The 11 Best Ways To Upgrade Cream Of Mushroom Soup

Bowl of cream of mushroom soup
Bowl of cream of mushroom soup - nadianb/Shutterstock

Cream of mushroom soup is seen as a comforting classic, cherished for its rich, earthy flavors and creamy texture. Derived from a blend of mushrooms, cream, and savory seasonings, cream of mushroom soup boasts a simplicity that invites creativity.

Mushroom soup can make a versatile base in various recipes just as easily as it can be enjoyed as a standalone dish, earning this timeless soup its spot as a household favorite. However, it can also serve as a canvas for culinary exploration, offering endless possibilities for enhancement and personalization.

With that knowledge in mind, we went on a mission to discover the top 11 ways to elevate your soup experience, whether homemade or your favorite canned cream of mushroom soup. From subtle tweaks to bold additions, each suggestion promises to transform this beloved comfort food into a gourmet delight. Whether you love being in the kitchen or just need some quick meal prep support, these upgrades are sure to impress and inspire.

Read more: Canned Soups You Should And Shouldn't Buy

Use Different Types Of Cream

Pouring cream into pan
Pouring cream into pan - Vm/Getty Images

To add richness and depth to your cream of mushroom soup, a quick and easy upgrade is diversifying your cream base. Incorporating ingredients like heavy cream or even cream cheese into the mix can transform your soup instantly. These dairy swaps not only enhance the creaminess of the soup but also add a luxurious mouthfeel to the soup while creating subtle shifts in flavor depending on the option you choose.

For a more creative approach, consider replacing traditional heavy cream with alternatives like coconut cream for a tropical twist, or almond cream for a nuttier undertone. For a richer and tangier profile, try using sour cream or crème fraîche, adding a delightful complexity to the soup's taste. Greek yogurt can also offer a creamy consistency along with a hint of tartness and a healthier base. Don't forget soy cream, too, which provides a dairy-free option that won't compromise on creaminess.

Infuse Some Fresh Herbs

Cream of mushroom soup with herbs
Cream of mushroom soup with herbs - Luchezar/Getty Images

Elevate the flavor profile of your soup by infusing it with fresh herbs. There are so many different types to choose from, all of which can transform your soup in seconds. Simply tie the herbs together with kitchen twine and let them simmer in the soup while it cooks.

We suggest experimenting with classics like thyme, rosemary, and sage for a traditional earthy aroma, enhancing the rich umami flavors of the mushrooms. For a Mediterranean twist, incorporate fragrant basil and oregano. Alternatively, cilantro (and a little lime) can lend a zesty and vibrant dimension, perfect for those craving a lighter and more refreshing take on this classic soup. The possibilities really are endless, and can cater to an array of palates and preferences.

Don't be afraid to use the herbs as a garnish on top, too. Add freshly chopped parsley or chives for a burst of freshness and color to each spoonful. This is especially helpful when looking for the quickest way to upgrade canned soup.

Sprinkle In Spices And Seasonings

Bowls of spices & seasonings
Bowls of spices & seasonings - Sgaphoto/Getty Images

The Spice Girls really nailed it when they told us to spice up our lives, and we truly believe they meant it when it comes to cooking. What better (and easier) way to literally spice up your cream of mushroom soup than with a dash of spice or seasoning? Like herbs, there are so many options to choose from that can help you tailor the soup to your taste preferences.

Enhance the earthy richness of the mushrooms with a dash of paprika or cumin, infusing the soup with a subtle smokiness and depth. For a touch of warmth and complexity, experiment with ground nutmeg or cloves, adding a hint of spice that complements the creamy texture beautifully, bringing out the flavors of fall. To awaken the taste buds, consider incorporating a pinch of chili flakes or cayenne pepper for a gentle kick of heat, balanced by the soup's velvety base. Don't forget the classics like garlic and onion powder too, which lend a savory depth, while a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper adds a sharp yet subtle bite. Get playful in the kitchen, and enjoy the process.

Enhance The Umami

Dishes of miso paste
Dishes of miso paste - aomas/Shutterstock

In Japanese, the word umami means "essence of deliciousness," or "pleasant savory taste," depending on the translation. Since this fifth sensory taste is usually described as brothy or meaty, boosting the umami flavor in your cream of mushroom soup is a no-brainer.

You can supercharge the umami factor of your soup with a variety of ingredients. Introducing a splash of soy sauce adds depth, enhancing the natural savory notes of the mushrooms while imparting a subtle hint of saltiness. You can also use Worcestershire sauce to bring a unique tanginess and richness to the soup, elevating its flavor profile with its blend of spices and fermented ingredients.

For a more complex umami punch, consider whisking in a little miso paste, which not only intensifies the savory taste but also lends a delightful depth of flavor with its fermented essence. These additions promise to give extra complexity to the soup, making it even more satisfying in ways you never thought possible.

Diversify Your Fungi

Various dried mushrooms
Various dried mushrooms - Fotografiabasica/Getty Images

This one might also seem like a no-brainer but adding different types of mushrooms, instead of using just one type, can really change the way you perceive and enjoy this cooking staple We suggest incorporating wild mushrooms such as chanterelles, porcinis, or morels, each imparting their unique earthy nuances and adding complexity to the soup's depth. For a robust umami kick, consider mixing in shiitake mushrooms, renowned for their rich, meaty flavor profile. Don't be afraid to experiment with cremini mushrooms for a slightly nuttier taste, or oyster mushrooms for a delicate, seafood-like essence. You can also introduce a pop of color and flavor with vibrant options like enoki or king oyster mushrooms, which provide a visual and textural contrast to the creamy base. Throw some on top, too, for a superior look to your plating.

