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Most edible canned/packaged soup?

My husband and I have both been laid up this week, and I've been too icky to cook from scratch... I lost most of my interest in food at all! So I've had a canned soup education... it's not something I usually eat because I can't have msg and the msg-free soups tend to be rather expensive, but in the lights of my cold and the need for food fast, the price didn't matter...
Some of them are very VERY bad (DH poured a mug of Baxters potato and leek soup straight down the drain because it tasted like that was where it belonged...) some of them are mediocre but edible (Progresso reduced sodium chicken noodle) and some are delicious (Annie's organics...) The degree of edibility doesn't seem to be particularly related to the price or the ingredients list...
Anyway, we're both still sick, so we're still in the soup market. What are your experiences?

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  1. I really think you can't beat the ease and taste of Campbell's canned soups. Everything else just tasted bland or poor in my opinion. Unless there's some amazing soup brand I haven't heard of.


    1. Trader Joes' sells soups in boxes with spouts that have amazing flavor. As I recall the tomato and red pepper soup tastes like nothing you've had from a can and you can't stop sipping on it which is why I always have mine in a mug. Very healthy too. Just pour, heat in microwave and serve. They also make an excellent butternut squash version.

      7 Replies
      1. re: tarabell

        Second the TJ's recs... Good and easy to store if you don't use them all at once.

        1. re: tarabell

          I like TJ and Imagine soups in a box--creamy broccoli, corn, butternut squash. I would pass on the butternut squash apple, though. Way too sweet for soup.

          1. re: chowser

            Also avoid the corn with red pepper TJs soup for the same reason. It's like a milkshake gone bad.

            1. re: Humbucker

              I also agree, the Trader Joe's boxed soups are great, but the red pepper is really quite sweet. The regular tomato soup, however, is really incredible. It's made tomato soup and grilled cheese a regular lunch at my house again. All the TJ boxed soups I've seen are really well priced and very low fat. I'd stick to the boxes though. I recently tried their "microwave ready" bowl of ogranic lentil soup, and it had a consistency more like refried beans than soup.

              1. re: chaussonauxpommes

                Love the TJ tomato soup. Had some for lunch today. I also bought the ginger carrot soup, but haven't tried it yet.

          2. re: tarabell

            I really like the organic soup they sell at wild oats (also in boxes with the spout) - the tomatoe and roasted red pepper is my favorite!

            1. re: tarabell

              TJs has a delicious mini "kettle" of lentil soup that's delicious. THey also do a pretty good turkey noodle.

            2. well, I go for the annie's or homemade and frozen so that won't help :(

              safeway used to carry the moosewood cold-pack/carton soups. there wasn't much selection (all vegetarian, all organic - fine for me!) and they were delicious! but for some evil reason they are no more ... maybe the over-pricing?

              2 Replies
              1. re: odkaty

                You can find where Moosewood soups and entrees are sold locally by entering your zip code here: http://www.fairfieldfarmkitchens.com/...

                1. re: BellaCalabrese

                  They sell the moosewood soups in the grocery stores here - in the deli area. It is in a tupperware and is refrigerated. My favorite is the sweet potato bisque. I liked it so much, and it's sort of expensive, so I found the recipe at a moosewood site. The recipe online had a lot of cheese in it - more than the stuff in the stores. So I cut it in half and it was perfect. The recipe online is actually called red pepper bisque. Strange, but definitely the same soup.

              2. I always thought Progresso was the best, but never tried any Lo-sodium versions. We like pretty much all of them and they're even better when you mix two different ones together. Like a tomato with some type of vegetarian or bean. Even the Chickarina is good!

                4 Replies
                1. re: coll

                  The low sodium Minestrone I tried was terrible. The Campbells low sodium Italian Style Wedding is my favorite.

                  1. re: mamaciita

                    I second the vote for Italian Style Wedding.

                    1. re: mamaciita

                      Ditto about the low-sodium Minestrone - it's just awful. I was really surprised, considering how delicious the regular Minestrone is. I wouldn't even want to try another of that line's varieties, which is too bad.

                    2. re: coll

                      ok, this is genius. for some reason that cannot be explained i've never thought to do this with canned soup, even though if I buy soup from the prepared soup section at whole foods I always mix. i see experiments ahead. first one may be tomato with chicken/rice.

                    3. The Goya Black Bean soup (with the red label, different from the Goya black beans) is very good.

                      1. There are two Progresso soups I love (neither is low-sodium, though) -- Chicken & Wild Rice, and Italian Wedding. Both are broth-y, vs. creamy.

