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7 Ways to Make Canned Soup Taste Homemade

You can create custom recipes from a simple can of soup! To learn how to make canned soup better in a pinch, read on—we have soup-er secrets to share.

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tomato soup being poured into kitchen potPeter Muller/Getty Images

We’ll be the first to admit that homemade soup is a lot of work. From simmering a chicken stock to kneading out noodles, a recipe that doesn’t use any premade products takes time. It’s not a project for a busy weeknight, that’s for sure!

Lucky for us, canned soup is a quick alternative. You can have a warm bowl on the table in minutes. The caveat? That can of soup in your pantry doesn’t often taste like grandma’s secret family recipe. That’s why it’s helpful to know how to make canned soup taste better with our tips and tricks.

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Tomato soup topped with croutons and served with bread on the sideRixipix/Getty Images

Add Protein and Carbs

To transform canned soup into a meal, add some form of carbs or protein. A thick piece of bread is great for dipping; it will soak up broth and add more substance to your dish. You can even dress your bowl with toasted croutons, or use a hearty round of sourdough for the bowl itself! To make the soup filling, gather some items high in protein to add, too—like beans, hard-boiled eggs, tofu or chicken.

If chicken noodle is your canned soup go-to, see what brand tops our Test Kitchen’s list of the best canned chicken noodle soups.

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adding cream to pumpkin soupAnjelika Gretskaia/Getty Images

Add a Splash of Cream

If you have cream in your fridge, a splash can add body to your soup. Use cream in tomato soups and chowders, but do so sparingly at first. You can always build the cream content after starting out small.

Most things benefit from a splash of cream, but not everything does. For broth-based bowls, consider dairy-free soup additions, like a cauliflower or potato-based puree that will add richness, depth and creamy flavor to your canned soup. Find more ways to make soup creamy without adding cream.

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Creamy cauliflower curry soup with roasted chickpea and sour creamporosolka/Getty Images

Use the Condiments in Your Fridge

A sour cream topping isn’t only meant for baked potatoes, tacos and chili—adding a dollop to your canned soup can seriously upgrade your bowl! You can even use Greek yogurt for a similar topping, rich in consistency and creamy flavor.

Pesto, hot sauce, lemon juice—the list goes on. Any of these will enhance a flavor profile, and give your can of Campbell’s the boost it needs to go from good to great.

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Warm Vegetable Homemade SoupCavan Images/Getty Images

Sprinkle in Extra Spice

Before you reach for the salt, take a look at the sodium content on your soup can’s nutrition label. It’s probably pretty high. So, avoid adding more salt. Instead, consider what flavors you’re in the mood for. For a Southwestern take, add sliced jalapenos, black beans, cumin, red pepper flakes and tortilla strips, or a healthy dash of Italian seasoning. Put on your apron and start experimenting!

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person holding a blender filled with soupYackers1/Getty Images

Blend the Soup

Your countertop blender can actually help you make soup taste better! After the soup has come to a simmer on the stove, let cool slightly and then pour half of it into your blender. Pulse until the contents have formed a puree or thick liquid, and pour back into the pot with the original soup. Heat until you reach a desired temperature, and you’ll have a thick, creamy soup in no time.

This trick works especially well with broth-based soups to give them that feel of creaminess. If bisque is what you’re in the mood for, blend the entire can of soup instead of just half.

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Minestrone Soup with Rotini Pasta and greensLauriPatterson/Getty Images

Toss in Some Greens

Take your tomato soup to the next level with a simple ingredient—spinach. The frozen stuff works wonderfully, as it melts right into the liquid, but you can wilt in handfuls of raw spinach as well. The softened leaves add silky texture to the tomato soup, creating a Florentine-inspired bowl.

Don’t be afraid to add greens to broth-based soups, either. Brighten up canned chicken noodle with spinach, kale or chard.

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two bowls of Tortellini Souprudisill/Getty Images

Use Soup as an Ingredient

You can use condensed soup to make classic casserole recipes, but you don’t always need the concentrated stuff to create a hot meal.

Instead, round out the soup with rice, pasta or mashed potatoes. The base of the dish is the carbohydrates—top it with a ladle full of soup to create a well-rounded dinner. Or, use tomato soup with crushed tomatoes to dress a bowl of cheese tortellini. The choice is yours! Our Test Kitchen sampled different brands to find the best canned tomato soup.

Hannah Twietmeyer
Hannah is a writer and content creator based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a passion for all things food, health, community and lifestyle. She is a journalism graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a previous dining and drink contributor for Madison Magazine.