Creamy Chestnut Mushroom Soup

Look no further than this Creamy Chestnut Mushroom Soup to jazz up your holiday table. It’s a vegetarian and gluten-free soup that everyone will love.

Chestnut mushroom soup in a white bowl with a white plate underneath.
Sally Vargas

Rich, luxurious, and with a hint of sweetness, this Creamy Chestnut Mushroom Soup is an ideal dish to liven up a holiday meal, or a way to turn a weeknight supper into an occasion that feels extra special.

That it’s vegetarian and gluten free will enable you to satisfy a lot of your holiday guests no matter what their dietary needs. It’s an easy and fun way to make a dish that requires no modifications for special dieters, and that anyone who enjoys mushrooms will adore—no matter what else they do or don’t eat. You can even make this soup dairy-free by omitting the cream before serving.

Made with cremini mushrooms, packaged chestnuts, thyme, stock, onion, garlic, and just a touch of cream, the taste is reminiscent of cream of mushroom soup but is sweeter and less filling.

Chestnuts are underused in savory dishes and this soup highlights them perfectly. Their texture is sweet and nutty, so they pair particularly well with cremini mushrooms, which have a slightly stronger and more earthy flavor than button mushrooms.

Prepped fully on the stovetop, this soup is quick to prepare. It serves up to eight as a side dish, keeps nicely for leftovers, is ok to freeze and easy to reheat. Are you sold yet?

Recipe Tips for Chestnut Mushroom Soup

Follow these tips for a chestnut mushroom soup everyone will enjoy.

  • Because only part of the soup is blended, it’s wise to cut your mushrooms, onions, and chestnuts into even-sized pieces, as some will be visible when you ladle it into the bowls.
  • Due to the sweetness of the chestnuts, a yellow or white onion works best for this recipe.
  • If you don’t cook with mushrooms often, here is a guide on how to clean and prep mushrooms, plus a few hacks for even quicker prep.
  • You can blend the soup as soon as it finished cooking if you use an immersion blender, but if your using a stand blender you’ll want to let it cool slightly. Five minutes should be plenty.
Chestnut mushroom soup in a white bowl with a white plate underneath.
Sally Vargas

Ingredient Swaps and Substitutions

If you don’t have everything available for this soup, try one or more of these swaps or subs.

  • If you don’t have cremini mushrooms available, regular button mushrooms will work just fine. You could also make this even more flavorful and multi-textured with the addition of shiitake, maitake, morel, or other wild mushrooms. Remove any tough stems when prepping.
  • You can also use chicken or beef stock for this recipe. It will result in a richer soup.
  • Love to roast your own chestnuts? This is an excellent use for them after they’ve been roasted and peeled! Keep the cooked chestnuts on hand until ready to make the soup, then proceed as you would for the packaged ones.
  • Use roasted garlic instead of fresh for added caramelized flavor. If you roast it, double the amount added to the soup.
  • If you don’t have white pepper on hand, standard black pepper will work well.
  • For a different herbal quality, try sage or rosemary instead of thyme. Follow the same process of simmering the soup with the fresh sprigs, then discarding them before blending.
  • You can use raw hazelnuts or cashews instead of chestnuts. Make sure to cut the nuts smaller, as it will take them longer to cook otherwise. I’d recommend about 1/4-inch pieces.

Chestnut Mushroom Soup Variations

Try one of the below variations for a new spin on this chestnut soup.

  • To make this a main dish soup, add 2-4 ounces of cubed and sautéed tofu or shredded cooked chicken to each bowl.
  • If you prefer a completely creamy soup that doesn’t have any chunkiness at all, you can blend it completely. Passing it through a sieve, or food mill, after blending will yield a thinner, delicate texture.
Two bowls fo cremini mushroom and chestnut soup in white bowls with white plates underneath.
Sally Vargas

Serving Suggestions 

Serve this soup with a side salad and crusty bread for a light meal, in a cup or bowl as a side dish at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, or in a sourdough bread bowl as a main dish.

Storage Instructions

This Chestnut Mushroom Soup keeps well for days, and it freezes well too. Store any unused portions in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.

To freeze, store the soup in a tightly sealed container in the fridge until cold, then transfer to the freezer for up to three months. Thaw in the fridge, or on the counter until pliable. Once thawed, heat on the stovetop until gently simmering. If you’re looking for more tips for freezing soups this guide on How to Freeze Soup, Beans, and Broth is a great resource.

Chestnut mushroom soup in a white bowl with a white plate underneath.
Sally Vargas

More Marvelous Mushroom Soup Recipes

Creamy Chestnut Mushroom Soup

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 6 to 8 servings

This soup calls for 6 cups of stock. If you would like a thicker soup start with 5 cups and adjust from there.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter or oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 5 ounces prepared chestnuts, quartered
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 48 ounces (6 cups) vegetable broth
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Thyme leaves, for garnish

Method

  1. Sauté the aromatics and chestnuts:

    In a large pot over medium high heat, melt the butter. Once melted, add the onions and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes.

    Add the garlic, mushrooms, and chestnuts, and sauté for an additional 2 minutes. The vegetables will all appear softened, and the mushrooms will have shrunk considerably.

    Mushrooms in a large stockpot to make creamy chestnut and cremini soup
    Sally Vargas
    Mushrooms in a large stockpot to make creamy chestnut and cremini soup
    Sally Vargas
  2. Add remaining ingredients and bring soup to a boil:

    Add the thyme sprigs, broth, salt, and white pepper, then bring the soup to a boil. It should have full bubbles at the edges, heading toward the center.

    Tongs adding herbs to a pot of chestnut mushroom soup
    Sally Vargas
  3. Simmer the soup:

    Reduce the heat to medium low to allow the soup to simmer, with small bubbles only, uncovered, about 20 minutes, until chestnuts are a bit softened. Using tongs, carefully remove the thyme stems and discard.

  4. Blend the soup in a blender:

    Turn off the stove and let the soup cool for about five minutes. You’ll only be blending half of the soup for this recipe.

    Remove half the soup with a ladle or a glass liquid measuring cup and carefully pour it into a blender carafe. If the soup still feels very hot when you place it in the blender, remove the center cap of the blender’s lid and place a clean dish towel over it, so steam can escape as you blend the soup.

    If using a low-power blender, blend on medium, about 15 seconds or if using a high-speed blender, about five seconds, until the soup is creamy.

    The half batch of soup should fit in a standard sized blender well below the “fill to” line. If you have a small blender, though, you may wish to do this in two batches.

  5. Add the blended soup back to the pot:

    Add the blended soup and heavy cream into the pot with the remainder of the soup on the stove and stir to combine. The look should be thicker and more vegetable-laden than a cream of mushroom soup. It will also be a good bit darker than a cream soup, due to the minimal amount of cream used. The overall color will be a shade of brown similar to a very light milk chocolate.

    Adding blended cremini mushroom and chestnut soup to the stockpot.
    Sally Vargas
  6. Blend the soup in an immersion blender:

    Alternately, use an immersion blender in the pot directly, and run it until half the soup is blended. You’ll want a mix of small and large sized pieces of mushrooms and chestnuts. You’ll want to add the cream after running the immersion blender through the soup.

    A large pot of cremini and chestnut soup with a ladle.
    Sally Vargas
  7. Serve:

    Ladle the soup into bowls. Top with additional salt and pepper, to taste, and a few thyme leaves. Serve.