If you love soup, you might be wondering about the different types of soups that exist in the world. Soup is a versatile dish that can be made with various ingredients, flavors, and textures. But how do you classify soups? What are the main categories and subcategories of soups? And what are some examples of each type of soup?
In this article, I will explain the different types of soups, from clear to thickened, and give you some tips on how to make them. I will also share some of my favorite soup recipes that you can try at home.
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What is Soup?
Soup is a liquid-based dish that is usually served hot, but can also be served cold or chilled. It can be made with meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, grains, legumes, dairy products, herbs, spices, and other ingredients. Soup can be a starter, a main course, or a dessert, depending on the ingredients and the portion size.
With its roots dating back to ancient times, soup is more than just a meal; it’s a comfort food. Recognized and beloved in cultures across the globe, it holds a special place in the world’s culinary traditions.”
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How to Classify Soups
There are many ways to classify soups, but one of the most common methods is based on the consistency and texture of the soup. According to this method, soups can be divided into two main categories: clear soups and thickened soups.
Clear soups are soups that have a thin and transparent broth. They are usually made by simmering meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, herbs, and spices in water or stock. Clear soups can be further subdivided into consommé and broth.
Thickened soups are soups that have a thick and creamy texture. They are usually made by adding starch, cream, eggs, cheese, or pureed ingredients to the soup base. Thickened soups can be further subdivided into cream soups, puree soups, bisque soups, chowder soups, and velouté soups.
Let’s take a closer look at each type of soup and some examples of each.
Consommé is a type of clear soup that is made from clarified stock or broth. Clarification is a process that involves simmering the stock or broth with egg whites and minced meat or vegetables. The egg whites coagulate and trap the impurities and fat from the liquid, creating a clear and flavorful soup.
Consommé can be served plain or garnished with meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, herbs, noodles, rice, or dumplings. Consommé can also be used as a base for other dishes or sauces.
Some examples of consommé are:
- Beef consommé: A clear soup made from beef stock or broth.
- Chicken consommé: A clear soup made from chicken stock or broth.
- Vegetable consommé: A clear soup made from vegetable stock or broth.
- Mushroom consommé: A clear soup made from mushroom stock or broth.
- Tomato consommé: A clear soup made from tomato juice or puree.
The broth is another type of clear soup that is made from simmering meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, herbs, and spices in water or stock. Unlike consommé, broth is not clarified and may contain some fat and sediment.
Broth can also be served plain or garnished with various ingredients.
Some examples of broth are:
- Chicken noodle soup: A broth-based soup with chicken pieces and noodles.
- Beef barley soup: A broth-based soup with beef chunks and barley grains.
- Vegetable soup: A broth-based soup with assorted vegetables.
- Miso soup: A Japanese broth-based soup with miso paste and tofu.
- Pho: A Vietnamese broth-based soup with rice noodles and beef or chicken.
Cream soups boast a rich thickness, achieved by incorporating cream or milk into the base. These luxurious soups often feature additional ingredients like butter, flour, cheese, or eggs to enrich the flavor and texture. While they are typically smooth and velvety, it’s not uncommon to find tantalizing chunks of meat or vegetables within
Some examples of cream soups are:
- Cream of mushroom soup: A cream-based soup with mushrooms.
- Cream of chicken soup: A cream-based soup with chicken pieces.
- Cream of broccoli soup: A cream-based soup with broccoli florets.
- Cream of potato soup: A cream-based soup with potatoes.
- Cream of tomato soup: A cream-based soup with tomatoes.
Puree soups are thickened soups that are made by pureeing the main ingredients of the soup. It can be made with meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, legumes, grains, or fruits. Puree soups can also contain cream, butter, cheese, herbs, or spices to add flavor and richness. Puree soups are usually smooth and thick but may also have some texture from the ingredients.
Some examples of puree soups are:
- Lentil soup: A pureed soup with lentils and vegetables.
- Pea soup: A pureed soup with green peas and ham.
- Carrot soup: A pureed soup with carrots and ginger.
- Pumpkin soup: A pureed soup with pumpkin and spices.
- Butternut squash soup: A pureed soup with butternut squash and nutmeg.
Bisque soups are a type of puree soup that is made with shellfish, such as lobster, crab, or shrimp. They are usually enriched with cream, butter, wine, or brandy to create a rich and smooth texture. Bisque soups are often garnished with pieces of shellfish or herbs.
Some examples of bisque soups are:
- Lobster bisque: A pureed soup with lobster meat and shells.
- Crab bisque: A pureed soup with crab meat and shells.
- Shrimp bisque: A pureed soup with shrimp meat and shells.
- Crawfish bisque: A pureed soup with crawfish meat and shells.
- Oyster bisque: A pureed soup with oyster meat and shells.
Chowder soups are thickened soups that are made with chunks of meat, poultry, fish, or vegetables in a creamy or tomato-based broth.
Commonly infused with ingredients like potatoes, onions, celery, bacon, or cheese, these elements contribute a depth of flavor and a satisfying texture. Given their wholesome nature, chowders can easily stand as a fulfilling main course.”
Some examples of chowder soups are:
- Clam chowder: A creamy soup with clams and potatoes.
- Corn chowder: A creamy soup with corn kernels and bacon.
- Chicken chowder: A creamy soup with chicken pieces and vegetables.
- Fish chowder: A creamy or tomato-based soup with fish chunks and potatoes.
- Vegetable chowder: A creamy or tomato-based soup with assorted vegetables.
Velouté soups are thickened soups that are made by adding a roux (a mixture of butter and flour) to a clear stock or broth. These soups can be made with chicken, veal, fish, or vegetable stock, or broth. Velouté soups can also contain cream, cheese, eggs, herbs, or spices to add flavor and richness. Velouté soups are usually smooth and silky but may also have some chunks of meat or vegetables.
Some examples of velouté soups are:
- Chicken velouté: A velouté-based soup with chicken stock or broth.
- Veal velouté: A velouté-based soup with veal stock or broth.
- Fish velouté: A velouté-based soup with fish stock or broth.
- Mushroom velouté: A velouté-based soup with mushroom stock or broth.
- Asparagus velouté: A velouté-based soup with asparagus spears.
What is the difference between soup and stew?
Soup and stew are both liquid-based dishes that can contain meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, grains, legumes, herbs, spices, and other ingredients. However, stew is usually thicker than soup and has less liquid. Stew is also cooked for a longer time at a lower temperature than soup.
How do you thicken a soup?
There are several ways to thicken a soup, such as adding starch (flour, cornstarch, potato starch), cream (heavy cream, sour cream), eggs (egg yolks), cheese (cheddar cheese, cream cheese), or pureed ingredients (beans, potatoes). You can also reduce the liquid by simmering the soup until it reaches the desired consistency.
How do you store leftover soup?
You can store leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Make sure to cool the soup completely before storing it. To reheat the soup, you can use a microwave oven or a stovetop over low to medium heat.
Soup is a delightful and versatile dish, perfect for any season or occasion. With a myriad of types available, you’re bound to find one tailored to your preferences and the ingredients you have on hand. Whether you’re in the mood for a clear broth or a hearty thickened soup, there’s a recipe out there to tantalize your taste buds
I hope this article has helped you understand the different types of soups and how to make them.