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30 Types of Soup You Should Know How to Make

Because we're craving a bowl of comfort

types of soup: two bowls of cheater's italian wedding soup on a table
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

When the thermostat dips and your stomach starts to growl, soup season has officially begun. But let’s be honest: The offerings from your local take-out joint and the canned stuff at the grocery store just doesn’t compare to a steaming bowl of homemade deliciousness. That’s why we highly suggest you learn the history and origins of these 30 popular types of soup, so you can take matters into your own hands and cook a restorative bowl of bliss at home. Their popularity precedes them, so whether you pick minestrone, lentil or bouillabaisse, these recipes will turn out soup-er. (Sorry, we couldn’t resist.)

53 Winter Soups You Can Make in 30 Minutes


1. Chicken Noodle Soup

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, high protein

Chicken soup has been around since time immemorial and cultures across the world have their own version of this classic comfort food. When it comes to old-school American chicken soup (which came to the states via Northern European immigrants) you can typically count on a steaming bowl full of homemade chicken stock with celery, carrots, egg noodles and chicken. The poached egg, as seen above, is an optional add-on to the recipe that offers protein and decadence to the dish.

2. Italian Wedding Soup

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why I Love It: high protein, crowd-pleaser, special occasion-worthy

Fun fact: Italian wedding soup has nothing to do with matrimony and it isn’t actually served at Italian weddings—it's actually just a loose translation of minestra maritata, meaning married soup in Italian. The name is referring to a different type of union: the marriage of flavors. That said, the combination of savory pork meatballs and bitter greens in this hearty dish does indeed taste like true love.

3. Minestrone Soup

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why I Love It: vegetarian, crowd pleaser, kid-friendly

Minestrone has been around for thousands of years, but the recipe for this popular Italian soup isn’t set in stone. In fact, by definition, minestrone soup is simply a vegetable medley, made using whatever produce one has on hand. Celery, tomatoes, garlic, onions and carrots often comprise the base of the soup, while additional ingredients, like beans and greens, can be added depending on seasonality and convenience. Bottom line? No matter how you do up your minestrone, you’ll be treated to a satisfying and healthy meal.

4. Lentil Soup

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegetarian, high protein, gluten free

Lentils are believed to be the first legume ever cultivated, so it’s no surprise that lentil soups and stews have a rich history. (These little gems even make an appearance in the Old Testament.) Lentil soup is popular throughout the Middle East, the legume’s birthplace), Europe and Latin America—and various recipes reflect their respective cultures. In fact, the possibilities are endless with this soup: Hearty lentils stand up well to a wide variety of seasonings (curry powder! cumin! thyme!) and pair beautifully with a host of other ingredients, from bacon to tomatoes.

5. Tomato Soup

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegetarian, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser

Another classic comfort food, tomato soup predates the Civil War in the U.S. But it really became an American household staple when a chemist working at Campbell’s came up with the idea to condense the stuff back in 1897. And while we have no problem reaching for a can every now and then, you can’t beat snuggling up with a homemade bowl of sweet and silky tomato soup, preferably served with a side of grilled cheese. We love that you can use canned tomatoes in the off-season, but love roasting them fresh in the summertime.

6. New England Clam Chowder

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, gluten free, special occasion-worthy

New England clam chowder originated in the 18th century, according to What’s Cooking America, and its popularity in American cuisine hasn't diminished since. Rich, thick and creamy, this chowder comes together with copious amounts of milk or cream, plus salt pork (i.e., bacon), celery, potatoes, onion and, of course, tender clams. This indulgent meal is traditionally served with oyster crackers, which can be used for dipping or as a garnish.

7. French Onion Soup

  • Time Commitment: 7 hours and 25 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, special occasion-worthy, kid-friendly, slow cooker recipe

The origins of onion soup has been debated over time. It started as a poor man’s meal, but thanks to the restaurants of the famed Les Halles market in Paris, this peasant food got its luxe makeover in the form of a gratin...and we’re oh-so grateful. A gooey, bubbling layer of Gruyère cheese adorns the rich, amber broth of beef stock and caramelized onions—a combination that can only be described as délicieuse.

8. Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • Why I Love It: special occasion-worthy, high protein, kid-friendly

The origins of this traditional Mexican soup (sopa de tortilla in Spanish) are unclear, but its history is believed to have started in Mexico City. It features all the favorite flavors of the region: Chicken stock meets sweet roasted tomatoes, onion, garlic and chiles to make the base, then chicken meat, beans, corn and crunchy fried tortillas are added. The end result? A heartwarming, filling bowl of deliciousness.

9. Butternut Squash Soup

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegan, gluten free, beginner-friendly

A seasonal staple in the fall, this soup is made by roasting butternut squash puree with chicken or vegetable stock for a smooth consistency and savory flavor. Other seasonal ingredients (think: apples and root vegetables) are often roasted and whipped up along with the squash for a more robust, nuanced final product. Note: The recipe above is vegan, but meat-lovers can feel free to garnish their bowl with crispy bacon for a pleasantly salty finish.

