Oh yeah, it’s the uber-simple, crazy good Creamy Mushroom Soup recipe you’ve been searching for all along.
Loads of fresh mushrooms, real cream, a short list of whole food ingredients, and you’re on your way to never wanting to eat canned mushroom soup again.
Cream of mushroom soup can go one of two ways—a grayish blob with rubbery bits of dull tasting mushrooms dropped straight out of the can in a congealed mound, or a luxurious, earthy, soul-soothing meal built on the foundation of fresh mushroom umami and real cream.
You must be craving the earthy, soul-soothing, whole food type because you’re here. So let’s make some real mushroom soup with whole food ingredients and ditch the canned soup for good.
What kind of mushrooms can I use to make mushroom soup?
Many kinds! Mushrooms come in an amazing variety, touting different textures and flavors, some more powerful than others.
We’ll go over the most common mushrooms here:
Button (champignon): These immature creminis and are the most common finds at your average grocery store. Pale in color and mild in flavor, these mushrooms take on flavors really well while keeping the earthiness to a minimum.
Cremini (baby bellas): A more mature button mushroom, brown in color, and more earthy, which contributes more flavor. I put them in almost everything.
Portabello (portobello): Full-grown creminis, larger and meatier tasting, well-liked for their heartier texture. TIP: remove the dark gills on the underside of the mushroom before cooking so your soup doesn’t look muddy.
Maitake (Hen of the Woods): I love these because they have a similar texture to oyster mushrooms but keep their shape as they are cooked and have a flavor similar to chicken. It’s also chock full of good vitamins and amino acids. TIP: Find them in the Asian market, you won’t be disappointed.
Oyster: This delicate mushroom with subtle flavors can break apart due to its lacy structure, giving body to soups and other dishes. TIP: Save some back to throw in the soup toward the end to maintain the integrity of the shape.
Trumpet: The same family as the oyster mushroom, these fungi are known and loved for their thick, meaty stems, with a flavor similar to crab with a buttery, sweet flavor.
Black Trumpet: These are velvety beauties with a bold flavor reminiscent of aged cheese rind.
Chantarelle: Prized for their firm texture, pretty yellow coloring, and unique floral and black pepper flavors, these are delicious twist in mushroom soup.
Shiitake: A favorite full-bodied, bold mushroom. The stems aren’t great for eating but the caps provide all the umami flavor you could want. TIP: Cook for a longer time (10+ mins), as they can be chewy if undercooked.
Porcini: While these may be hard to find fresh, when dried they pack loads of deep forest flavor. Easy to reconstitute or grind up for a sprinkle on top, these bad boys have a wonderful deeply woodsy flavor and improve almost anything they touch. TIP: Save a buck or two and use only as a garnish.
Enoki: Long stems and little caps, typically eaten raw or cooked very little, you’ll love these in homemade lo mein or adding nice, fresh crunch to the soup if thrown on top last or late in the cooking process.
Morel: These are the holy grail of expensive, delicate, delicious, nutty, wild mushrooms, foraged by hand by someone in a straw hat deep in the woods of a far more humid climate. Tip: Saute or fry up a few for a heavenly garnish to this soup.
Grocery stores seem to limit their mushroom selection to button, cremini, giant portabello, and Shiitake mushrooms, so where can I find other varieties?
Oh my friend, the world of mushrooms is not out of your reach! Even if you cannot find fresh, dried mushrooms of any variety can be used in this recipe (see our dried mushroom tips below).
As seasons change it is a true joy to find fresh mushrooms at the farmers market. Here in Denver, we have a stall that is almost always sold out by 9 a.m.
Ask around for local fungus growers, as they will have tons of fun mushrooms to try, infinite knowledge in regards to what/how to use them. You’ll also be supporting a local business, which is a gold star on your permanent record.
When the farmers market is closed, check out local Asian Markets. If you’re unfamiliar with the culinary treasures available there, take a few minutes to peruse all of the aisles. Might as well pick up some bok choy and cilantro for our curry recipe while you browse the mushrooms, right?!
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Dried Mushroom TIPS
- Dried mushrooms must be re-hydrated before use.
- Water, broth, or wine can be used to re-hydrate dried mushrooms.
- The liquid used to re-hydrate can and should be used in the recipe, but strain it and taste first; discard if overly bitter.
- See dried / fresh mushroom conversion info at Reluctant Gourmet.
Why make mushroom soup from scratch?
Thanksgiving green beans, canned tuna, chicken, rice, tortillas, have all been subject to the cream sauce short cut of canned creamed soups. The pity is, generations raised on convenience foods lose the knowledge, skill, and taste for preparing meals from scratch.
Butter, cream, homemade broth, and loads of mushrooms always beat the processed alternatives with sugar, MSG, unhealthy oils, and preservatives (check the label of the leading brand below).
