Cream of Mushroom Soup

Cream of mushroom soup has been a favorite of mine as long as I can remember. Of course when we were growing up it was Campbell’s and it came in a can. But even as an 8 year old I took great pride in heating my own soup, and discovered for myself how much better it was if you added milk instead of water, and how important it was to slowly add the milk while stirring so it wouldn’t form clumps.

As a grown-up I still love mushroom soup, and happily make it from scratch using lots of fresh mushrooms, shallots, garlic, chicken stock and cream. Many people add a dash of sherry or nutmeg to mushroom soup. I discovered a tip from a chef friend that just a little tarragon will help bring out the flavor of the mushrooms, so we’ve added a little dried tarragon to the soup base. Not everyone has this herb though, you can easily substitute thyme (or put in a dash of nutmeg).

Our recipe calls for a couple pounds of cremini or button mushrooms. Either will do, though I think cremini (young portobello mushrooms) are a little tastier. We also recommend adding a handful of fresh shiitake mushrooms to the soup. Even though they are more expensive than regular mushrooms, their flavor is much more intense and deepen the rich flavor of this soup.

Recipe updated Aug 13, 2014

Cream of Mushroom Soup Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6

If you want to make ahead and freeze, don't add the cream. Wait until it's defrosted, heated, and ready to serve to whisk in the cream.

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 2 pounds (900 g) cremini (or button) mushrooms, (sliced 1/8-inch thick)
  • Small handful of shiitake mushrooms (chopped)
  • 3/4 cup minced shallots (6 ounces, 170 g)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (3 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 4 cups (1 liter) chicken stock
  • 1/2 (120 ml) cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (more or less to taste)

Method

1 Heat olive oil on medium high heat in a 5-6 quart thick-bottomed pot. When the oil is hot, swirl in the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the sliced mushrooms, stir to coat with the olive oil and butter. Cook the mushrooms on medium high heat until they are lightly browned and have released most of their water. Remove 1 cup of the cooked mushrooms from the pot and set aside (they will be added back in later).

2 Reduce heat to medium. Add the minced shallots and the garlic to the pot, stir to combine, cook for about a minute. Add the salt, dried tarragon, and the chicken stock to the pot. Increase the heat to medium high, bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

3 Using an immersion blender or working in batches with a standing blender, purée the soup until smooth. Then return to the pot. (If the soup is too thick for you, add some water or more stock to thin the soup to the desired level of thickness.)

4 Whisk the cream into the soup and add the black pepper. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the reserved cooked mushrooms.

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Cream of Mushroom Soup

 

24 Comments

  1. Harmony

    Finally! A cream of mushroom soup recipe that doesn’t call for alcohol! I am a huge fan of cream of mushroom, but every recipe I find calls for either white wine or sherry. And we don’t drink often enough to warrant buying alcohol just for cooking. I’m looking forward to trying it!

  2. Kim

    I had my wedding reception at Wente Vineyards in Livermore, and the first course was their mushroom soup. It was so wonderful – my husband’s uncle said that we could’ve ended the dinner right there!

    I had an idea for the lactose-intolerent – you could also experiment with coconut milk mixed with some more neutral tasting milk substitute. (I seem to have red curry on my mind.) It doesn’t taste as coconutty when mixed with chicken broth.

  3. Judy B.

    Here’s a different version of Mushroom Soup with Brie Cheese – enjoy.

    Mushroom Brie Soup
    Makes 4 – 6 servings

    2 tablespoons butter
    1/2 cup chopped onions
    1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
    4 (8 oz. packages) mushrooms, thinly sliced
    1 tablespoon flour
    1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste
    3/4 teaspoon each: dried basil and oregano
    4 teaspoons chicken base or more to taste (see note)
    1 1/4 cups whipping cream
    1 3/4 cups milk
    3 oz. brie cheese, trimmed of rind and cubed
    Salt to taste
    Parsley to taste, chopped (optional)

    Melt butter in large saucepan. Saute onion over medium heat until wilted; about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic; saute 1 minute. Stir mushrooms into butter mixture; cover and cook over low to medium heat 10 minutes or until mushrooms are cooked down, giving off liquid. Stir in flour, pepper, basil, oregano and chicken base; cook 5 minutes. Add cream, milk and brie; let simmer 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley.

