How to Thicken Soup

italian wedding soup
Meatball soup with ditalini

When there’s a chill in the air, a little broth is always the answer. Whether it takes the form of hearty bowl of chicken noodle or a spicy tortilla broth, There’s nothing like a bowl of soup to warm you from the inside out. One of the best parts of making soup is that it’s easy to tweak it as you go along. If you finish making your dinner and it doesn’t have the texture you want, don’t despair. Here are a few methods you can use to thicken soup and create a satisfying meal.

How to thicken soup with cornstarch

The most classic and surefire way to thicken a broth-based soup is with a cornstarch slurry. Whisk together equal parts cornstarch (or arrowroot) and water or broth, then whisk it into the pot of soup. A good ratio to get to a pleasant thickness without your soup tasting goopy or heavy is one tablespoon. slurry to 4 cups of soup.

Buzz it with a blender 

thicken soup with blender
Pureed squash soup

Try this with a vegetable or bean based soup. Strain out ½ the solids in your soup, blend until fairly smooth, and then transfer back into the main soup. If you have an immersion blender, you can also use that.

Starch it up with potatoes 

To thicken soup with potatoes, just add diced potatoes to the pot and let them simmer in the broth until they are tender and beginning to break up. The starch from the potatoes will help thicken the soup. You can also cook things like rice, small pasta like ditalini, or quinoa directly in your soup. The starch released in the cooking process will help thicken the soup. If you don’t have any of these on hand, a can or two of beans, unrinsed, added to the soup will do the trick.

Make a bread soup

thicken soup with bread
Bread in a soup is the definition of comfort

Do like the Tuscans do and make it a bread soup. The Italians are masters of using stale bread to thicken soups. To try this, just tear up some bread and add it to a bubbling broth. Stir regularly and the bread will break down and thicken the soup. This will create a loose pudding like texture that is particularly filling and warming in the cold months.

Try a roux or beurre manie

Making a roux is one of the most fundamental kitchen skills at the base of classical french cooking. You’ll need about ¼ cup of roux to thicken one quart of soup. To make this at home, simply cook 2 oz. of unsalted butter in a pan until it is melted and bubbling and then add in ¼ cup flour. Cook over medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is beginning to bubble and it has taken a pale golden color. Cool completely, and then whisk into your warm soup.

A beurre manie is another classic french technique. This method is luxurious way to thicken a soup or sauce. Just mix one tablespoon softened butter with one tablespoon all-purpose flour. Stir the paste into a warm soup to add a luxurious mouthfeel. As the butter melts it disperses the flour into the soup and thickens it.

Try one of these methods next time you end up with a pot of soup that needs a little something extra. You’ll be shocked at the transformation.