Cooking Questions: Soup Article -
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Cooking Questions: Soup

Find answers to frequently asked questions about preparing soup.

  • I added too much salt or hot pepper to my soup. What can I do to fix it?

The only way you can fix it is by adding more of the other ingredients to dilute it and balance it out. A commonly-suggested trick--adding potatoes--does not work. We suggest that, when adding any spice to a dish, add it in very small amounts, tasting frequently. When adding salt, wait until the end of the cooking process, as soups will reduce and concentrate the flavors as the liquid evaporates.

  • What is the best way to thin a soup that is too thick?

It's as simple as adding liquid: a little more cream, a little more broth, water or wine. Gradually stir in more liquid until your soup reaches the perfect consistency.

  • Isn't there an easy way to thicken my soup?

There are many! The simplest is to cook it with the lid off: the water will evaporate, resulting in a thicker soup. You can also puree soups in batches in a food processor or using an immersion blender for added texture. Mashed potato flakes or heavy cream stirred in a little at a time also make good thickeners.

  • What is a roux?

A roux is a thickening agent made from equal amounts of flour and fat that is commonly found in sauces, gravies, soups, and Cajun/Creole cookery. A roux is great to use for thickening soups. See All About Roux for more information.

  • What is the best way to freeze soup?

The best way to freeze anything is to let it cool completely, divide it up into portions, and seal it in an airtight, moisture-proof container before putting it in the freezer. To safely cool a large pot of soup, place the pot in a sink-full of ice water, stirring occasionally, until room temperature. Never put full pots into the refrigerator to chill.

If you're making extra soup to freeze, stop cooking it just before the vegetables are tender. When you freeze, thaw, then reheat it, you can finish the cooking process. If your soup contains raw eggs or delicate vegetables, leave them out entirely before you freeze the soup. Frozen, thawed and reheated eggs, greens, and potatoes won't come out quite the same the second time around.

Find your favorite soup recipes.

Jul. 6, 2009 9:51 pm
How do you shred processed cheese like Velveeta? Any answer would help, I'm trying to make Broccoli Cheese soup and it calls for processed cheese (shredded) and regular shredded cheddar...


