Best soup makers 2019

For a quick and healthy supper solution, a soup maker will deliver with minimum effort. From basic models to sophisticated multi-purpose blenders, we round up our favourite models. 

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Morphy Richards Soup Maker 501040 Morphy Richards soup maker on white background

Best for simplicity and budget

Pros: Clear display with timer, easy to use, fast – smooth soup in 21 mins, chunky in 28 mins, clear instruction booklet and simple functionality
Cons: Only pre-sets available, except blend, minimum volume 1.3 litres

Morphy Richards gets top marks time and again for simple instructions and easy-to-use functionality. With this soup maker they did not disappoint. Out of all the models we tested it was the easiest, from unpacking to a steaming soup. It was also the speediest, producing our carrot & coriander soup with no pre-cooking in just 21 minutes. The soup was silky smooth, restaurant-style, and had a delicious depth of flavour.

We also tried out the chunky setting using the French-style pistou recipe included. This setting takes a little longer at 28 mins. The advice is to cut the vegetables into small dice to ensure cooking, which we did. There is the option to switch to the blend setting afterwards but we found we didn't need to. The vegetables and pasta had a great texture and we liked the addition of a little tomato purée to thicken.

The drinks function takes only two minutes. This machine has a top-down motor with the blade attached. It's powerful, but the small blade is not suitable for ice so you'll want to have the main liquid fridge-cold for a refreshing drink. The minimum capacity is 1.3 litres, which is a lot for a smoothie, fine if you're serving four but if you want to rustle up a drink for one this is far too much. It did do a great job though, smoothly blending seeds in our berry and banana concoction.

Cleaning instructions fell under the title 'a dream to clean' in the manual, which boded well. The appliance is hand-wash only and must not be immersed due to electrical components, both in the lid and base, but it was very easy, using a brush and warm soapy water. We'd recommend doing it straight after use.

There are only six soup and three drinks recipes included in the booklet. We'd have liked a few more, but found it conquered our Good Food recipe very well and was so easy to use that we'd feel confident selecting our own recipes.

Specifications
Capacity: Maximum 1.6 litres, Minimum 1.3 litres
Dimensions: 37 x 28 x 22.5cm
Weight: 2.4kg
Power: 1000W
Jug material: Stainless steel
Functions: Smooth (21 mins), Chunky (28 mins), Drinks (2 mins), Blend
Cleaning: By hand, not dishwasher safe
Timer? Yes, a countdown for pre-sets
Keep warm setting: No
Removable jug: No, but detachable power lead
Guarantee: Two years

 

Tefal Easy SoupTefal Easy Soup soup maker on white background

Best basic soup maker

Pros: Clear functionality, easy to use, fast – smooth soup in 23 mins, chunky in 25 mins, 30 recipes, keep-warm function
Cons: No timer

For a little more, you get extra functionality with this Tefal soup maker. It still falls into the simple, soup-orientated category but it does offer 'keep warm' for 40 mins, 'auto clean' and a compote setting.

We did a test run using our carrot & coriander recipe and found with a capacity of 1.2 litres, we couldn't get all the stock in. Our Good Food recipe is meant for four, the manufacturer claims 1.2 litres is enough – if you haven't got a big appetite or are having soup as a starter we'd say that's fair, and it did turn out a smooth soup.

There are a lot of recipes to choose from, and we had a go at their sweet potato & red lentil soup. The 'soup with pieces' setting doesn't blend at all and produced a good result in 25 minutes. You need to keep pieces small to ensure thorough cooking. We also used the blend button to make their mango lassi – this machine is perfect for the luxurious texture needed.

The easy cleaning button is a handy feature, but unlike some of the other soup makers that have this, it does not recommend using detergent. We can't quite get past not using soap so gave it a further clean afterwards. The information says not to put the jug under running water, which makes it a bit trickier, but it still proved easier than cleaning a saucepan.