Campbell’s® Ready To Serve Cream Of Mushroom Soup ingredients: water, mushrooms, cream (milk), vegetable oil (corn, cottonseed, canola and/or soybean), modified food starch, contains less than 2 % of: bleached enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), salt, monosodium glutamate, soy protein concentrate, yeast extract, spice extract, dehydrated garlic, oleoresin paprika.
How to substitute homemade mushroom soup for condensed canned soup in casserole recipes:
Now that you have a pot of mushroom soup made, it’s easy to enjoy your favorite comforting casseroles like Chicken Broccoli Casserole from scratch.
Important: 1 (10.5 ounce) can of concentrated cream of mushroom soup makes 21 ounces of soup (a little more than 2 1/2 cups).
Note 2 things in the casserole recipe you’re using—the number of cans of soup and the amount of liquid listed.
- If the recipe calls for equal amounts of condensed soup and liquid, it’s an even swap: Use a heaping 2 1/2 cups (21 ounces) of homemade soup.
- If the recipe calls for condensed soup without adding liquid (this creates a very thick situation): Use a heaping 1 1/4 cup (10 ounces) of homemade soup plus 1/2 cup of shredded cheese (this will help stabilize and thicken).
- If the recipe calls for condensed soup and more than 10 ounces of liquid per can because it involves rice or pasta intended to soak up some of the liquid: Use a heaping 2 1/2 cups (21 ounces) of homemade soup and subtract 1 cup (8 ounces) of liquid from the overall amount called for in the recipe.
- Not sure? Ask me. Get in touch by email or messenger and I’ll help you figure it out.
Can I thicken the soup without adding flour?
Yes, you can thicken soup without flour, which is another way to make it gluten-free. Here’s how:
- Transfer 1/3 of the sauteed onions, celery, and mushrooms to a food processor or blender.
- While the machine is running, pour in one cup of chicken stock in a steady stream until solids are pureed and form a thick paste.
- Incorporate this paste back into the pot with enough remaining chicken broth to make a loose sauce.
- Continue with the recipe as written.
Creamy Mushroom Soup Step by Step
- Saute onions and celery (6-8 minutes)
- Simmer with mushrooms and garlic (4-6 minutes)
- Season and sprinkle with flour (2 minutes)
- Add broth to create a sauce (3-4 minutes)
- Stir in cream and simmer to finish (8-10 minutes)
- Save a step and buy cremini mushrooms already sliced.
- Add broth or milk to thin when reheating, if needed.
- To thicken mushroom soup without adding flour, transfer 1/3 of the sauteed onions, celery, and mushrooms to a food processor or blender. While the machine is running, pour in one cup of chicken stock in a steady stream until solids are pureed and form a thick paste. Incorporate this paste back into the pot with enough remaining chicken broth to make a loose sauce. Continue with the recipe as written.
- 1 (10.5 ounce) can of concentrated cream of mushroom soup makes 21 ounces of soup (a little more than 2 1/2 cups).
Creamy Mushroom Soup
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup chopped sweet yellow onion
- 3/4 cup finely chopping celery
- 9 cloves garlic , minced
- 12 ounces cremini mushrooms , rinsed, ends trimmed, sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 tablespoons whole wheat flour , or sweet rice flour for Gluten-Free
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- Fresh chives , for garnish
- Melt butter in a large saucepan over med heat and cook the chopped onions and celery until soft, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and cook 4 to 6 minutes, stirring occassionally, until the mushrooms are soft and have released their liquid.
- Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine. Cook for 2 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the liquid is absorbed by the flour and vegetables are coated.
- Add half the chicken stock in a steady stream while stirring to begin to create a sauce. Once the first half is incorporated, add the remaining stock.
- Stir in the cream in the same way and simmer just until the soup begins to thicken, 8-10 minutes. Taste and season with sea salt and pepper, as desired.
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- Save a step and buy cremini mushrooms already sliced.
Add broth or milk to thin when reheating, if needed.
To thicken the mushroom soup without adding flour, transfer 1/3 of the sauteed onions, celery, and mushrooms to a food processor or blender. While the machine is running, pour in one cup of chicken stock in a steady stream until solids are pureed and form a thick paste. Incorporate this paste back into the pot with enough remaining chicken broth to make a loose sauce. Continue with the recipe as written.
1 (10.5 ounce) can of concentrated cream of mushroom soup makes 21 ounces of soup (a little more than 2 1/2 cups).
Dried mushrooms must be re-hydrated before use
Water, broth, or wine can be used to re-hydrate dried mushrooms
The liquid used to re-hydrate can and should be used in the recipe, but strain it and taste first; discard if overly bitter
See mushroom conversion info at Reluctant Gourmet