Jul. 7, 2009 6:32 pm
You shouldn't have to shred velveeta, just cut it into squares and melt, and add after melting.
Jul. 31, 2009 10:40 am
I have leftover prime rib meat and want to know if I can make beef soup out of it?
Sep. 9, 2009 12:04 pm
How long will homemade chicken soup keep in the freezer?
Sep. 25, 2009 4:44 pm
a recipe calls for minced habanero peppers what does that mean
Nov. 7, 2009 7:36 am
To shred velveeta cheese cut it into large chunks and freeze it. Shred it while it's frozen!!!
Nov. 12, 2009 8:05 am
josette I am looking for an old recipe. It called chicken diven. Layer deboned cooked chicken onto moist prepridge farm bread crumbs and mash into the crumbs, continue to layer. finally pour a mixture of egg and the stock from the chicken. The egg and stock was cooked together and I believe we used only the egg yolks. There was also a topping made with cream of mushroom soup, sour cream and pimentos. I hope someone has this recipe
Dec. 10, 2009 3:40 pm
Freeze cheese to make grating easier
Dec. 29, 2009 5:06 pm
try chicken divan
Dec. 31, 2009 1:03 pm
Chicken Divan:
Jan. 20, 2010 7:04 pm
Gonna try this out on 80+ people at work,,prepared and cooked by 7 differant employees ! And im not even gonna test it out first ! Yeeaa Hoooo !
Feb. 2, 2010 12:34 pm
anyone know how to prevent noodles from continuing to absorb the liquid in the soup? i love soup with noodles but it seems leftovers are riddled with noodles twice the size they should be when fully cooked and the broth has been mostly absorbed.
Feb. 14, 2010 9:24 am
I want to put a heart design in my tomato basil soup. How can I do that?
Feb. 14, 2010 9:46 am
whats the difference in whipping cream and half & half?
Feb. 16, 2010 10:40 am
quietlilsis: Don't add your noodles until you are ready to serve.
Feb. 23, 2010 11:43 am
What is a good side to serve with cheddar potato soup?
Feb. 23, 2010 3:59 pm
Misty: Whipping cream is heavy cream, half & half is half cream & half whole milk. Whipping cream will make a richer dish.
Feb. 26, 2010 2:47 am
Non drinker novice cook asking, what is a medium priced red wine good for cooking?
Feb. 26, 2010 10:49 pm
There are very inexpensive (couple dollar) red "cooking" wines available at any supermarket. I however prefer to go with a regular red wine in the $7-$10 range. I've tried the cheapo "cooking wine" and seem to get less desirable results. If it were me, I certainly wouldn't spend more than $10 or so dollars. That would be like using high-end tequila to make mixed are just diluting the flavor any way, so why waste your money?
Feb. 28, 2010 9:38 am
I wouldn't cook with anything I wouldn't drink. Try a merlot or syrah for around the $10 mark and you should be happy.
Mar. 7, 2010 3:37 pm
Problem with still uncooked beans/lentils. I soaked for approximately 12 hours and then added to soup and brought it to a boil for about 20 minutes and then simmered for about 5 hours. Now the pan I used may have been too large for the elements. Any the soup was delicious apart from the bean/lentils
Mar. 31, 2010 1:26 pm
Why is there never a soup recipe using pork leftovers and the broth?
Apr. 9, 2010 2:51 pm
Would ham stock made an acceptable substitute for chicken stock (for chowder)?
Apr. 24, 2010 3:03 pm
Do soups called chowder usually have potatoes in them or am I imagining this? thank You
Apr. 25, 2010 11:38 am
I would like to see a primer on what potatoes are best for what dishes. At the moment, I am thinking about soups but general suggestions would be wonderful.
May 22, 2010 4:21 pm
Hi! I would like to know what beef cheek meat is and how to cook it. Can anyone help me?
Jun. 27, 2010 11:46 am
When cooking soups with noodles, I cook up a separate pot of noodles. I add the noodles to the bowl, top with the soup mixture, and that way the noodles never absorb too much liquid and they are never mushy if soup is reheated. My family loves this too.
Jul. 10, 2010 2:32 pm
I agree, you shouldn't have to shred processed cheese. If you want to shred it anyway, or you need to shred a soft cheese of any type; partially freeze it first. That will give it enough body to stand up to the shredding. Don't freeze it solid though or you won't be able to shred it until it partially thaws.
Diane lions 
Sep. 5, 2010 1:54 pm
