Spicy Soup Recipes That Will Warm You Right Up

Humans are one of only two animals on the planet that are willing to eat spicy food, according to Food Research International, which pointed out that the human willingness to eat spicy food is in direct contradiction to the purpose of a pepper's heat, which is meant to discourage animals from eating the plants. The other animal that eats spicy peppers on purpose, the tree shrew, sports a genetic mutation that keeps it from experiencing much heat (via National Geographic). 

Yet, humans, who can taste it, love spice, and for good reason. Spicy foods actually offer proven health benefits to humans. These include reducing the risk of tumor development, raising metabolic speed, and increasing libido. So, you've got good reason to be craving spicy foods, even in the hot days of summer. In fact, a steaming hot bowl of spicy soup in the summer can actually help you stay cooler, Wired says, making you sweat more and therefore cool off faster. 

In other words, although a bowl of hot soup may cause you to sweat, which could momentarily make you feel hotter, ultimately, it can help lower your body temperature. That said, if you live in a cold climate, soups with plenty of heat can also taste great and warm you up just through the pure temperature of the meal. So, here are some spicy soup recipes that will warm you right up in all the right ways all year long. 

Spicy Thai curry soup

Thai food is famous for its hot, occasionally ultra-spicy curries. In fact, there are hundreds of Thai curries, which vary based on different regions and family recipes (via Inquiring Chef). The five most well-known categories of Thai curry are yellow, red, green, Massaman, and Penang. Some are indeed full of pepper-induced heat, but other varieties are relatively mild.

This spicy Thai curry soup falls within the red category. Spicy, hearty, and full of Thai flavors like ginger, lime, and coconut, it's nevertheless a cinch to prepare because it makes use of ready-made curry paste. And if you're skeptical of a time-saving measure like pre-made curry paste, take a step back to reconsider. After all, don't knock it til you've tried it, according to Bon Appétit

Hearty spicy vegetable soup

Next time you're at Panera Bread, you might want to think twice before ordering their famous Ten Vegetable Soup — not because it isn't fantastic, but because you could make your own version at home for a fraction of the cost. As if that weren't enough motivation, your prep time for this soup could actually be shorter than your wait time at Panera. And if you're ordering delivery, then we can practically guarantee that to be the case. 

The work for this spicy vegetable soup recipe comes together in a mere five minutes, with the heat brought about by red chili flakes and chili powder. Feel free to increase the heat with some other spices as you see fit. To get the best flavor, you'll want to let your soup steep for the full 40 minutes recommended. 

Spicy beef noodle soup everyone will love

This spicy beef noodle soup recipe is inspired by the cuisine of Thailand, featuring coconut, lime, cilantro, and scallions as well as red Thai curry paste. That said, if you're not familiar with this dish, you might not realize its cultural background from looking at it — or even from tasting it. 

Its most audacious flavor comes from the five bone-in beef short ribs that lend a wonderful, rich flavor to this hearty soup. Don't worry about losing out on the heat, though, as the chili paste more than takes care of adding a spicy flavor to the finished dish. In fact, if you're a fan of short ribs, you'll want to try this soup even if you're not in it for its wonderful heat alone.

Easy spicy lentil soup

This recipe for spicy lentil soup will set you back a whole five minutes' worth of prep time. If you can handle that, it promises maximum satisfaction in return, and even more so if you go the pre-chopped route with your mirepoix (that's a classic French chef term for the soup-base combination of carrots, celery, and yellow onion). In that case, the satisfaction side of the satisfaction-to-work ratio skyrockets. That's thanks in large part to a low-maintenance cooking process that draws heavily on the often-overlooked lentil.

Lentils are a simple, nutritional workhorse packed with vitamins, folate, iron, protein, fiber, and healthy phytochemicals, according to Healthline. They're also often very affordable in many grocery stores. So, not only are you getting a pleasingly spicy meal here, but you're also opening up a world of potential health benefits. What's not to love?

Satisfying spicy cabbage soup

This recipe for spicy cabbage soup is not only simple, quick, and delicious, it is also chock full of cooked tomatoes. Not only do those tomatoes lend a wonderful flavor and bright acidity to this soup, but is really the most nutritious way to eat tomatoes. Yes, really. It's all because heat — of the temperature variety — helps boost the availability of its key nutrient, lycopene, according to ScienceDaily. And if you want that other sort of heat, this soup has plenty of that, too, thanks to the addition of red pepper flakes.

Oh, and there's also cabbage. Lots of cabbage, in fact. That's pretty great, since this veggie offers up a ton of nutritional benefits, which include improving digestion, increasing your intake of vitamins, and strengthening your bones. Frankly, it's a wonder that it's taken this long for cabbage to hit kale-level popularity.

The best enchilada soup recipe you've ever tried

Next time you're craving enchiladas, do yourself a favor and get cooking with this best enchilada soup recipe. This hearty soup really does eat like a meal. Yet, surprisingly, it takes less time to prep and cook this soup than most of your home-cooked meals, not least enchiladas, which require all of that filling, wrapping, saucing, and baking to get done right. 

With a mere five minutes of prep time and 15 minutes to simmer, you've got yourself a warm, spicy, vegetable- and protein-packed Mexican-spiced delight. You can feel free to tailor the spice profile to your meal-mates by using more or less of the can of green chilis called for in the recipe, or even adjusting the spice levels of the enchilada sauce, whether you decide to make it at home or buy it from the store.

Spicy chicken soup

This recipe for spicy chicken soup gets most of its heat from fresh jalapeño peppers, as well as your choice of ancho, cayenne, or plain old chili powder. This means that you can customize it to whatever level of heat you and your fellow eaters are craving in the moment. Lest you think it stops there, cinnamon and honey add another layer of warmth that both enhances and complements the more overt capsaicin-derived heat delivered via the peppers.

And here's an added bonus: if you end up spicing it a bit too enthusiastically, you can always take the mouth-burning effect down a notch by topping the bowls of the finished soup with some cool avocado or sour cream — or, heck, even both. Basically, this spicy chicken soup — which could just as easily be called "spiced" chicken soup if you decided to go low-key with the heat — is fun, flexible, and delicious.