How to thicken soup
Made a soup that's not as thick as you would like? From blending to adding flour or cream, find out six of the best ways to get your perfect consistency
Sometimes a finished recipe for soup doesn’t have the texture you think it will. If it tastes perfect at the end of the cooking time but it’s a little thin, there are several fixes you can try.
If your soup doesn’t taste strong enough, the first thing you should do is boil it to drive off some of the water. This will strengthen the flavour and thicken the soup. Depending on what kind of soup you've made, these are six of the easiest ways to make it thicker.
6 ways to thicken soup:
1. Blend all or part of it
If you’ve made a broth with chunks of vegetable in it, such as minestrone soup, then pour the soup through a sieve. Take a third of the whole ingredients and blend them with the broth, then stir the rest of the whole ingredients back in. You can also do this with a potato masher by mashing directly into the pan until the soup is as thick as you want.
This works best with soups with starchy ingredients such as potatoes, beans, rice or even pasta. You can blend soups with meat in them, such as this lamb & barley soup in the same way, but make sure there are no bones and use a powerful blender to break the fibres up.
2. Add cream or yogurt
Adding extra cream can thicken a creamy or blended soup like this wild mushroom-soup, but stirring in a spoonful of thick yogurt can be more effective. Be careful not to boil the soup once you've added the cream or yogurt or it may split.
3. Add flour or cornflour
You can also use flour or cornflour to thicken a soup. Put a tablespoon of either into a small bowl and stir in 2-3 tbsp of the soup until you have a smooth mixture. Stir this back into the soup and bring it to a simmer. Cook for a few minutes to allow the starch granules to burst to thicken, and to cook out any flour flavour.
4. Use a butter and flour paste
You can also use a flour and butter paste called a beurre manié to thicken a soup. Just mix 2 tsp flour with 2 tsp soft butter, and while the soup is simmering, stir the paste into the pan. The butter will help disperse the flour throughout the liquid.
5. Blend in bread
Torn pieces of bread can be blended into soup to thicken it. Use a milder flavoured bread so as not to change the flavour of the soup, or use a sourdough if you want to add a stronger flavour. Soak the pieces of bread first to soften them and make the blending easier. Bread would add body to a fresh tasting tomato soup without changing the flavour.
6. Add lentils or rice
Blended lentils and rice can also add body to a soup. Red lentils work in tomato soups such as this recipe, and rice can be used in green soups or where a vegetable like cauliflower has been used. Cook them until they're tender, then blend them into the soup.
Which technique works best for you? Let us know in the comments below.