How to thicken soup (2024)

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.

For more inspiration, see our list of the most popular soup recipes and also read our guide on how to thicken stew.

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.

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For product advice, see our reviews of the best blenders and best soup makers on the market.

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.

How to thicken soup (1)

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.

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Which technique works best for you? Let us know in the comments below.

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5 of the best soup recipes to try next:

Spiced carrot & lentil soup
Chicken noodle soup
Butternut squash soup with chilli
Hearty pasta soup
Leek, bacon & potato soup

How to thicken soup (2024)

FAQs

How to thicken soup? ›

You can thicken soup by adding flour, cornstarch, or another starchy substitute. For the best results, never add flour or cornstarch directly to your soup. If you do, it will clump up on top. Instead, ladle a small amount of broth into a separate bowl and let it cool.

How can I thicken watery soup? ›

You can thicken soup by adding flour, cornstarch, or another starchy substitute. For the best results, never add flour or cornstarch directly to your soup. If you do, it will clump up on top. Instead, ladle a small amount of broth into a separate bowl and let it cool.

What is the best thickener for soup? ›

Cornstarch is a great option as it is a natural thickening agent, but you'll want to be careful about how much you use. Start with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch whisked together with cold water to create a slurry. Then, gradually add the slurry to the soup, letting it boil for one to two minutes before adding more.

Is it better to thicken soup with flour or cornstarch? ›

It's important to note that cornstarch has twice the thickening power of flour. If you need to substitute cornstarch to thicken liquid in a recipe that calls for ¼ cup (four tablespoons) flour, you only need two tablespoons cornstarch.

How do you thin a soup that is too thick? ›

Adding/mixing water in the soup makes the soup less thick. (discrepencies apply. You could use more vegetables/fruits/ingredients with water in them in your soup or just plain ol' pour in water, though ratio applies. Some ingredients have more water than others.

How do you fix bland watery soup? ›

If a soup is tasting bland in the bowl, consider adding acid rather than salt. A squeeze of lemon or lime, or a dash of yogurt or sour cream can add brightness to the bowl.

Will soup thicken as it cools? ›

Does soup thicken as it cools? Soup that contains some amount of starch, whether it be potatoes, rice, pasta, or an added thickener like cornstarch or flour will definitely thicken once it cools.

What 2 ingredients are used to thicken the soup? ›

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.

How much flour do I add to soup to thicken it? ›

The ratio of flour to butter varies, but it's often 2-to-1—for most soups, ½ cup of flour and ¼ cup of butter should do it.

How to thicken broth into gravy? ›

If your gravy is on the skimpy side, you can thicken it quickly with flour or cornstarch. But don't add your thickener directly to the gravy, which will create lumps. Instead, try stirring in three or four tablespoons of flour or cornstarch into a small amount of cold water until you have a smooth paste.

Can you add water to soup if it's too thick? ›

Add extra water as it cooks if the soup seems too thick. 5) Add ingredients that don't need much cooking time such as canned beans, diced cooked meats, shellfish, pasta or cooked rice; about a cup of such addition usually suffices.

What can I add to soup to make it thinner? ›

Chunkier soups, like black bean or lentil, tend to lean thick—and, it must be said, gloopy. To thin them out (and dial down the intense salinity), add more water or low-sodium stock while they're heating. (If you overdo it, don't stress: Continue simmering until the liquid has reduced to your desired consistency.)

Does soup thicken covered or uncovered? ›

Cooking a soup, stew, or sauce uncovered allows water to evaporate, so if your goal is to reduce a sauce or thicken a soup, skip the lid. The longer you cook your dish, the more water that will evaporate and the thicker the liquid becomes—that means the flavors become more concentrated, too.

How do you thicken soup without flour or cornstarch? ›

Mashed potatoes – It's a great way to use up leftovers too! Will benefit from a quick blender whirl. Cooked, blended veggies– Just like the mashed potatoes, give them a blender whirl. Rice, beans, lentils and other grains– Starch molecules thicken and take on water when exposed to heat, creating a thicker texture.

Why does my soup turn watery? ›

However, sometimes too much water is accidentally added or the slow cooker fails to evaporate enough water during the cooking process, leaving the sauce or soup a little runnier than you'd like.

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