I made split pea soup and this is the first time I even had slime and skum on the top of the broth that I cooked the peas in. Is the soup OK or should I throw out the whole batch? Thanks
Sep. 7, 2010 7:53 am
Hi Diane, I would not even chance saving this split pea soup, something was obviously spoiled.
Sep. 22, 2010 4:20 am
I'm interested in making one of these cheese/beer soup recipes. I'm wondering if it can be made just as successfully in a slow cooking crock pot instead of in a pot on the stove?
Sep. 24, 2010 10:01 am
Oct. 6, 2010 6:58 am
coriander is used as a spice or an herb, it is the dried seed of the cilantro plant. Leeks look like a giant version of a green onion, and are part of the onion family but the flavor is not as strong and they need to be cooked before eating. Both can be found in any market.
Linda Pressey 
Oct. 6, 2010 4:44 pm
For the person who wants to put a heart in your basil soup, try whipping cream. Whip it up enough to put into a squeeze bottle with a narrow tip and draw your heart. Hope it works for you. : )
Oct. 17, 2010 5:45 am
shapes can also be added into soups with sour cream in a squeeze bottle.
Oct. 23, 2010 11:54 am
made pumkin soup but tastes too much like onion how do I fix that and also doesnt have much flavor?
Oct. 26, 2010 4:00 pm
As to the article above. I disagree that you should add spice to the soup on small amounts, especially when trying to combine new flavors. Always dish a small amount in a cup or bowl. Sprinkle seasoning... stir... then taste.. if appetizing add to pot to taste. This tactic has saved me many many a pot of soup from going down the drain.
Dec. 3, 2010 5:36 am
Freezing bean soup. I read the article, but how can I freeze bean soup and reheat without the beans getting mushy? Thanks
Dec. 14, 2010 12:22 am
Bobbi, if you plan on freezing bean soup, seperate the amount you want to freeze while the beans are still a bit firm. Then when you thaw and reheat, you can cook the beans till tender. Hopefully this will help.
Dec. 15, 2010 11:45 am
What is a good side or addition to dinner for potato soup?
Dec. 16, 2010 7:10 am
If I were serving potato soup as the main entree I would include a nice leafy green salad and some crusty bread.
Dec. 28, 2010 10:18 am
How can I get gas out of soup beans before I cook them? Usually I soak them over night. I want to know what to do to them so I can cook them the same day.
Dec. 28, 2010 5:19 pm
Cindy, Why would you want to remove the gas from those beans? That's half the fun of beans!
Jan. 1, 2011 7:36 pm
What is the best way to prepare beans for they aren't so gassy? I've heard baking soda in water overnite, so I tried it and can't say I noticed a difference. Then a friend told me to try a potato? Any known tricks out there?
Jan. 2, 2011 9:27 am
A lot of bean soup recipes call for canned beans but what do you have to change for dried beans? Is just soaking overnight and using them as in the recipe all you have to do? Do you need to boil them first?
Jan. 12, 2011 12:02 pm
Need advice on making French Onion Soup please! Snowed in here & have all ingredients for soup EXCEPT: No Beef Broth & no beef bouillion cubes. Has anyone substituted chicken stock or broth in lieu of beef? I have lots of chicken broth. Any suggestions are welcome!
Jan. 12, 2011 3:06 pm
I ad a splash of white or cider vinegar to my beans when I start cooking them-probably 1 tsp. to 1 Tbsp. worth for a 'magical' batch of 'toot'less soup. It does not change the flavor of the soup, either.
Jan. 15, 2011 10:46 am
I use chicken broth in my french onion soup and a little white wine as well. Bullion cubes I find are way to salty.
Jan. 26, 2011 2:09 pm
When a recipe calls for a can of mushroom soup, does that mean it needed the water or no. They never say.
Jan. 30, 2011 12:04 pm
I am serving vegetable beef soup with corn bread. What is a good side for this dish?
Feb. 1, 2011 7:31 am
Does anyone know if you can make tomato basil soup using canned tomato soup to start with?
Feb. 2, 2011 11:02 am
The best way to balance out too much salt or pepper is to add some acid (vinegar, lemon juice) and/or some sugar. The key to cooking is tasting the whole time.
Mar. 11, 2011 9:26 pm
Mar. 22, 2011 12:42 pm
Hi Cheryl I love Progresso tomato basil soup. Maybe could start with that.
Mar. 28, 2011 1:18 pm
