With a short list of ingredients and minimal effort, our 30 easy soup recipes bring together everything you need to know about the soup world: from Asia to America, from subtle, thin broth to velvety, creamy goodness. They are impressive enough to serve at special occasions and simple enough to make for casual weeknight dinners.
What Is Soup?
According to the dictionary, soup is a liquid dish that is either the transparent variety with a broth base, or the thicker variants emulsified with dairy products or starch. It may contain other ingredients such as meat, seafood, and vegetables.
Soup is generally easy and quick to make. The most labor-intensive part of making soup is prepping the vegetables and proteins since they need to be in similar bite-sized pieces.
Most soups are served hot, but some types taste best when served cold, such as gazpacho. Traditionally, people have had soup as the first course, though it can also work as the main course of the meal.
Stew vs. Soup
Soup and stew are similar when it comes to cooking technique and ingredients — a combination of fresh vegetables, proteins and liquid. What sets apart these two comforting dishes is the amount of water used for each: stew contains less liquid than soup.
In soups, the ingredients are completely submerged in the broth while they are barely covered in stews. Soups might also be blended to be smooth, but stews never are.
Is Soup Healthy?
Soup can include various food groups, making it a flavorful, versatile, and nourishing meal. It is an excellent option to meet your nutritional goals as long as you keep an eye on what’s going on into the soup pot.
Once prepared with the right ingredients and proper ratios, soup can be an all-in-one meal with carbs, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, offering you great health benefits.
Though low in energy density, protein from meat or beans, and fiber from vegetables, can help to make soup a filling food. This means you can eat soup without worrying you’ll be hungry again shortly after the meal.
Packed with fresh vegetables, soup is a delicious way to help you increase fiber, vitamin, and mineral intake. A diet rich in vegetables and fruits is linked to reducing the risk of diabetes, heart diseases, and chronic diseases.
Aside from that, eating soup can help you stay hydrated. This is especially important in the winter when you are potentially not exercising or sweating as much, and glasses of cold water tend to be less appealing than they are in warmer seasons.
Is It OK to Eat Soup at Night?
The short answer is yes, as long as it’s light, healthy, and in a small portion. Overeating or eating foods high in sugar or water too close to bedtime can steal the needed hours of digestion and rest because of interfering with digestion. Thus, only consuming varieties that are not too carby or calorie-dense can help you sleep.
How to Make Soup Thicker
Sometimes, getting your soup to the desired consistency — a little thicker and creamier — can be tricky. Depending on the types of soup you make, there are several techniques and tips to get the right thickness you want:
- Add Cornstarch or Flour: The key here is to whisk the starch with a little water before adding it to the hot soup, preventing any unappetizing clumps.
- Add Dairy: Dairy products like milk, cream, and plain yogurt create a creamy texture once mixed with soup and offer a lighter consistency than the previous starch option. They can also add to the flavor of the dish and help to balance other elements.
- Add Coconut Milk: Often used in curry, coconut milk also brings creaminess to the soup. Plus, it gives the dish a hint of coconut without being overwhelming and is an excellent alternative for lactose-intolerant and vegan dieters.
- Blend It: If you have a blender to hand, there is no easier way to thicken your soup than blending a small amount of its ingredients and returning the puree to the pot. Depending on the recipe and the thickness you want, you can start with a half-cup portion or more. This technique is a great trick to add body to the soup while still preserving the original flavor and nutrition.
Homemade Soup Recipes
1. Asian Soup Recipes
- Miso Soup: This combination of tofu, salmon, miso paste, seaweed, and stock is a favorite dish in Japanese cuisine. We added diced carrots and poached shrimp for extra color and nutrition, making this umami-rich soup a nourishing yet light meal.
- Egg Drop Soup: Light and flavorful, our egg drop soup is inspired by the classic Chinese soup in which the broth is thickened by cornstarch and perfumed with sesame oil. Serve it with fancy Asian fried noodles or a simple warm bed of steamed rice for a pitch-perfect weeknight dinner.
- Cabbage Potato Soup: The base of this soup is made up of delicious ingredients; packed with ground pork and tons of sweet radishes, carrots, and cabbage. Best of all, the recipe works with almost any veggies, so please feel free to add to and adapt it to whatever you have in the fridge.
