It’s officially fall! Grab your favorite sweater, light a pumpkin spice candle, and get a pot of warm, comforting goodness simmering on the stove. It’s time for cozy comfort and delicious eats — even on a weeknight.
And even if you live in a part of the country that won’t see chilly weather for weeks, soup still makes for an easy weekday meal.
Warm bowls of hearty soup don’t have to require all-day cooking, either. With the right recipe, you can have a steaming bowl of crowd-pleasing soup on the table in an hour or less.
Need some inspiration? Here are 10 super easy soups you can make on a weeknight.
#1) Taco Soup
On busy weeks, grocery shopping may get bumped to the bottom of the to-do list. When the refrigerator shelves start to look bare, you need a dinner plan that relies on pantry staples. Enter taco soup, a fun way to use up what you’ve probably got at home already.
Most of the ingredients in Southern Plate’s taco soup recipe are shelf-stable items that you may have in your cupboard on any given night. They include canned tomatoes, canned corn and taco seasoning.
The exceptions are ground beef and an onion. If you don’t have any meat on hand, you can leave it out. You’ll still get plenty of protein from the kidney beans. As for the onion, you can replace one large onion with 1.5 tablespoons of onion powder. (And for your pickier eaters, this might even be a nice swap.)
#2) Broccoli Cheese Soup
The next time Meatless Monday rolls around, put broccoli cheese soup on the menu. This hearty dish requires no meat to be delicious and filling. Plus, it’s a tasty way to get some extra veggies into kids who might not otherwise go for the green.
Gimme Delicious has a broccoli cheese soup recipe that includes carrots, too. To save time, grab bags of broccoli florets and shredded carrots from the produce section of the store. Take a few minutes to fresh-grate the cheddar cheese, though. You’ll get a smoother result than the pre-shredded variety can provide.
Broccoli soup pairs perfectly with bread bowls. Your local supermarket may sell pre-baked bread bowls in the bakery department. Just scoop out the centers and pour in the soup. Don’t forget to save the extra bread for dipping!
#3) Potato Soup
One of the best things about potato soup is that there aren’t many essential ingredients. Grab a bag of potatoes, an onion, some cream or milk, and a carton of broth, and you’ll have almost everything you need. This soup can also be made with or without dairy, making it vegan-friendly if you follow the right recipe.
Little Broken’s potato soup recipe, for example, calls for just six items. The secret to this recipe is to puree a few cups of the potato mixture after cooking. Doing so turns this into a cream soup on its own — no roux required!
Potato soup is endlessly customizable, too. You can start by frying bacon to cook with the soup itself, giving it a loaded baked potato flavor. But if bacon’s not your thing (or you don’t have time to fry it up), and you still want something to appease the carnivores in your life, try adding shredded rotisserie chicken instead. No need for meat? No problem. A well-seasoned potato soup cooked in vegan veggie broth can be just as hearty sans meat.
As for toppings, your family may enjoy topping their bowls with sliced green onions, shredded cheddar cheese or bacon bits. Other ideas include dollops of sour cream, chopped chives or cheesy fish crackers.
#4) Chicken Noodle Soup
Chicken soup is a classic for a reason. Every cook needs a go-to recipe for chicken noodle soup. It’ll come in handy when your family has the sniffles — or anytime you need a pick-me-up.
The version passed down from your grandmother is probably delicious, but it may require a full day of cooking. Averie Cooks has the solution for you: store-bought rotisserie chicken. Starting with pre-cooked chicken means you can pull this recipe together in a snap.
Egg noodles are an old favorite for chicken soup recipes, but you’re not limited to only those. Feel free to mix it up with different pasta shapes from time to time. Your family may enjoy small shells, orzo or even alphabet pasta. Like many soups, chicken noodle can be customized based on what you’ve got on hand. And canned or frozen veggies make putting it together even simpler.
#5) Ground Beef Stew
Traditional beef stews simmer for hours because of the meat itself. The long cooking time helps tenderize cubes of tougher beef. It makes for a delicious dish, but it requires more time than most weeknights will allow. Instead, turn to ground beef for your next stew.
