10 Ingredients to Make Your Soup Even More Awesome (2024)

Kelli Foster

Kelli FosterSenior Contributing Food Editor

Kelli is a Senior Contributing Food Editor for Kitchn. She's a graduate of the French Culinary Institute and author of the cookbooks, Plant-Based Buddha Bowls, The Probiotic Kitchen, Buddha Bowls, and Everyday Freekeh Meals. She lives in New Jersey.


published Jan 6, 2015

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10 Ingredients to Make Your Soup Even More Awesome (1)

When I make homemade soup I like to separate my ingredients into two categories. There are the basic building block ingredients, like veggies, herbs, meat and stock, that form the general structure of the soup. Then, there’s my favorite category — the flavor boosters. These ingredients are key for a really flavorful soup, though they can easily be overlooked.

Some of the very best ways to load your soup with rich layers of flavor are basic ingredients; here are 10 that you probably have in your pantry right now.

10 Pantry Staples that Make Soup Even More Awesome

1. Vinegar – A spoonful of vinegar is a quick fix when you find yourself with a bowl of dull, flat-tasting soup. Just a small amount of acid will brighten up the flavors.

2. Soy Sauce – Soy sauce is another item that’s ideal for brightening up and adding depth of flavor to an otherwise dull soup. This works especially well with meat-based soups.

3. Fish Sauce – Commonly used in Asian cooking, fish sauce has a strong smell, though when used judiciously its taste is neither strong nor fishy. Instead, a spoonful will add a wonderful, savory umami twist to your bowl.

4. Anchovy Paste – The thought of anchovies used to make me completely cringe. I’m way past that now. This savory, umami-packed paste has become my secret weapon in the kitchen.

5. Harissa – Whether you make your own or use a jarred version, this North African chili paste is how I like to add a little heat to my soup. Stir in a spoonful (or two, if you like a lot of heat) early on in cooking, just after sautéing the vegetables.

6. Chipotle Peppers – Canned chipotle chilies packed in adobo sauce are a small yet mighty way to add rich, smoky flavors to any bowl of soup.

7. Curry Paste – Red and green Thai curry paste just might be one of my favorite ways to flavor soup! This spiced blend adds depth of flavor and just a little kick. Mix it early on in cooking to give the flavors more time to develop.

8. Pesto – Pesto isn’t just for summertime! Mix a spoonful of frozen pesto into a chunky vegetable soup, or use it as a garnish to dress up bright pureed soups.

9. Miso Paste – It’s not just for traditional miso soup! Use this salty, richly-flavored soybean paste liven up your favorite soup variety.

10. Coconut Milk – You don’t need a recipe for soup with coconut milk; just stir in a cup or two to finish any soup. Use this fragrant addition to put an Asian spin on your chicken noodle soup, or make a pureed vegetable soup, like butter squash or carrot, even creamier.

Try these flavor-packed soups!

What are your favorite ways to add more flavor to soup?

10 Ingredients to Make Your Soup Even More Awesome (2024)


How to make soup more interesting? ›

Finish your soup by tossing in some chiles or fresh herbs and giving it a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, or a sprinkle of lemon zest. "That way, one bite will have a lot of those ingredients, and the next one won't," says Kluger. "Soup is more interesting when one bite is different from another."

What is the most important ingredient in soup? ›

For clear, brothy soups, stock is your most important ingredient. If you want to make a good soup, you need to use an excellently flavored stock — otherwise, the entire pot could be tasteless.

What are 6 qualities of a good soup? ›

A soup's quality is determined by its flavor, appearance and texture. A good soup should be full-flavored, with no off or sour tastes. Flavors from each of the soup's ingre- dients should blend and complement, with no one flavor overpowering another. Con- sommés should be crystal clear.

What is the secret ingredient in soup? ›

It may sound a bit strange and unusual for some, but vinegar is a common ingredient in some soup recipes, and there is a good reason for it. If you think about it, vinegar is really a flavor-enhancer (umami). That's why it is so often used in cooking, sauces, and salad dressings. The same is true with soups.

How to make soup cool? ›

Use ice water bath

An ice water bath is effective for cooling soups. This method helps decrease the food temperature quickly and safely. Fill a large container or clean sink with ice and a small amount of water. Place the kettle of soup into the ice bath.

How to brighten up a soup? ›

You can also stir a splash of acid—like lemon juice, white wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar—to brighten things up.

What's the secret to a good soup? ›

"Soups and stews really need to simmer for long periods to allow the ingredients to meld together. Taking that a step further, most soups and stews are better if you prepare them the day before serving. Allowing them to cool and then reheating them really helps bring out the flavors and textures."

What is the No 1 soup in the world? ›

According to the Taste Atlas Awards, the international food database, the Filipino favorite, Sinigang, is hailed as the best soup in the world.

Why soup is awesome? ›

Many soups contain whole foods that are full of fiber, which helps improve gut motility and regulate bowel health. Soup's warm, liquid consistency also helps stimulate your body's digestive tract, making it an excellent appetizer before eating heartier foods.

What are the 7 things soup does? ›

There is an Italian saying: “La zuppa fa sette cose.” It means “Soup does seven things.” Soup quenches thirst, satisfies hunger, fills your stomach, aids digestion, makes teeth sparkle, adds color to cheeks and aids sleep. In other words, soup cures most, if not all human ills.

What gives soup more flavor? ›

"Ground paprika, turmeric, nutmeg, ground ginger, and other powdered spices add a touch of color and spiciness to broths," she says. As a general rule, use fresh herbs at or near the end of cooking and dried herbs and spices early on. This helps you get the flavors you're looking for in the right balance.

What is the most significant ingredient of a soup? ›

Great broth — Most soups are anchored by a stock or broth, and one with depth of flavor (not just a lot of salt) is key. Buy a quality one, or simmer up a batch of your own. Try an easy chicken or mushroom broth, or our versatile Homemade Vegetable Broth opens in a new tab.

What ingredient makes soup thicker? ›

Add Flour Or Cornstarch

You can thicken soup by adding flour, cornstarch, or another starchy substitute.

How do you enhance a can of soup? ›

Go green: Add some spinach or chopped kale or pesto. Get zesty: A squirt of lemon juice or zest could brighten up an otherwise flat soup. Starchy things: Homemade croutons, crushed tortilla chips, or oyster crackers. Clean out the fridge: got cooked beans or rice, a dollop of sour cream, or a splash of heavy cream?

What can you put in soup that tastes good? ›

These garnishes impart a little extra flavor and make your soup look restaurant-worthy.
  • Chopped herbs, such as chives, cilantro, dill or parsley.
  • Dusting of spice, such as cumin, paprika or white pepper.
  • Lemon, lime or orange zest.
  • Shaved, crumbled or grated cheese, such as feta, Parmesan or Pecorino.
Sep 23, 2016

How can I improve my instant soup? ›

How To Make Instant Soup Taste Homemade
  1. Add fresh herbs. ...
  2. Throw in some spices. ...
  3. Add garlic, ginger, and onion. ...
  4. Add citrus. ...
  5. Throw in anything with a crunch. ...
  6. Include noodles. ...
  7. Add shredded meats. ...
  8. Don't forget vegetables.
Aug 25, 2015

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