How To Thicken Soups: Tips And Techniques

Here's how to get the creamiest soup every single time.

a close up view of a single serving of creamy bowl of absolutely ultimate potato soup topped with crispy bacon bits, cheese, and green onion
Photo: Dotdash Meredith Food Studio

There are several ways to thicken soups a little or a lot, depending on what consistency you're going for. Here are popular techniques and tips for getting the results you want.

The Best Ways to Thicken Soups


Aroux is made from equal parts fat and flour and is a common thickener because it not only thickens but stabilizes, too. If cream or cheese is being added to a soup, a bit of roux can ensure it won't "break" or separate. Get step-by-step directions for making roux.


Cornstarch is a very effective thickener, and a little bit can go a long way. Add cornstarch to a small amount of cold water or other liquid (wine or stock) and whisk into a thick slurry. Then the slurry can be stirred into a simmering soup, a bit at a time to set the final consistency. Just remember, after you add some of the cornstarch, let the soup return to a simmer.

Potatoes, Rice, and Bread

Cooked potatoes or rice can be mashed or puréed and added to soup for more body. Simmering potatoes and grains in soup will also thicken the liquid slightly. Bread crumbs are used to thicken Italian Wedding Soup.

Full Fat Cream

Stir full-fat cream into warm, not boiling, soup to add richness and body after the soup is fully cooked. Be sure not to boil the soup after adding the dairy to prevent the soup from curdling.

The Soup Itself

A great trick to thickening a soup while intensifying flavor is to use parts of the soup itself as the thickener. Simply remove some of the soup solids—the aromatics, starches, even the meat—and puree. Use a countertop blender, food processor, or immersion blender for this task. Puree with care if using a countertop blender—the hot soup solids can actually spin out of the blender and make a big mess or cause burns. For best results, fill the blender no more than halfway (blend in batches if necessary). Hold down the blender lid with a thick towel while blending, and keep the lid on for several seconds after the blender is turned off.

Frozen Hash Browns

Here's a hot tip for a soup thickener you've probably never thought of: frozen hash browns or leftover mashed potatoes. You can use these frozen favorites or leftover sides to quickly thicken creamy soups to create a heartier flavor and the perfect soup consistency. Give this trick a try in this split pea recipe or any soup or stew you're putting in the slow cooker (or cooking slowly nearly all day) that might need something extra to thicken it up.


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