19 Super-Satisfying, Quick Soup Recipes for Dinner
No kidding, it's winter soup season! See how to turn a hearty bowl of cozy comfort into a meal — with delicious, easy dinner soup recipes you can pull off on a weeknight.
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Best-Ever Broccoli Cheese Soup; photograph by Olga Ivanova
As a kid, I thought my mom had a pretty impressive arsenal of hearty soups that ate like a meal (just like a certain canned-soup company). She made a mean mushroom barley soup, corn chowder, tomato soup with rice, and of course chicken noodle soup — with matzo balls for the Jewish holidays. That was in the 1970s and 80s, when “Asian” in our part of New York only meant Chinese and my local supermarket’s “ethnic” aisle featured Americanized convenience foods like taco mix, canned chow mein, and rice pilaf mix. I still cook all my mom’s soup recipes, especially when I’m looking for comfort food, but my soup horizons have expanded along with the country’s appetite for new flavors.
Now, as cold weather feels like it's with us for the long haul, my family has nourishing soup for dinner at least once a week. On a busy weeknight, it just makes sense to choose a quick recipe with minimal prep time, where all you need alongside is a salad and some crusty bread. I admit, sometimes I go a little crazy with the soup-for-dinner idea: Last week, we ate a soup trifecta of French onion soup (which has the bread built-in), vegetarian lentil soup with sourdough, and matzo ball soup with challah. I may scale back a bit this week…
Just kidding. Having soup for dinner is just too convenient.
Jump ahead to:
19 best soup recipes for dinner — and what to serve with them >>
Creamy and pureed soup recipes >>
“Stoup” and extra-hearty soup recipes >>
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19 best soup recipes for dinner — and what to serve with them
You’re ready to think about dinner soup ideas. But first, what to serve with soup for dinner? All you need to turn any of these into a complete meal is a simple salad (I’m always happy with something bright and lemony) and a loaf of crusty bread.
Creamy and pureed soup recipes
When I’m looking for the most comforting soup possible, I usually turn to something smooth, rich, and creamy.
Best-Ever Broccoli Cheese Soup
Here's one of my favorites, broccoli cheddar soup. Oodles of cheddar cheese, chopped broccoli, chicken broth, and a handful of other ingredients combine in a bowl of cheesy goodness that's ready in 30 minutes. Prepared with veggie broth, it's vegetarian (and still delicious).
Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower Soup
This sumptuous vegan soup offers tons of flavor while also being almost shockingly good for you. It’s made with nothing but cauliflower and a handful of aromatic vegetables, a little extra-virgin olive oil, broth, and cozy spices like cumin, ginger, and turmeric.
Cream of Mushroom Soup
The secret to an excellent creamy soup: Keep it simple. This one gets its flavor from umami-rich sliced mushrooms, sauteed until golden along with onion, garlic, and thyme. Add a little flour for thickening, some broth, and simmer. Then finish it off with a generous pour of heavy cream. Luscious.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
This clever recipe takes 1 ½ hours total time, but most of it requires no hands-on attention at all — you’re softening spiced butternut squash, carrots, onions, garlic in the oven. You don’t even have to stir! When it’s all done, give it a quick whir to puree into a velvety bowl of comfort. I’d serve this with grilled cheese sandwiches for dunking.
Creamy Tortellini Soup
When I’m looking for quick and easy soup for dinner, this easy recipe featuring prepared tortellini delivers, and in only 30 minutes. It's made with vegetable broth, but would also be amazing with chicken broth if you're looking for a creamy chicken soup flavor. The "creamy" part comes from whipping cream (I bet you could swap in half sour cream, too), but the recipe gives you the option to go with half-and-half or even milk if you're looking for a lighter bowl of soup.
Hearty bean soup recipes
When it comes to healthy soup recipes for dinner, it’s hard to beat one that starts with beans. With all that fiber and protein, a bowl for lunch keeps me chugging all day.
Instant Pot Lentil Soup
I love making soup in the Instant Pot. Once you saute the aromatics, you put in almost everything else, seal it up, and walk away. Open the lid about 30 minutes later and you’ll find perfectly cooked lentils and an assortment of vegetables, ready for you to add a few handfuls of hearty greens to wilt in the herb-flecked broth.
Easy Instant Pot Split Pea Soup
A fast, vegan version of a classic winter soup, this recipe swaps out the usual ham for a bit of liquid smoke — but you could also use smoked paprika. It may look humble, but one bowl offers maximum coziness as well as being super-filling. I really like this one with pumpernickel bread.
