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, originally posted 2007.

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.

Yum

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 2 pounds (900 g) cremini (or button) mushrooms, (roughly chopped or 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 (or vegetable stock for vegetarian option)
  • 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 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 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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Showing 4 of 50 Comments

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

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