Home Food How To Thicken Soup – 5 Easy Ways

How To Thicken Soup – 5 Easy Ways

by Gina Elizabeth

Did your soup turn out thin? You’re not alone.

Here are 5 easy ways to thicken soup.

#UltimateSoup

How To Thicken Soup

CONTENTS

  • 5 Easy Ways To Thicken Chili
  • Soup Cooking FAQs

1. How To Thicken Soup With Flour

Whisk one tablespoon of flour in two tablespoons of room temperature water to make a slurry, then stir into the soup as it’s cooking. Don’t add dry flour directly to the soup as it may clump. Simmer for about 15 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste.

Or, in a separate bowl, just mix 1-2 tablespoons of flour, with a cup of your soup’s hot liquid. Whisk until all clumps are gone, then slowly add back to your pot while stirring. You can experiment with rice, almond, or coconut flour as well.

Or make a roux

What is a roux?

A roux (pronounced “roo”) is also French and describes a paste created with equal parts flour and fat (melted butter, oil, or lard).

When using a flour slurry you have to simmer your soup for a while to cook out that raw flour taste. Using a roux speeds things up. If you let your roux get really browned, it gives your soup a toasty flavor.

Here’s how to make a browned roux:

  1. Melt 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter in a skillet.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of flour. Stir while cooking until fully incorporated and the roux is browned.
  3. Stir the cooled roux into your soup. Bring to a simmer (uncovered) and cook for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Adjust seasonings as needed.

Tip: You can also make a roux using corn starch

2. How To Thicken Soup With Cornstarch

To thicken, mix one tablespoon of cornstarch into 2-3 tablespoons of milk or half & half.  Stir until cornstarch dissolves, then stir mixture into the soup. Simmer uncovered until thickened.

Do not add dry cornstarch directly to the soup as this will cause clumping.

Add more slurry until your soup reaches the desired thickness.

More Corn Starch Soup Thickeners

You can’t beat the classics.

You can also substitute corn flour, cornmeal, polenta, or masa harina for corn starch. Note that corn thickening ingredients may dilute the soup’s meaty flavor if you add too much.

Tip: Do not use coarse-grind cornmeal, it won’t dissolve properly in the soup.

Sooo easy!

3. How To Thicken Soup With Reduction

Strain your soup through a sieve then pour it back in the pot along with a half of the liquid. Simmer with the lid off, for about 5-10 minutes. This will thicken soup without adding extra ingredients.

  • Note that the flavor of your soup may be more concentrated using this method.
  • Keep your soup uncovered as it cools to allow the steam to vent. Soup will thicken further as it cools.

A simple straining and reduction will do the trick but can take longer than other methods. If you’re in a pinch use corn starch or flour to thicken your soup fast.

What is reduction?

Reduction is simmering or boiling a liquid (without a lid) such as a stock, soup, stew, sauce, juice, wine, vinegar until the desired concentration or thickness is reached by evaporation.

4. How To Thicken Soup With Mashed Vegetables

Mashed or pureed vegetables are another classic choice for easily thickening your soup. Mash some of veggies (and potatoes) then place the vegetables back in the pot. Simmer with the lid off, for about 5-10 minutes or until your soup is thickened.

How to add mashed legumes to soup

Simply add mashed legumes (beans or lentils) to your soup, mix, and simmer (without a lid) until the soup thickens.

  • Mashing legumes releases their natural starches and helps thicken the soup, while maintaining flavor.
  • If the soup isn’t thick enough, simply add more mashed legumes and simmer longer.
  • Season with extra salt and spices to taste.

How to mash legumes after soup is cooked

If you’ve cooked your soup with whole legumes already, just use a potato masher to mash up some (not all) of your soup. The legumes will release their starches and thicken the soup.

If you don’t have a potato masher, pick about a third of the legumes out of your soup and use a fork — or blender — to mash your beans/lentils.

Couldn’t be easier.

5. How To Thicken Soup With Potato Starch

In case you were wondering — yes, you can make a potato starch roux. Browned potatoes taste really good, and a potato roux is delicious!

Here’s how:

  1. Melt 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter in a skillet.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of potato starch. Stir while cooking until fully incorporated and the roux is browned.
  3. Stir the cooled roux into your soup. Bring to a simmer (uncovered) and cook for about 10 minutes.
  4. Adjust seasonings as needed.

Or add a tablespoon of instant potato flakes to hot soup. Stir thoroughly. Let cook for a minute. The potatoes will absorb some of the liquid and thicken it. Potato flakes lighten the color and flavor slightly.

You get similar results with a rice flour roux. No surprise there, browned rice always tastes good.

Soup Cooking FAQs

How do I thicken soup upon serving?

If you want to thicken soup after it has been served, simply add these ready to eat thickeners as toppings or mix-ins.

  • Crackers. Crumble a few saltine crackers and stir them into your individual serving of soup. Start with 3 or 4 crackers, adding more to bring the soup to your desired thickness.
  • White Bread. Thickens so quickly! Stir in pieces white bread into the soup, then give it time to soak in the extra liquid. Check the consistency after a few minutes and add more if needed.
  • Bread crumbs. Use fresh, dried, or frozen bread crumbs. If your soup is still too watery, add more.
  • French’s Fried Onions. Sprinkle a handful into a large individual serving of hot soup. Stir thoroughly. Sooogood!

If you want to stay low-carb, add cheese instead.

Cheddar Cheese

Cheeses take the wheel.

Shredded cheese contains citric acid which acts as an emulsifier. This binds the cheese to the liquid in your soup and thereby thickens it.