                        1. Vermont Country soup is in a pouch and very good. Pacific Foods has some pouch soups too, there is one more brand but the name escapes me.
                          Hope you feel better soon.

                          1. The Wolfgang Puck soups are decent. We like the tomato soup - especially when we're sick.

                            1. I haven't been a fan of Wolfgang Puck's soups. For the price they seem a little bland and don't rise above Progresso. Of course, when you can't eat it doesn't matter much.

                              Various Progresso soups, Cambell's chicken noodle and tomato continue to be my backup supplies for the unexpected cold. The boxed premium Campbell soups are just awful and not worth the price. Haven't been thrilled with some of the TJ soups I've tried, but maybe I'll give some of the varieties mentioned in this topic.

                              That being said, canned soup isn't that great. Starting in the fall, I make enough chicken soup to get me through a week of illness and keep it in the freezer.

                              1. I have been eating Progresso Soups for decades--I prefer over any canned. Chicken and Wild Rice is my favorite. I haven't seen for awhile the Tomato Garlic (I think it was that) but it was yummy. I don't like any canned beef soups, even from Progresso.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: eve

                                  They had a line a while back that had Lentil with Garlic, I am not a garlic fan but it was better than homemade. It was a line called something like Zesty? (I could be totally wrong)

                                  1. re: eve

                                    progresso hasnt been quite the same since the family sold the business to a major corporate entity. i miss their Chickarina soup.

                                    1. re: MarkG

                                      So why don't you buy some? They still sell it.
                                      Although General Mills bought the company, it doesn't taste any different to me. Still a quality soup. Big biz doesn't ALWAYS change the formulation of acquired products. That would be a bad idea to change a product that sells well as is. They're big enough that could have made a clone and tried to crush Progresso instead!

                                  2. I tend to go for the Wolfgang Puck ones, those of the chicken noodle one from TJ's is edible also. Actually I drown canned soup in white pepper and so I actually think I would consider any chicken based soup 'edible' as I all I taste is white pepper!

                                    I'd like to import a lot of the soups from the UK, 1,000 times more intersting flavours in my opinion.

                                    1. I like Progresso Lentil and Minestrone, which are salty but good. I also like Health Valley Tomato Romano, Potato Leek, and Five Bean Vegetable and Healthy Choice Creamy Tomato. All of these are reduced sodium.

                                      1. I went to a food show yesterday, and campbells was featuring some of its new line of gourmet soups. Lobster bisque with sherry, goat cheese and roasted pepper, spicy Thai. They were really good. Not sure if they are in stores yet.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: bethd127

                                          Was this a consumer food show or restaurant trade show? Curious because Campbells does make soups that are a little different for foodservice, frozen in packages to make a gallon at a time. I'm wondering where they'd sell these flavors in a retail store, were they canned in small containers? I'll have to look for them.

                                          1. re: coll

                                            it was a restaurant trade show.

                                            1. re: bethd127

                                              Oh well, it won't be available to the public in small quantities then. I was just in my local supermarket and saw an endcap full of something Campbells called "Select" but it was just the usual clam chowder, wedding soup etc, nothing unusual. Wouldn't mind something out of the ordinary for a change.

                                        2. Progresso! Hands down, no contest.

                                          1. I'm finally better (and we've got our internet connection back - it went out last week!) and I have to report that the Annie's Organic tomato soup was by far the nicest I tried... though I found a rather yummy 'Tabatchnick' matzo soup in the freezer cabinet at the grocery store. It really hit the spot. I've got a wild rice soup to try, and if it's good I'll lay in a supply of their other soups for a quick meal. (interestingly, their website says they make over three dozen varieties, but Albertsons only had about eight!)

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Kajikit

                                              Try the split pea - it's excellent.

                                            2. Heinz Cream of Tomato soup. common as muck in Britain but can be bought in the English section of Publix here in Florida.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: smartie

                                                I was in Cost Plus Market Place yesterday and because of your post recognized the Heinz label! They did have the Tomato Soup and will give it a go. The other item I bought that we don't have here, is Hellman's Mayonaise. I understand that it is the twin of Best Foods Mayo. Well, I don't know if it is just my imagination but it is WAY better. Enough that I notice a difference. love that store, all sorts of goodies from everywhere!

