Creamy Asparagus Soup

From the archives, first posted 2007.

Spring here means strawberries and rhubarb, sweet peas and asparagus, and dreams of the summer bounty to come. Asparagus are everywhere, big, fat, and fresh. And yes, although we can get them all year round, I’m especially happy to eat them in Spring. Not only are they likely to have been grown in the same Hemisphere, and could even be local, their very abundance signals the renewal of the season and a good-bye to Winter. Here is a fresh and easy asparagus soup recipe, a perfect excuse to buy more than one bunch.

Creamy Asparagus Soup Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs asparagus, trimmed of woody stem bottoms
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped (1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped)
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • Leaves of 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp dry vermouth
  • A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper

Method

1 Cut tips from the asparagus 1 1/2 inches from top and halve tips lengthwise if thick. Reserve for garnish. Chop the remaining asparagus stalks into 1/4-inch rounds.

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2 Melt the butter in a 4 to 5 quart pot on medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped asparagus (not the spear tips) to the onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Cook another 5 minutes.

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3 Add the broth, water, and thyme to the pot. Increase the heat to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer, covered, until the asparagus are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. At the end of cooking, stir in the chopped parsley.

4 While the soup is cooking, blanche the asparagus tips in a small pot of boiling, salted water (about 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt per quart of water), until the tips are just tender, about 2-4 minutes, depending on the size of the asparagus. Drain. Rinse with cool water to stop the cooking. Set aside.

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5 Use an immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth. (If you use an upright blender, work in small batches, fill no more than a third the blender bowl at a time, and hold down the lid while blending.) For a creamy texture, if you want, press the puréed soup through a sieve or food mill. Stir in the cream. Stir in the vermouth and a squeeze of lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with asparagus tips.

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Adapted from a recipe in Gourmet magazine (March 2001).

58 Comments

  1. lydia

    We are still a few weeks away from local asparagus, but I’m collecting recipes and getting ready! I love to use an immersion blender for soups like that, so I can puree them right in the pot.

  2. Shawnda

    I bought two large bunches last week and have been eating asparagus *just* about every day. I have never made a fresh veggie soup before but this one has me really excited!

  3. kevin

    Elise,
    I save up all the woody ends of asparagus in the freezer during asparagus season and then when it’s nearly over, use them to make an initial stock for asparagus soup. I discard them after making the stock and then proceed as you do, albeit using a different recipe.

  4. Cary

    I love vermouth in soups…it is my secret ingredient in chicken noodle or rice, it’s always on hand and doesn’t go bad like wine will!

  5. Kalyn

    It sounds like such a great recipe. I bet this is as good as the asparagus soup I recently had at a very expensive restaurant!

    I have a very faithful 80 year old reader and after he noticed I’m eating so much asparagus lately, he sent me the same tip Kevin gave in his comment, saving the woody ends and making asparagus “stock,” . I thought that was so sweet.

  6. Diane

    For a healthy snack, I cook asparagus just for 3-4 minutes, then rinse them in cold water. Put the spears in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil and add some salt. Keep in the refrigerator so when you want something to eat but don’t know what, have a nice cold, crispy, delicious asparagus spear!

  7. Sam

    This looks absolutely delicious. Just wondering, is there anything nonalcoholic I can substitute for the vermouth?

  8. Adrienne

    Can any other alcohol be substituted for the vermouth? I have some vodka… Recipe will be great without it I am sure. Yum!

  9. Sandi

    Fabulous!!! I roasted the aparagus before adding to the both. Delicious. This recipe is quick and easy

  10. Elise

    Hi Sam and Adrienne,
    You can skip the vermouth all together if you want.

  11. frank

    I just made some and tried it, although I forgot the thyme and I didn’t have vermouth, and I used regular cream instead of heavy. Still quite yummy :o). Yay asparagus season.

  12. Bradford

    I was wondering if I could substitute creme fraiche for the cream, would that greatly alter the taste too much? I am trying to keep my cholesterol down! Recipe sounds amazing….will def give it a try! Thank you

  13. Janet

    I skipped the vermouth and used regular cream instead of heavy cream. It was delicious. This is very easy to make, glad I found the recipe.

  14. Patty

    Sounds great. Do you think this can be made the day before and kept in the fridge? How about freezing it?

