans, drained
  • 23 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons salt (more or less to taste)

Jalapeño Corn Fritters

  • 1 3/4 cups frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup cotija cheese
  • minced jalapeño (to taste – one is usually more than enough)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, and/or salt for topping
  • 1 cup vegetable oil for frying


  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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    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      This is the best thing I’ve eaten all year. Unbelievably delicious – thank you!

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        Just hopping on to say thank you for the delicious recipe- perfect for this blustery March day. I made the soup and corn fritters exactly as written (aside from using canned corn) and was so pleased with the textures and flavors of both!
        We topped the soup with cilantro, scallions, thinly sliced radishes, and a bit of Greek yogurt. Highly recommend!

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Looks great! Have you tried it with dried pinto beans? I have a large bag and was wondering what to do with them. Thanks.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I did this with a bag of dried pinto beans – but cooked them separately – I think you’d need to cook the soup MUCH longer if they weren’t cooked. About 1/2 bag of dried beans for 1 batch of the soup.

      This was super easy to do and will delicious on this souper rainy day. 😉

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This looks wonderful! I am having trouble printing the recipe. I’m on a mac using Safari and it won’t print.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Hi Judy! Sorry to hear that. Could you explain more. What happens when you click the “Print Recipe” button from the recipe card?

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I have never used an air fryer but thinking about getting one. Could these fritters be done in an air fryer by chance? Possibly another good reason to invest in an air fryer.

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Also, could I not simply add the beans to the tomato soup mixture and use an immersion blender to purée the two components together? Why the need to purée them separately?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      We blended in two batches because it didn’t all fit in the blender! But an immersion blender will work great!

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Also, why the need to purée the ingredients in two batches? Could I not simply add the beans when the tomatoes have simmered and use an immersion blender to purée all the ingredients then?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Okay, so this went beyond my expectations. When I first glanced at the ingredients I thought this would be too simple to really have depth of flavor, but I’m so happy I was wrong! My family raved about it—including my 4 year old.

      I did make a few adjustments: a pinch of sugar to balance the acidity in the tomatoes, doubling the fritters, adding some leftover shredded chicken I had, and keeping a quarter of the beans whole because I enjoy the texture. 10/10 would recommend. Also…had no issue with the frozen corn.

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This soup was AMAZING- kind of reminds me of a Mexican tomato soup mixed with a blended chili for the lovely bean taste. We made some small adjustments to use things on hand versus going to the store -diced fire roasted tomatoes instead of canned, beef broth instead of veggie, and used one can of kidney and one can of pinto. Turned out fabulous and will definitely make again! DO NOT SKIP OUT ON THE CORN FRITTERS- they are the best touch.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Awesome job making this soup with what you had in the pantry! Agreed on the corn fritters!

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Very intrigued by this. How do the fritters hold up as leftovers? Like, if I made a batch of soup/fritters on Sunday would the fritters hold up ok for a few days of leftovers? Maybe thrown in the airfryer for a few minutes to perk them back up?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Exactly, Lauren. They do well as leftovers, but you’ll need to crisp them back up in the air fryer or oven!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      For sure. It’s simply chopped eggplant and potatoes, sauteed in a skillet with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add in a cup or so of the sopa tarasca and let it simmer for a few minutes.

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        I agree about these tacos – yum! What did you, or might you, have with the filling in the tacos? Thanks so much – planning this soup into our weekly meal plan and now a round 2 recipe of eggplant potato tacos! 😊 You guys are great!!

        1. Pinch of Yum Logo

          Do you mean –what extra things could you fill these tacos with? Shredded cabbage, sliced avocado, cotija cheese, cilantro, and would definitely recommend the aji verde sauce from this recipe.

          1. Pinch of Yum Logo

            Wowzers – that sounds delicious!!! That was exactly my question. Thanks for the comprehensive answer!! You guys are awesome.

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This soup needs salt!!!! And also the frozen corn and the food processor are not friends. Should the frozen corn be defrosted first?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Hi Anne! Thanks so much for the comment. Feel free to add more salt to taste! You can defrost the corn, but it’s not necessary.

