12 Best Substitutes For Cream Of Chicken Soup

As winter rolls in and the days grow shorter, and the air outside gets crisp and chilly, nothing warms the bones like a thick blanket, a roaring fire, and a hot plate of good old-fashioned comfort food. Soups, casseroles, pasta bakes, and the like are the MVPs of winter dining, and many of these recipes call for a beloved pantry staple: cream of chicken soup. Made with a rich combination of hearty chicken, decadent cream, and savory stock, cream of chicken soup is both delicious and highly effective as a binding and thickening agent. It's shelf-stable, and while it's perfectly tasty right from the can, it can also be used to create homey main courses like stews and hot dishes as well as sauces and gravies.

However, there may come a day when you dig deep into your cabinet, past the cans of green beans, diced tomatoes, and sweet corn, and realize with a groan that you're fresh out of cream of chicken soup. Or perhaps you're cooking for a friend or family member who has a dairy allergy or is following a plant-based diet. How are you to make a chicken casserole or your famous slow cooker chicken and dumplings without your trusty can of Campbell's? Fear not — we have tasty and easily procured substitutes for cream of chicken soup ready to save the day.

Cream of potato soup

You'll find a can or two of cream of potato soup tucked away in the back of many a kitchen cupboard. Creamed soups, in general, make great swaps for cream of chicken soup because they share a similar consistency and can be substituted for cream of chicken soup in equal parts. Affordable and shelf-stable (according to StillTasty, a can will stay good for three to five years if stored properly), cream of potato soup has a rich, full-bodied taste. Because potatoes are starchy, to begin with, this soup has a nice thick texture and serves as a winning thickener and binder.

You won't get the flavor of chicken, of course, but if you're cooking for someone who doesn't eat meat, cream of potato soup is an excellent vegetarian alternative. Bear in mind that, as the name suggests, the vast majority of store-bought cream of potato soup is made with cream, so it won't serve as an option for those following a vegan diet. Cream of potato soup can function as a substitute for cream of chicken across a wide span of recipes that run the gamut from soups and stews (some made-from-scratch soups call for canned cream of chicken soup to enhance flavor and viscosity) to casseroles, dips, and even certain pasta sauces.

Full-fat Greek yogurt

It won't keep in the pantry, of course, but plain old full-fat Greek yogurt is another readily-available vegetarian substitute for cream of chicken soup — and, as a bonus, it's teeming with nutritional benefits that many canned products lack. As Livestrong lays out, one serving (½ cup) of full-fat Greek yogurt contains over 10 grams of protein, provides healthy probiotics, and carries no trans fats (although it is relatively high in saturated fat at 2.7 grams per serving). If you've run out of cream of chicken soup or if you're looking to add some protein to a dish, full-fat Greek yogurt can be a godsend.

When used as a substitute for cream of chicken soup, full-fat Greek yogurt is desirable over reduced-fat or fat-free varieties. Full-fat yogurt is the thickest, so like creamed soups, it makes a good binder. Again, if a chicken taste is essential to the finished product, you'll want to explore other routes (or consider adding chicken broth during the cooking process), but the Greek yogurt method can work wonders when cream of chicken is not the star of the show. Try swapping out full-fat Greek yogurt for cream of chicken soup in dishes like white chili or in this cheesy hash brown casserole recipe.

Cream of bacon soup

It may not be the most traditional substitute for cream of chicken soup, but cream of bacon soup can infuse dishes with a unique smoky, salty, and savory flair. Cream of bacon soup, like most other creamed soups, can be swapped in for cream of chicken soup in a 1-to-1 ratio. If you need a proxy for cream of chicken soup and don't have a reason to steer clear of meat or dairy products, cream of bacon soup can lead to some fun experimental cooking. The smoky, nutty, and sweet aroma of bacon is tough to resist — combine bacon with decadent heavy cream and aromatic spices, and you've got a winner in a can.

Cream of bacon soup can stand in for cream of chicken soup in almost any recipe but is particularly splendid when added to pasta bakes, hot dishes, au gratin dishes, and other recipes in which the flavors of the chicken and cream are intended to shine through. While canned varieties of this soup are sold in supermarkets, it's also pretty easy to whip up cream of bacon soup at home in a pinch. Try it out — you might just find yourself wide-eyed and stockpiling cream of bacon soup on your next grocery run.