For added convenience, Taste of Home suggests using canned tomatoes. Other common beef stew ingredients include diced potatoes, carrots, onion and celery. You might even find a mix of carrots, onions and celery – known as mirepoix – in your grocery store’s section for pre-chopped veggies. Keep a container in your fridge to cut down on soup prep.
If you need a way to add bulk and extra nutrition to this meat-heavy stew, add rice. It helps to thicken the stew and serves as a penny-pinching way to stretch this affordable meal.
Speaking of stretching, the Taste of Home recipe makes 16 servings. You can cook once and have dinner ready for the next several nights (or use the leftovers for lunch).
#6) Butternut Squash Soup
When you’re tired of your tried-and-true soup favorites, butternut squash can help you break free from your routine. Don’t worry if you’re new to cooking with squash. A bag of pre-cut cubes from the store’s produce department will streamline the process.
The Pioneer Woman’s recipe calls for roasting the chopped squash along with onions and garlic. You can put your feet up for 45 minutes while they cook. If you don’t have 45 minutes to spend on roasting squash, get some steamable squash from the freezer section. These might not produce the same flavor that roasting would, but with the right seasoning in the soup itself, it should turn out tasty anyway.
Once the roasting or steaming is complete, turning the ingredients into soup is a quick and easy process. For the finale, garnish this dish with bacon bits or even chopped apple.
#7) Cabbage Soup
If your grocery bill has been feeling the pinch lately, soup could help you find some relief. Many soup recipes feature affordable ingredients, such as carrots, potatoes and rice. Cabbage is another budget-friendly veggie worth incorporating into your diet.
Like many home cooks, you may worry that cooking cabbage will turn it limp and tasteless. With a cabbage soup recipe like the one from Love and Lemons, there’s no chance of that. The dish is loaded with a host of flavorful fresh veggies, fire-roasted tomatoes and white beans.
The ingredients need half an hour, tops, to cook, so the cabbage will reach just the right level of tenderness without going too soft.
#8) Turkey and Spinach Soup
Ground turkey can be a lower-fat, lower-calorie alternative to fattier cuts of ground beef. Yet despite its healthier profile, turkey has almost as much protein. Plus, ground turkey is usually the cheaper option.
Try ground turkey in a soup with nutritious vegetables and hearty beans. Rachel Cooks’ version includes a few handfuls of fresh spinach. This soup may even entice your kids to sample their greens.
But if your children need a little coaxing to take the first bite, allow them to sprinkle generous portions of Parmesan cheese on top.
#9) Corn Chowder
Corn might seem like a summer veggie, but corn chowder is just right for the cooler months. Fortunately, frozen corn makes it possible to enjoy this dish at any time of year.
If corn chowder is in your dinner plans, check out The Chunky Chef’s version, which includes potatoes as well as corn. You can whip up a batch in under an hour. If you’re a meat eater, don’t forget the bacon to sprinkle on top!
The Chunky Chef’s recipe includes smart tips for anyone using frozen corn in place of fresh in a soup recipe. In general, 4 cups of frozen corn are equal to eight ears of fresh corn. Also, a squirt of honey added to the soup will stand in for the sweet milk that drips from fresh kernels.
#10) Tomato Soup
Finally, you can’t go wrong with a classic. A bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich may transport you right back to your childhood. In your younger years, canned soup might have been your go-to. These days, elevate your plate with a homemade version that’s almost as easy and probably tastier.
Natasha’s Kitchen suggests using canned crushed tomatoes as the base for your soup. A few dairy ingredients — heavy cream and Parmesan cheese — are essential for adding richness to the recipe. Garnish with croutons to achieve that grilled cheese effect – or just whip up some grilled cheese sandwiches to go with it.
To achieve a silky smooth result, use an immersion blender. If you don’t already own one of these small appliances, it’s worth the investment. You’ll use it time and again, especially during the height of soup season.