10. Beef and Barley Soup

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 20 minutes
  • Why I Love It: high protein, special occasion-worthy, kid-friendly

This traditional soup, which is also known as Scotch broth, has Scottish origins. It boasts a hearty combination of barley, root vegetables and slow-cooking stew meat, like beef or lamb chuck (or beef short rib, if you're feeling fancy). Cook it low and slow for meltingly tender meat, chewy barley and a light but flavorful broth that will make you swoon.

11. Corn Chowder

  • Time Commitment: 6 hours and 10 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegetarian, gluten free, slow cooker recipe

When you're craving something sweet, rich and creamy (or serving picky kids) this soup hits the spot. Throughout history, this classic American dish of corn chowder has consisted of corn as the main ingredient and base, along with celery, cream and, you guessed it, butter. The finished product is silky and decadent, like a casserole you can slurp.

12. Chicken and Rice Soup

  • Time Commitment: 7 hours and 5 minutes
  • Why I Love It: slow cooker recipe, gluten free, crowd-pleaser

This one’s as comforting as chicken noodle soup, sans the gluten. Chicken and rice soup follows the same basic formula—a mirepoix of celery, carrots and onion, swimming alongside chicken in a light but flavorful chicken broth. The key difference is that this adaptation of the classic replaces pasta with rice. For more nutritious, flavorful results, opt for brown or wild rice instead of white.

13. Split Pea Soup

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 20 minutes
  • Why I Love It: gluten free, crowd pleaser, special occasion-worthy

Peas and ham are, well, two peas in a pod—which is why you can reliably find them commingling in a bowl of split pea soup. This soup, often portrayed as unappetizing cafeteria fare, has gotten a bad rap. Admittedly, the split pea is not the most glamorous legume, but we’re happy to report that the prejudice against split pea soup is baseless: When prepared properly (i.e., with a mirepoix and plenty of fresh herbs), this comfort food is far from bland and boasts a hearty texture similar to lentil soup.

14. Bouillabaisse

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: special occasion–worthy, dairy free, gluten free

This Mediterranean gem hails from the Provençal city of Marseilles. It's essentially feast of fresh-caught seafood, which simmers in a complex and fragrant broth. The rich fish stock base of this soup is taken to the next level when sweet tomato teams up with aromatic heavy-hitters, like garlic, fennel, thyme and saffron. The end result is a fish and shellfish masterpiece worthy of an encore.

15. Cream of Mushroom Soup

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why I Love It: vegetarian, special occasion-worthy, beginner-friendly

Mushrooms are a weirdly divisive ingredient—but for those who delight in their umami character and satisfyingly meaty texture, cream of mushroom soup is a cold weather menu must-have. Cream of mushroom soup gets its luxuriously silky texture from cream and a roux (an equal ratio of flour and butter that acts as a thickener), and its deep flavor from roasted mushrooms, onion, garlic and thyme. Note: Don’t confuse the homemade kind with the canned casserole ingredient, because they are worlds apart.

16. Miso Soup

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegan, kid-friendly, beginner-friendly

This Japanese dish begins with dashi—a stock made from kelp, anchovies, mushrooms and dried, fermented skipjack tuna (katsuoboshi)—which plays a major role in Japanese cuisine, though a plant-based broth can work, too. When you give the delicate, umami-driven broth an extra flavor boost with miso (i.e., fermented soybean paste), you’ve got miso soup. Tofu and seaweed are commonly incorporated into this light, savory recipe—but you can always beef it up with soba noodles and mushrooms, as pictured here, for a more substantial bowl.

17. Pho

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegan, beginner-friendly, gluten free, Instant Pot recipe

Though the exact origins of pho are somewhat unknown, it's a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup that was created sometime during the late 19th century, when the southeast Asian country was still a French colony. Over the last few decades, it's quickly become an international staple, beloved for its heartiness and fresh ingredients. While this recipe in particular is vegan, it doesn't have to be.

18. Wonton Soup

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why I Love It: kid-friendly, beginner-friendly, gluten free (optional)

Wontons have a surprisingly rich history. Hailing from China's Qing Dynasty in the 1600s, they were originally considered a high-class meal. But they rose in ubiquity following WWII, becoming a more commonplace dish in restaurants and homes alike. Generally, wontons are not gluten-free, though this recipe in particular is. You can always change up your wonton wrappers to see which version you prefer.

19. Borscht

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why I Love It:  vegan, Whole30-approved, beginner-friendly

Borscht, which is most commonly made with beets, is believed to have originated in Ukraine circa the 17th century under Russian rule. It was easily made: After making a beet sour, it was diluted and boiled in a clay pot. While some are made with beef, this recipe is vegan, so everyone can give it a taste. Sour cream and dill are the go-to toppings, so try to find a non-dairy version of the former to keep it fully plant-based.

