Easy Soups for Cozy Comfort
We gathered up 20 global favorites from classic American to Thai, Mexican, and African to fill your belly and warm your spirit. Get ready for easy recipes the whole family will love.
Say the word “soup” and for many cooks it conjures up visions of stooped-over bubbes, abuelitas, or omas stirring pots for hours on end, adding a zillion special ingredients and encouraging their grandchildren to just have one more bowl. Most cooks these days don’t have that kind of time, but fortunately, creating amazing homemade soup doesn’t have to be hard.
For starters, we’re lucky to have a global range of ingredients at our grocery stores and farmers' markets, and access to a collective worldwide palate and thousands of recipes with just a few clicks.
But since a world of choices is way too many, we narrowed the options down to these 20 easy soup recipes that are streamlined for faster kitchen prep, with no sacrifice in flavor or satisfaction. Most are ready from the stove or the Instant Pot in under an hour, a few simmer away unattended in a slow cooker for part of a day, and all are delicious and worth the (minimal) effort. Imagine them as the distilled weeknight cooking wisdom of a whole lot of grandmas.
Time-saving soup tips
Want to save more time? Follow these simple suggestions.
Splurge on pre-washed, bagged produce. Opening a bag and tossing its contents into a pot was a fairy tale in our grandmas’ time, but today is a time-saving option.
Graze the grocery store salad bar. For recipes that call for one chopped stalk of celery or a half-cup of fresh bean sprouts, the salad bar saves money and effort.
Embrace a well-stocked larder. Many of the recipes below call for canned tomatoes, beans, broth, and already-cooked meat. A robust pantry and a fridge with staples like salsa and rotisserie chicken mean everyone eats more quickly, without extra trips to the store.
Soup can be a clever way to infuse comfort foods with healthy vegetables. The veggie-tastic, simple vegetable soups below make it easy to eat a wider array of the good-for-you rainbow.
This chunky chowder trades in potatoes for cauliflower, making this substantial cauliflower soup an almost entirely vegetable-based, low-carb affair. But it guarantees flavorful results by starting with a bit of butter and using bacon as a garnish.
French Onion Soup
This rustic classic uses about 10 ingredients and gives diners an opportunity to feel very Continental. Plus, the volume of onions gives the cook a chance to practice knife skills (and cry out all her sadness) while thinly slicing 2 ½ pounds' worth. If that’s too many tears for today, use a food processor’s narrow slicing blade to get the job done fast. Need a make-ahead option? Caramelize the onions the day before, refrigerate overnight, then proceed with the rest of the recipe.
Best Ever Broccoli Cheese Soup
Though it takes only 30 minutes, if you want to help this cheesy soup come together even faster, feel free to buy pre-chopped onion, carrot, and celery and a bag of cut and washed broccoli florets. And while many broccoli-cheddar soup recipes call for pureeing the mixture before serving, this one lets the veggies keep their shapes for a textural contrast in each bite.
Slow Cooker Blissful Butternut Squash Soup
This creamy soup calls for a handful of ingredients and is dairy-free; it gets its luscious texture from coconut milk and two kinds of squash. Best of all, they don’t need peeling! Cooking the vegetables in the slow cooker with broth makes it easy to scoop the flesh out—then it’s a quick whiz to puree and serve.
The entire world loves chicken soup
Is there a cuisine that doesn’t tout a version of this iconic dish? While cultures across the globe have wildly varying tastes, we might all agree that a grandma’s love tastes a lot like chicken soup. Nurture yourself and those you love with this ultimate comfort food.
Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
Purchased enchilada sauce brings this soup together pronto, while still delivering sabor auténtico (real flavor)! And it doesn’t get much easier: quickly saute onion in olive oil in the Instant Pot, then stir in the sauce, chicken, canned chilies, broth, spices, and canned tomatoes and black beans. Cook for 9 minutes; then, after the pressure is released, grab the chips and serve!
Creamy Chicken Mushroom Soup
This chicken soup already has a lot going on, but the umami punch of the mushrooms takes it to the next level (try it with your favorite type of mushroom). Cream cheese adds lusciousness, and fresh rosemary, parsley, and thyme balance the heartier elements to keep the flavor bright.
20-Minute Chicken Pho
Most pho broths take over six hours to properly cook, but this quick infusion of grocery store stock gets pretty close to the real thing. Simmer the broth with chiles, fresh ginger, and fish sauce while the rice noodles soften and the chicken cooks on the stove, and you’ve got a satisfying Southeast Asian version of chicken noodle soup made in minutes. A scattering of fresh herbs and a cheery squeeze of lime add the final touches.
Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo
This Greek-inspired soup tastes like Mediterranean sunshine with its vivid burst of lemon and fresh dill stirred in at the end. Using meat from a purchased rotisserie chicken brings the dish together in under 30 minutes, and using eggs as a thickener gives this soup body sans floury pastiness.
One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato… Soup!
The humble potato, one of the western world’s greatest comfort foods, shines in the simple potato soup recipes below. A quick peel and rough chop, and they’re ready for the pot.
This magical five-ingredient soup not only tastes greater than its handful of ingredients, but it even uses up leftovers! A mysterious alchemy (ok, the recipe) turns yesterday’s mashed potatoes into an elegant French soup in under 25 minutes. Wash leeks in a flash by chopping them first, then swishing in a bowl of cold water before lifting them out with a slotted spoon. Voila!
African Sweet Potato Soup
Elegant, warming and boasting a mystery ingredient with a protein boost— it’s peanut butter!— this cozy soup is also rich in vitamin A, thanks to the sweet potatoes and red pepper. All its ingredients can be found at your local market, and it comes together in under 40 minutes.
Slow Cooker Loaded Baked Potato Soup
This hearty potage brings together all the flavors of the best baked potatoes in a creamy bowl of soup. The simple recipe uses only 10 ingredients and requires just a little prep time to saute the aromatic veggies before you toss everything into the Crock Pot. To make it gluten-free you could substitute a gluten-free baking mix such as Cup4Cup for the all-purpose flour to thicken the soup.
Extra-hearty soups for dinner
For those times when a light and creamy bowl of soup doesn’t feel like enough of a meal, these recipes are hearty, satisfying, and a breeze to prep, whether on the stovetop or in a slow cooker.
Crock Pot Taco Soup
Don’t let the ingredient list intimidate you, this family favorite mostly involves shaking out some seasonings and cranking the can opener for a few minutes. That master braiser, the slow cooker, makes the most of the humble fare for a soup that’s earthy, warming, and fun to eat.
The Easiest Slow Cooker Vegetable, Beef, and Barley Soup
This main-course soup is one of the simplest to prepare, with satisfying results that only require a hunk of crusty bread and dark beer for a classic American meal. You have the option to cook it for eight hours on low heat or four hours on high.
Tuscan White Bean Soup with Sausage + Kale
This hearty one-dish Italian meal is a nutrition powerhouse, packed with protein, iron, and fiber. Perfect for warming the stomach and the spirit, the pairing of white beans with greens and a little pasta is a traditional Tuscan combination. Don't forget some Parmesan to go on top.
Chicken Pot Pie Chowder
This streamlined pot pie-chowder hybrid gets a family favorite on the table in an hour, and makes excellent use of frozen vegetables—no one will guess you pulled a bag from the freezer! Pop-out packaged biscuit dough means no rolling out and crimping a crust, either.
Soup is a low-stakes way to dip your toe into vegan waters, and can be a first course if you’re hesitant about an entire plant-based meal. No matter which way you’re leaning, these simple recipes make it easy to eat more vegetables and pulses.
Red Lentil Soup
Ahh, the gentle lentil. This subtle pulse is packed with iron and calcium, both nutrients that are harder to find for vegans. This quick vegetable broth and canned tomato soup uses split red lentils, which take about as long to cook as the carrots need to become tender.
Thai Spicy Pumpkin Soup
This versatile 20-minute Thai soup puts you in the driver’s seat if you follow a special diet: It’s naturally gluten-free and keto with no odd substitutions, and the heat of the red Thai curry paste is quickly mitigated by the canned pumpkin puree. An immersion blender delivers a velvety texture, and a squeeze of lime at the end adds a bright pop.
Ginger Miso Soup
Miso paste is a fermented food, meaning this soup can contribute to a healthy gut. The fermentation also adds a layer of complexity to what’s a 30-minute recipe. No turnip greens? Feel free to swap in an equal amount of mizuna, arugula, or baby Swiss chard or kale.
Leblebi (North African Chickpea Soup)
This Tunisian soup was traditionally a breakfast dish often served with a poached egg on top, but it’s delicious any time of the day—and you don’t need to include the egg. Here it’s served with a swirl of smoky, spicy harissa on top, but a smattering of pickled veggies would also be delicious. To save time, rather than starting with dried chickpeas, simply open three 15-ounce cans of chickpeas, drain, and rinse.
5-Ingredient Black Bean Soup
Mexican flavors inspire this simple soup that takes about 15 minutes to prepare yet has a satisfying depth of flavor. Salsa is a main ingredient, so pick your favorite to determine the level of heat. The soup is infinitely customizable—a pinch of oregano might be nice, and for a little more oomph, you could add half a teaspoon of smoked paprika.