    NOTE: Chicken Base: A non-refrigerated chicken base is available in most super-markets. Comes in a jar and texture is paste like.

    This has been my favorite mushroom recipe; but I haven’t made Elise’s yet!

  4. Okihwn

    If you’re intolerant to lactose, I suggest using Lactaid products. There’s pills that you can take before you indulge in ice cream, there’s a liquid drop one that you can add to milk. And they even sell the milk already with the Lactaid in it.

    I grew up loving milk, drinking 2 cups morning, 2 of those milk cartons at at lunch, 2 or 3 cups in the afternoon, and a couple cups more at dinner.

    But all of a sudden I became lactose intolerant in my middle age and would drink milk only if I wanted a laxative.

    But discovering Lactaid has reopened my world to milk!

  5. Marlene

    Greetings: (especially for Buddy)

    I am not lactose intolerant, but casein or the protein in ALL dairy (tis a drag), and I can ALMOST guarantee that if you use ‘SOYA CREAM’ for cooking or as they call it here in French ‘Soya Cuisine’ which means Soya for Cooking the results will be fabulous with 0 fat, but high in protein. I haven’t tried this particular recipe but I have previously made mushroom soup with Soya Cream and one cannot tell the difference. Honest it’s true. I substitute Soya Cream in almost everything that calls for milk; or Rice Milk, Almond Milk or Soya Milk for all my baking and it works just fine. I use many Simply Recipes…….recipes and the Soya Cream has never failed me as a replacement for cream. I love your site by the way…..Marlene (gluten and dairy PROTEIN intolerant)

  6. Marlene

    ooopppsss – Re the comment ‘I substitute Soya Cream when it calls for milk…..NO – I spaced that…use only the milk substitutes for milk and the $oya Cream for Cream substitutes -….Sorry about that! Marlene

  7. sal the crook

    The best cream of mushroom soup I ever had was at a restaurant on the way to Mendocino maybe 20 years ago. When I asked what was in it, that gave it the special flavor, they said “yams.” Never have seen a recipe for mushroom soup with yams in it!

  8. Marie

    One of the benefits of Campbells is the ease of popping open the can and using it for cooking (i.e. chicken bakes and such). But homemade is so much better and so much better for you! Do you think this recipe could be frozen? Or maybe canned (I don’t do canning, but would like to start.)

    • Elise

      Yes, you can freeze this soup, just don’t add the cream. Wait until you defrost it and heat it to swirl in the cream. I wouldn’t attempt canning it though.

  9. Helen

    I typically make the traditional green bean casserole with the “condensed” version of cream of mushroom soup. I would much rather make my own; this recipe sounds perfect; but I am afraid it will be too thin. Any suggestions?

    I agree that it would be too thin. You might want to check over at Cooking for Engineers. Michael has a recipe that is closer to the canned version than mine. ~Elise

  10. Erik

    I just made this soup for my girlfriend who has a gluten sensitivity, is lactose intolerance and is allergic to all forms of soy (soy lecithin is in everything!). Instead of cream I used Mimic Creme. I also used 1/2 lb crimini and about 1/2 cup of dried shitakes that I ran through my coffee grinder. Very mushroomy and delicious!

  11. Gayane

    Hi Elise,
    My neighbor made cream of mushroom soup with chicken and it tasted great. I use your site a lot for my recipes so naturally I searched for a cream of mushroom recipe on this site and found this out of a few. I was wondering if it would taste good if I added chicken to this recipe. What do you think?
    thanks

    Hi Gayane, chicken and mushrooms go well together generally, so I think it’s worth a shot. If you try it, please let us know in the comments how it turns out. ~Elise

  12. Goodness

    I was looking for a recipe, as i’m on the move and have only 2 of my cookbooks. This one is very simliar to that which I do…however…when the butter and mushrooms are sauteeing I add in a tablespoon of flour, then the stock. I only add in the cream at the end so that it does not curdle or boil. I also chop the mushrooms in the beginning and i don’t blitz them…but i do blend 1/2 the soup at the end before adding the cream. It gives fantastic texture. For the finale, I add 1/2 a glass of cognac!
    Also, you must not freeze things with cream or milk, so therefore if you want to freeze it – don’t put the cream in, but add it when defrosted and heating up….enjoy!

