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7 Unexpected Ways to Cook With Canned Soup

It can be so much more than the sidekick to grilled cheese. Sponsored by Campbell's®.

Sponsored by Campbell's®.

Canned soup can be a secret weapon hiding in plain sight. Beyond its casserole cred, it also injects creaminess and flavor into stir-fries, noodle and rice dishes — even dessert. You can reinvent it as a sauce, delicious gravy, or a base for entrees galore. 

Consider soups — like Campbell’s® Soup — to be a shelf-stable can of completed prep work. It takes the labor out of dishes like mac and cheese, speeds up and rounds out chili, and easily binds ingredients together in the oven or on the stove. It’s also a great way to stock your pantry. When you're out of broth, vegetables, or milk, soup can often save the day. 

Read on for some great ways to hack your meals with this surprisingly versatile ingredient.


1. Easy Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas

Enchiladas are all about texture. Swap in cream of chicken soup to make yours super creamy, and loaded with chicken flavor. If you want to save time, make this dish on a night when you have leftover chicken (or your protein of choice). Simply combine your meat with salsa, cheese, sour cream, chili powder, and cream of chicken soup, tuck the mixture into tortillas, and bake. In less than an hour — including just 15 minutes of prep — you’ll have a filling platter of enchiladas for the taking. Sprinkle tomato and green onion over the finished product for extra flavor.


2. Tomato Soup Cake

This beloved recipe uses none other than tomato soup to get the cake’s lush, moist crumb and beautiful rosy color. With a few pantry ingredients, you have a stunning and fluffy cake. For extra richness, you can add a cup of walnuts or even frost it with cream cheese icing. But however you decide to serve it, be sure to tell everyone that you had soup for dessert! 


3. Easy Chicken and Dumplings 

If only comfort food were always this comforting to make. Cream of chicken soup and refrigerated biscuits make for a homey treat ready in just 40 minutes. By using refrigerated biscuit mix as dumplings (the doughs are nearly identical), you can drop the dough directly into the broth to bake and keep your prep time to just 30 minutes. Not bad for a steaming bowl of chicken soup with crumbly, fluffy dumplings. Poultry seasoning makes this dish sing, but you can use any combination of sage, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, nutmeg, and black pepper as well.


4. Creamy Pesto Chicken & Bow Ties

This dish brings to mind an image of a chef laboring over homemade pesto and painstakingly whisking sauce, but in reality you can whip up this family-friendly dinner in 40 minutes. Simply combine cream of chicken soup, pasta, and ready-made pesto in a pot, and throw in milk and chicken. After everything is cooked through, top with bright cherry tomatoes. It’s nourishing, rich, and tasty. 


5. Crispy Chicken Dippers With Gravy 

These crispy chicken dippers look delicious, but my favorite part of this recipe is the brilliant gravy hack: Thin out cream of chicken soup with water in a hot pan for a luscious sauce that’s ready to go. You can easily make these chicken dippers by baking chicken strips in pre-made crescent roll dough and dunking them into this flavorful gravy. You can also skip the dippers and ladle this gravy over whatever meat, starch, or veggies you’re eating that night. 


6. One-Pot Spaghetti Carbonara

Here, you get all the flavor of a classic spaghetti carbonara in just 30 minutes, while the pasta cooks right in the sauce. Cream of chicken soup significantly cuts down on the prep work, too. All you have to do is bring the soup, broth, and Parmesan cheese to a boil, stir in spaghetti, lower the heat, and gently cook for 10 minutes. Cook the bacon separately and stir in peas just before serving. The creaminess from the soup and the smokiness of the bacon make this an incredibly satisfying dish. 


7. Simple Chili

Tomato soup makes for an easy, affordable way to supercharge your chili process while adding amazing flavor. In a mere 35 minutes, you can throw together a hearty chili with just eight ingredients. Start by browning your ground beef with onions, add tomato soup, chili beans, chili sauce, and seasonings, and bring to a boil. After 5-10 minutes of simmering, you’ll have enough chili to feed six people. Feel free to dress up your bowl with sour cream or yogurt, diced onion, or corn chips for a full meal.

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