Secrets to the Best Fall Soups
Take your soups to the next level with these easy recipes and smart tips
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Article, recipes, and photographs by Krysten and Marrekus Wilkes of Cooks with Soul
Break out your thick socks and warm blankets! It’s officially fall and we are sharing some of our favorite recipes for the coziest, most soulful soups of the season. From creamy butternut squash to quick and easy chicken tortilla and rich cauliflower Parmesan, these are recipes you’re going to want to put on repeat.
We’re also sharing a few secrets that you can apply to lots of your soup recipes to get maximum results with minimum effort.
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Make creamy butternut squash soup — without the cream
We love a rich cream-based soup (for example, the cauliflower soup below), but sometimes we want to change things up and serve a vegan recipe. Using coconut milk is our first tip for making this delicious, sweet and nutty butternut squash soup recipe. Our other soup secrets help you make it fast and make it extra-tasty.
1. Use coconut milk instead of cream
This recipe goes with coconut milk instead of heavy cream, which makes it satiny textured as well as vegan.
2. Start with pre-cut squash
Butternut squash can be a bit intimidating to peel and chop, with its tough skin and dense flesh. However, we take the sweat equity out of this dish by using pre-cut butternut squash, which is available at most grocery stores this time of year.
3. Roast and simmer the vegetables for extra flavor
When you roast the squash along with carrots, onions, and the cloves from a whole head of garlic, the vegetables turn golden brown and caramelize, developing a much richer flavor than if you only simmer them. Once you’ve developed that perfect base for your soup, transfer the ingredients to a large pot and simmer them with the coconut milk and some chicken stock.
4. Puree for a silky smooth texture
Coconut milk isn’t the only thing that gives this soup its velvety texture. We also puree the veggies and liquid to create a rich mouthfeel.
5. Add a little crunch
We like to serve the soup with raw or roasted pumpkin seeds on top for a little crunch. Then we add a little drizzle of reserved coconut milk for beauty.
6. Make it your own
This simple recipe takes well to all kinds of variations.
Add a touch of allspice or cinnamon for a spiced fall soup recipe.
Simmer the soup with some Cajun seasoning and add browned slices of andouille sausage.
Top the soup with fresh herbs like parsley, sage, rosemary, or thyme.
Make homemade chicken soup in only 30 minutes
When it comes to busy weeknights, we are always looking for family-friendly meals that are ready in 30 minutes but still have lots of flavor, like this next soup. Here’s how we pull it off.
1. Start with shortcut ingredients
We use foolproof shortcuts like store-bought rotisserie chicken; canned black beans, tomatoes, and chicken stock; and our favorite jar of salsa.
2. Worth-it step: saute the onion
Trust us, this is going to be the best-spent 5 minutes of this recipe. Sauteeing the onion in a little oil with Southwest seasonings develops a ton of flavor in this easy soup. Once you do that, just add the rest of the ingredients and cook at a low boil for 7 to 8 minutes to bring all the flavors together.
3. Don’t forget the toppings!
The toppings are the best part of tortilla soup. We like to go with fresh cilantro, crunchy seasoned tortilla strips, shredded pepper jack cheese, and avocado for a complete meal. Look for the seasoned tortilla strips in your market’s produce section near croutons — or substitute tortilla chips.
To quickly prep the cilantro, just swish a bunch in water, roll it in a kitchen towel to dry, and then chop off any tough lower parts of the stems (the tender parts of the stems have great flavor and crunch).
Roast veggies to add layers of flavor
This next soup is thick and creamy and reminiscent of potato soup but with fewer carbs. Made with cauliflower, shallots, chicken broth, heavy cream, and Parmesan cheese, it’s great for cold weather days and nights. Don’t be mistaken by its keto friendliness, though — there’s nothing bland about this soup. We elevated the recipe to add a ton of flavor and texture while still keeping it easy. Here are our secrets.
1. Buy cauliflower florets
To save on prep time, we went with a 2-pound bag of cauliflower florets in addition to canned chicken broth and pre-grated Parmesan. If your market doesn’t have the cauliflower florets, just buy 2 heads of cauliflower and cut them into pieces.
2. Roast, then simmer the veggies
As with the butternut squash soup recipe, the key step for this recipe is roasting the cauliflower and shallots until they’re golden brown to develop a rich caramelized flavor. Then you’ll simmer the vegetables with chicken stock, heavy cream, and plenty of Parmesan cheese.
3. Puree only part of the soup
To thicken the soup but still create texture in the final dish, we pureed only part of the soup, leaving some of the cauliflower florets intact. Finally, we topped the bowls with a few pieces of roasted shallots that we set aside after roasting.
Whether you’re in the mood for something light and delicious, want a quick recipe that’s a family favorite, or are craving a dish that’s rich and inviting, these recipes and tips will have you well on your way to making your next big bowl of soup.
Explore the flavors of fall
Cozy soups are only the beginning of the foods we love to cook this time of year. Keep reading to explore more of our favorite fall recipes.