- Winter Melon Meatball Soup: This Asian-style soup is all about comfort: it’s warm, delicious, and generously nutritious. Try this recipe and you’ll be amazed at how so much flavor can be achieved with only 15 minutes of cooking.
- Coconut Soup: Inspired by Thai cuisine, this soup gets its dynamic and intense flavor from quintessential Thai ingredients: coconut milk, ginger, lemongrass, fish sauce, and lime juice. It develops and tastes even better the next day since the elements have time to fully meld within the thick, perfectly-balanced broth.
2. Instant Pot Soup Recipes
- Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup: This broccoli cheddar soup is simply the definition of comfort food. Topped with crispy bacon and crunchy croutons, it’s rich, packed with savory flavor, and a perfect pick-me-up on cold days.
- Instant Pot Minestrone Soup: If you open your pantry, chances are you can find all the ingredients to make this mouth-watering Italian soup. You can easily add leftover meat from a previous dinner or swap for baked thick-cut bacon for a more intensively flavored bowl of heaven.
- Instant Pot Bean Soup: The beauty of starting a soup with dried beans is that they help create their own irresistible umami stock without chicken powder seasoning. It’s also a breeze to make! On those busy days when you don’t feel like cooking so much, you can get this dish on the table in only 30 minutes.
- Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup: This beef barley soup may look and taste like it’s taken hours of prepping and cooking to make but actually it comes together in a flash. This hearty soup can be completed with ease in less than an hour when you make it in the Instant Pot.
- Instant Pot Mushroom Soup: Our Instant Pot version of mushroom soup hits the spot on a cold night: it’s thick, rich, and satisfying. Among several potential variations including meat, beans, and nuts, we went for the simple option — heavy cream, for a creamy and complex flavor.
- Instant Pot Split Pea Soup: To make traditional split pea soup, you need to simmer the split peas for hours until they are tender and turn into a thick porridge. Our recipe was developed with a clever trick: the Instant Pot. This cuts the cooking time to less than an hour while still ensuring all the tasty goodness from the stovetop version.
- Instant Pot Polenta: With all the flavor from the classic polenta soup, our Instant Pot version is sure to please your soup craving but in half of the time. With its creamy base, it is an ideal accompaniment for grilled pork, pan-seared chicken, and steak.
3. Chicken Soup Recipes
- Chicken And Rice Soup: Simmering uncooked rice directly in the pot is a great trick in this recipe. The rice slowly releases the starch that thickens the cooking stock, giving richness and body to your chicken and rice soup.
- Chicken Tortilla Soup: This classic Mexican soup is easy to make and packs a punch with chilies, avocados, and shredded cheese. Instead of deep-fried tortilla chips, we recommend baking the chips to add some healthy crunch to your tortilla soup.
- Chicken and Dumplings: With the dairy-based broth, juicy chicken, and cubed veggies, the soup gets a wealth of tasty flavors which are enhanced by the garlic, onions, and a few simple seasonings. There’s no need to serve anything alongside this chicken and dumplings dish since it’s already filling and satisfying.
- Chicken Tinola: If you love Asian-style chicken soup and feel like trying something different, give our tinola soup recipe a try. Lemongrass and ginger give the broth a vibrant and warm flavor which will brighten up the darkest days.
- Chicken and Sausage Gumbo: Chicken and sausage gumbo is a wholesome meal in a bowl. Well-known for its deep flavor, it makes a filling lunch or satisfying dinner and can be served with bread and salad.
4. Beef Soup Recipes
- Stuffed Pepper Soup: If you have a bunch of bell peppers and beef in your fridge, you’re well on your way to making a flavorful stuffed pepper soup. Serve this nutrition-packed dish with salad for a quick, healthy, and comforting dinner.
- Vegetable Beef Soup: Vegetable beef soup is wonderfully hearty thanks to the tender beef chunks and abundance of vegetables, all simmered to perfection in a thick savory broth. Plus, the recipe is quite versatile, and you can replace different veggies with any others you have available.
- Hamburger Soup: This soup has a similar list of ingredients to the classic hamburger, ensuring robust and enjoyable flavors. It’s the perfect easy dinner option to get you to consume more nutrients and encourage kids to eat more veggies.
