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How to Thicken Soup

Updated on January 17, 2018

Soup Didn't Get Thick Enough?

You've been smelling your homemade soup simmering all day long. The aroma has been teasing you for hours. Finally, it's time for supper. You stir the soup one last time to find out that it hasn't thickened up enough. What's a chef to do? How embarrassing. Your soup is no thicker than water. But it smells so good!

Never fear. There are quite a few ways to thicken soup without sacrificing flavor. You're bound to find the ingredients for at least one of these soup thickening methods right in your kitchen. So, here are a few easy ways to thicken soup:

My Favorite Way to Thicken Soup

One of my favorite as well as easiest, quickest, and most effective ways to thicken soup is with cornstarch and water. I prefer cornstarch to using a flour mixture because cornstarch stays smooth and doesn't get lumpy like flour sometimes does. Here's how, as there are a couple of tricks for it to work correctly:

First, never add the cornstarch directly to the hot soup! Cornstarch and hot ingredients do not mix- literally. If you add powdered cornstarch directly to hot soup, it will turn into a huge clump similar to paste.  No, the trick is to mix the cornstarch well with cold water until it is completely mixed into the water.

Put the cornstarch into a small cup or bowl, then add the water and stir. I use a fork or whisk to make sure it blends well. Then immediately pour this into the hot soup and stir it in to incorporate it.

The standard measurements for using cornstarch as a thickener is 2 parts water to 1 part cornstarch. I make it thicker- 1 part cornstarch, 1 part water. I usually start with a couple of tablespoons of cornstarch, but it depends on how much liquid it is being added to and on how thick I want my soup. Start with just a  tablespoon or so of cornstarch. If it's not thick enough, then add more of the cornstarch mixture to the soup.

It works very quickly, in about 5 minutes, so it's better to not add too much, as it's easily adjusted. I also add as little water as possible, so it's thicker than the proportions mentioned previously. This is so I add as little extra liquid as possible.

How to Thicken Soup a Few Other Ways

You can also use flour as a way to thicken soup, similar to cornstarch. Use about 2 tablespoons of flour and 1/4 cup of cold water. Mix it well, getting rid of any lumps. Then slowly stir it into the soup, keeping it at a simmer. Stir it occasionally for about five minutes for the soup to thicken.

A sneaky way to add vitamins and fiber to your soup and thicken it at the same time is to puree some vegetables and throw them into the soup. Just take some cooked vegetables and puree them in a blender. Throw back into the pot. Mashed potatoes can also be added to soup to thicken it.

Potato flakes are an excellent way to thicken soup. I usually start with about 1/4 cup or less. Just add them in, stir, and let the soup simmer for about 5 or 10 minutes. Add more if needed. Works like a charm every time.

Depending on the type of soup, a can of cream or evaporated milk works well to thicken soup. For some soups, such as clear soups of course, this is not an option. Don't allow the soup to come to a boil, as it could sour.

How to Thicken Soup Comments - Any Other Suggestions?

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    • Parazgara profile image


      2 years ago from Polska

      Cream, flour, tapioca, potato starch, sliced potato, croutons, red lentil as well.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Just a tip, I scoop out about a 1/2 cup of my soup(broth only) and let it cool. Then I add my cornstarch to it, that way your not adding any additional liquids at all!

    • RTalloni profile image


      8 years ago from the short journey

      Nice hub, great tips. I would like to link this to my smoked turkey soup hub. If you have any objections please let me know.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      First time I ever used mashed potato flakes. A most excellent solution!! Worked great in my split pea soup!! Keeping a box around from now on.

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      9 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      My Grandmother used cornstarch too - great Hub! Thank you!


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