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How To Thicken Soup

I love a rich, thick soup. It’s filling, warm, and really hits the spot on a chilly day.

Not to mention that most of my favorite soups can be made in the slow cooker, so I can come home from a long day at work to a house that smells delicious and a dinner that’s ready to eat.

Soup, to me, just seems best when it’s got that satisfying, creamy texture.

I like to feel like I served a dinner that will keep everyone satiated all night and sometimes a thinner soup seems like it won’t cut it.

Learning how to thicken soup, like knowing how to thicken chili, is super simple, but there’s more than one way to get the job done. That’s where we come in!

Tequila Lime Pozole Photo

How To Thicken Soup With Flour or Cornstarch

Thickening soup with flour or cornstarch is a simple and effective way to change the consistency quickly without a lot of fuss or effort.

This old school method is probably how you remember learning how to thicken soup at grandma’s house!

To thicken soup quickly and efficiently with either flour or cornstarch:

  1. Remove 2 to 3 tbsp of soup into a separate dish and add a tablespoon of either flour or cornstarch.
  2. Whisk until blended, then add back into the pot and stir well, bringing it back to a simmer.
  3. Repeat if needed, but remember to give your soup some time to combine and rest.
Slow Cooker Tuscan White Bean Soup with Sausage Picture

What’s the Difference Between Cornstarch and Flour for Thickening Soup?

Cornstarch is twice as effective as flour as a thickening agent.

This means that a little goes a long way, and that you will want to be mindful that thinner soups will respond more quickly and effectively with cornstarch.

Beyond that the process for how to thicken soup with cornstarch or flour is much the same! It’s largely the old standby method for thickening soup.

Chicken Cauliflower Rice Soup Picture

What’s the Downside To Using Flour or Cornstarch To Thicken Soup?

Unfortunately, sometimes soup can take on the flavor of flour or cornstarch when you include them as thickening agents.

For this reason, flour and cornstarch are best used to thicken soup with strong spices or other flavors that can easily mask any potential changes, for example chili or soups containing curry.

Creamy Chicken Tortellini Soup Pic

How To Thicken Soup Without Cornstarch or Flour

To lessen the risk of changing flavor, we suggest the following methods for thickening your soups:

1. Blending

Looking to keep all the flavors as-is and simply change the texture? Blending is your absolute best bet.

Whether you’re going to blend the entire batch, or only part, blending will change the texture but not the flavor.

If you’re dealing with soups that have chunks of vegetables, whole beans, or pieces of meat, you can strain out all or some of these for texture and then blend the remainder.

Some people prefer to blend a portion of these as well. One thing to remember is that you can always add more to the blended amount but you cannot go back.

So, when in doubt, blend smaller amounts at a time and add more as you go if desired.

Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup Image

2. Add Dairy to Your Soup

Turning your soup into a creamy version by adding higher-fat creams or cheeses, yogurts, buttermilk, and even coconut cream.

To reduce the risk of curdling, turn your soup down to medium-low heat and consider adding small amounts of flour or cornstarch as stabilizers.

When added in conjunction with dairy or dairy replacements, the flavor profile should remain the same.

Removing a portion of soup and adding your dairy product and then reintroducing it back into the pot can also make for a smoother transition.

Tip: Looking to remain dairy free? High-fat substitutes such as coconut cream, blended tofu, or a pureed avocado can take the place of cream in your soup recipe.

Roasted Tomato Soup Mugs Image

3. Introduce Starch to Your Soup

Beans, rice, pasta, lentils, quinoa, or even bread can be added to soup to soak up some of the excess broth or liquids and add a more solid base.

Do you have a packet of instant mashed potatoes in your pantry? In the right soup recipe, a small dash of these dried flakes could be a real winner.

For more texture, puree or mash half or all of your starch and add it to your soup. When introducing rice or pasta, wait until the end of your cook time so it doesn’t get soggy.

4. Cook It Off

This might seem almost too simple, but allowing your soup to simmer longer will change the consistency.

Leaving the lid off the soup and allowing some time for it to cook off will aid in removing any extra water that might be bogging down your recipe.

Blender Tortilla Soup Picture

The takeaway? There are many methods to try to thicken your favorite soups! You can easily play with which techinique you like best. 

To keep the flavor the same, blending all or part of the soup is the simplest and easiest method yet.

To change things up a bit, try adding some dairy and exploring new flavors and textures. And, when you can, the old standby of flour or cornstarch is just as effective as always and will give you the thicker soup you’re looking for without any extra hassle and very few extra dishes!