Cream Cheese

I’m not sure if I’m more excited for the cream cheese or the soup.

Add cream cheese to further thicken your soup:

  • Mix equal parts hot liquid from the soup and softened cream cheese, until smooth
  • Add the mixture into the soup
  • Let simmer for about 15 minutes

So. Much. Flavor.

Parmesan Cheese

What doesn’t love Parm?

Serve topped with grated Parmesan cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

There’s no such things as too much cheese.

  • Stir fry finely chopped mushrooms before adding to the soup
  • Or add them directly to the soup and hour before it is done

What ingredients thicken soup while cooking?

If you don’t mind altering your recipe, you can addnon-traditional ingredients to thicken your soup.

Raw Broccoli

Raw broccoli soaks up a lot of liquid as it cooks. Just use chopped broccoli instead of beans.

  • Use raw broccoli (not frozen) and only the florets.
  • Chop the broccoli very finely.
  • The broccoli cooks down — after about an hour — and shrinks to the point you can hardly see it anymore.

Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it! The broccoli takes on the flavor of the soup and tastes great.

Who said soup can’t have veggies?

Mushrooms

You can also add fresh mushrooms to your soup. Do not use canned or frozen mushrooms.

Uncooked Noodles

If the soup is not chunky enough. Add uncooked noodles to simmering soup to soak up extra liquid. Most pasta cooks in8 to 12 minutes. Test for doneness after about 4 minutes of cooking by testing it.

Elbow macaroni or small pasta shells are a great choice of pasta for soup.

Ground Seeds

Ground seeds = game changing.

Whenever you need to thicken stew or soup, add ground pumpkin or chia seeds. They don’t have a lot of flavor and the chia seeds will get a gel coating on the outside after a bit.

Quinoa

The newest use for quinoa is probably the best.

Red quinoa blends into the soup. Add a 1/4 cup an hour before soup is done. Quinoa soaks up excess liquid and makes soup more hearty.

Important! Quinoa is a “high risk” gluten-free grain for people with celiac disease. It is often grown and harvested with wheat, barley and rye.

The following plant based ingredients will add extra nutrition and thicken your soup without changing the flavor:

Nutritional Yeast

Only sounds fancy: Nutritional yeast has a cheesy, nutty or savory flavor. Its a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. One tablespoon of nutritional yeast contains 30–180% of the RDI for B vitamins.

  • Alternatively, you can add water to collagen in a separate bowl and mix until smooth. Then add the mixture to your soup. Cook over medium heat stirring the mixture constantly until your soup thickens.

Kuzu Root Starch

Also known as Japanese Arrow Root, it comes in rock-like granules.

  • Mix 1 tablespoon of kuzu root starch with 1 tablespoon of water, then add to simmering soup until thickened.
  • No change in flavor or texture

Tomato paste

Most of the time, tomato paste is used as a basic ingredient in making soup. Mix the tomato paste just before serving, in the final half hour of your cooking.

Add the tomato paste, a little at a time, stirring and checking the thickness to ensure that you achieve your desired thickness level.

Tomato paste works wonders in thickening pastes, stews, and soups.

Should I cook soup covered or uncovered?

Bring soup to a boil and then simmer for 2 or more hours. Alternating between covered and uncovered will control how thick the soup turns out. 

What is the best pasta to use for adding bulk to soup?

  • Elbow macaroni
  • Small shells
  • Curly spirals (fusilli and rotini)
  • Penne
  • Ziti

How do you thin soup that’s too thick?

  1. Add about 1/4 cup of beef/chicken broth or tomato juice for each 1 cup of soup. A little at a time.
  2. Stir the soup to evenly distribute the new liquid.
  3. Cover the pot with a lid to avoid evaporation.
  4. Reseason if desired.
  5. Keep adding liquid a quarter cup at a time until it reaches the right consistency.

How do you fix salty soup gluten free?

How to Thicken Soup with Gluten-Free Starches, Just Add:

  1. Cooking collagen powder
  2. Arrow root powder or kuzu root starch (Japanese arrow root)
  3. Any corn based thickener like cornstarch, masa harina, tortilla chips, polenta…
  4. Finely chopped raw broccoli or raw mushrooms
  5. Gluten-free dry noodles while soup is cooking
  6. Precooked onion, corn, okra, drained tomatoes
  7. Low-sodium cheese like mozzarella or goat cheese
  8. Tomato paste

What is masa harina?

Instant corn flour (masa harina) is a common way to thicken soup in Texas. Masa harina is a corn flour that comes from ground nixtamalized corn. Masa harina is pre-cooked and holds onto water better than corn meal. The corn flavor isn’t very strong (most people probably won’t notice).

Masa harina is typically used in Latin America for making corn tortillas, tamales, pupusas, and other dishes. Wikipedia

How to I thicken my keto soup?

  • Reduction: Simmer (without a lid) until liquid reduces
  • Cooking collagen powder
  • Remove some of the veggies. Mash or blend them, then add back to the soup. The starches in veggies will help thicken the soup.
  • Arrow root powder
  • Finely chopped raw broccoli or raw mushrooms
  • Chia seeds
  • Add precooked cauliflower to make the soup chunkier
  • Grated parmesan or cheddar cheese
  • Xanthan gum (sparingly)

Can I use xanthan gum to thicken my soup?

Xanthan gum can create lumps if you apply it directly to your soup, so mix with a little cold water first before incorporating it into your pot of soup. This thickener should be added sparingly due to the health risks associated with it’s usage.

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