9 Simple Ways to Thicken a Soup with Everyday Ingredients

Soup is one of those dishes that's always a hit, especially hot soup on a chilly day. Whether you're loading it with veggies or meat or serving it for lunch or dinner, soup is a hearty, versatile meal all on its own. Some soup recipes like chowder, lentil soup or a puréed vegetable soup are destined to be rich and creamy. That thick, stick to your spoon texture is what makes creamy soups insanely delicious and satisfying. If you're looking for some simple hacks to thicken your next batch of soup, whether hot or cold, check out some of these thickening agents to use.

1. Add Heavy Cream

To make any soup creamier and luxurious, go for the obvious-heavy cream. Just add in a few tablespoons or be a little generous and add in some more. Heavy cream is the perfect ingredient to include in a corn soup or potato soup. Milk is also another way to thicken soup, but it's not as rich in flavor.

2. Add Coconut Milk

If you are looking for a dairy-free milk alternative to add to your homemade soup, coconut milk is a great thickening agent. Start off by adding in a little at a time. Coconut milk will add just a subtle coconut flavor, so there's no need to worry about it drastically changing the flavor.

3. Add Plain Yogurt or Sour Cream

Want to add some tangy flavor to your next avocado soup or chowder? Try mixing in some plain yogurt or sour cream. To do this, ladle a small amount of hot soup into a small bowl and whisk in the yogurt or sour cream. Add the mixture into the pot and let the soup return to a boil. This will be more effective in adding tanginess than most seasonings.

4. Purée Ingredients 

If you want to add some texture and make your soup creamier, but without the added calories, purée a few cups of your soup. Use a food processor for the best results. A stick blender works as well, just be careful of the hot liquid.

5. Add a Few Slices of Stale Bread

If you have some bread crumbs or slices of stale bread that you can't imagine throwing away, toss them into your batch of hot soup. Allow the bread to soak up the liquid, then purée the bread and a few cups of the soup broth, or use an immersion blender. The puréed bread mixture will add a beautiful, silky texture.

6. Make a Beurre Manié

Even though the name sounds fancy, a beurre manié requires two simple ingredients to thicken soup. Knead together equal parts softened butter and flour until it forms a thick paste. Add the paste a little at a time to your hot soup until it's at the desired creaminess. This thickening agent is similar to a roux, however, it's not cooked.

7. Add Eggs

Some recipes will call for an egg mixture to act as a thickening agent, but it also adds in some texture and flavor. To use eggs to thicken soup, first, you want to whisk eggs in a separate bowl while drizzling in a small amount of hot liquid. Then you can pour the egg mixture into the pot of soup.

Doing this will bring the eggs up to the right temperature without curdling.

8. Add Leftover Rice

Leftover rice is a great way to thicken soup and most importantly, it won't go to waste. Just toss the cooked rice into the food processor, give it a few whirls and put it right into your soup. This will add carbs, which will make the soup more filling as well.

If you want a healthier option, go for brown rice.

9. Add Flour or Cornstarch

Starches like flour, cornflour and cornstarch are ideal thickeners for heartier soups and stews to give it that silky texture. To prevent the starch from clumping into starchy pieces, whisk a few tablespoons in a small bowl with some broth or water, creating a slurry, rather than just adding it directly into the soup.

Looking for some inspiration? Get started with these simple soup recipes.

This post was originally published on September 27, 2018.

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