  15. Jane Harrell

    Can’t wait to start my soup. I have three different kinds of asparagus, one being very large and purple. My husband doesn’t like the big ones so I cut them thin and add to my salad every night.

  16. Dorothy Smith

    Was so happy to find this receipe. It turned out great. We raise our own asparagus so have plenty to eat all the time.

    Thankyou

  17. TJ

    I tried this recipe last year and the whole family loved it. This year I am working at a small garden center that sells produce with an emphasis on in-season and locally grown when we can. Even though CT does not have a lot of local asparagus, I put up the recipe to entice people to buy some. The RAVES have been huge! Don’t worry Elise, you and “Gourmet” got full credit. Thank you for such a great site that gives people ideas to eat in-season and eat locally.

  18. dan

    What are “woody” ends?

    The end that is not the spear tip. Often the last inch or so is white and very tough. ~Elise

  19. Pat

    This is one of my favorite soups. I love this recipe.

  20. souper

    This soup is simply wonderful; I tried this after making the creamy sweet potato soup, which was equally spellbinding.

  21. becky

    This is my first time commenting here, although I’ve run across this site a few times in the past. Very delicious soup! I cut it in half since I only had one bunch of asparagus (which, by the way, were clearly marked “Product of Peru”, even though it’s spring – haha!). The only changes I made were to leave out the vermouth, since I had none, and to toss in a few chopped button mushrooms that needed to be used with the onion. I would recommend using an immersion blender–handy in keeping the dishes to a minimum. :) Thanks for a great recipe, I trusted this site with my first time making asparagus soup and was not disappointed.

  22. Lori

    This is an excellent recipe! I used soy milk instead of cream and it still turned out yummy.

  23. Denisse Martinez

    This is a great recipe, I loved it!
    I cooked it for my cooking class one time but I also added a few chopped walnuts which I think made it taste a little different and good.

  24. Michele

    My asparagus bed is producing so heavily right now I am harvesting daily!I do not care for frozen asparagus but love the soup recipe and would like to ‘can’ it for winter use. Does it ‘can’ well, and if so what is the processing time?
    Michele

    No idea on the canning. We don’t can our soups. ~Elise

  25. carol

    This is a lovely soup and tastes much more complex than it is. We are great soup eaters, and this ranks right up there. I often freeze cream soups with fine results. I second the motion of DO NOT TRY TO CAN THIS – it would be courting food poisoning.

  26. intensive_purposes

    This was my first time making a creamy soup on my own, and it turned out quite good. Things I changed: halved the butter in the beginning, skipped the vermouth and lemon juice, and used italian seasoning (which contains thyme) instead of fresh thyme since that’s what I had on hand. I also don’t know if I had a full two pounds of asparagus (just grabbed a bunch in the store without weighing it, and I discarded the woody ends without knowing if that was correct to do). Anyway, it turned out delicious and was easy to make.

    I wish it were lower in fat though–over 70 percent of the calories in this soup come from fat. Going with some alternative to heavy cream might help if you are worried about this, or skipping the butter in the beginning.

  27. Annette

    In order to make a vegan version of this soup, I replaced the heavy cream with about 2 Tbsp Tofutti cream cheese and 1/3 cup Tofutti sour cream. I also omitted the vermouth because we don’t keep that on hand. It was delicious, the best part of our Thanksgiving meal!

  28. Rick

    I made the soup as instructed, though I used a dash of dry white wine instead of vermouth. One big caution….let the soup cool a bit before pouring into the blender for puree-ing. (Step 4) I cracked my blender jar when I poured in the hot soup. Made a big mess….

    Now have to call Black & Decker for a replacement.

    Salvaged the majority of the soup, but it was a bit more chunky than desired. Luckily my fiancee is tolerant of kitchen mistakes….

  29. ruen

    I saw this recipe and knew I just HAD to try it out, being a huge fan of asparagus and soup (a win-win combo for me). Following the advice of some commenters, I threw in the ends of the asparagus (the “woody” parts) into a pot of chicken stock and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, I chopped up the rest of my veggies and softened the onions then asparagus as per the instructions (make sure to discard the asparagus ends from the stock before adding it to the veggies). I tossed in a bay leaf with all of that while it simmered for 15 min. Removed the leaf before pureeing it all, portioned off about half for freezing (do this before adding the cream) then put the rest back in the pot. I used half&half instead of heavy cream and didn’t use the vermouth at all. It was delicious and better than I imagined–make this soup even more delicious by topping it with some shredded cheese and having some crunchy bread on the side. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  30. Gayane

    Elise,

    Can the vermouth be substituted with sherry or cooking wine? I don’t even know the difference.