                                              2. Your probably feeling better now, but the soups in the milk type cartons - squash, tomato, etc. are pretty good. Trader Joe's has the best selection but i see they are now in the regular supermarkets now too.
                                                my best to you both

                                                1. For those times when I need soup and can't deal with cooking, I love Trader Joes frozen French Onion Soup. It is passable but better than something canned.

                                                  1. Our local market doesn't carry a great range of soups, but for a quick fix, I've found most of Campbell's Chunky soups are acceptable. Tip: I always thin down their Chunky Clam Chowder with a little milk both to improve texture and to prevent it "exploding" in our microwave. I don't select their "Select" soups.

                                                    1. I like Progresso Manhattan Clam Chowder. This coming from a lifetime New England CC fan; that's saying something.

                                                      1. I find that any of the soups that come in the tetra packs are better tasting then the can one's (Campbell's, Knorr..etc). Although I also find that the sodium content is higher.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: sweetie

                                                          The sodium in the Campbell's Select boxes is obscene!

                                                        2. I find Progresso Lentil (with the addition of ground cumin, fresh lemon juice, and fresh spinach) and Heinz Tomato (UK version) to be acceptable when I am not sick.

                                                          Campells Tomato Bisque or Tomato and Rice are acceptable if I am really sick. Everything else just tastes plain weird and *nothing* like real soup including the so called chicken based Progresso (tinny flavor). Real soup = scratch

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: JudiAU

                                                            second progresso lentil, with a splash of vinegar, it tastes actively good to me, not just acceptable.

                                                          2. When I need a salt fix, I go for Campbell's cream of tomato (canned) or Knorr's cream of broccoli (from powder).

                                                            1. I'm a big fan of Progresso's soups also. I especially like the minestrone. And for old time's sake, Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup can't be beat. Not the revamped one, the original one. I always make sure I have several cans in the house.

                                                              There is also a dry mix of an Italian brand, I can't remember the name off hand, darn. But it's really quite good, various bean soups that really taste homemade. If I remember, I'll post it. It takes a while to cook up, but well worth it.

                                                              1. The dry mix is "Alessi" brand, and I agree they are pretty tasty. They cook for about 15 minutes, you won't think they are homemade, but quite acceptable, just grate a little parm on top. Tuscan white bean and Sicilian lentil are the 2 we eat most often.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: BeeZee

                                                                  That's it and yes, we do the same, grating some parm on it and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil does the trick. Not 'homemade" but pretty good. I agree about the Tuscan White Bean and the Lentil too, we enjoy them a lot as well.

                                                                2. When I was in college and poor I lived on a Manischewitz soup mix, "Vegetable Soup Mix with Mushrooms." It's not exactly instant; you have to cook part of it for 2 hours then add a little seasoning packet in the last 10 minutes, but it's pretty good. And there are alphabets in it! (You do have to add quite a bit of salt and pepper, as I recall, but I'd rather do that than wish I could take some out.)

                                                                  Natcherly, I can't get it here, but you can order it online. The little packages are like a buck and a half, and it makes a pretty substantial pot of soup.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: revsharkie

                                                                    My mom used to use those to make her famous "homemade" turkey soup from leftover Thanksgiving Day turkey carcasses. That, or any of the other flavors. Yum!

                                                                  2. In general I am not a big fan of canned soups, typically I find them to taste too salty and a bit tinny, but there is something about Campbell's Tomato Bisque I adore.

                                                                    1. Amy's Organic, at Whole foods. The lentil is great, very filling, and totally healthy. The sodium content is less than most soups, so sometimes you need to add your own salt, but I hate canned soups, and I regularly keep this one on hand.

                                                                      1. I like the frozen lobster bisque and crab chowder from Boston Chowda. Taste good when I have the craving for something creamy .

                                                                        1. I always liked Pepperidge Farm soups, they seemed to have thicker, more sophisticated bases than Campbell's and other canned soups.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: jeanki

                                                                            Wow, I didn't know these still existed. I haven't seen them in more than twenty years (I've lived in the Northeast).

                                                                          2. I like the Trader Joe's Portuguese sausage and bean soup in a jar.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: sidwich

                                                                              Trader Joe's hot & sour soup in a jar is outstanding too! It's flavor and mouth feel are better than a lot of restaurant H&S soups I've had. My only quibble is that the texture of the tofu suffers some from sitting in the jar.

                                                                              I add hot oil to it to increase the heat level, but I add heat to almost everything, you may not need to.