Specifications
Capacity: Maximum 1.2 litres, Minimum 1 litre
Dimensions: 15.5 x 22.5 x 36.7cm
Weight: 2.48kg
Power: 1000W
Jug material: Stainless steel
Functions: Smooth (23 mins), Soup with pieces (25 mins), Compote (20 mins), Blend (4 mins), Easy Clean (3 mins)
Cleaning: Auto clean or by hand, not dishwasher safe
Timer? No
Keep warm setting: Yes, 40 mins
Removable jug: No, but detachable power lead
Guarantee: Two years

 

Lakeland Touchscreen Soup MakerLakeland soup maker with touchscreen and green soup inside on white background

Best all-rounder and our star buy

Pros: Glass jug, easy to use, pre-sets plus manual option for soups, ice crushing setting suitable for frozen ingredients, adjustable timer
Cons: Chunky setting is not very chunky, icons on display confusing at first

The Lakeland soup maker still offers the simplicity of a basic soup maker but also provides versatility for a wider range of uses. The smooth setting produced an ultra fine carrot & coriander soup, taking 30 minutes, so nearly 10 minutes longer than the Morphy Richards, but with equally good results. We tried the Lakeland chorizo & chickpea soup for test-running the chunky setting. The consistency was coarse rather than chunky with only the chorizo surviving in larger pieces. However, manual can be used as an alternative if you're making a soup where you'd like pieces intact. Both the smooth and chunky settings go on to keep the soup warm for 20 minutes, which we think is useful addition, especially if you're entertaining.

The manual option can be set to high (90–100C) and low (75–85C), and the time adjusted from 1–60 minutes. The blend button lets you blend as you go. As you can see the contents through the jug, it's easy to decide how coarse or fine you want it. Surprisingly, not all soup makers offer a pause button, but this one does and that's helpful if you want to add ingredients at different stages – giving you a wider range of recipes you can adapt.

The ice crushing setting proved great for smoothies. We added ice and frozen berries and with a minimum of 500ml, it was much more suited to the task, giving the right amount for one large or two smaller drinks. The one-minute timer was sufficient for a smooth result.

Additional features include the option to blend on three different speeds for use in purées, baby food, cold sauces and dips, plus a sauce setting, which takes 20 mins, is a lower temperature than soups and blends less.

This soup maker is not dishwasher safe, but an 'auto clean' function allows you to add water and a few drops of detergent for a 5-minute cycle that got most, if not all, of the residue off. A brush is also included, which helped get the last bits off.

Six soups, six sauces and two drinks recipes are provided, and that along with the manual flexibility gives this piece of kit plenty of scope in the kitchen. It takes up more room than a basic soup maker but this matches its functionality.

Specifications
Capacity: Hot – maximum 1.4 litres, minimum 600ml. Cold – maximum 1.75 litres, minimum 500ml
Dimensions: 24 x 19 x 44cm
Weight: 7.14kg
Power: 1000W
Jug material: Glass
Functions: Smooth (30 mins), Chunky (30 mins), Sauce (20 mins), Ice crushing (1 min), Auto Clean (5 mins), Blend
Cleaning: Auto clean function setting or by hand. Brush provided. Not dishwasher safe
Timer? Yes
Keep warm setting: Yes
Removable jug: Yes
Guarantee: Three years


Buy from Lakeland (£99.99)

Vitamix Ascent A2500i Vitamix Ascent A2500i on white background

Best high-end blender

Pros: High power with laser cut blades for ultra-blending, even for hard ingredients such as nuts
Cons: Programme not long enough to create soup without some pre-cooking for most recipes, chunky soups not possible

This blender is so powerful it can produce piping hot soup in less than 6 minutes. However, as the length of the heating is so short it is necessary by and large to pre-cook the main ingredient. We tried out the Vitamix cauliflower soup recipe – which required the cauiflower to be steamed but there was no pre-cooking of the remaining ingredients which included leeks. Despite containing nuts, the soup was incredibly smooth and piping hot, too. We tried our carrot & coriander soup but the results, although tasty, were more akin to a hot juice rather than a soup with a sweetness closer to raw carrot. The carrots and potato would have benefited from some prior cooking.

