Eat Well

Your Guide to Soup

Oct 11, 2018

By Dylan Bailey, MS

As we enter into the fall and winter months, there’s nothing better than a simple, nourishing and family-friendly soup recipe that warms us up.

Soups have evolved since researchers think they were first made some 25,000 years ago. A common soup back then would have been a combination of water and a hunk of meat or some other ingredient, boiled to create a broth. But, access to ingredients and preparation methods have changed, making soup a luxurious dish in disguise. Because soups use simple cooking techniques, anyone can master them. Let’s explore the types of soups we can create today, one spoonful at a time!

Types of Soups to Know

Stocks and Broths

Stocks and broths are somewhat similar being that ingredients (like meat, fish, vegetables, herbs) are simmered in water. Bones can be included too, mainly in stocks, to add flavors and texture. Broths are cooked for shorter amounts of time than stocks and can be served on their own. Stocks are thick when chilled and can be used in sauces. Broths form the base for many types of soups, including those we’ll talk about below. Other ingredients are typically added and cooked directly in broths, like minestrone soup. Stocks can be concentrated and sold as Bouillon cubes, which need to be dissolved before using.


Puréed soups use a stock or broth base and are accompanied by starchy vegetables or legumes, including carrots, potatoes or peas. The entire nutrient-dense mixture is then puréed, also known as blended, to form a smooth and creamy consistency.


Think “New England Clam Chowder.” Chowders are cream or milk based hearty soups with large chunks of ingredients. Typically, chowders will feature some type of seafood, but variations can also be made with corn, potato or chicken. Perhaps you’ve also hear of “Manhattan Clam Chowder” – a tomato-based version? There’s some historic debate around if this dish is even “chowder” at all.


Bisques are rich but smooth soups that usually feature shellfish, most famously, lobster. Cream can be added to help thicken the soup. Bisques without shellfish are commonly known as squash, pea or mushroom bisques.


The consommé is a staple of French cooking. It starts with stock and involves a process known as clarifying. This technique clears the soup, using protein-based additions like egg white to attract fat and other particles in the soup. The soup is served alone or with a simple herb or vegetable garnish.

With the help of Libby’s®, you can put your soup knowledge into practice! We’ve provided three soup recipes below so you can try making them yourself using high-quality, nutrient-rich and premium ingredients the whole family will enjoy.

Puréed Example: Carrot Coconut Soup

Libby’s® Sliced Carrots and coconut milk are puréed in a vegetable broth base for this delicious soup. Carrots contain a high amount of fiber and vitamin A, making this a nutrient-dense meal perfect for any occasion. 

Carrot Coconut Soup

Bisque Example: Spicy Sweet Pea Bisque

Courtesy of registered dietitian Deanna Segrave-Daly, RD, LDN, this bisque features a vegetable base instead of the commonly used shellfish base. To thicken the bisque, buttermilk is added. The sweet peas used in this recipe contain high amounts of vitamin C and fiber, and are low in fat.

Spicy Sweet Pea Bisque

Chowder Example: Ham and Corn Chowder

Thick chunks of potatoes and carrots, along with a milk base, form the recipe for this chowder. Instead of seafood, ham and corn are the main ingredient additions. Because there are a few steps to getting this chowder just right, it’s a great opportunity to ask friends and family to cook with you. If you feel the soup is too thick, feel free to add in a bit more milk or stock.

Ham and Corn Chowder Soup