Vegan Sweet Potato, Kale and Chickpea Soup
Can I just say, I adore this kind of soup? A single bowl covers every base, in terms of flavor and nutrition. It’s absolutely packed with vegetables like diced sweet potato, red pepper, and kale. Chickpeas add protein, and farro brings whole grains to the party — and for the simplest, most powerful seasoning, it calls for ready-made Thai red curry paste. Wins all around.
Spinach, Chicken, and White Bean Soup
In less than half an hour, you can be serving steaming bowls filled with chicken breast, white beans, spinach, and a tomatoey broth scented with dried herbs. This one’s crying out for a good hunk of bread to dunk and a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan on top. And did I mention that the recipe serves 8, so you’ll have plenty left over for lunches?
Mexican Black Bean Soup
If you have a can of black beans on hand, you're most of the way there to creating this delicious soup. It calls for a couple of worth-it steps to amp up the flavor — roasting tomatoes and sauteeing a little onion — plus the addition of chipotle chili (smoked jalapeño) for depth. Feel free to go up on the chipotles if you love heat.
Meat-lovers’ soup recipes
I may sing the virtues of vegetarian and vegan soups, but I live with some dedicated meat-o-philes. These soups delight us all.
Quick and Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup
My family’s always happy when something Mexican-inspired is on the menu. With so many flavors and textures, from the shredded chicken to the salsa verde, cumin, and chili powder, to the garnish of crispy tortilla strips, creamy avocado, and fresh cilantro, this taco soup has got everything.
Hearty Italian Beef and Vegetable Soup
Think of this as a really good minestrone soup, with the bonus addition of browned ground beef. It’s bursting with veggies and white beans, with dried Italian seasoning and a generous amount of red pepper flakes. If you grate your own Parmesan cheese, keep the rinds in the freezer — toss one into the soup pot while it simmers for extra flavor.
Easy Turkey Pho
Let’s get this out of the way: There’s nothing remotely authentic about this recipe, but it tastes so good I don’t mind. It’s kind of like a bowl of gluten-free ramen, starring turkey broth (though you could sub chicken broth) zhuzhed up with ingredients like fish sauce, star anise, and ginger; several cups of shredded turkey; rice noodles; and a ton of fun garnishes.
Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup
There’s a bit of a cheat with this recipe, since you’re first cooking corned beef with leeks, garlic, carrots, and bell pepper, and then turning it into soup. Do that first part on the weekend (or follow the recipe’s slow cooker or Instant Pot instructions in the morning before work), and dinner will be ready in under an hour. It’s worth the effort. Or if your family eats corned beef somewhat regularly, save this recipe in your back pocket to use up leftovers.
“Stoup” and extra-hearty soup recipes
Celebrity chef Rachael Ray coined the term “stoup,” I believe, to describe her extra-thick soups that were almost, but not quite, stews. These are the rib-sticking soup recipes to pull out on a wintry evening.
Italian Wedding Soup
If I had to pick a favorite soup out of all the recipes in the world, one I could happily eat every day, it would be Italian wedding soup. The mini-meatballs (here made with ground turkey and Parmesan), the orzo, chicken broth, and baby kale … it’s hearty and rich, but still brothy and fresh-tasting. This version takes only 40 minutes including prep time! The squeeze of lemon juice at the end brings all the flavors together.
Slow Cooker Smoky Ham and White Bean Soup
Sometimes I find there's nothing "faster" than pulling out the Crock Pot and letting it slowly cook up dinner while I'm busy with my day. This hearty soup made with vegetables, dried beans, and a meaty smoked ham hock creates enough for two meals, and gets even better after a day or two in the fridge.
Making this souped-up potato soup couldn’t be easier. First brown some sweet Italian sausage. Then add onion, garlic, fennel seed and other seasonings, and sliced potatoes, and simmer with some chicken broth until the potatoes are tender. Finally, add chopped kale and cook a few more minutes until it wilts. A big sprinkle of Parm at the table? Definitely.
Thai Chicken Noodle Soup
This curry soup is so vibrant, with tons of fresh vegetables and herbs, chicken, rice noodles, and coconut milk spiked with red curry paste, chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, and brown sugar. It hits all the salty-sweet-sour notes and then some. Grab a fork, because you’ll need more than a spoon for this bowl.
Instant Pot Stuffed Pepper Soup
A beautiful red bell pepper stuffed with ground meat, rice, and tomatoes takes me to my happy place. But some days I just don’t feel like futzing with carefully trimming the peppers, filling each, propping them upright in the pot, and making sure they cook all the way through. Turning all the ingredients into a big pot of soup — especially one made in the Instant Pot — solves all my problems. I get the flavors I love without all the fuss. (Pro tip: Add a splash of Worcestershire sauce for an umami boost.)
More soups to warm you from the inside out
Don’t put away that soup pot just yet, because we have lots more ideas to explore in these next articles.