    You can use dry sherry. I don’t recommend any wine that is marketed for the purpose of cooking. Or just skip it if you don’t have any. ~Elise

  31. Paul

    An impulse purchase of a 2.5 kg (5½ lbs) bag of mixed Asparagus from our local Suffolk grower has prompted me , an inexperience cook , to ask about making my favourite soup as per your delicious sounding recipe and then freezing it . Should I leave out the cream ( or any other ingredient )and add it/them when the defrozen soup is heated up for eating later ?

    Great question. I honestly don’t know as I rarely, if ever, freeze soups. ~Elise

  32. Cheryl

    I have made this soup several times delicious. I made to the part of adding the cream and have frozen it. Great over the winter for spring soup. I have also made it with the heavy cream and fat free half and half. If you freeze it just add the cream when reheating

  33. Eileen

    This soup was a disappointment to me, which is a first! Usually your recipes are always home runs. In my opinion, there’s way too much broth in the recipe. It makes for a very thin soup with weak asparagus flavor. If I were to make it again, I would cut the broth by half.

  34. Lillian Cahill

    Just made this recipe over the weekend. The consensus from my faily was that I shouldn’t bother maiking it again.

    I’m currently looking for ideas of what might be added to the soup to make it more flavorful.

    To start, I would try making it in the spring, when asparagus are in season. The asparagus will have more flavor to begin with. ~Elise

  35. ACG

    When HEAVY CREAM is mentioned, does that mean DOUBLE CREAM?

    Good question. I’m guessing yes, but I don’t really know. Heavy cream is what we have here in the states. I suggest doing an internet search for what the difference might be. ~Elise

  36. Marie

    I’ve made your recipe half a dozen times since I stumbled upon it this past spring. I was shocked at how much the vermouth brought the flavor of the soup together! Without the vermouth, the soup is just ok. After adding the vermouth… the soup is fantastic! Great recipe!

  37. Katrina

    What a fabulous idea! This sounds so yummy!

  38. dan

    vermouth? that’s a surprising one.
    I make a killer cream of asparagus that doesn’t use cream, or any dairy. Here’s how to do it:
    I saute the asparagus with garlic, lots of it, whole pieces lightly crushed. When it’s almost done, I add zest from one lemon and some lemon juice then just let it cool off.
    Then I saute potatoes chopped in small cubes (half an inch let’s say) with butter and onion. I add laddles of vegetable broth, similar to making a risoto. This develops the starch in the potatos, so when they’re done you also get a very cream potato soup y liquid.
    Then I simply mix the asparagus, potatoes and vegetable broth and mix with the hand-helod blender. My wife always asks if I’m sure there’s no cream in it (not that there’s anything wrong with cream…)

  39. Lisa

    Can’t wait to try this recipe, it looks amazing…although I will leave out the Vermouth.

  40. CARMELA

    I cooked a creamy asparagus soup some weeks ago but I added some pasta. I think using dry vermouth is a very nice idea so next time I’ll add this ingredient to the soup. ; )

  41. Sue

    This is somewhat like I make it, but I use the trim ends to the point where the sharp knife will no longer cut through it. I cook it down in the same water in which I cooked the trimmed asparagus until it is softened. Then I whir it in my VitaMix until completely pureed. You could probably do this in a food processor as well. Pour into a pan and make the additions to the soup as per called for (or what ever is in your fridge.) Love this soup and it so good for you.

  42. Al in SoCal

    Confess Elise! How did you get the asparagus spear to fall squarely in the middle of that bowl to get the perfect shot!?

    LOL – I’m thinking tweezers?

    Hah! Careful placement with my delicate fingers. ~Elise

  43. Warren

    Bought the first of the local asparagus off the farm nearby this morning and and eating the soup now. Soooo good. This is my go to recepie. Use it every year.

  44. Kristen @ The Little Bitchin Kitchen

    I LOVE asparagus yet have never even thought to put it in a soup! This sounds delightful and so easy! I will be giving this a try and I am sure loving it like the rest of your recipes!

