Christina Clark 10 min. 10 min.

Homemade Cream Soup copy
During the era when many of us were growing up (myself included), canned cream soup was a staple in all kinds of recipes. Even in my Better Homes and Gardens 2005 cookbook, there are canned cream soups all over the place! Unfortunately, canned soup is loaded with all kinds of suspicious ingredients, including modified food starch, sugar (why do you need sugar in soup?!), soy protein concentrate, the ambiguous “flavoring”, disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, etc. I won’t make you read the whole list. I’m not even sure what a lot of those things are, and I certainly don’t want them in my food!

Plus, have you seen the stuff?

Have you heard that nasty “gloppy” sound it makes when it finally relinquishes the power of suction and slides into the pot in a mostly-solid, can-shaped mass?

Do you really want to eat that?

I didn’t think so.

The problem is that having cream soup on hand is really handy – you can use it to make soup (surprise, surprise), casseroles, many kinds of sauces, and a host of other fast recipes. Fortunately, cream soup is incredibly easy to make! It only requires 10 minutes and a few ingredients you almost certainly have on hand. And it tastes SO, SO much better! This is such a staple in my household that I doubt I have used a can of cream soup for the past 9 years. If you haven’t had the pleasure of making it yourself, I am excited to show you how!

Really, this is just a basic white sauce recipe made with a simple roux. It is not really my recipe; my husband learned how to make it in his basic cooking class in college and now it just seems like common knowledge. There are slight variations all over the internet, but it is such a basic staple recipe, I just had to share it!

I like to double or quadruple the recipe and freeze it in pint jars so I always have some on hand. If you double it, you can just round the butter and flour to 1/3 cup each.

Cream Soup

10-Minute Cream Soup (lose the can!)

Modified from Brigham Young University cooking class recipe
Makes equivalent of 1 can of condensed cream soup
Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp Better-than-Bouillon condensed chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cups milk

Instructions

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low. Add the next four ingredients (through pepper) and stir until bubbly. Add in the milk, and stir until well combined. Turn the heat up to medium-high, bring to a boil (it should thicken slightly), and remove from heat.

There you go! Wasn’t that easy?

To make cream of vegetable soup, simply blend 3 cups of cooked vegetables with enough water (cooking liquid if you boiled them) to allow them to blend easily. Then mix the puree into the white sauce and season as desired. Our favorites include cream of carrot with fresh basil, cream of potato, cream of broccoli, cream of cauliflower with curry powder, and cream of zucchini.

Cream of Carrot Soup

The picture above is cream of carrot soup with basil.

Last week I used this as a base for an improvised creamy vegetable and shrimp soup. I also use this recipe as the base for clam chowder – just double the recipe and add cubed, cooked potatoes, celery, and 2 cans of minced clams with the liquid. Yesterday, my kids wanted macaroni and cheese for lunch. So I whipped up some white sauce without the bouillon base and just whisked in some shredded Cheddar. It took me less time to make the sauce than it required to cook the macaroni, so we had homemade macaroni and cheese in the same time it would have taken to make it from a box (and without the nasty mystery orange powder!).

I will be posting more uses for this incredible sauce, so you will never be at a loss for how to use it!

*As a note, you can use regular granulated bouillon, but that kind of defeats the purpose, since it has so many processed/fake ingredients. Better-than-Bouillon is much closer to regular broth (just reduced), and gives it the boost of flavor while enabling you to use milk so it is creamy enough. Alternately, you can omit bouillon altogether and use half broth and half cream. I do it the way shown here simply because I always have milk on hand, and I rarely have cream.