How to Thicken Your Soup

Volume III
September, 2005

Newsletter Home / Kitchen Remedy

How to Thicken Your Soup

by Amy Hunt

By thickening your soup you add bulk. This can be important if the soup is to be served as a meal. There are many different techniques to thickening soup. Not all methods can be used on every type of soup. So pick the technique most fitting and add a little “umpf” to your meal.

Pureed Vegetables

This is the best method to thicken most soups. Simply remove some of the cooked vegetables from the soup, puree in a blender, and then return the pureed mixture to the pot. Be sure to add extra vegetables in the beginning if you plan to use this method.

You may also grate raw potatoes or yams directly into the bubbling pot and cook until thickened. Mashed potatoes will thicken soup, simply stir in.

Flour Paste

Make a paste of flour mixed with twice as much cold stock, milk, or water. Add the paste and stir slowly at a simmer for about 5-10 minutes. The ratio is 1-1/2 teaspoons of flour to 1 cup of soup.

A roux of butter and flour can also be used as a thickener. The longer the roux is cooked, the darker and more flavorful it becomes.

Dairy Products

Adding cream to your soup will not only thicken it, but also provide a wonderful flavor and richness. If you’re not so keen on the idea of cream, try evaporated milk instead.

Vegetable Thickening Agents

These include cornstarch, and tapioca. To use cornstarch mix 1 part cornstarch to two parts liquid and slowly add to soup. Cornstarch should not be boiled because it will break down.

Often time’s tapioca is used to thicken stews or other meaty soups. Some recipes will call for it directly. Quick-cooking tapioca will thicken soups nicely but leave tiny pieces of tapioca suspended in the liquid. If you don't like it, try to find tapioca flour instead...or process the quick-cooking tapioca in a blender until it's powdered.

Bread Crumbs

Bread crumbs of whole grain bread or white bread, that has been dried and ground up in a food processor, can be used for thickening soup. The crumbs just disappear into the soup.  This is an excellent way to use left over bread.  I like the whole grain breads best.

* DVO welcomes your kitchen hints and cooking or nutrition questions! Email us and we'll post your hints and Q/A's in upcoming newsletters! *

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