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How do I thicken my soup?

  • j

I made a winter squash soup to serve tomorrow night and it came out thinner than I intended. I may have blended it too much. The recipe (can't find it online) is from Cooking Light and it includes a butternut squash, russet potato, leeks, chicken broth, and half and half, plus spices. It's delicious but thin. Is there any way to thicken the soup before I serve it? Thanks.

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  1. I'd cook some rice in the liquid and puree it again.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MMRuth

      You serve each portion with a spoonful of Greek yogurt or sour cream on top. That way, when your guests mix it in, the soup will thicken a bti.

      Or you could roast another butternut squash in small cubes and add it into the soup as a sort of garnish. (I do this with the frozen kind)

    2. A buerre manie would work nicely to thicken the soup. Take equal parts flour and room temperature butter, and mix into a paste. Add to warm soup and increase heat to a bubbling simmer. This will activate the thickening.

      6 Replies
      1. re: monavano

        This sounds really good. How much flour and butter would should I use for about 7 cups of soup? Do I add all the paste at once?

        1. re: JennS

          I would start with 2 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp. flour. Add the paste all at once and wisk. Bring up the heat, and wait for it to thicken. If you desire more thickness, go ahead and and addiditional 1 tbsp. butter and 1 tbsp. flour. This way, you can thicken it up in increments and adjust. It will be easier than trying to thin it down. Be sure to have patiencte while thickening and allow the ingredients to have time to work and stay close by so you can stir the soup often and determine if you are happy with the progress.
          Let us know how it turns out!!

          1. re: monavano

            I agree with mona - a roux type thickener.
            Easier than making a paste at room temp is melting the butter (margerine will work too) in a pan - use the 2 TBL, but this might be a small amount, I'd go with about 6 TBL spoons.
            When melted, whisk in the flour, TBL by TBL until a thick paste is developed. Bring your soup up to a boil and whisk in the paste TBL by TBL (keeping it on the heat, so it at least returns to the boil). As mona points out, do it in increments for control, cause it is a powerful thickener as a little goes a long way.

            Cornstarch will work as ispe suggests (and is simpler), but it tends to break in the soup as it cools down.

            Funny thing, I made almost exactly this soup last week with buttercup squash. I gave it a thyme seasoning with a hint of cayenne. I also thickened it at the end...

        2. re: monavano

          Im so glad i found your suggestion! i was making my own chicken and sausage gumbo to put over rice but it just wasnt coming out as thick as i wanted it so i mixed this paste and stirred it in on low heat and it made it perfect :) I am new to cooking and creating my own recipes so being able to find good suggestions like this is sooo nice...Thank You!!

          1. re: crackerjackclaire

            Oh wonderful! It's always fun to pick up a new technique.

            1. re: crackerjackclaire

              Even easier: 1) reduce to desired thickness over medium heat, stir occasionally to prevent scorching the bottom. If it DOES scorch, pour out the food but do not scrape up the burnt stuff until the food has been removed. OR
              2) stir in instant baby cereal or instant mashed potato flakes or Wondra flour (doesn't clump), over heat and stir as mixture thickens.

          2. Cornstarch.

            Dissolve some cornstarch in water, bring soup to boil, then mix in the cornstarch.

            5 Replies
            1. re: ipsedixit

              The trick with cornstarch is to make sure that it is the same temperature as the soup. That's how you avoid lumps and breakdowns. If the soup is cold, dissolve the cornstarch in cold water, and mix it in; if the soup is warm, then use warm water for dissolving the cornstarch. The problems happen when you have cold into warm, and vice versa.

              You also could cook your soup some more and reduce it. But if it has cream already in it, you might end up with an un appetizing texture.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                I like cornstarch or arrowroot instead of flour as the thickener is less noticeable than flour or, say, mashed potatoes.

                1. re: Scargod

                  The cornstarch is sounding like the best option now. Sounds like it will change the taste of the soup the least. How much cornstarch would you suggest I start with for 7 cups of soup? A tablespoon? My soup is in the fridge right now so I'm thinking I will try the cold method. Thanks again for all the helpful replies.

                  1. re: JennS

                    I would start with a teaspoon and see if it does what you want. Remember you must heat the soup to thicken it.
                    To thicken more, have set aside a quarter cup of the broth. Mix in cornstarch and mix back into the soup. Give it two to five minutes to thicken, if hot. I do not agree with brendastarlet that you must use hot with hot. With the cornstarch wetted and dispersed in cold or lukewarm liquid, slowly pour it into hot soup as you stir. Also, concentrated Cornstarch will settle-out quickly if you let it.

                  2. re: Scargod

                    If a northerner, spuds, if a southerner, crumble corn bread for fine flavour and texture!

                2. Some excellent soup thickeners are ...
                  potato flakes, okra, pureed beans, heavy cream, as well as any others already mentioned.

                  1. Mash in a boiled potato or add some mashed potato.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                      assuming your goal was "cooking light" - i'd go with the potato and avoid adding any sort of additional fat.