The addition is easy. Just sauté your chosen mushrooms separately with garlic and onions until golden brown, then stir them into the soup for a more complex and earthy flavor. The result is a tastier and more texturally sound eating experience, guaranteed.

Throw In Some Cheese

Shredded cheese on wooden board
Shredded cheese on wooden board - Robert Stedman Pte Ltd/Shutterstock

There's no better addition to most meals than cheese, and that sentiment rings true for your cream of mushroom upgrade. Incorporating cheese into your cream of mushroom soup can not only add a luxurious creaminess and depth of flavor, but each type of cheese can bring unique characteristics to the soup, enhancing its richness and complexity.

Why not start easy with some grated Parmesan cheese to infuse the soup with its nutty, umami depth, complementing the earthiness of the mushrooms. For a luxurious touch, melt in some Gruyère or Swiss cheese, lending a smooth, velvety consistency and a subtle hint of sweetness. Blue cheese varieties such as Gorgonzola or Roquefort can provide a bold, tangy kick, adding a distinctive savory note that balances the creaminess of the soup. Alternatively, experiment with creamy cheeses like Brie or goat cheese for a milder, more delicate flavor profile, perfect for those seeking a lighter yet equally indulgent experience. And never forget that adding your favorite cheddar to mushroom soup can go a long way.

Add Some Crunch

Mushroom soup with croutons
Mushroom soup with croutons - Arx0nt/Getty Images

Add contrast to the velvety texture of cream of mushroom soup by garnishing it with crunchy toppings. While there are some fan favorites on the internet, we urge you to get creative and play with an array of textures and flavors.

Most of us have croutons in the house, which makes this addition quick and easy. Crumble some on top, and enjoy the juxtaposition of crunchy crouton and silky smooth soup. Let some of the croutons soften within the warm soup base, offering an array of mouthfeels for discerning palates.

You can also get a little fancy by using the savory crunch of fried shallots or even fried onions, adding a burst of flavor and texture to each bite. For a smoky and indulgent touch, scatter the soup with crispy bacon bits, or even pancetta, infusing it with rich, meaty undertones that enhance the earthy notes of the mushrooms.

Boost The Protein

Various uncooked meats
Various uncooked meats - RecCameraStock/Shutterstock

For those craving heartiness and extra protein in their cream of mushroom soup, consider adding a meat element. The best part of this upgrade is that there are so many options to choose from. Consider tender chunks of roasted chicken, shredded turkey, or slices of seared beef or lamb for a rich and indulgent touch.

You can also lean towards a seafood flavor profile by adding in plump shrimp or delicate pieces of flaky white fish, with their briny sweetness providing a delightful contrast to the creamy base. However, let's not forget vegetarian options like crispy tofu for those who prefer to keep their dish meat-free.

From sausage and sirloin to your favorite meat-free products, adding protein is a killer way to make your cream of mushroom recipe shine. Using any type of protein in your soup is also an ingenious way to use up leftovers. See what you have in the fridge and get creative. Channel your inner George Costanza and shift into soup mode!

Give It Some Grains

Bowls of dried quinoa
Bowls of dried quinoa - Fotografiabasica/Getty Images

For another great way to create a heartier base, introducing grains can not only add texture but also make your cream of mushroom soup more filling and nutritious. This is a quick and easy trick to shift this classic soup into a more substantial dish.

You have a lot of options when it comes to grains. We suggest going for nutty barley or hearty quinoa, each bringing its unique texture and protein content to the soup while enhancing its overall mouthfeel. For a chewy and wholesome addition, consider adding cooked farro, infusing the soup with a rustic, earthy flavor that pairs beautifully with the mushrooms. Let's not forget about favorites like couscous or even some leftover rice to help clear your fridge and bulk up your next soup-filled meal. This is another upgrade that lends itself to creativity and connects to your cooking roots and kitchen favorites. Add one or even mix a few and see which option you like best.

Blend In Some Potatoes

Bags of colorful potatoes
Bags of colorful potatoes - Jupiterimages/Getty Images

Another way to make your cream of mushroom soup heartier is by incorporating potatoes. Adding potatoes can make your soup creamy, thick, and sweet. There are a few ways to go about this, but we suggest sautéing diced potatoes until golden brown before adding them to the soup, allowing them to release their starches and thicken the base naturally. Alternatively, you can boil peeled and cubed potatoes until tender, then blend them with a portion of the soup to create a creamy potato puree that adds body and richness to the dish.

For added texture and flavor, consider leaving some potato chunks intact, providing delightful bites throughout the velvety soup. Whether mashed into the base or left whole, potatoes lend a comforting and wholesome element to the cream of mushroom soup, making it a comforting and nourishing meal perfect for any occasion.

The types of potatoes you choose will also shift your flavor profile in simple and delicious ways. Fingerling potatoes can add a subtle nuttiness to the soup, while something like red potatoes will bring out the more earthy notes. Try one or try them all, and see which potato becomes your favorite.

Include A Splash Of Wine

Pouring wine into pan
Pouring wine into pan - Microgen/Getty Images

One last sophisticated twist is incorporating wine into your cream of mushroom soup, imparting depth, complexity, and subtle richness to the dish. While cooking with wine is common, when it comes to cream of mushroom soup, this one is a fun and playful twist that can be personalized through which wine you choose and how you choose to cook with it.

You can choose a splash of dry white wine such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, infusing the soup with bright acidity and floral notes. Dry white wines such as these are commonly used for mushroom-based dishes, as they complement the earthy flavors of the mushrooms without overpowering them. For a deeper and more robust flavor profile, consider adding a splash of dry red wine like Merlot or Pinot Noir, which lends a hint of sweetness and complexity to the soup, veering away from that earthy flavor to give your dish a tangy twist.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.