The 7 Biggest Mistakes You Make Cooking Soup (2024)

The 7 Biggest Mistakes You Make Cooking Soup (1)

1. Boiling instead of simmering

You want a small bubble or two to rise to the surface of the liquid every few seconds. More than that and your meat and vegetables will come out dry and overcooked.

2. Not using enough salt

Nothing is as crucial as seasoning correctly. Taste as you go. While you can use a recipe as a guideline, learn to trust your own tastebuds.

3. Ignoring water

Think you can't make a delicious soup because you don't have broth? Just use water instead. Trust us on this one. In fact, you're better off using water than an inferior broth. Before you dump in a can or container of broth, taste it. If you wouldn't eat it as is, why would you want to add it your soup? You may even find you prefer soups made with water, which really let the ingredients shine. Just be aware that when you use water, it's particularly important to add the right amount of salt. A personal trick: Throw in a rind of Parmesan cheese to help flavor the soup as it simmers.

RELATED: 11 Common Cooking Disasters You Can Fix

4. Overcooking the vegetables

Let's say you're making white bean soup. Start by sautéing onions, garlic, maybe celery, then adding the water and beans, and simmering. Add the carrots in the last half hour or so or when the beans are close to tender. That way the carrots will come out cooked but not mushy. Ditto, for other veggies…add them according to how much time they need to cook.

5. Adding tomatoes at the beginning

The acid in tomatoes can keep beans and vegetables crunchy. Don't add the tomatoes until the final 20 minutes when all of the other ingredients are close to tender.

6. Neglecting to garnish

A handful of fresh herbs, freshly-ground pepper, a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, and crunchy croutons add the finishing touches in terms of both flavor and texture. When I make lentil or split pea soup, I like to add a splash of balsamic vinegar or squirt of fresh lemon juice to each bowl to brighten the flavor. Other good last minute add-ins: a dollop of yogurt or sour cream, toasted pumpkin seeds, or a spoonful of pesto.

7. Not trying a pressure cooker

If you're afraid of using a pressure cooker, it's time to get over it. With multiple safety features, today's models are fail-proof. Why use one, you ask? When your hubby calls to tell you he's coming down with a cold, if you pick up a chicken, you can have homemade soup on the table in under an hour. Check out our review of both stovetop and electric models before you make a purchase.

TELL US: What's your secret to the perfect soup?

NEXT: Cooking Tips You Need from Expert Chefs

Sharon Franke is the director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances lab.

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Up Next: 10 Simple Soups For The Chilliest Days

The 7 Biggest Mistakes You Make Cooking Soup (2)

The 7 Biggest Mistakes You Make Cooking Soup (2024)


The 7 Biggest Mistakes You Make Cooking Soup? ›

Boiling soup leads to mushy veggies and tough meat

While a simmer creates enough movement to release flavor, it's still slow enough that your ingredients will remain intact. Boiling can also reduce too much liquid, which isn't what you want when it comes to soup (via Boss the Kitchen).

What mistakes do cooks do when cooking soup? ›

Common Mistakes Everyone Makes With Soup
  • Failing to thicken it properly. Marian Curko/Shutterstock. ...
  • Forgetting to add an acidic component. ...
  • Sticking to salt and pepper. ...
  • Overcooking your vegetables. ...
  • Forgetting to garnish. ...
  • Adding your aromatics too late. ...
  • Forgetting to caramelize your onions. ...
  • Adding grains too early.
Mar 24, 2023

Why shouldn't you boil soup? ›

Boiling soup leads to mushy veggies and tough meat

While a simmer creates enough movement to release flavor, it's still slow enough that your ingredients will remain intact. Boiling can also reduce too much liquid, which isn't what you want when it comes to soup (via Boss the Kitchen).

What not to put in soup? ›

The Worst Things to Put in Your Soup
  1. By Sara Butler. If there's one good thing about fall and winter, it's soup. ...
  2. Heavy Cream. Heavy cream creates an inviting texture for soups but that's where its positive contributions end. ...
  3. Juice. ...
  4. Turkey Bacon. ...
  5. Cheese. ...
  6. Croutons.

What's the secret to a good soup? ›

To make sure that every spoonful of soup is richly flavored, with juicy meat and/or tender vegetables, follow these kitchen-tested tips.
  • Use a Sturdy Pot. ...
  • Sauté the Aromatics. ...
  • Start with Good Broth. ...
  • Cut Vegetables to the Right Size. ...
  • Stagger the Addition of Vegetables. ...
  • Keep Liquid at a Simmer. ...
  • Season Just Before Serving.
Oct 9, 2022

What gives soup the best flavor? ›

Foods that have a great deal of acidity, like lemon juice, vinegar, white wine, and tomato puree, can help liven up the flavor of bland-tasting bone and other broths. "The acidity of these ingredients works to complement and enhance the broth's flavors, not mask it.

