What Cream Of Chicken Soup Is Really Made Of

Most people have warm memories of passing homemade casseroles full of rich flavor around the dinner table, usually at holidays. If you've ever made one of these casseroles, chances are that they've used cream of chicken soup as a binder. A binder is a culinary term meaning something that helps thicken a recipe, but the advantage of using cream of chicken soup is that it adds additional flavor that plain binders such as cornstarch don't offer. It's been a staple in most kitchen pantries for quite some time because it's a quick and convenient way to add creaminess to chowders, chicken and dumplings, and pot pies. Cream of chicken soup can also be served with ramen noodles for a quick and affordable lunch, and it also makes a great dip for fresh bread or crackers.

The ingredients in a can of Campbell's cream of chicken soup include chicken broth (water and chicken stock) modified cornstarch, chicken fat, seasoned chicken, cream, wheat flour, and much more. The cream, wheat flour, and milk add to the soup's distinctive flavor and thick texture.

Cream of chicken soup uses

The downside to canned cream of chicken soup is that it's quite salty — the Campbell's variety has 840 milligrams of sodium per ½ cup serving, which makes up 37% of the sodium you should be consuming in an entire day. If you're cooking a recipe that calls for using this soup and are concerned about the sodium level, you can substitute cream of chicken soup for something like chicken broth or sour cream. If the soup is used as a binder, you can either reduce the amount of salt in the dish or use less of the soup and replace it with another thickener. You can also make your own version of cream of chicken soup in less than 20 minutes with ingredients you probably have in your kitchen already. 

The best part about homemade chicken soup is that you can adjust the seasoning level so it's not as salty as the canned version, and if you're gluten-free, you can even use gluten-free flour with a 1:1 ratio to all-purpose flour. Chunks of celery can be added during the reduction step for texture and flavor. You can also spruce it up with small diced onions or chives as a garnish — it's your soup; the possibilities are endless.