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What is Mushroom Soup?

Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus

Mushroom soup is a soup made with mushrooms. There are many different types of mushroom soups. Cream of mushroom soup is very popular and is available commercially canned or may be made at home.

The basic method of making homemade cream of mushroom soup is to saute clean, sliced fresh mushrooms in a pan with salt and pepper until just tender. Then in a pot, butter is melted before adding flour to thicken it. After a thick smooth paste called a roux is formed, light cream is added to create the cream soup base. The sauteed mushrooms are added to the base to complete the basic cream mushroom soup recipe.

Button mushrooms, which are often used in mushroom soup.
Button mushrooms, which are often used in mushroom soup.

Mushroom chicken soup is usually made with chopped, sauteed mushrooms and onions plus chicken broth and small pieces of cooked chicken. Besides salt and pepper, a small amount of seasoning such as nutmeg or curry powder may be added. Some cooks like to add vegetables such as thinly sliced carrots to simmer in the soup until tender.

Barley mushroom soup recipes may use grilled rather than sauteed mushrooms to add a smokier flavor. Other grilled vegetables such as onions or bell peppers may be added. Canned tomatoes and chicken or vegetable broth may form the soup base and garlic and bay leaves may be included in the seasoning to help bring out the flavor of the barley grains. Fresh parsley is also often added to mushroom barley soup.

Shiitake mushrooms are a common addition to mushroom soups.
Shiitake mushrooms are a common addition to mushroom soups.

Mushroom soup ingredients can also be elegant by using different types of mushrooms such as porcini and shiitake along with the usual button variety. Wine can be added along with broth, garlic and seasonings such as rosemary or tarragon. A wedge of lemon and a garnish of chopped chives can add color to the soup. Mushroom soups can also be created using leftovers such as cooked vegetables, rice and even fish or meat. Precooked foods should be added near the end of the cooking time to prevent mushy, overcooked food in the soup.

Fresh parsley is often added to mushroom soup.
Fresh parsley is often added to mushroom soup.

Canned cream of mushroom soup is a convenient food to have as it can make a quick, hot lunch along with a sandwich or salad. Preparing the soup is as easy as adding the canned contents to a pan and then gradually mixing in a soup can of water. Precooked leftover foods may be added to the canned soup for the last few minutes of simmering to create a thicker, heartier soup.

Discussion Comments


Growing up, my Mom would usually have a can or two of cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup in the pantry to go with the many chicken dishes she would cook.

When I was younger, I wasn't very fond of mushrooms or cream of mushroom soup, even just over the top of chicken. I used to scrape the cream of mushroom soup off the top of the chicken and eat the chicken breast plain.

Now that I am older, and have acquired a taste for a lot more things, I like mushrooms, especially grilled ones. Maybe now if I was over at my parent's house for dinner I would actually enjoy the cream of mushroom on top of the chicken instead of despise it!


@ceilingcat - I like both types of soup, but I think they are good for different things. If I'm going to eat the soup itself as a meal, I would probably go for mushroom barley.

However, I think mushroom barley would be a poor substitute in all the casserole recipes that call for cream of mushroom soup. So I just go ahead and use cream of mushroom for those recipes.


I seem to be in the minority here, but I actually prefer mushroom barley soup to cream of mushroom soup. I think it tastes so much better and heartier somehow! I believe it's also less fattening than the version with cream.

I like to make my own at home using chicken stock as the base. I usually add some chicken, onions, and basil to it as well. I think it's delicious.


One of my friends is a very picky eater and won't eat anything that has canned cream of mushroom soup in it.

I am glad my family is not like this because I have a lot of mushroom soup recipes that I use on a regular basis.

One mushroom soup recipe that I make often includes a can of soup and some french fried onion dip mix. I mix these together and place with some chicken in the crock pot.

Once this cooks all day long, the chicken is tender and the soup makes a gravy that is delicious. This is one of the quickest and easiest meals and my family loves it.


I consider having a can of cream of mushroom soup and cream of chicken soup in my cupboard as staples. Hardly a week goes by that I don't use one of them for some recipe.

I have also begun using the cans of chicken mushroom soup on a regular basis. Just like the name says, they are half chicken and half mushroom soup.

There are many recipes where this combination makes the best taste. One example of this is my tuna noodle casserole. While the casserole tastes good whichever kind of soup you use, the chicken mushroom soup combined always tastes the best.


I have never made homemade mushroom soup, but make sure I always have a can of mushroom soup on hand.

There are many mushroom soup casserole dishes I have in my file. Usually these casserole dishes only take a few minutes to mix together, so having a can of soup on hand is always a good idea.

One of my family's favorite is the traditional green bean casserole that includes a can a mushroom soup, green beans and french fried onions. Even my son who is picky about eating vegetables, will eat this casserole.


@manykitties2-- I can't think of any main ingredients that wouldn't change the texture of the soup. You can always add extra garnishes, like finely chopped or grated garlic and minced chives. These would add some extra flavor.

If you don't like whole rice in the soup, maybe you can try to make it with rice flour or other kinds of flour?

I also agree that chopped meat pieces would be good. I think that anything finely chopped would be okay actually, as it would be too small to change the texture.


@burcinc-- I know what you mean, I'm on a diet and I love mushroom soup as well. But you can make a less-fattening, healthier version of it!

What I do is use a tiny amount of butter (or replace it with one tablespoon olive oil) and use plain yogurt, sour cream or evaporated milk instead of cream. I also add lots of fresh herbs and spices to add more flavor.

It turns out really good, of course it does taste a little different but it's a great alternative for regular cream of mushroom soup.


@manykitties2 - I think if you want a mushroom soup that doesn't have any additions to it that change the texture too much, I would try just adding a few pieces of meat, or perhaps some garlic for flavor.

I love garlic mushroom soup with bacon pieces tossed in. It is hearty and actually pretty healthy. My friend first got me to try the recipe, and while I was skeptical at first, it really did grow on me.

I can understand why you didn't like the mushroom rice soup. You have to really like rice to enjoy the change in the consistency of the soup.


There are so many mushroom soup recipes online that it can be really tough to choose the best one. I recently tried out a rice mushroom soup and I have to say it wasn't my favorite. I found the grains of rice detracted from the normally creamy texture of the soup.

Has anyone found a really good addition to mushroom soup that doesn't take away from the flavor or texture?

I am considering trying a few recipes that call for meats to be added, but I am not sure how that will taste. Turkey mushroom soup sounds like it could be doable. Nothing like mixing two of my favorite things.


I love cream of mushroom soup, it's my favorite kind of soup. It's so good in the winter, warming and comforting.

I haven't made it in a long time though because it's not the healthiest meal. The butter and cream is just too fatty and adds too many calories to the soup.

I know that some of the canned cream of mushroom soups have less fat, but those tend to be high in salt and don't taste much like fresh cream of mushroom. I really wish I knew of a way to make a low fat cream of mushroom soup that tastes as good as the original.

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    • Button mushrooms, which are often used in mushroom soup.
      By: Aaron Amat
      Button mushrooms, which are often used in mushroom soup.
    • Shiitake mushrooms are a common addition to mushroom soups.
      By: Chris leachman
      Shiitake mushrooms are a common addition to mushroom soups.
    • Fresh parsley is often added to mushroom soup.
      By: Barbara Pheby
      Fresh parsley is often added to mushroom soup.