Y’all, it’s getting chilly out there… Time to dust off that soup pot! And hey, no need to thank me for these soup-tastic recommendations, but if you’re feeling generous, just save me a bowl 😉.
But before we dive into my top soup picks, did you know that slurping on these warm bowls of goodness isn’t just about beating the cold? Yep, soups come with a ladle-full of benefits too!
5 Sizzling Benefits of Soup:
- Hydration Hero: Soups, especially broth-based ones, are a great way to stay hydrated. They’re packed with water and can help replenish fluids, especially during colder months when we might forget to drink water.
- Nutrient Powerhouse: Soups can be loaded with a variety of veggies, lean meats, and beans, making them a nutrient-dense option. They’re an easy way to get a dose of vitamins, minerals, and fiber in one bowl.
- Weight Management: Soups can be filling without being calorie-dense. Starting a meal with a bowl of low-calorie soup can reduce overall calorie intake, aiding in weight management.
- Easy Digestion: Warm soups are gentle on the stomach and can be easier to digest. They’re a go-to comfort food when feeling under the weather or for those with digestive concerns.
- Versatility: The possibilities with soup are endless! From creamy to brothy, spicy to mild, there’s a soup for every palate and dietary preference.
With these benefits in mind, let’s explore our top soup recommendations to keep you cozy and nourished this season!
1. Cheddar Broccoli and Potato/Loaded Potato Soup🥔
When it comes to creamy, hearty soups, Cheddar Broccoli and Potato Soup is a classic go-to. It’s rich with flavors of cheddar cheese, tender broccoli, and soft potatoes, making it a comfort food favorite for many.
On the other hand, if you’re in the mood for something even heartier, the Loaded Potato Soup is like a baked potato in liquid form! Packed with chunks of potatoes, cheese, and often garnished with crispy bacon (optional, but oh-so-recommended), green onions, and sour cream, it’s a meal in itself.
While both soups have potatoes as their star, the Cheddar Broccoli brings in the veggie goodness, and the Loaded Potato is all about indulgence. We’ve found two fantastic recipes for these soups that you’ll absolutely love. Check out the videos below to see them come to life!
Our Favorite Cheddar Broccoli and Potato Soup Recipe 💞
- 3 cups frozen chopped broccoli
- 1 chicken breast
- 4 tbsps. unsalted butter
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 tbsp. garlic
- 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 carrot (grated)
- 1 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tsp. garlic
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning
- A pinch of nutmeg
- 8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
1. Boil chicken breast in a pot with 2 cups of water for 10-15 minutes. Shred the chicken and set aside.
2. In a pot, melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Add onion and cook for 30 seconds, or until translucent. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
3. Add shredded carrots and cook for 30 seconds to a minute.
4. Add 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour to make a roux. Cook for 30 seconds to a minute to cook the raw flour taste.
5. Add 1.5 cups of chicken broth and 2-2.5 cups of heavy cream (or just heavy cream, or a mix of both). Bring to a simmer.
6. Add frozen broccoli and season with 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper, and a pinch of salt.
7. Add shredded chicken, Creole seasoning (optional), and a pinch of nutmeg. Cover the pot and allow it to simmer on low for 15 minutes.
8. Add 8 ounces of cheddar cheese and stir until melted.
9. Cover and simmer on low for another 5 minutes.
Our Favorite Loaded Potato Soup Recipe💓
- 4 large russet potatoes diced in 1/2 inch chunks
- 6-8 slices of bacon chopped
- 1/2 cup diced onions
- 1 TBS minced garlic
- 4 T butter
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning or Herbes de Provence
- 1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chives or green onions to garnish
1. In a stockpot, add in the bacon pieces and fry.
2. Once the bacon is crisp, remove and drain it on paper towels; set aside.
3. Add the onions and sauté them in the bacon grease until translucent.
4. Add in garlic; sauté for 30 secs.
6. Toss in the butter and allow it to melt.
7. Whisk in the flour until it’s no longer visible; about 1 min.
8. Pour in the chicken broth, half & half, and milk.
9. Bring to a simmer.
10. Stir in the onion and garlic powders and Italian seasoning.
11. Carefully add in the diced potatoes.
12. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10-15 mins or until the potatoes are fork tender. Stir often.
13. Taste and add salt and pepper to as needed.
14. Stir in the cheese, sour cream, and 3/4 of the bacon.
15. When the cheese melts, turn off the heat.
2. French Onion Soup🧅
Elegance meets comfort. This classic soup, with its caramelized onions and rich beef broth, is crowned with croutons and a generous layer of melted Gruyère cheese. It’s the go-to choice for those who enjoy a touch of sophistication with their warmth.