Our conclusion is that if you're a scratch-cook who thinks nothing of pre-roasting vegetables to give your soups depth, then this will still give you soup in a shorter time than if you transferred the contents to the hob and then to a blender. Chunky soups are not an option as this is primarily a blender and only produces heat through the friction of the blades not through any heating element as in standard soup makers.

The pre-sets that are included are hot soups (smooth) in 5 minutes 45 seconds, smoothies in 45 seconds and frozen desserts such as granitas and sorbets in 55 seconds. Otherwise, it's a question of turning the dial from 1–10 to increase the blend to your desired speed. Easy.

To really put the blender to the test, we tried out the Vitamix peanut butter recipe. It produced smooth peanut butter in under 5 minutes. During blending, it was suggested and necessary to use the tamper tool provided to safely pop the air bubble around the blade to ensure the entire mixture blitzed evenly. As it was possible to use just peanuts and no oil, it's a great way of making healthy pure peanut butter. In addition, out of all of the smoothies we made in our blenders, this produced the smoothest results, with absolutely no granularity.

For cleaning, it's recommend to add warm water to the jug with a drop of detergent and run it through the variable speeds (1–10) for 1 minute. It cleaned well, needing just a little extra help with a brush. The dishwasher is also an option if you can't be bothered.

Our view of the accompanying reading material was mostly positive. The instruction booklet could have been clearer but with only a few settings, a dial for the speed and a pulse button it proved pretty simple to work out. There was a handy separate 'start here guide' which took us through the first clean and a smoothie. We liked that it gave us a pick and mix recipe so you can choose your preferred liquid (soya milk, yogurt, juice or water), a green, plus two additional fruits or veg – suggestions and quantities listed. In addition, there's a comprehensive recipe book to help navigate a broad range of uses – nut milks and butters, dips, doughs, cakes, baby foods, desserts and, of course, soup.

Overall, we loved this blender with the added ability to create a hot soup when we've pre-roasted our veg. It's a highly useful addition for keen cooks.

Specifications
Capacity: Maximum 2 litres, no minimum specified
Dimensions: 20.32 x 27.94 x 43.18cm
Weight: 6.93kg
Power: 1200-1400W
Jug material: Plastic
Functions: Blend, Smoothies (50 secs), Hot soups (5 mins 45 secs), Frozen desserts (55 secs)
Cleaning: Either blend to clean or dishwasher lid, lid plug and tamper tool
Timer: Yes
Keep warm setting: No
Removable jug: Yes
Guarantee: 10 years

 

Cuisinart Soup Maker Plus SSB3UCuisinart Soup Maker Plus SSB3U on white background

Best for hands-on cooks

Pros: Allows user to be in control of cooking process, and with glass jug you can monitor progress
Cons: Requires more user input

There's a lot more to this product than adding the ingredients, selecting a programme and walking away which could be considered a plus or a minus depending on your approach to cooking. There are three main settings. The first is sauté for browning base ingredients such as onion and garlic. These need to be finely chopped as larger chunks can get lodged in the blade if no liquid is added. There's a high setting (up to 100C) for bringing liquids up to the boil and a simmer setting which is a lower temperature (up to 80C) and ideal for simmering soups. These settings only provide heat. If you want to stir, you need to press the slow stir button. Blending can be done once any of the programmes have finished. In addition, you can blend or pulse cold liquids such as smoothies.

As this machine involves more than simply pressing a button, we began with two of the provided recipes. First a curry paste, with the machine having no trouble grinding up ingredients for a smooth result using 'level 3 blend' (there are 1–4 speeds available). We then used this curry paste in the Thai chicken & red chilli soup. This recipe allowed us to throw in raw ingredients and cook on the simmer setting, using the stir button occasionally and adding more ingredients through the feed hole at various points to ensure they didn't get overcooked.

This machine doesn't offer manual pre-sets. You need to select the cooking mode and temperature, as well as choosing when to stir. However, this makes it much closer to cooking on the hob and therefore adapting recipes becomes straightforward.

As you can't blend while heating like many soup makers which offer a smooth setting, it does mean you need to chop vegetables well to ensure you end up with a smooth consistency. We wished we'd chopped our ingredients for carrot & coriander soup more finely to reduce cooking time and create a finer result.