To answer C's question, add the mushroom soup un-diluted- no water.
Mar. 28, 2011 1:32 pm
To answer Tommerr- It's personal preference. I only use Russet potatoes in my soup and mashed potatoes. For hot potato salad I use Russet but for German potato salad I use little red potatoes. Hope this helps
Apr. 4, 2011 9:28 am
Which tomatoes are best for making soups?
Apr. 23, 2011 8:13 pm
HELP! I love to make cream soups and chowers. I'm having a hard time bring up the flavor. I use garlic powder, fresh chives, fresh parsley, season salt, regular salt and Mrs. Dash. My base usually start with Chicken Broth. Is there something I'm missing?? I hate to keep adding salt and garlic powder...then it's garlic salty!!??
May 16, 2011 1:40 pm
Tomato soup answers from one who lives in Sacra-tomato, lol, CA. As with anything tis personal preference. Use your imagination. Yes, you can use canned tomatoes or tomato soup--cheap is fine esp if making a "vat" or experimenting. I've taken a family-size can, divided it into 4 and made/spiced each part differently. If unpalatable as soup i.e. too salty not much $ wasted though consider adding to chili, spaghetti sauce or something else. Fresh is wonderful though I usually start with a can and spend the extra time baking. Great adds to whatever base: milk, basil, cilantro, diced fresh or fire-roasted tomatoes,roasted red peppers, onions, garlic, brown rice (cooked), mexican or italian seasonings, mirepoix, thicken with roux, top with something crunchy, whatever. Think of what YOU like. For a smooth silky finish puree/strain after making. My fav is a tomato bisque (cream of tomato soup w/sm bits of chopped tomatoes--avail in a can by Campbell's)garnished w/unsw. whipped cream and chop
Jul. 10, 2011 6:07 pm
The recipe for egg drop soup calls for chicken broth,I have chicken stock,can this be used also?
Jul. 12, 2011 1:06 am
tommerr, you can divide potatoes into two general groups: boiling and baking. If you're set on a potato which stands up to boiling and keeps its shape (such as in a soup, stew, potato salad, etc.), use a "waxy" potato. They're the red, yellow Finns/Yukon Gold, etc. If you want a "flaky" baking potato, use Idaho, russets, etc. It's not a hard-and-fast rule, however, since a lot of people prefer using bakers in a potato salad, where the chunks break down a bit and add a creaminess to the salad. Just to meet both in the middle, white potatoes and some others are called all-purpose for having properties of each type. Hope that helps.
Jul. 19, 2011 5:40 am
For the gas in beans use a a stick of KOMBU , put in on top before cooking , it is a sea vegetable you can buy it in a health food store, it is good for any grain and digesttion, remove and discard after beans are done.Erica
Oct. 5, 2011 12:21 am
adding a little sugar to a soup that is overspiced does wonders to dilute the spice.
Rose in Michigan 
Oct. 5, 2011 8:39 am
Response to Ms. Sylvia's post of Oct. 26, 2010: Your idea for flavoring soup with unknown spice combinations is the best I've ever heard in decades of cooking, to "add the new spice/herb to just a cup of the broth to try it, before adding it to the entire pot of soup". Some of us (me?) might be too impatient and just want to "hurry up", but you are right, take a minute or two to make all of the soup great!
Oct. 5, 2011 12:09 pm
Just wanted to comment as to the first tip on what to do if u over salt/pepper a soup or stew- I found a tip online once about milk and have had huge success with it. If it waters my soup too much I rethicken. Also for a too oniony flavor I balance with with garlic powder and or cheap chili powder (the good stuff adds too much flavor) depending on what I'm making.
Oct. 5, 2011 6:19 pm
To: RLROTH; I didn't see an answer to your question about bringing up flavor in cream soups. Cream soups often bury the spice effect because of all the butter, cream, etc. For chicken, use thyme, paprika and sage. If a fish chowder needs a perk, add these three plus tarragon, but be careful with tarragon; use it early, as with black pepper - not as a finishing spice. Ms Dash is better with clear broths as a finishing spice, IMHO. T
Oct. 6, 2011 12:19 am
in reply to Josette; You asked for a recipe for Chicken Diven. The correct spelling should get it for you. Chicken Divan. Easy mistake to make though. Cheers!