5. Creamy Soup Recipes
- Cauliflower Soup: Our nutty and creamy cauliflower soup is lighter and healthier than most kinds you’d find in a restaurant. Best of all, the creaminess comes from blended cauliflower and onions rather than dairy products like milk and cheese. This reduces the fat content and is great for those who enjoy creamy textures but are lactose-intolerant.
- Pumpkin Soup: This classic pumpkin soup is creamy, warming, and filled with aromatic flavors from fried herbs. Our go-to recipe is meant for cold fall and winter nights when you want a nourishing bowl to warm both body and soul.
- Split Pea Soup: Velvety, delicious, and packed with plenty of umami flavors, our stovetop version of split pea soup is quick and easy to make. If you boil the beans for 15 – 30 minutes before simmering and add a bay leaf, you will create a rich depth of flavor.
- Potato Soup: This potato soup is a quick and effortless winter warmer with simple ingredients you probably already have. Blending in the cream at the end makes the soup extra creamy and wholesome. For a satisfying lunch, you can serve it with plenty of crusty bread.
- Lentil Soup: This all-in-one soup is packed with protein, nutritious beans, and green leafy vegetables. We love to serve it along with it as a tasty starter at dinner before the main dish.
6. Cold Soup Recipes
- Cucumber Soup: This cool soup features refreshing cucumbers and the tanginess and creaminess of Greek yogurt. The addition of fragrant fresh herbs works perfectly with the subtle tasting cucumber, making it a perfect summertime starter.
- Avocado Soup: Velvety smooth and creamy, this avocado soup makes a fantastic starter for leisurely summer dinners. As an extra taste boost, you can garnish your bowl with roasted pumpkin seeds for a hint of nuttiness or chili oil for a little bit of heat.
- Sweet Corn Gazpacho: Sweet corn and yellow tomatoes combine to create this sunny-colored soup. Thanks to a splash of vinegar, this summer soup has a lovely sweet and tangy flavor, tingling your taste buds and leaving you wanting another spoonful.
- Salmorejo: This well-known cold tomato soup is sweeter and has more tomato flavor than any regular tomato soups. The sherry vinegar highlights the sweetness of fresh tomatoes and livens up the taste of the soup without calling for too much seasoning.
- Zucchini Soup: Though often treated as a vegetable, zucchini is technically a fruit and can be eaten raw. Once blended, this zucchini soup has a perfect velvety texture without heating or thickening agents. You can finish the soup with a cup of plain yogurt, resulting in a creamy and elegant summer soup.
What to Serve With Soup
Soup recipes are the best comfort food for chilly days. However, when a bowl of soup isn’t enough to completely satisfy your hunger, pairing it with a side dish can easily make an ultra hearty meal.
Your side dish of choice is going to depend on the type of soup you’re serving. If you have a thick, creamy variety like pumpkin or potato soup, you might want garlic bread, buttermilk biscuits, or breadsticks to dunk into it.
If your soup calls for protein chunks and diced vegetables, you might want to include more wholesome carbs with rice, pasta, and noodles. Green salads from seasonal ingredients are also an ideal accompaniment for your soup dishes. To make the salad extraordinary, you can add bacon, cheese, or nuts for a complex texture and delectable flavor profile.
How to Freeze Soup
You can save yourself some time in the future by making a big batch of soup in advance and freezing it so that you can eat it throughout the week. However, keep in mind that not all soups freeze well.
The perfect soups to freeze are those with clear broth and protein and vegetable chunks included. To freeze, place the soup in an airtight container or a Ziplock bag before placing it in the freezer for up to 3 – 6 months.
Soups with cream or dairy, on the other hand, don’t freeze so well, as the thawing and freezing process can cause the dairy to curdle and end up having an unappealing texture. If you must freeze a dairy-based soup, you can try making the soup without the cream, then freeze it as the brothy type. You can then whisk a little cream into the soup and gently stir as you reheat it on the stovetop.
How Long Does Homemade Soup Last in the Fridge?
We encourage you to eat the soup within 2 days of cooking for the best quality and nutrient profile. Vegetarian-based broth soups can push this to about 4 days.