  45. Julia {The Roasted Root}

    Great idea adding vermouth! I love making creamy soups – it’s been an obsession ever since I got a good blender. I’ve never tried making asparagus soup and your recipe looks simple and delicious!

  46. lilicook

    love the soup! thank you for your great efforts especially during vacation. is there a way to learn where you got or who makes those great flower petal shaped soup bowls? thanks…

    The bowl is limoges, but I forget which pattern. I bought it at a close out sale at a china store. Cool, eh? ~Elise

  47. Jamie {green beans & grapefruit}

    Yum!!! We’re lucky to have a pretty long asparagus season here in Los Angeles. Soup is always a good call!

  48. Brenda

    My husband made this for me Monday (he knows how much I enjoy asparagus), had left overs for lunch Tuesday and now again today. The soup is just as good today, if not better, than it was on Monday. Thank You for the post.

  49. Grace

    I was at a loss for a supper idea tonight and this is perfect, thanks for reposting Elise. Thankfully my kids love asparagus because it’s one of my favourite vegetables. I think I’ll be topping it off with a touch of grated cheese mmm… Hope you’re having a wonderful vacation!

  50. suzy

    Can this soup be served cold?

    Possibly. I’ve only had it hot. ~Elise

  51. Ed

    This is probably one of the easiest and tastiest soups I’ve ever made. If you’re thinking about trying it, I’d suggest doubling the recipe, this goes fast!

  52. Suzy

    I did serve it cold. It was terrific. Very refreshing and delicious.

  53. Joyce

    I really enjoyed the soup. I got a great deal on asparagus at a local farm (a big bag of blemished ones for $1), but I wasn’t sure what to do with my find. Then this recipe popped into my inbox and viola soup it is! I really loved it. I didn’t have vermouth, so I skipped it. It makes me wonder what other vegetables might work well in this soup base – perhaps greens/spinach, broccoli, I guess I’ll have to experiment.

  54. Stephanie Manley

    Love, love, love the vermouth in here. I think it takes this soup straight over the edge!

  55. Randy Winkler

    Just got my first crop of asparagus out of the garden. Today is a rainy day, and asparagus soup is on the menu. Looks like a great one and I will let you know in a later posting. I have an acre of asparagus, and my first “official” picking was 17 pounds. If anyone is in the Gillett, WI area mention you are a member of Simply Recipes and I will give you a 50% discount. I sell it for $2.00 a pound, so that would be $1.00 for you. Happy Cooking.

  56. mike

    This soup sounds great – but can I use white wine instead of vermouth and would it still taste similar? Also what could we use instead of cream?

    You can skip the vermouth if you want. As for skipping the cream, you might want to add some potato starch to give the soup a little more body. ~Elise

  57. Justin S.

    I made the soup last night as an appetizer course for some pasta, and it turned out very well!! The only question I have for future attempts is how much lemon juice do you recommend using. You say a squeeze in your recipe, so I squeezed in about half a lemon’s worth. I tried the soup, adjusted the seasonings, and decided the lemon wasn’t coming through enough. I then squeezed maybe another half a tablespoon’s worth, and tried, and was good, but then I thought maybe it’s too lemony. I like that, but it may not be to others’ taste. So, for the future, what do you recommend on how much lemon juice to add, and how lemony/citrusy should it be? Thanks!

    P.S. I used local farmer’s market asparagus, and that does make the difference in flavor. Peru won’t do!

    Well the problem with giving an exact amount of lemon juice with something like this is that 1) the degree of lemony flavor you want is really a matter of taste, and 2) individual lemons vary in their intensity of acidity and flavor. So, just squeeze in as much as tastes good to you. ~Elise

  58. Sandy Browning

    My husband and I read about how healthy asparagus soup is for you, so I found this recipe on your website. Oh my goodness, it was so good. I did make a few changes..I used olive oil, and parsley flakes rather than fresh and left out the potato soup (hubby thought it would make it more fattening). After we ate it, we decided on several variations…one to put a potato in (boil it rather than canned); to cook broccoli in the soup pureed the same way and either rice or Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) which is a high protein grain found in the rice section. So there is a basic soup recipe that can be made up several ways, with several different flavors.

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