What vegetables can you not put in soup? ›

Foods in the Brassica family, such as collards, are too strong for stock/broth and can impart a bitter taste. Corn doesn't add a lot of flavor and can make the stock/broth cloudy.

What type of soup should never be boiled? ›

Cream soups should never be boiled (during cooking or reheating.)

Can I reboil soup left out overnight? ›

To be completely safe, you'll have to boil the soup vigorously for 10 minutes. Doing this will not only kill off any active bacteria, it will also inactivate -- but not destroy -- botulinum spores.

Is it rude to drink soup out of the bowl? ›

Most of learning how to eat soup correctly is simply to keep you from spilling soup on the table or on your brand-new shirt. If you're served soup in a soup bowl at a formal event or dinner, you should never drink from your soup bowl directly, as it's considered poor etiquette.

What is the secret ingredient in soup? ›

It may sound a bit strange and unusual for some, but vinegar is a common ingredient in some soup recipes, and there is a good reason for it. If you think about it, vinegar is really a flavor-enhancer (umami). That's why it is so often used in cooking, sauces, and salad dressings. The same is true with soups.

Why is soup bad for blood pressure? ›

3 Foods to avoid for high blood pressure

Avoid canned foods and soups as they tend to contain lots of sodium. Canned beans for example, can contain as much as 500mg of sodium per serving. However, there are some canned foods with lower sodium content. Look out for foods that come with the healthier choice logo.

What are the most unhealthy soups? ›

Just avoid these five soups listed below, and swap them out for the healthier alternatives we've provided:
  • Lobster bisque. ...
  • Chili. ...
  • Broccoli and cheese soup. ...
  • Mushroom and barley soup. ...
  • Lumberjackie soup. ...
  • Chilled soups. ...
  • Chicken, zucchini and potato soup. ...
  • Homemade tomato soup. Who doesn't like tomato soup on a cold gray day?
Jan 12, 2012

What is the most important ingredient in soup? ›

For clear, brothy soups, stock is your most important ingredient. If you want to make a good soup, you need to use an excellently flavored stock — otherwise, the entire pot could be tasteless.

What are three qualities of a good soup? ›

A soup's quality is determined by its flavor, appearance and texture. A good soup should be full-flavored, with no off or sour tastes. Flavors from each of the soup's ingre- dients should blend and complement, with no one flavor overpowering another.

What are the rules of soup? ›

Soup Etiquette
  • Don't bend your head toward the soup bowl; rather slightly bend inward from the base of your spine without slumping. ...
  • When eating soup, spoon away from your body. ...
  • Soups are not to be blown. ...
  • Clear soups, broths and heartier soups are eaten by placing the spoon point first in the mouth.
Jan 26, 2024

What are the common problems of the soup? ›

The 7 Biggest Mistakes You Make Cooking Soup
  • Boiling instead of simmering. You want a small bubble or two to rise to the surface of the liquid every few seconds. ...
  • Not using enough salt. ...
  • Ignoring water. ...
  • Overcooking the vegetables. ...
  • Adding tomatoes at the beginning. ...
  • Neglecting to garnish. ...
  • Not trying a pressure cooker.
Nov 19, 2014

What are the common mistakes we make while cooking food? ›

Here are 14 mistakes to avoid while cooking:
  • Not Preheating Your Oven. This is one of the most common mistakes people make when baking. ...
  • Overcrowding Your Pan. ...
  • Using Too Much Oil. ...
  • Not Seasoning Your Food. ...
  • Cooking On Too High of a Heat. ...
  • Not Using Fresh Ingredients. ...
  • Not Letting Meat Rest. ...
  • Overcooking Vegetables.
Jan 3, 2023

What are the challenges of soup kitchens? ›

“The biggest neds of the soup kitchens are ingredients as well as operational costs – we are talking about gas, electricity and airtime, as well as cleaning material for the 300 litre-pots,” she said. “Donor fatigue is real and present.

What can improper cooking do? ›

Inadequate cooking is a common cause of food poisoning. Cross-contamination from raw to cooked foods, such as from hands, chopping boards or utensils, can also cause food poisoning. Most foods, especially meat, poultry, fish and eggs, should be cooked thoroughly to kill most types of food poisoning bacteria.

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