Oct. 6, 2011 9:03 am
Hello This is excellent info. Want to save this not sure if it can go in my recipe box thanks Marj
Oct. 8, 2011 8:29 pm
throw it in the freezer for a few minutes this will firm it up. cheese grates fine afterwards, just remember to set a timer, frozen cheese wont turn out so great.
Nov. 7, 2011 4:56 pm
can french onion soup be frozen? If so before or after crouton and cheese has be cooked under broiler?
Nov. 16, 2011 5:28 pm
I added to much salt to my homemade chili any advice?
Dec. 4, 2011 11:24 am
I'm having the same problem with my turkey gravy! Help?
Jan. 5, 2012 9:25 pm
Most Bean Soup recipes call for navy bean, black bean, lima bean, etc..I need a recipe that calls for Pinto bean, although I just modified the best recipes for bean soup and it is you have a recipe that maybe says "pinto bean soup?"
Feb. 5, 2012 5:13 am
I made broccoli cheese soup and from the point I added milk it became grainy looking and I could not get it smooth. Adding cheddar cheese did not help, it continued being anything but creamy. Any suggestions would be welcome.
Feb. 27, 2012 7:18 am
What is "chili sauce" from the context, believe it is purchased. ?the small oddly shaped bottle HEINTZ?
Cindy Lou 
Mar. 19, 2012 10:13 am
Hi I'm wanting to make Vegtable soup & i don't have beef broth, & i was needing to know if i could boil my beef chunks & use that broth for my soup?
Jun. 27, 2012 4:05 pm
What can I use in place of white wine in a recipe
Jul. 16, 2012 11:44 am
I agree with Randy!! I think eating beans that have had the gas removed would be the same as drinking non-alcoholic beer. What the point?? lol
Sep. 8, 2012 4:14 pm
In reference to the "Garden Fresh Tomato Soup"....Can 'any' type of tomato be used for this recipe?
Sep. 30, 2012 12:17 pm
A substitute for white wine- white grape juice with a little bit of vinegar mixed in to counteract the sweetness.
Ms "C" 
Dec. 14, 2012 5:48 am
Oct. 13, 2013 10:23 pm
A substitute for white wine is cooking sherry. If you are worried about the alcohol, it virtually disipates because of the hot temperature used while cooking. Cooking sherry is good to keep on hand, regardless, because once a bottle of wine is open, it is only good for three days. So, unless you are a wine from lol we or are serving the remainder that night for dinner, it is money smart to substitute with the cooking sherry. Hope this helps :)
Oct. 15, 2013 3:10 pm
Look up " TIPS&TRICKS" on this allrecipes website. It tells what the difference is between 1/2 &1/2 and Heavy Creme. Lots of good tips. I wish this function was EASY to find! You have to type "Tips &Tricks" in the search bar.
Oct. 15, 2013 3:11 pm
Also "How to" in the search bar. Great explanations for questions you may have!!
Oct. 30, 2013 6:10 pm
does anyone know of a soup called filled noodles in a beef broth. my grandmother made this and I have never been able to match the taste ever since. basicly its a big pot of water, beef, soup bone, seasoning, especially sweet marjoram, as I can still remember the smell in the entire house. after making the beef stock u make filled noodles by making noodle dough, rolling it out and speading with hamburger, onions, peppers seasoning, etc and cook a 100 or so in the beef stock. I am not a great cook or I could invent this recipe, if anyone knows of something like this please give me the recipe as I dream of it but can not duplicate the taste.
Nov. 26, 2013 1:23 pm
Hello food connoisseurs. I eat nutritionally for health reasons. Is there a good substitute for heavy cream or half and half in soups. Will coconut milk or almond milk be yucky?! ;)
Dec. 20, 2013 1:34 pm
I am making tomato basil bisque soup with half and half. Can it be frozen?
Jan. 20, 2014 9:03 am
I put a tad to much cayenne pepper in my beef lentil soup. How can I save this meal?
Jan. 25, 2014 2:10 pm
Can I add CECE Beans to Lentil soup
Mar. 1, 2014 5:44 pm
can I put the lentils soup in the freezer
sherry max 
Sep. 3, 2014 3:49 pm
i am making homemade tomato soup and I have it too sweet. How can I fix this?
Mar. 10, 2015 1:03 pm
I made split pea soup with frozen peas, first time, it is sweet! Any idea how to fix this? Please help!
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