                                                                            2. Does anybody remember the canned soups by Pomi? They used to carry them at Pavillions and Bristol Farms in Los Angeles in the 1990s. I probably haven't seen them in 5+ years, but they were THE best canned soups. There was a mixed bean soup that was to die for, and a really tasty minestrone soup. I wish I could find them again.

                                                                              Otherwise, I really am not a big fan of canned soups. I used to like most of the Progresso ones, but the last few I tried were really very salty and tinny tasting. Trader Joe's spicy black bean soup is pretty good, as is their frozen onion soup.

                                                                              1. Tabatchnick Frozen are pretty good and lower in sodium, I like the split pea

                                                                                1. I second Amy's... her soups are delicious and healthy.
                                                                                  Muir Glenn soups are very good as well...

                                                                                  1. Marie Callendar (spelling?) makes good canned chicken soups (also makes a fabulous frozen coconut cream pie). I also like Pepperidge Farms soups and Wolfgang Puck's soups, especially very good one called, I believe, "chicken pot pie soup" and one called "beef pot pie soup" that I used to get, have not seen these two in southern FL though.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: pralinepatty

                                                                                      I'm a fan of Wolfgang's broccoli soup, which is in the "health foods" section of the grocery store with a green label (not to be confused with his red label ones in the regular soup aisle). Definitely one of the better canned soups I've had (and I eat a lot in the winter) - very light. Also in the health food section is the Moosewood soups, which I've always found tasty. A bit pricier, but worth it IMO. Tried several varities of Amy's recently and was disappointed. I expected better considering how much I enjoy their frozen foods.

                                                                                      Other than that, it's Progresso and always Campbell's Chicken Noodle when I have a cold.

                                                                                    2. I just tried Pacific Foods Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato today and loved it. All organic, gluten free, and low cal to boot! Also it came in a box with a spout which I much prefer for single servings.

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: ArikaDawn

                                                                                        I like their tomato soup as well, very good flavors. Yes, they are organic, but a pretty big company (part of some conglomerate I'm pretty sure) so the organic part is good, if not great.

                                                                                        1. re: gourmanda

                                                                                          In Ontario...Habitant French Canadian Pea Soup (made with yellow peas) is very good but their Vegetable soup is mediocre at best............

                                                                                      2. The very best commercial soup I have come across is the Campbells Select GOLD LABEL "Blended Red Pepper Black Bean" soup that comes in a box. It comes in a smaller box than the one's TJ's sells. (I like TJ's tomato and red pepper soup also). It tastes like something you would get in a great bistro.

                                                                                        1. My wife and I cook ahead and freeze for just such occassions. Soup cooking day once every 1-2 months yields a nicely rotating selection frozen in 1qt freezer bags. When we do this we usually cook two at a time. Like Chili and Chicken Soup. I never add noodles to soups and stews I'm going to freeze. I keep some cooked pasta in the fridge to add during the reheat process w/ a dash of water or stock.

                                                                                          1. Progresso soups have been best for my student budget.

                                                                                            My go-to's so far:
                                                                                            - Chicken and Wild Rice - Pretty good as-is. I eat it with rice sometimes.
                                                                                            - Chicken Pot Pie - Delish if you add chopped onions, a dash of garlic salt, and some Tobasco or Sriracha to taste.
                                                                                            - Lentil and Fat-Free Lentil - Both are filling and has lots of lentils. To make it more flavorful, add a bit of lemon juice or vinegar.

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: kwonzaa

                                                                                              Someone just gave us a can of the Progresso lentil and I have to say, it WAS very good. Almost as good as homemade.

                                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                                I've liked the Progresso lentil soup for many years now. I sometimes add a small splash of Worcestershire, or do a butter swirl if I'm feeling self-indulgent.

                                                                                                They make another called Southwestern Style Chicken that's quite tasty. A little more zesty.

                                                                                            2. In Japan where I live there are no Trader Joe's stores, but I have had quite good luck with the powdered Knorr soups, particularly the onion soup. I keep some around when I want soup but don't want the trouble of making it.

                                                                                              1. Knorr makes a good product. Also, if you can shop at Pathmark, their house brand clam chowder is very good.

                                                                                                1. I recently tried on of the Campbell's ready-to-eat soups in the stand-up microwave pouch. It was red pepper bisque with smoked gouda and was quite decent. Not particularly cheesy nor especially smoky, but it was well-balanced and I enjoyed it very much on a cold Winter's day.