12 Best Soup Recipes For The Fall (Or Winter)

You don't need to be shivering from a cold (or cold weather) in order to enjoy a nice bowl of soup. However, it's undeniable that a rich steamy broth filled with vegetables is something we tend to associate with the fall and winter months, or as a welcome remedy to a sore throat and stuffy nose.

And yet, for those living in more temperate climates, the smell of a bubbling pot filling a home with aromatics as that soup reduces down to that perfect level of thickness or consistency is as welcome as a fresh pair of slippers or a blanket on a frigid winter night. Soup might just be the ultimate form of what we like to call "comfort food." Sure it's far more savory than sweet, and it's not very greasy (well, depending on your ingredients), but a fresh bowl of soup can warm you up inside and out and leave you feeling relaxed and cozy.

Thoroughly boiling meats and vegetables or roasting gourds into either a broth or cream has long been a method of stretching out leftovers. Today, soup is still popular — over 10 billion bowls get slurped up per year in the US alone. For those turning up the furnace and breaking out the heavy jackets, it's a good time to brush up on some homemade soup recipes as the leaves start falling in preparation for the snow.

1. Cream of Mushroom Soup

Don't let Campbell's intimidate you out of taking a shot at this classic. One of the greatest things is that you don't need to limit yourself down to one type of mushroom. In fact, the wider variety you add, the better it'll turn out, as long as you remember to both sauté them and then use a blender to get the soup to a smoother texture. Using a combination of flour, half-and-half, and chicken stock will help achieve a creamy texture, and as for flavoring, you've got way more options than a canning company on a tight budget. Consider garlic, thyme, shallots, and even Marsala wine to add even more dimensions to your particular pot.

Recipe: Homemade Cream Of Mushroom Soup

2. Chicken Stock

When you have a cold, you often don't feel like eating much. Even if you're not sick, making your own chicken stock is a great idea, especially if you've got other soup recipes in mind. The greatest thing about making stock is that you can utilize the "garbage bits" of your leftover chicken dinner. A whole rotisserie chicken is a perfect source for good chicken stock as you can toss in everything you don't intend to eat — all those bones, bits of fat, and leftover gristle are still chock full of oils, fats, marrow, and nutrients. Throw in some herbs and veggies, plus an acid to really boost the flavorful goodness, and once skimmed out you've got a potent concoction ready for a future soup recipe or to be served as is.

Recipe: Classic Chicken Stock

3. Cream Of Bacon Soup

When temperatures drop, Fitbase notes that one method we can use to keep warm is eating food rich in fat. It gives us some additional internal padding to get through those especially cold nights. This can be a delicious thing: Bacon is one of the tastiest forms of salty, fatty foods. If you're looking for something that's hearty, tasty, and feels like wrapping a warm pork-flavored blanket around your tongue, then consider cream of bacon soup. Like any cream-based soup, make sure you've got a blender or food processor to get it to a smooth consistency. Just remember not to skimp out on the other ingredients (and maybe double-check beforehand to make sure your cholesterol levels are in good order).

Recipe: Cream Of Bacon Soup

4. Matzo Ball Soup

If you celebrate Passover, there's a good chance that matzo ball soup is involved. Matzo is a form of unleavened bread, dried and grinded down to make the centerpiece for the soup. Though the traditional ingredient, a fat known as "schmaltz," may be difficult to find outside of a Jewish grocery store, an oil can serve as an alternative in a pinch. Of course, don't forget about the soup base itself, made of sauteed onions, garlic, celery, and carrots, and flavored with herbs like cilantro and dill.

Recipe: Matzo Ball Soup

5. White Bean And Kale Soup

Kale is one of those foods that's been around forever, but only recently picked up a reputation within food culture. Originally, kale was celebrated as a "superfood" for its high vitamin and nutrient content and low carbs. However, not many knew how to properly incorporate kale into their regular diet on account of its tough exterior and bitter flavor. But with the right recipe, kale can be a major part of delicious meals. White bean and kale soup combines hearty and filling beans with a flavorful broth while letting the kale do its thing by adding all of the healthy vitamins. Also remember that while you can use any kind of kale in your soup, dinosaur kale is one of the least bitter and tough varieties out there.