Coconut milk and chicken broth

Coconut milk's fatty, creamy consistency is a lifesaver when it comes to dairy substitutes. If you need a cream of chicken soup stand-in for a lactose intolerant buddy, but don't want to lose that nourishing, flavorful chicken element, try mixing together coconut milk and chicken broth. As is the case with Greek yogurt, when substituting chicken broth and coconut milk for cream of chicken soup, a full-fat variety of coconut milk (or even coconut cream) will yield the best results. Reduced-fat coconut milk is thinner in consistency and won't mimic the thick cream of chicken soup as effectively as the full-fat version. For most recipes, you'll also want to make sure you're using an unsweetened variety of coconut milk so as not to make your dish overly saccharine.

To create your coconut milk and chicken broth substitute, simply combine equal parts of each liquid and add the mixture to the dish the way the recipe instructs. Make it a fully plant-based substitute by using a rich vegetable broth in place of chicken broth. Keep in mind that broth of all varieties can be high in sodium, so if salt intake is a concern, make sure to choose a low-sodium variety of chicken or vegetable broth. Put this substitution to the test in dishes like cheesy funeral potatoes, or use it to breathe new life into a classic chicken casserole.

Thickening powders

Similar to slurries, thickening powders can come to the rescue if you're searching for a way to help your dish congeal without using cream of chicken soup. Powders like cornstarch, arrowroot, and tapioca flour, as well as gums like guar gum and xanthan gum, are excellent for condensing liquids like broth, sauces, and gravy. If your dish calls for cream of chicken soup strictly for thickening purposes, you'll be able to swap in a starch of some kind with little trouble. Like slurries, thickening agents are typically dairy-free and depending on the starch, may be gluten-free as well.

When it comes to thickening powders, a little goes a long way, so if you're unsure about how much to add (the amount will vary by the recipe), start small and work your way up until your liquid reaches the desired consistency. Whisk the thickening powder into the liquid rapidly to avoid clumping. If you're not avoiding poultry, a splash of chicken broth along with the starch will help to capture and imitate the taste of cream of chicken while also providing the soup's rich and creamy consistency. Try using a thickening powder in a stroganoff, pasta bake, or gumbo for best results.

Sour cream

Much like Greek yogurt, sour cream makes for an excellent alternative to cream of chicken soup when the soup is used for its congealing and binding properties. Sour cream itself is often used as a substitute for Greek yogurt, and as is the case with yogurt, a full-fat variety of sour cream will yield optimal results. That said, reduced and fat-free sour creams are still fairly thick in their consistency. If you're desperate for a cream of chicken soup swap and low on options, lower-fat sour cream will work better than low or fat-free Greek yogurt.

Sour cream contains lactic acid, per WebMD, which provides an almost citrusy zing that cream of chicken soup lacks. Depending on what's being cooked, this flavor profile can be a good or a bad addition. If you're replacing cream of chicken soup with sour cream in a dish in which the cream of chicken soup is being used to condense or coagulate ingredients, sour cream will work just fine. However, if your concoction relies on chicken for flavor (take this Instant Pot chicken pot pie soup, for example), another meaty substitute will be preferable. In these cases, you can always add some chicken or vegetable broth as described in the above coconut milk swap.

Shelf-stable whipping cream

If you're a baker, there's a good chance that you have a box of shelf-stable whipping cream lurking somewhere in your cabinets — and if you need a quick and easy swap for cream of chicken soup, shelf-stable whipping cream works as a proxy in a pinch. Because it can be stored in your pantry, whipping cream (the shelf-stable variety, not the refrigerated kind that comes in an aerosol can) is a practical item to have on hand in case of kitchen emergencies. Whipping cream has a thick consistency that allows it to be substituted for creamed soups, sour cream, Greek yogurt, and similar agents with relative ease.

As Epicurious notes in its review of Trader Joe's shelf-stable whipping cream, this type of cream carries neither the savory flavor of poultry nor the zippy tang of some of the other cream of chicken substitutes on this list — in fact, the flavor is said to be barely noticeable when added or substituted into a recipe. Nonetheless, shelf-stable whipping cream can help bind ingredients together for a pasta sauce or thicken a soup if it's all you've got on hand. It's vegetarian (though not vegan), and can be mixed with chicken stock for a flavor and texture that should come fairly close to cream of chicken soup.


"Roux" might sound fancy, but don't be intimidated — a roux is just fat and some flour heated together and reduced. Roux is used commonly in Southern (United States) cooking as both a thickening and flavoring agent for everything from rich gumbo to hearty gravy to flavorful sauces. Flavor varies greatly depending on what type of fat is used. White flour is the most common flour choice, although Dooky Chase's Leah Chase recommended using brown rice flour if you need a gluten-free version. Fat is where the flavor component enters the equation: When it comes to roux, fat can mean butter, lard, vegetable oils, ghee, and more.

