It’s that time of year when cooler days start sticking around as we transition from summer to fall. Warm, filling comfort foods become much more enjoyable, both to make and to eat. One of the best foods fit for the new season are creamy soups.
Creamy soups come in all varieties. Some are made with a lot of heavy cream and others with just a splash of milk. Some creamy soups have no dairy at all, relying on the vegetables and sometimes other ingredients such as white beans to create a smooth, velvety soup for serving.
Potatoes, winter squash, sweet potatoes, parsnips, and celery root are a few of the most common vegetables added to puréed soups for creaminess. For most soups that call for a little cream or milk (1/4 cup or less) I find that oat milk makes a good substitute if you need one. If I don’t mind adding dairy, I’ll swap half-and-half or 2% milk for heavy cream or whipping cream to make things just a little lighter in calories and saturated fat, and also in thickness.
If the soup relies heavily on the cream for its texture, such as a bisque that uses 1 cup or more, you may not get the same flavor and consistency using a non-dairy milk. If you aren’t up for experimenting, it may be best to choose another recipe.
For other soups, just because a recipe may call for a little cream to finish it, doesn’t mean you have to use it. I’ve made many creamy tomato and potato soups where I ultimately decided not to add the cream in the end because I was happy with the soups flavor and texture as is.
Whether you are happy to add lots of cream or you’d rather skip it, here are plenty of creamy soup recipes that offer a little something for everyone.
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Start making your own cream of mushroom soup at home with this recipe. It’s smoother with a depth of mushroom flavor that isn’t found in canned versions. A reasonable amount of heavy cream makes it thick and rich without overloading it and making it too heavy.
Cream of Celery Soup
Fresh leeks and celery fill this simple soup with flavor while a little cream smooths the texture and balances the earthy taste of the puréed vegetables. A cup of this soup makes a warming light lunch on a cool day.
Creamy Sweet Potato Soup
Sweet potatoes provide the sweetness, creaminess, and festive color of this soup. From there you have options. While you can add some milk or cream, you can also leave it out altogether by adding more stock or you can give it a twist with some coconut milk.
This soup allows you to take full advantage of Dungeness crab season which usually runs through the late fall and winter months. The stock for this soup is prepared with the shells adding an unmistakable flavor of the sea when combined with the crab, white wine, and heavy cream to complete the soup.
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Cauliflower Cheddar Soup
If you find cauliflower soups a little boring, this recipe will change your mind. Cauliflower is blended with potatoes and cheese to create a recipe that is off the charts in creaminess. This combined with the flavor of sharp cheddar makes it the kind of meal that will fulfill all your cravings for comfort food.
Baked Potato Soup
There is nothing quite like a bowl of potato soup on a cool day and this recipe is loaded with the good stuff. The fun is in the toppings so feel free to load it up with shredded cheese, sour cream, chives, and more bacon.
Cream of Spinach Soup
This is the kind of soup that is ideal for a cool day, but also an option when those occasional warm days of summer stick around a little too long. Fresh spinach is blended with half-and-half and sour cream for a creamy soup that can be served hot or chilled.
Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Smoked Paprika
Pumpkin soup is a must for fall and this recipe delivers a balance of sweet, savory, and smoky flavors in one bowl. You can roast pumpkin to make your own purée for this soup or grab canned pumpkin puree from the market.
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Creamy Tomato and White Bean Soup
There are plenty of alternatives to using heavy cream and half-and-half in creamy soups and this recipe serves as an excellent example. This tomato soup is flavored with vibrant rosemary and made creamy with puréed cannellini beans.
Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish made with mashed potatoes and kale or cabbage. This recipe turns that side dish into a creamy potato soup. It’s packed with vegetables and provides an alternative to loaded potato soups when you need some new ideas during soup season.
Roasted Red Pepper Potato Soup
Chances are that you can find fresh red bell peppers into the fall season at your farmers market or the supermarket. This soup combines roasted peppers and potatoes for a hearty soup ideal for that transition from summer to fall.
Potato Cheddar Guinness Soup
If you enjoy the roasted notes of a Guinness, you will love how the addition transforms a standard potato soup. Beer is blended with tender potatoes and sharp cheddar resulting in a comforting soup that will warm you up on even the coldest days ahead.
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Cream of Celeriac Soup with Brussels Sprouts Chips
Celeriac is an earthy root vegetable that blends into a creamy vegetarian soup that is also dairy-free. Cauliflower, onion, and garlic complement the taste of the celeriac and the Brussels sprouts leaves, baked until crispy, make a fun garnish.
Chipotle Pumpkin Soup
Pumpkin is such a versatile ingredient when it comes to savory foods. In soup, one of the best ways to balance its sweetness is with a little heat. The chipotle peppers in adobo give an unexpected burst of flavor in this fall favorite.
Parsnip Soup with Leeks and Parsley
Parsnip is another root vegetable that blends into a creamy soup, eliminating the need for added dairy. This soup has a beautiful green color and lemon zest adds citrus notes to the earthy, sweet parsnips.
Celery Root Fennel Soup
Celery root is another name for celeriac. Here, the root is combined with the bright, anise-like taste of fresh fennel. The addition of a potato and some cream create a velvety soup for a filling meal.