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.
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 to consider when buying. 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. Read on to discover our favourite soup makers.
The best soup makers to buy
Tefal Easy Soup – best basic soup maker
For a little more, you get extra functionality with this Tefal soup maker. There are a lot of recipes to choose from in the accompanying booklet, 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.
Lakeland Touchscreen soup maker – best all-round soup maker
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 in 30 minutes, while the chunky setting created more of a coarse finish. The keep-warm setting is handy.
As you can see the contents through the jug, it's easy to decide how coarse or fine you want it, plus it has a handy pause button for adding more ingredients as you go. The ice crushing setting proved great for smoothies, plus there are different speeds for making purées, baby food, cold sauces and dips, and a bonus sauce setting.
Vitamix Ascent A2500i – best high-end soup blender
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's necessary to pre-cook the main ingredient. If you don't mind 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.
It's worth noting that 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. However, this truly is a multi-tasker. The comprehensive recipe book features broad range of uses – nut milks and butters, dips, doughs, cakes, baby foods, desserts and, of course, soup. We tried out the Vitamix peanut butter recipe and it produced smooth peanut butter in under 5 minutes.
Cuisinart Soup Maker Plus SSB3U – best soup maker for hands-on cooks
This machine has three main settings. The first is sauté for browning base ingredients. 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.
We tried two of the recipes provided by Cuisinart – a curry paste and a Thai chicken soup. The machine had no trouble grinding up ingredients to a smooth paste and the soup function was easy to use. The recipe booklet also offers inspiration for jam, chutney, risotto, smoothie, nut milk, curries and soups.
Beko stainless steel soup maker – best mid-range soup maker
For its price, this Beko soup maker is powerful, robust, good-looking and great value for money. It comes with the added bonus of being a fantastic blender for other kitchen duties. There are two specific pre-set functions for this: ‘chunky soup’ and ‘fine soup’ to cater to different tastes and preferences, plus a useful keep-warm function. It also produces a well-blended smoothie and can be used to crush ice or make sauces.
electriQ 1800W multifunctional blender, smoothie and soup maker – best multi-function soup maker
People with small kitchens might be reluctant to buy a separate blender and food processor and this electriQ machine solves that particular problem. Its Japanese stainless steel blades – and powerful 1800W motor – are able to pulverise ingredients, including nuts, seeds and grains, with ease, acting like a food processor. Plus, all of its functions conveniently use the same blade, saving on time and washing up. Impressively, it can also rustle up a hot soup from cold ingredients in just five minutes.
How we tested soup makers
Smooth setting: We followed the basic instructions to make our 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.
Soup maker recipes
Our cookery team has adapted some of our favourite soup recipes to be used in a soup maker. We tested them using the Lakeland Touchscreen soup maker but they are designed for use in all machines.
Soup maker mushroom soup
Soup maker carrot & coriander soup
Soup maker tomato soup
Soup maker butternut squash soup
Soup maker leek & potato soup
Soup maker broccoli & stilton soup
Soup maker lentil soup
Soup maker roast chicken soup
Soup maker vegetable soup
Soup maker pea and ham soup
All our soup maker recipes
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.
More advice on buying electronic kit
This review was last updated in May 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.