The flour in roux makes it an excellent coagulating agent (one of its primary purposes in cooking), and while a roux doesn't provide the exact flavor of cream of chicken soup, the sweet, nutty taste that results from heating fat and flour over the stovetop makes it a viable alternative in recipes that rely on cream of chicken soup for its flavor as well as its condensing capabilities. Roux can be made gluten-free, dairy-free, and/or vegan depending on the type of flour and fat used to make it. There are endless combinations, so it's a great choice if you need to make a gluten-free mushroom sauce for Salisbury steak or a plant-based potatoes au gratin dish.

Cream of mushroom soup

Cream of mushroom soup is called for in lots of soup, stew, and casserole dishes, so it's a choice replacement for cream of chicken soup. Like the other creamed soups mentioned on this list, cream of mushroom soup carries a similar dense consistency to cream of chicken and easily mimics its thickening properties. Although they don't carry the salty, savory flavor of chicken, mushrooms contain a powerful umami taste of their own. Cream of mushroom soup is a hearty alternative if you're cooking for someone who doesn't eat meat — or even if you're just looking to shake things up.

Another plus? Mushrooms provide a heck of a bang for your buck nutrition-wise: They're loaded with healthy nutrients like vitamin D, riboflavin, and potassium, per The Mushroom Council. The earthy, woodsy taste of mushrooms combined with the full-flavored cream in the soup is a unique delight. Try substituting cream of mushroom soup for cream of chicken in a béchamel sauce, vegetarian chili, or a veggie stroganoff. You might just end up making cream of mushroom soup your new go-to comfort soup.


If your pantry rations and refrigerator shelves are severely depleted, a slurry is a simple solution. As Rouxbe explains, a slurry is simply a thickening solution made up of equal parts flour (or another starch) and water. A slurry is made by combining your starch of choice (white flour, cornstarch, tapioca flour, almond flour, whatever you have on hand) with cold water, then adding the mixture to a hot liquid in order to thicken it. When properly mixed, a slurry makes an excellent substitute for cream of chicken soup in some recipes.

Slurries are plant-based by nature and can be made with gluten-free flour if Celiac disease or other gluten sensitivity problems are a concern. Don't use a slurry in place of cream of chicken soup if cooking a recipe in which the chicken flavor is critical — you'll end up with a tasteless, floury mess — but for dishes in which cream of chicken soup's main purpose is to coagulate, a slurry can serve quite well. Try it out if you're in a bind and need to thicken your chili, give your gravy some structure, or condense any number of sauces.

Cream of shrimp soup

Want to give your tater tot casserole a little surf 'n' turf twist? Looking for a seafood-forward take on corn chowder? Cream of shrimp soup acts in much the same manner as cream of chicken, and the two soups can be substituted for each other in equal amounts in most recipes. Cream of shrimp soup will, of course, carry the buttery, sweet, and salty seafood taste of shrimp, but for those folks who enjoy these tasty little crustaceans, this creamed soup will be a welcome addition to recipes that traditionally call for cream of chicken.

Bear in mind that cream of shrimp soup does (obviously) contain shrimp. If cooking for an unfamiliar crowd, check for shellfish allergies — according to Food Allergy Research and Education, approximately 2% of the U.S. population is allergic to shellfish like shrimp, crab, and lobster. Cream of shrimp soup may not be as common as cream of chicken, mushroom, or potato in a standard kitchen, but it allows for some delicious creations that will ensure that you're the talk of the town after this year's potluck. Cream of shrimp soup works well in creamy pasta dishes, hearty chowders, and comforting casseroles.

Beurre manié

Don't be intimidated by the fancy-sounding French name: Literally translated as "handled butter," per Merriam-Webster, beurre manié is just equal parts flour and butter kneaded together to create a doughy paste. As Rouxbe explains, both regular and plant-based butter can be used to create beurre manié, and its rich, nutty flavor makes it a great stand-in for cream of chicken soup.

To make beurre manié, use your hands or a spoon to knead together equal amounts of butter and flour into a thick paste before adding it to a warm liquid (make sure to wait until the end of the cooking process to add the beurre manié to avoid infusing the dish with an unpleasant flour taste). While the butter slowly melts and is stirred into the liquid, the flour particles are released from the beurre manié dough. Just as a thickening powder would, the flour particles help the liquid to congeal and condense while the butter lends its decadent taste to the finished product. It won't work as well for main courses in which cream of chicken soup plays a starring role, but beurre manié is a good way to thicken gravies, soups, sauces, and stews.