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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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.

How to thicken soup (2)

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


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)


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.

What is the best thickening agent for soup? ›

Soup Thickening Method: Cornstarch Slurry

About this method: One of the most common ways to thicken sauces and soups is with a starch-based slurry, and cornstarch is a popular choice. Cornstarch is flavorless, easy to mix up, and versatile, which makes it a go-to pantry ingredient.

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 to make soup more liquidy? ›

Add more liquid: The simplest solution is to add more liquid, such as water, broth, or milk. Start by adding a small amount and gradually add more until you reach the desired consistency. Use a blender: If you have a blender, you can puree the soup in batches, adding more liquid as needed.

What are the 4 ways to thicken a sauce or soup? ›

Ways To Thicken Sauce
  1. Tomato Paste. If your soup or stew is watery, adding tomato paste may help! ...
  2. Arrowroot. You might prefer to avoid gluten in your recipes. ...
  3. Flour. ...
  4. Reduce Your Liquid. ...
  5. Puréed Vegetables. ...
  6. Egg Yolk. ...
  7. Yogurt. ...
  8. Rice.
Jul 15, 2022

How to thicken liquid in stew? ›

Whisk a teaspoon of flour in a little cold water to make a slurry, then stir into the stew as it's cooking. Don't add dry flour directly to the stew as it may clump. After adding the slurry, bring the stew to boil. This will cook out the flour taste and allow the starch to swell.

What 2 ingredients are used to thicken the soup? ›

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.

What is the strongest thickening agent? ›

Potato starch is the most potent of the bunch, with long starch molecules that quickly tangle with each other and thicken a liquid.

Why is my cornstarch not thickening? ›

Something to remember when you're using cornstarch: If your sauce is quite acidic (like maybe it's tomato-based), the acid will cause cornstarch to lose some of its effectiveness as a thickener. In that case, you can substitute arrowroot or tapioca starch.

What can I use instead of cornstarch to thicken soup? ›

5 Best Cornstarch Substitutes
  • All-Purpose Flour. Yep, that's right — all-purpose flour is a very stable thickener. ...
  • Arrowroot Powder. If you happen to have this starch on hand, you're in luck: It has the same thickening power as cornstarch, and it creates a beautiful, shiny sauce. ...
  • Potato Starch. ...
  • Rice Flour. ...
  • Tapioca Starch.
Jun 23, 2023

Will soup thicken as it cools? ›

Remember that some soups will thicken on their own as they sit and cool; the ingredients may continue to absorb liquid, so yours might just need another day to reach perfect consistency.

What is the best soup thickener? ›

The 15 Best Ingredients To Thicken Homemade Soup
  • Add thickness with a flour slurry. ...
  • Cornstarch should be your thickener of choice. ...
  • Red beans or lentils can thicken a pureed soup. ...
  • Bring the magic of risotto with arborio rice. ...
  • Use pasta starch in a couple of different ways. ...
  • Thicken soup with egg yolks and a bit of technique.
Jun 16, 2023

How do you thicken soup hacks? ›

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.

What to do if my soup isn't thickening? ›

Start by using 1 tablespoon of cornstarch at a time, mixed with 2 tablespoons of water. More cornstarch slurry can be added, but be sure not to add too much. Only mix in a small amount of slurry at a time to ensure that your soup will thicken properly. Using corn starch is a fast, effective way to thicken soup.

Can you thicken soup without cornstarch? ›

How to Thicken Soup with Rice, Bread, Potatoes or Beans. Foods like rice, bread, potatoes and beans are naturally high in starches, which, when broken down, act as a thickening agent. With rice, the grains will break down into the soup as it's simmered and stirred, releasing the starches and thickening the soup.

Why does thick soup turn watery? ›

Another reason that cream soups can become watery is that the vegetables or other ingredients in the soup continue to emit moisture through the cooking process. Mushrooms and potatoes are prime examples of vegetables that continue to “weep,” or lose moisture as they cook further, especially from a raw state.

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