Upgrade Canned Soup With The Seasonings In Your Pantry

Let's face it — the canned soups you bring home from the grocery store can be dull and lacking in the flavor department. Tomato soup and minestrone don't necessarily titillate the taste buds when eaten as-is. However, we have good news: One easy way to make a canned soup taste better is to upgrade its flavor with the seasonings you likely already have in your pantry at home.

First, it's important to recognize that many canned soups are already loaded with sodium. Therefore, you can probably skip the salt. However, you can incorporate salt's well-known associate; a dash of black pepper can give most canned soups a little kick. Reach for some cayenne pepper to give a slightly spicier boost to your favorite canned soup. A small pinch can transform a previously bland soup into something more interesting. For example, use cayenne and dried herbs to make a slightly spicier, more robust chicken noodle. Paprika is another seasoning most people are likely to have on hand; it can enhance soups by imparting smokiness and sweetness that dances on the tongue.

Other ways to season canned soup

Additionally, garlic powder or garlic salt can amp up the flavor of most soups — and it's not as powerful in taste or smell as fresh garlic cloves. The same goes for onion powder; while it lends canned soup hints of onion, garlic, and sweetness, it's a milder choice than dicing up and tossing in an actual onion. Red pepper flakes can also bring a smoky jolt into even the most boring canned soups.

However, some spices pair best with specific kinds of soups. For example, Italian seasoning, basil, and oregano marry well with tomato-based soups. Curry powder is a spice mix that adds beautiful color and aromatics that complement vegetable, split pea, and lentil soups. Cumin, an ingredient in curry powder, works well in chili, bean, Mexican, and Indian soups. Rosemary can help liven up a chicken noodle or vegetable canned soup, though it is not for everybody; it has a relatively strong scent redolent of pine. Similarly, thyme is another woody, fragrant herb that bolsters the same varieties of canned soups. 

When choosing seasonings to upgrade canned soup, it helps to know what tastes and aromatics are best suited to your palate and how flavorful or mild you want to make the finished product. Feel free to experiment, but always taste as you go to achieve the best results.