    2. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Yes, if using kosher diamond crystal salt, it needs more salt! Also, yes! The frozen corn did not treat my processor well and the freezing cold batter cooled down the oil during frying. I really suggest thawing your corn and tasting your soup for seasoning. Other than cleaning a Dutch oven, frying pan, mixing bowls, cutting boards and food processor, it was delicious! Great for a Sunday project, but not hockey/basketball/church group weeknight!

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        This was absolutely delicious and so filling! Great earthy taste to the soup and the jalapeño corn fritters is a must add! Thanks for another great recipe!

        1. Pinch of Yum Logo

          I am SICK, but ive got 2 kids and needed to get dinner on the table so I gave this a go.

          My 11 month old fell asleep in the carrier and my 4 year old helped at every step except the frying. Dinner was on the table in 30 minutes!!

          It turned out well with kidney beans since I didn’t have pinto beans. I used some bell pepper for a peppery taste without any heat and sharp cheddar since I didn’t have cotija hand. I ended up needing a couple tablespoons of water for the fritters to hold, but this is a wonderful meal. Quick, delicious, and versatile!!

          I served it with a sprinkle of cheese, dollop of sour cream, a bunch of Cilantro, and fritters!!!! Perfect!!

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I made the soup and corn fritters for dinner tonight and it was Awesome!!! I followed the directions and was very happy with the results. I was hesitant making the corn fritters because I was never a fan …but… this is not your ordinary corn friiter! They were perfect and my husband gobbled them down, he just could not believe how yummy they were.
    Thanks for the great recipe…

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I love the idea of using it on tacos the next night.

    I made corn fritters last week and they came out super disappointing. The big difference in your recipe is the cornstarch, so I’m going to try it again. But, I’m not wasting oil this time. I’m going to try it in the air fryer. They are going in the soup anyways!

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Made this tonight and WOW is it good. All I had was crushed tomatoes still was a success. My husband ate 3 bowls and my picky toddler used it as a cracker dip.
    The corn fritters are EVERYTHING. I also added a large handful of cotija cheese & cilantro to top it all off. 👌

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Wowsers. Soup sounded so good in the Pacific NW. Had to do a few subs (black beans, ancho chili) and made corn patties vice fritters to not use as much oil. But still, yum.

      I might even consider adding shredded rotisserie chicken next time for more depth. I’m going back for seconds before others get firsts!

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This was so easy and delicious. I followed the Instapot instructions, added a red pepper because I had one on hand and used the immersion blender. Flavorful and a beautiful texture. Also used an air fryer for the fritters and they came out great!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      So glad the soup worked out for your in the Instant Pot and the corn fritters in the air fryer! Thanks for the comment!

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Yuuummm! Could the fritters be baked in the oven? It’s looks delicious but I hate frying food (the splatters and heat scare me!).

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      We haven’t tried them in the oven, but it should work out just fine!

    2. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I made mine in the oven, and they came out great. I did add an egg and a little olive oil to the corn batter to help bind them.

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I’ve been looking for a corn fritter recipe and this was PERFECT! I know the fritters aren’t the star of this recipe but we loved them and will be making them on repeat.

  15. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Wow!! For something as simple as tomatoes and beans, this soup was full of depth and flavor. My grocery store doesn’t carry ancho Chili powder so I used chipotle chili powder instead. My husband said “You’re definitely making this again, right??” Absolutely!

  16. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I just made this exactly as written but air-fried the corn fritters (8 min @ 400, sprayed liberally with oil) and it was delicious!! Thank you!!!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Great tip on the air fryer- I fried them the first time and air fried this time- I preferred the air fried version! Less greasy and just as tasty.

  17. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I just really really love you guys LOL. Once again, this recipe hits the spot on a chilly fall day. I don’t know how you manage to always know what I’m feeling like, but you do and I love it.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      So sweet of you to say, Lesley! We’re glad this soup hit the spot!