HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Soup Cookbook Recommendations

I have a friend who asked me to recommend a book of soup recipes for her mom. (She knows I have a ton of cookbooks, but I don't really have anything to recommend that fits the bill.) She's specifically looking for a book with yummy recipes but not too demanding in terms of cooking skills and not having a bunch of expensive, hard-to-find ingredients. Her mom is widowed, lives alone, and doesn't really enjoy cooking that much now that she's only cooking for one. But apparently soup is something she's willing to make, and my friend is really concerned about her mom not eating right and is trying to help her any way she can.

Any suggestions?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I love my Book of Soups from the Culinary Institute of America. There are probably 5 recipes that are in my standard rotation, they are all pretty simple and everything I have made from it has been successful. I tend to make a different large batch of soup every week and freeze in serving portions so I always have a lot of choices and don't get too bored making (or eating) any one recipe.


    1 Reply
    1. re: GretchenS

      I own the CIA Book of Soups, but haven't dug into it. What are your fave five?


    2. I love the cookbook An Exaltation of Soups: The Soul-Satisfying Story of Soup, As Told in More Than 100 Recipes. It is a great cookbook with endearing stories and yummy recipes!

      1. Why not make a ring binder with reliable recipes gathered from friends and cookbooks and on-line, put in dividers for Vegetable, Beef, Chicken, Miscellaneous, Freezing Do's amd Don'ts, and custom design a cookbook with the specifics you want. When retyping the recipes to print out, your friend could add little Notes to the Cook for each recipe, if she wanted to alert her mother to a particular technique or brand name that she would recommend.

        I'm assuming friend doesn't live close enough to her mother to actually cook with her and stock up her freezer in the process. If this is a Christmas gift, or even if not, friend could make up a package of said cookbook/binder and a couple of cartons of decent, shelf-stable stock, maybe a container of bay leaves, a tube of tomato paste, a box of little pasta shapes just to jump start mom.

        That suggested, now you need to post a new ISO for easy, delicious, T&T recipes for mom! I'll be the first to post!

        3 Replies
        1. re: nemo

          I swear by Lydie Marshall's "Soup of the Day" - no bad recipes yet, and most of them are simple.

          Also, tell your friend to give Mom an immersion blender for Christmas - what a difference it makes to be able to blend your ingredients in the pot instead of ladling them into a food processor or blender!

          1. re: Marsha

            The immersion blender is a great idea! I'm going to check out all the book recommendations so far too.

            1. re: flourgirl

              I bought a very basic immersion blender on sale for $10 at Rite-Aid a few years ago - it's very convenient and works great. Even though everything's plastic but the blade, it is unharmed by piping hot soup. So there's no need to get a pricey model. Wrap a bow around the blender, a long-handled wooden spoon and a ladle. Or put them all in a nice, heavy-bottom 4-6 quart pot, if the recipient doesn't already have one.

              Look for a cookbook with large color photos of all or most of the recipes; the eye-appeal will go a long way toward motivating your friend's mother to actually make a pot. In similar circumstances, I gave a copy of one such cookbook, The Soup Bible.

        2. I like "The Moosewood Daily Special" cookbook. Half of the book is devoted to soups and half to salads. Many are vegetarian, but I've had a lot of success doctoring them with chicken stock and other chicken/meat ingredients if I'd felt like it.

          1. I really like the Daily Soup Cookbook. These are soups that are more like meals -- very hearty. Almost everything I've made has been great. A real wide range of recipes -- everything from mushroom barley to Senagalese peanut. Most recipes call for easy-to-find ingredients. But you will occasionally get a recipe that calls for something most supermarkets wouldn't carry (eg. avocado leaf in chicken lime soup).

            1. I think this one fits the bill and I use it a lot: "The Secrets of Jesuit Soupmaking: A Year of Our Soups" by Rick Curry S.J. (Penguin; NY, 2002.) Some 60 soups divided by the season. Excellent Cream of Fresh Tomato, Irish Potato and Brocoli, Fresh Cream of Mushroom, Cream of Chicken and Apple, Orange and Tomato Soup and Garlic Soup recipes!

              1. I love The New England Soup Factory cookbook. It has an amazing array of different soups.

                7 Replies
                1. re: mcel215

                  I second TNESF cookbook, Heartily! We've instituted Soup Tuesday since the start of Autumn and this book has given us some very tasty meals. This week we had a grilled chicken with tomato and flavorful Asian seasonings soup that was absolutely delicious.
                  Highly recommended.

                  1. re: Gio

                    LOVE the idea of Soup Tuesday! And I may have to check out this cookbook myself!

                    1. re: nofunlatte

                      The curious thing is that we halve the recipes and still have leftovers enough for another meal later in the week (tonight for instance with toasted cheese sandwiches!!)... sometimes adding a few extra roasted or chopped/sauteed veggies and/or meats.

                      Here's a link to the site:

                      1. re: Gio

                        Thanks Gio--those soups on the website sound fantastic!

                  2. re: mcel215

                    I third this. It was hard to stop making the same recipe over and over, but I finally did, I've made I think 5 different ones and they are all delicous. Only thing, they are huge batches, but I've cut them in half with no problem.

                    1. re: LisaN

                      So . . . what have you been cooking over and over?
                      Based on the enthusiastic recs on this board, I got a copy of The New England Soup Factory cookbook from my library and make a really, really yummy spicy shrimp soup after making a lobster stock (from the lobster shells I had the foresight to freeze a while back, and adding some pre-made veg stock. MMMMMM.

                      My only complaint is that most of the recipes seem to call for cream. I'm *trying* to avoid fat. I'm a South Beach drop out w/ still good intentions . . . (but I *did* indulge in the zero fiber jasmine rice, heh heh!)

                      1. re: NYchowcook

                        Page 100 is the one i make over and over - Mediterranean Chickpea, Lentil and Rice Soup with Basil.

                        Also really liked p 113 Italian Vegetable Soup with rice
                        p 133 Pumpkin and White Bean
                        p 149 - beef and barley (making again next weekend)
                        p 101 - Mulligatawny
                        p 131 - tortilla and butternut squash soup (tastes nothing like squash, but is good)

                  3. The Bakery Lane Soup Bowl Cook Book, which I believe it is out of print but you may be able to find a used copy on line. It was published in the mid-70s by 2 women who ran a restaurant in Middlebury, Vt that featured soups and home-made breads. It has about 20 different soup recipes, all fairly easy to make, and delicious. We are particularly partial to the Spinach Vichyssoise recipe (although usually substitute broccoli for the spinach).

                    1. Thanks everybody, for all of your great suggestions! I passed these along to my friend, and she was very happy. And she had never heard of Chowhound either, so she learned about a great on-line resource in the process. :)