A few easy add-ins and you'll swear this soup had been simmering away all day.
Bowl of carrot soup
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Canned soup is one of our essential ingredients for a perfect pantry and is a staple in nearly every American household. But when you crack open can after can of traditional tomato and classic chicken noodle, they can start to lose their luster.

Rather than swear off canned soups for good, we suggest you call in reinforcements. Small tweaks to make your meal more semi-homemade (think mix-ins, garnishes, and thickeners) can make all the difference — and can elevate your quick lunch or dinner recipe to restaurant-quality territory. Consider one of these nine upgrades the next time you serve soup.

9 Ways to Make Canned Soup Taste Better

Go for the Grain

If the soup you selected doesn't already include a starch source like rice or pasta, consider amplifying it with a cooked grain. Quinoa, barley, and wheat berries are among our faves when we're in a healthy mood, and when we have Asian fare in mind, we opt for ramen or rice noodles.

Spice Up Your Life

A pinch of seasoning can make all the difference to freshen up the flavors in a ho-hum soup. Most canned soups have plenty of sodium, so skip the salt and stick with spices like cumin or curry powder or try dried herbs like basil or rosemary.

Perk Things Up With Pesto

Or you can add fresh herbs to the mix, even if you don't have your own kitchen herb garden started. Just twist open a jar of pesto and garnish a bowl of tomato or vegetable soup with a scoop.

Give It a Whirl

Running low on pantry staples but still want to zhush up your soup? Zero extra ingredients are required for this quick canned soup hack: Just grab your countertop blender or immersion blender. Use either to blend and thicken a chunky vegetable soup into creamy, bisque-like consistency in a matter of seconds.

Add Acid

There's a reason why "acid" made it into the title of Samin Nosrat's popular cookbook-turned-Netflix-series Salt Fat Acid Heat. It's an essential component to perk up the flavors in nearly any savory recipe. Try a squeeze of lemon or lime or a splash of vinegar to brighten a dull-tasting canned soup.

Pack in Some Protein

Put leftover chicken or turkey to good use by shredding it and stirring into canned soups like butternut squash, lentil, or minestrone. (Or chicken noodle — let's be honest, there's never enough chicken in store-bought soups!) You could also simmer some frozen meatballs or slices of sausage in soups such as tomato, mushroom, or vegetable.

Or Pile On a Poached Egg

Quite possibly the best "condiment" on earth, a runny egg yolk can make everything from rice to pizza to avocado toast so much better. Add canned soups to the list, too. In case you need a refresher, here's how to poach an egg like a pro.

Veg Out

For more color, vitamins, and fiber, stir in a few handfuls of kale, spinach, or chard to any canned soup. Frozen spinach works too!

Crown Each Bowl With Croutons

If you have bread — even stale slices or that loaf tucked away in the freezer will do — then you're in luck the next time you serve soup. That means you're all set to make homemade croutons. Cut into cubes, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and season with a dried herb or spice, if desired. Bake for about 10 minutes at 375° F, tossing halfway through to get each side toasty and golden brown. Or if you're craving an extra dose of comfort, griddle up a grilled cheese sandwich or two and slice into cubes for the ultimate tomato soup topping.

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