Our Favorite French Onion Soup Recipe💝
- 3 tablespoons (42g) unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon (14g) extra virgin olive oil
- 3.5 lb (1.5kg) sweet onions/Vidalia onions (about 5-6 large) salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) bourbon
- 11/4 cup (295ml) white wine
- 1.5 quarts (1.4 liters) good beef stock
- 1 bunch thyme
- 3 tablespoons (44ml) dry sherry *optional*
- Gruyere cheese, grated
- Gouda cheese, grated
- 2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter
- 2 oz gruyere
- 2 oz gouda baguette slices or bread slices
1. Slice onions thinly.
2. Add butter and olive oil to a 6-8 qt pot. Heat until it begins to boil.
3. Add the onions and disperse the salt. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes.
4. Deglaze with bourbon and white wine. Bring up to a boil and reduce to about 70 percent of total volume.
5. Add beef stock and a bundle of thyme. Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
6. Finish with sherry, simmer for 1-2 minutes, remove from heat and add butter until melted and emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
7. Grate gruyere and guoda cheese. Toss together.
With oven-safe bowl:
1. Brush ½ in slices of baguette bread with olive oil at 425 F or 218 C
2. Ladle soup into oven-safe bowls
3. Leave a quarter in of space, place under high broiler 2-3 min.
Without oven-safe bowl:
- Melt cheese and bread in the oven – serve on the side (2nd option)
3. Zuppa Toscana 🍲
A bowl of rustic Italian charm. With Italian sausage, kale, potatoes, and an optional touch of bacon in a creamy broth, it’s like a comforting hug from Italy. Perfect for those who appreciate a touch of European flair in their comfort food.
Our Favorite Zuppa Toscana Recipe❣️
- 1 lb hot or mild Italian sausage
- 1 onion diced
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 5 slices bacon
- 2-4 russet potatoes
- 3 handfuls chopped kale
- 2 tbs better than bouillon roasted garlic
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- Salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes
1. In a large pot over medium heat, cook bacon.
2. Remove bacon when finished and reserve for later.
3. Next, cook sausage, breaking up with the back of a wooden spoon, until browned and no longer pink, 5 to 7 minutes.
4. Transfer to a plate to drain.
5. Add onion and roasted garlic base to the drippings in the pot and cook until soft, then add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more.
6. Add chicken broth and potatoes and cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. (Fork tender)
7. Stir in kale and heavy cream and bring to a boil.
8. Then, reduce to a simmer and let cook until leaves are tender and bright green.
9. Season with salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes to taste.
10. Garnish with shredded parmesan.
A Vietnamese delight that promises a symphony of flavors. With a fragrant broth, rice noodles, and thinly sliced meat, it’s a harmonious blend that’s both nourishing and flavorful. Perfect for the adventurous souls looking to explore global tastes from the comfort of their home.
Our Favorite Pho Recipe💗
PHO BROTH INGREDIENTS
- Beef bones: joint or marrow bones preferred, as cartilage and marrow make for a rich, full-bodied broth. I get my beef bones from a Korean grocery store; and in general Korean stores have a good supply of beef cuts and bones.
- Stewing beef: such as brisket or chuck, which will be stewed until tender right in the broth.
- Oxtail: aside from the marrow and connective tissue that results in a delicious broth, oxtail meat is also one of the best cuts for stew. If omitting, use more bones and more stew beef.
- Fresh ginger
- Daikon: I add daikon to all the stocks I make because it makes the soup naturally sweet. It’s a must-have veg in Thailand when making any stock or broth!
- Cinnamon stick
- Green cardamom
- Star anise
- Coriander seeds
- Black cardamom: these look like oversized green cardamom pods, but the smell couldn’t be any more different. It has an aroma reminiscent of leather and smoke. A little goes a long way, and it is beautiful when done right. We also use black cardamom in Thai khao soi!
- Rock sugar: this is the traditional sugar used, but granulated sugar will work just fine and will not make a difference in this recipe (they are the same sugar compound, just in different forms!)
- Beef stock powder: a little bit of “fairy dust” that makes this extra special. Aunty Jacqueline swears by Dasida brand which she’s been using for over 10 years, but other brands are also okay I’m sure. If you’re anti-MSG, you can leave it out and add a little more fish sauce and sugar, but to be honest pho just won’t taste like pho without a little MSG magic 😉
- Fish sauce: See my post on choosing a good fish sauce
PHO BOWL INGREDIENTS
- Dry rice noodles: I use Erawan brand, size small. They need to be rehydrated for 20-30 minutes in room temp water until they turn an opaque white and are fully pliable. Drain after soaking as you don’t want to over soak them! Size medium will also work if needed, but they will take up to an hour to soak.
- Bean sprouts
- Raw beef slices: (Pictured under the broth ingredients by mistake) This will be added raw to your pho bowl, and it will cook from the heat of the broth. Because the beef needs to be very thin, I recommend buying pre-sliced beef which you can get from Asian supermarkets in the “hot pot” section. If you’re going to manually slice, do it when the beef is partially frozen as it’ll be easier. Choose any cut of beef that fits your budget here; if it’s sliced thin enough it won’t be chewy. I used rib eye in my video but sirloin steak also works fine.
- Asian style beef meatballs (optional): (not pictured) I didn’t use this in my bowl, but they’re a classic if you like them. Buy them frozen or fresh at Asian supermarkets, or here’s a homemade Asian pork meatballs recipe where you can simply substitute beef instead.