The recipe booklet offers a good spread of recipes – jam, chutney, risotto, smoothie, nut milk, curries and soups. This is ideal for mastering the equipment. You can strip the process back to basics if you like but we feel the usefulness of this product has the potential to grow and grow as you become more familiar with it.

Cleaning is easy, requiring a drop of detergent and warm water then running through a two-minute simmer followed by a 1-minute blend.

Specifications
Capacity: Hot maximum 1.4 litres Cold maximum 1.75 litres, No minimum specified
Dimensions: 20 x 23 x 46 cm
Weight: 5.98kg
Power: Heating element 1000W
Jug material: Glass
Functions: Simmer, Saute, High, Blend, Slow Stir, Pulse
Cleaning: Add warm water and detergent to jug, set to 2 mins on simmer setting, then blend on 'speed 1' for a further 1 min
Timer? Yes
Keep warm setting: No
Removable jug: Yes
Guarantee: Three years

 

Buyer's advice

Why buy a soup maker?

Though not a kitchen essential, some soup makers save a great deal of time, stress and washing up. Traditional soup recipes call for various stages of preparation from chopping, to simmering for long periods of time and blitzing, which is time-consuming and creates mess. If you use a handblender to blitz rather than a blender, you don't get the ultra-smooth results. Soup makers aren't always just for soups either. Many can prepare smoothies, cold drinks, batters, dips, sauces and even baby food, so you can make your investment stretch further. 
 

Which soup maker should I buy?

Asparagus and pea green soup on grey background

Soup makers fall into two categories – simple models that require little more than chopping ingredients and pressing a button. Their primary use is to make soup with smoothies as an add-on and are ideal if you're looking to save time and minimise on effort in the kitchen. Then there are more sophisticated blenders with a range of functions. They will still save time and washing up but require varying levels of user input and creativity. The less confident or less enthusiasic cook might prefer the former.

Size, weight and appearance are all factors, too. The simple models tend to be lighter and take up less space. The versatile models can be larger and heavier, especially if they have a glass jug. The benefit of a glass or plastic jug over stainless is being able to view the cooking process so bear that in mind, too. We think a timer – even if just for counting down – is a worthwhile feature, allowing you to check on progress.


What makes a good soup maker? 

Instruction manual: Helpful, accurate guidance from the manufacturer on set-up, timings and how to prepare various types of soups was a must. We gave extra marks for a variety of recipes.
Ease of use: A soup maker should reduce the work involved in cooking. We looked for easy-to-use machines, where we felt confident that the process minimised the fuss of preparing ingredients and cooking them. 
Ease of cleaning: Although we were open to hand-washing (most machines, because of their size and electric output are not dishwasher safe), we still kept an eye out for machines that made life easier when it came to washing up. 
Aesthetics and size: Soup makers can be space-consuming, so we considered both height and footprint. We favoured compact soup makers for ease of storage, unless they were enhanced with additional functionality, which justified a bigger size. Attractive design was also taken into consideration. 
Versatility: We looked for soup makers that didn't just stick to the norm and brought other uses where possible. 


How we tested soup makers

Carrot and coriander soup in white bowl with creme fresh

Smooth setting: We followed the basic instructions to make our delicious carrot & coriander soup in order to compare texture, taste and ease of use.

Chunky setting: We also tried at least one of the manufacturer's chunky recipes as, depending on whether this setting blended or simply heated, results could vary. We also wanted to see how good the provided recipes were!

Other settings: We took the machines through their paces, trying a variety of other settings and functions – from smoothie making to grinding – to get an idea of how versatile the machines really were.

Recipes to cook in a soup maker

Although these recipes call for soup to be made by hand, why not adapt your favourite soup recipes and give them a try in your soup maker?

Real tomato soup
Lightly spiced carrot soup
Sweet potato & lentil soup
Lentil & bacon soup

More advice on buying electronic kit

The best food processors
The best blenders
The best toasters 
The best kettles 
The best gadgets for health lovers

This review was last updated in January 2019. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@immediate.co.uk.

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