Recipe: White Bean And Kale Soup

6. Cream Of Broccoli Soup

Dozens of soup companies and chains like Panera Bread have made a name for themselves by simply adding cheddar to broccoli soup. And while dairy can be a great addition to soup, it's not always a requirement. Taking out the cheese can mean letting broccoli's flavor shine with its own herbs and spices. Toasted mustard seeds in particular pair very well with broccoli, enhancing its already earthy taste. Otherwise, a sauteed blend of garlic and onion, mixed with heavy cream and vegetable broth, creates a soup with a simple, unique taste. For those who tend to take their broccoli soup with cheese, it's an opportunity to see just how good this vegetable does as a solo act.

Recipe: Silky Cream Of Broccoli Soup

7. Tomato Bisque

There's a world of difference between tomato soup and tomato bisque, and practically a galaxy between canned and homemade. This particular recipe goes against the grain to get that extra thick texture, eschewing heavy cream for the far denser addition of cream cheese. Considering just how much natural juices are in tomatoes already, this is a good way to maintain a smoother, creamer texture. In order to reach that level of smoothness, an immersion blender would be the easiest and fastest method, though blending small batches can also work in a pinch. Finally, consider ditching the grilled cheese for a few large (preferably homemade) and strategically placed croutons, plus a few basil leaves.

Recipe: 20-Minute Tomato Bisque

8. Vegetable Wonton Soup

If you're interested in cooking something you'd normally order at home, try vegetable wonton soup. While most restaurant and takeout versions typically consist of a broth with a few meat-filled wontons, making your own means you get to fill your wontons with whatever you desire. Fill them with either pork, beef, or a mix of napa cabbage, carrots, and mushrooms. Making the wontons can be a project, but it's most of the work. The actual soup-making process is almost disarmingly easy. If you'd like a little bit of kick, consider adding diced chilies.

Recipe: Vegetable Wonton Soup

9. Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup

If you have a slow cooker, beef barley soup may be one of the easiest dishes you'll ever make. Even without one, it can be just as simple. Remember that tougher cuts of meat are made for stewing, as they contain all of the needed oils and fats within their connected tissue, so cuts like chuck roast or round will work best. Start by giving the meat a solid braise to get the surface to brown. Then, it's simply a matter of adding the barley and vegetables and letting the whole thing stew for a good long time. This will make usually-tough roasts become tender and add their flavors to the broth.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup

10. Spicy Italian Wedding Soup

Thankfully you don't need to be at a wedding (or in Italy for that matter) if you'd like to enjoy your own bowl of Italian Wedding Soup. This recipe adds a bit of heat by switching sweet Italian sausage for the spicy variety. It's a minor, easy change-up that can add a whole new element to your soup. The soup also consists of carrots, spinach, celery, and onion, plus fresh basil or thyme for garnishing. Rice-like orzo is your best pasta choice here; it retains its shape and texture after cooking, and will also absorb all of that delicious broth. Wedding soup is often served as part of a larger meal, but it can be a centerpiece, especially if paired with a light salad.

Recipe: Spicy Italian Wedding Soup

11. Classic Chicken Tortilla Soup

Soups that are popular in the fall often contain a little bit of everything. Tortilla soups have meat, veggies, a smooth texture, and often a hint of spice. It's also one of the rare soups that can be served with avocado. While there many kinds of tortilla soup recipes out there, this is one of the easier ones. Frozen corn, black beans, and diced tomatoes go with chicken broth, spices, vegetables, and of course, chicken breast. With such a simplified recipe, there's a lot of room for customization, especially when it comes to spice. Chop up fresh chilies, or use chipotle for a smokier flavor. And while you can use store brought tortilla chips, it doesn't take much effort to fry up a nice steaming pile of your own.

Recipe: Classic Chicken Tortilla Soup

12. Navy Bean Soup

Navy bean soup is another fall and winter recipe that is vastly improved with the use of an Instant Pot. Plus, it doesn't take much to make this popular soup both vegan and vegetarian. The only ingredient you'd need to remove would be the chopped ham; everything else is either a vegetable or a spice. This soup doesn't need cream to create a smoother texture, as the beans themselves can handle that just fine. Using an immersion blender or food processor will help the cooked beans create a rich, creamy, soup that doesn't require any additional dairy. However, ham as well as milk or cream can be added if you wish. This is one of those soups that's asking to be mopped up with a slice of bread.

Recipe: Instant Pot Navy Bean Soup