How to Organize a Virtual Soup Swap

Sometimes the best food is the kind someone else makes for you with love.

It doesn't have to be National Soup Month or Soup Swap Day for you to enjoy a comforting bowl of homemade soup. But if you're getting tired of the taste of your own cooking, here's how to organize a virtual soup swap so you and your friends can share and enjoy homemade soups from each other's kitchens, even if no one's getting together in person.

Especially now, and especially at this time of the year, there's a special kind of warmth that comes from eating something shared by a friend. And no matter how much you've upped your culinary skills lately, it's still nice to try someone else's cooking for a change.

friend delivering individually packaged tubs of soup for soup swap

Top Tips: How to Make Soup

Get the Soup Bowl Rolling

Choose a small group of friends and ask them to join your virtual soup swap. Three to five participants is usually a manageable number. Make sure you all live within driving distance of each other. Even the non-cooks among you can share favorite store-bought varieties, if they still want to participate.

Decide on Details

Start a group communication through text or a Slack channel and lay out the rules:

  • How much soup each delivery should contain (a quart per destination is a good suggestion).
  • What type of containers are preferred (frozen in flat bags, plastic containers, or in glass jars).
  • When deliveries will occur. You can choose to have a one-time event, when everyone delivers all their soup on the same day, or you can take turns each week or each month, with one person delivering soup to the others in the group.

Socialize the Fun

As everyone starts shopping, chopping, and cooking, encourage posting images via the group text, Slack channel, group Google Photos album, or via a custom Instagram hashtag (think something silly like #yayasisterhoodswap2021). Encourage goofy aprons, silly chef's hats, and lots of images of all that simmering deliciousness.

Add-ons for Extra Fun

As you're cooking, don't forget the fun little extras that will make the experience even more special, like a bag of homemade croutons, a sprig of fresh herbs, or freshly grated cheese to sprinkle on top. If you're making something like Chicken Tortilla Soup, include a zip top bag of crispy tortilla strips. For Baked Potato Soup, include crumbled bacon bits and chopped parsley. You get the picture.

Because starches like rice or noodles can get a little mushy, you might want to slightly undercook them or pack them separately.

As you're packing up your creation, include your name, the name of the soup and instructions for serving, storing, and reheating. Keep the fun going by creating a cookbook of all the recipes used by swappers. Have them send along recipes to you, and then create a PDF and share it with the group.

Deliver That Soup

variety of hot soups in bowls and frozen soups in freezer bags

Deliver your soup to each of the other participants. Example: If five people total are participating, you'll need to get soup to four other households (and keep some for yourself). Make sure to text in advance to make sure someone will be home to pick up the soup and refrigerate it promptly.

Consider a Virtual Get-Together

We're all up to here (points to spot on clavicle where camera cuts off) with work-related Zoom calls, but sometimes seeing friends' faces, even on a screen, can still be a treat. If you've chosen to do a one-time event, you can pick a post-delivery date that will work for everyone, then gather today for a virtual "Telling of the Soup," which is the opportunity for each participant to share culinary musing on making their soup, like what recipe they used, substitutions they made, and what they might try next time.

It's also fun to ask swappers to tell stories about any special meaning behind their recipes. You might hear things like:

  • "We ate this on our honeymoon and I begged the chef at our resort for the recipe,"
  • "I was the only grandkid who ever wanted to cook with grandma, and now I make her recipes, like this vegetable soup, to keep her memory alive,"
  • We've made a commitment to healthier eating, and this delicious, nutrition-packed soup has helped us stay on track."

The Zoom call is a great time for participants to share tasting notes and offer up praise to their fellow soup chefs. Encourage plenty of *chef's kiss* gestures all around.

Pay It Forward

Provide a link directly to a nearby food bank so that participants can make their own donations, or collect group donations using the Cash App or Venmo that can be sent in the name of your Soup Swap to a local food pantry.

Suggested Soups

Variety Of Garnished Soups In Colorful Bowls

There are more than 4,000 soup recipes on Allrecipes, so your only problem in getting started may be deciding which terrific recipe to choose.

To help narrow things down, here are some of our recommendations for soup swappers:

More Soup Ideas

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