  13. Deb Skonecki

    So, let’s see, I reviewed most all of the responses above and got all of these extra unique ingredients to play around with to get your own favorite recipe!

    Carrots
    Celery
    Chives
    Virgin Olive Oil
    Garlic
    Basil
    Oregano
    Flour
    Brie Cheese
    Whipping Cream
    Yams > said to be in the best mushroom soup ever tasted
    Greek thick yogurt
    Lime Juice
    Sour Cream
    Chicken Bouillon Cubes
    Apple Cider Vinegar
    Cognac

    Now, I am about to embark on a very good adventure…making my own recipe from what is above, my freezer is packed with mushrooms in baggies frozen from last year when my big sis and I went mushroom hunting! I’m the only one who really loves mushrooms in this household of 4 adults! Also, I’d like to say, the lemon is not acid, there are 2 fruits that have the highest amount of Alkaline beneficial to nutralize any acid in stomach or recipe and it is “lemon” and “waterrmellon”, may I suggest adding “watermellon” to the mushroom soup? And if it is much water, add powdered milk? I’ve done this to making homemade pumpkin pie (instead of straining the liquid, I leave those precious nutrients and add powder milk instead of reg milk) This is the best P. pie!!! And is mostly all alkaline, and if you use Stevia instead of sugar or other sweetner!!! (even half stevia and half sugar is better than all sugar!)

  14. Jason

    Have you tried this with any other types of “gourmet” mushrooms, like Morels?

    • Elise

      Hi Jason, yes, see our cream of wild mushroom soup recipe. Wild mushrooms like morels and porcini are incredibly good, the only problem is that they often run about $25 a pound, compared to button or cremini mushrooms which you can get for about $3-$4 a pound, maybe even less.

  15. buddy

    Hi. This sounds like one for me. Just found out I cannot have milk. In your view, can I substitute non-dairy coffee creamer or non-dairy half and half? Would this be true in other recipes as well? Thank you.

    • Elise

      Hi Buddy,
      I revised this recipe so it now uses much less cream. You can actually skip it all together if you want, the mushroom soup will still be good (just not quite as good). As for substituting non-dairy coffee creamer or half and half in recipes that require cream, I wouldn’t advise it.

  16. coffeedreames

    Hi there! I was just dreaming of mushroom soup and here’s the recipe!
    Need some advice – I find it hard to get heavy cream at my local store. Can I substitute with whipping cream instead?

    • Elise

      Yes, you can use whipping cream, but only pure cream, not any sweetened whipped cream that comes out of a can. By the way, in my world whipping cream and heavy cream are the same thing.

  17. Rick

    I have seen a lot of cream of wild mushroom soup recipes, and most of them include a form of acid based ingredient (such as lemon juice, wine, etc). The problem that I have was once I added cream/milk/half-and-half to the soup (which already had some acid based ingredient such as wine or lemon juice in it), some really small white lumpy stuff started to form, and that looked very unpleasant. Did I make any mistake or this is expected and accepable by most?

    That is curdling, which is prone to happen if you use anything other than heavy cream. Even then, you have to be careful, once the acid and the dairy come together, don’t let them get close to a simmer! ~Elise

  18. Carl

    I made this soup and it was great. However, I am trying to figure whether I should use the mushroom stems. I did not the first time, but hate to waste if I don’t need to. I have looked at other recipes, and some say to discard the stems, some say don’t. Any advice for this particular recipe? Thanks.

    • Elise

      I usually include the stems in recipes like this. If you don’t, you could always freeze them and use them in stock.

  19. Jo Ann

    I make a very similar soup, but I mince the mushrooms before sautéing. I use a food processor for that job. Eliminates the need for the immersion blender. I keep a few sliced just to add in at the very end, but you really don’t have to. Everyone loves mushroom soup in a cup as a first course. Very elegant!

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