20. Egg Drop Soup

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why I Love It: beginner-friendly, keto-friendly, gluten free

Nowadays, egg drop soup is a casual takeout staple—but it wasn't always that way. Similar to how many chefs in the U.S. are tested by making an omelet, Cantonese imperial courts showcased chef's abilities by having them attempt making the perfect egg drop soup. And while doing it flawlessly may be tricky, making it isn't actually difficult. Plus, this recipe is both keto-friendly and gluten-free.

21. Ramen

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why I Love It: kid-friendly, beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser

While ramen is known as a traditional Japanese dish, its history began in China. It was brought to Japan in the late 1800s and became a staple in Yokohama. And while you can easily make ramen from a store-bought packet, seasoning your own broth from scratch to cook dried ramen is just as easy (and likely with much less salt, more flavor and fresher ingredients).

22. Gazpacho

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegan, beginner-friendly, gluten free

Gazpacho's history began in Spain, specifically in the Andalusian region. Since its creation, it's gained tremendous popularity worldwide, particularly in the summer months, as it's sipped cold instead of hot. The recipe above is made with yellow tomatoes and peaches instead of traditional red tomatoes, but gazpacho can also be made with many other fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and cucumbers.

23. Matzo Ball Soup

  • Time Commitment: 5 hours and 40 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, special occasion-worthy, gluten free

Although matzo ball soup is traditionally eaten during the Jewish holiday known as Passover, many enjoy eating it year-round. Jewish people would traditionally visit local bakeries for matzo bread to make the matzo balls with leftover crumbs, but that changed once machine-made matzo became widely available in the 19th century, says NPR. Matzo balls are made from matzo meal and are sort of like fluffy dumplings. The recipe above features chicken meatballs too, but they aren't necessary if you don't want to put in the extra effort.

24. Gumbo

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why I Love It: beginner-friendly, dairy free, special occasion-worthy

Gumbo's origins began in Southern Louisiana, though it drew influence from West African, Native American and French cuisines. Traditionally, gumbo is a stew that's thickened with okra, featuring all kinds of fish and shellfish. Once it gained popularity across the country, people started making vegetarian, spicy and mild gumbos—though the recipe above is hot, hot, hot, so get your glass of milk ready.

25. Beef Stew

  • Time Commitment: 8 hours and 50 minutes
  • Why I Love It: kid-friendly, beginner-friendly, slow cooker recipe

Evidence shows that stew has been eaten by everyone from Vikings to people across the Middle East over many centuries. What's known as American beef stew appears to have French influence, but regardless, it's gained popularity worldwide. A flour roux and beef are key to thickening its texture, as are starchy potatoes. There are several ways to make it, but many swear by doing it in the slow cooker, as does the recipe above.

26. Chili

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegan (optional), kid-friendly, beginner-friendly

It's widely believed that chili hails from the border of Texas and Mexico, making it a true Tex-Mex staple. Although it's widely debated whether or not chili should contain beans, there's nothing wrong with adding some plant-based proteins—and the recipe above proves it's worth it. However, it's very common to find ground beef or poultry in chili, along with tomatoes.

27. Pozole

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, vegetarian, beginner-friendly, gluten free

In Mexican culture, pozole was a pre-colonial soup made with hominy (think extra-large corn kernels). It was initially only eaten by the elite during celebrations for Xipe Tótec, the god of agriculture and fertility. It's since gained tremendous popularity in Mexican gastronomy and can be made vegetarian or with fish, poultry or meat. The above is pozole verde made with green chiles. Trust us when we say all those toppings are a must.

28. Avgolemono Soup

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: kid-friendly, beginner-friendly, vegetarian

While many think of avgolemono as a traditional Greek dish, it evidently has Sephardic Jewish roots, says The Nosher. Jews from many European countries have historically eaten avgolemono to break fast after Passover, as it's naturally kosher and revitalizing. But the chicken broth, egg and lemon broth make for a healthy and refreshing dish for any day, even if you aren't breaking fast. And the recipe we've provided is extra garlicky...yum.

29. Coconut Curry

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegan, beginner-friendly, <30 minutes

Coconut curries are a category of traditional Thai food. They can be red, yellow or green, which vary based on the types of herbs, chiles and spices used, says The Spruce Eats. Coconut curries can be as spicy or as mild as you want them to be. And while the recipe above happens to be plant-based, coconut curries can contain a wide range of ingredients, including meat or fish.

30. Black Bean Soup

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegan (optional), kid-friendly, beginner-friendly

Black bean soup originated in Central and Latin America, but has since gained popularity far beyond its home countries. The black beans make for a substantial, meaty taste and texture, while an abundance of spices, herbs and, in this case, hot peppers add flavor. Even though the coconut milk, jalapeños and scallion garnishes aren't mandatory, they're strongly suggested, adding extra texture to the rich, creamy soup.


purewow author

Freelance PureWow Editor

Emma Singer is a freelance contributing editor and writer at PureWow who has over 7 years of professional proofreading, copyediting and writing experience. At PureWow, she covers...

purewow author

Freelance PureWow Editor