7 Tips on How to Make Soup Taste Delicious!
Written by Vivian Cui, a student in the Food, Nutrition and Health Program at the University of British Columbia, and reviewed by Registered Dietitian, Amy Yiu.
Why does good soup matter?
All soup recipe variations have practically the same base ingredients, but how does one make soup really the star of the show? As most of us know, soup can be generally a simple dish that can pack a lot of nutrients for fewer calories in your diet. If made with proper ingredients, such as lean meat or vegetables, it can even be associated with lowering blood pressure and increasing heart health. Together, broth, simple ingredients and time can transform into a simple yet satisfying meal.
If you’re new to making soup or interested in taking your soups to the next level, here are 7 simple tips on how to make soup taste amazing and make sure it gets the attention it deserves. Get started with making soup with one of our favourites, the Pork & Apple Herbal Soup Recipe below!
7 Tips on How to Make Soup Taste Great
1. Choose 3 to 4 main ingredients
Most soups are simple. Overcomplicating soups can cause it to create a clash of flavours, and be the opposite of what you want to achieve. Not sure what kind of soup you want to try out? Check out these easy soup recipes.
You can also choose to substitute some ingredients for a healthier alternative.
- Switching out the heavy cream for silken tofu and soy milk for a lactose-free, vegan replacement.
- Similarly, you can use unsweetened greek yogurt and milk. Greek yogurt is notable for being high in protein and can be an easy source of protein while still enjoying your favourite soups.
- Use oil in moderation. Use oil in moderation to caramelize the vegetables such as onions for extra flavour.
2. Start with aromatics and fats
3. Sear or roast before you simmer
- Searing your vegetables can help seal in their flavours so that the flavours don’t get lost in the final product.
- Roasting vegetables like tomatoes, bell peppers, and garlic in the oven can add another layer of this deep, smoky flavour.
- Let it infuse longer by simmering it in its own flavourful broth!
4. Choose broth over water
People tend to use water, but if you want a good soup, try a store-bought or homemade vegetable broth or chicken stock. That extra umami from the broth can enhance your soups even more.
Fact or myth: Is bone broth still nutritious if you boil it for over an hour?
The short answer is YES – and here’s why:
A study examined bone soup cooked for 10 hours and found that minerals continued to increase the longer you cooked it, and proteins and free amino acids would increase until they began decreasing around ~9 hours. Maximum flavour compounds were also found around 4-5 hours. As long as you’re not cooking soup for 9+ hours, this study suggests it will still be very nutritious.
5. Spicing things up
Spices are your ultimate tool, and can absolutely make or break your soup! Keep the aromatics to a controlled amount though, especially in broths; you don’t want the spices to overpower the broth itself.
Don’t know where to put your seasonings? Try these recommended soups!
- Dried Basil: Tomato soup, chicken noodle soup
- Smoked paprika: Red pepper soup, vegetable soup, chickpea soup, lentil soup, mushroom soup
- Dill: Roasted cauliflower soup
- Dried oregano: Tomato soup, vegetable soup
- Ras el Hanout Spice: Lentil soup, carrot soup, potato soup
- Italian Herb Blend: Minestrone
- Thyme: Butternut squash soup, potato soup, black bean soup
- Rosemary: Chicken noodle soup, minestrone, tomato soup, black bean soup, potato soup
- Fresh basil: Tomato puree soup
- Dried shallots: French onion soup, broccoli soup, mushroom soup, butternut squash
- Maharajah Curry: Curry stews, carrot soup, potato soup
6. Last-minute corrections
Have you ever tasted your soup right as it’s about to be served and it just tastes like it’s missing something? Try ladling out a little bit and adding some salt, acid, or sugar.
- Salt can be plain kosher salt, or even parmesan rind if you have it on hand.
- For acids, most people lean towards tomato paste or a dash of sour cream.
- Adding the smallest bit of sugar can absolutely make a tangy tomato soup more neutral to the palette. On the other hand, if you’ve added too much, try these 5 tips to fix it.
7. Toppings and sides
Now that you’ve cooked up a hearty pot of soup, you’re not done just yet. Try finishing the bowl with a bright garnish; think of it as a way to make it both visually eye-catching and also balance any missing textures. Believe it or not, pairing your bowl of soup with just a little extra something can enhance the flavours!
Some of our favourite toppings and sides include:
- Crushing up chips for an extra crunch in that chicken noodle soup.
- Cubes of halloumi sprinkled on top of your tomato puree soup.
- Garlic bread for dipping.
- Yellow squash casserole on the side! Find some other classic favourite side dishes that pair well with soup here.
The Bottom Line
Knowing how to make soup taste great takes practice! Whether you choose to add more spices to make it earthier, some extra protein in that cauliflower puree soup, or even just keeping it plain and simple, soup gives you creative freedom in the kitchen while crafting up a beautiful and hearty meal. Enjoy your favourite soups with ease; after all, having soup is one of life’s many treasures. If you want to stay updated with new soup recipes, be sure to check out our website blog from time to time. And remember, good soup comes with patience and practice.
Try one of our favourite soup recipes below:
Pork & Apple Herbal Soup Recipe
Recipe by Cook with 3C (Traditional Chinese Medicine Dr. Jennifer Gao, Chinese Cuisine & Herbal Chef Jason He, Registered Dietitian Amy Yiu)
- 500g of pork shank
- 2 green apples (medium)
- 4 Chinese water chestnut (fresh or canned)
- 1-2 pears or dried Chinese pear
- 20g of ginseng
- 20g polygonatum root
- 20g of barley
- 1 piece of dried tangerine peel
- 2 sweet dates
Step by step:
- Boil a pot of water for blanching, then prepare the pork shank.
- Clean and slice the pork shank into small pieces.
- Blanch the pork shank in boiling water, then set aside.
- Rinse the apples and remove the core.
- Cut the apples into similar sizes as the pork shank, then set aside.
- Peel and wash the water chestnuts.
- Wash the ginseng, barley, polygonatum root, sweet dates, dried tangerine peel, and dried pear.
- Put all of the ingredients in a soup pot, add water, and bring to a boil over high heat.
- After it’s boiling, turn it to a low heat and simmer for two hours.
- Season to taste, and serve.
Let us know what your favourite soups are in the comments below!
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