- Lime wedges: Technically optional but I think a little bit of acidity really makes a difference!
- White or yellow onion, thinly sliced: Soak the sliced onion in cold water and it’ll soften their pungency and make them crisper.
- Fresh herbs – choose any of the following: green onions, cilantro, Thai basil, sawtooth coriander.
- Hoisin sauce and/or sriracha hot sauce: I don’t think these are traditional and I don’t add them, but wanted to mention them, as in N. America they are standard pho condiments. The hoisin sauce is used to dip your meat in, and the sriracha can be used as a dip or can be added to your bowl for a little heat.
There are a few tools you’ll need to make pho:
- Large stock pot – a minimum of 7 qt in volume; 8 quart is better
- Noodle strainer or a metal sieve for cooking the noodles
- Soup infusion bags or cheesecloth to wrap the toasted spices
- Fine mesh skimmer for skimming scum
How to Make Beef Pho
1. Wash the bones and meat and place in the stock pot. Cover with 4L of water and bring to a simmer.
2. Broil the onion and ginger for about 10 minutes, or until the onions are charred. Slice the broiled ginger into a few pieces.
3. Toast the cinnamon stick, star anise, black cardamom, and green cardamom in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until the green cardamom pods brown slightly. Crush the cardamom pods until they break open.
4. Reduce the heat to medium and toast the coriander seeds.
5. Place all the spices in a soup infusion bag or wrap them in cheesecloth.
6. Add the salt, sugar and beef stock powder to the broth. Simmer gently (don’t let it boil) for 1 hour.
7. Skim off the scum and fat once a bunch has collected on the surface.
8. Add the onion, ginger, spice bag, and daikon. Simmer for at least 2-2.5 more hours, or however long it takes for the largest piece of meat or oxtail to be fork tender.
9. Soak noodles in room temp water for 20-30 minutes until fully pliable (don’t over soak). Drain and separate into portions and place each portion into their own serving bowl.
10. Once the broth is done, remove the spice bag, ginger, onion, and bones and discard. Pick off any meat or tendon attached to the bones as they’re delicious!
11. Final seasoning – add all of the fish sauce, then taste and add hot water as needed until it is no longer too salty. If you find that it actually needs more fish sauce, go ahead and add more fish sauce. You can also add more sugar.
12. Slice the brisket into thin slices. Cut the daikon into smaller pieces. Leave the oxtail in the broth.
13. Blanch the bean sprouts in boiling water for 5 seconds and fish them out with a slotted spoon or skimmer and place on a serving plate.
14. Bring the water back to a rolling boil, place a portion of noodles in the noodle strainer and wiggle it in the water for 5 seconds. Place into serving bowl.
15. Top the noodles with the raw beef slices. Make sure the broth is boiling and ladle it over the beef until the noodles are submerged.
16. Top the noodles with the oxtail and whatever toppings you like and enjoy immediately!
5. Chicken Tortilla Soup🌶️
A zesty Mexican marvel that’s both hearty and spicy. With chicken, tomatoes, chiles, and tortillas, all in a vibrant broth, it’s a fiesta in a bowl. A top pick for those who like their comfort with a kick.
Our Favorite Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe💖
- 4 pieces of chicken breast with rib
- 20 corn tortillas Black or pinto beans Sweet corn
- 5 roma tomatoes
- 5 New Mexico or guajillo Chile pods
- 1 chile ancho Handful of cilantro
- 1 onion Garlic cloves
- 2 bay leaves Chicken bouillon
- 1 tbsp whole black pepper
- 1 tsp cumin Salt
1. In a large pot, combine 14 cups water, 3/4 onion, half the garlic, the cilantro, 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp of (whole) peppercorns, and 5 tbs of chicken bouillon. Bring to a boil, then add the chicken breasts and cook for 25 minutes, or until cooked through.
2. While the chicken is cooking, make the tortilla strips. Stack and cut the tortillas into long strips and then cut them in half. Fry the tortilla strips in oil until golden brown. Set aside.
3. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pot and let it cool. Shred the chicken meat.
4. In the same pot, cook the tomatoes and chili pots (make sure to remove seeds and give a good rinse) in the pot for 10 minutes. Remove them from the pot and strain the broth.
5. In a blender, combine the broth, 1/4 onion, garlic, cumin, chicken bouillon, and salt. Blend until smooth.
6. Return the pot to medium heat and add the sauce. Bring to a simmer, then add the chicken, corn, and beans. Cook until heated through.
7. Serve the soup with the tortilla strips, Mexican cheese, sour cream, chili serrano, chile ancho, lime juice, avocado, and queso fresco.
Alright, soup troopers, that’s a wrap on our cozy soup roundup! Whether you’re slurping, sipping, or spooning, these recipes are sure to warm you up from the inside out. And hey, if you end up making a pot (or five), remember my bowl request from earlier 👀.
Now, it’s your turn! Which of these soups are you planning to try? Or do you have a favorite comfort soup recipe you’d like to share?
Drop a comment below and let’s get the soup conversation bubbling!
Stay warm and soup on! 🍲🔥