12 Canned Soups You Should Always Have In Your Pantry

In the hustle and bustle rhythm of your family's life, deciding what to eat for dinner can feel like just one more decision to make throughout the course of the day. For that reason, convenience often takes precedence. Still, you don't want to sacrifice flavor for convenience. The humble can of soup is a pantry staple often overlooked for its potential beyond just a quick meal.

From the rich depths of fragrant French onion to the bright vibrancy of cream of broccoli, soups aren't just for sipping. They're dynamic ingredients waiting to breathe new life into traditional dishes. Whether you're enhancing flavors, simplifying a complex recipe, or introducing a novel twist, canned soups are culinary game changers. Plus, there are so many that are nearly perfect, all on their own with few to zero modifications. For the sake of convenience and ease of cooking, as well as keeping some tasty options on hand, there are some soups that are wonderful to keep in the family pantry. Alongside your pantry staples like flour, sugar, and rice, consider pulling together a soup stockpile. Your future self will thank you.

Cream of mushroom

When we think about the quintessential soup for cooking, cream of mushroom soup stands out as a pivotal ingredient. We love this creamy concoction for its ability to simplify one of our beloved hallmark Thanksgiving sides: the green bean casserole. However, its culinary utility extends far beyond, serving as a flavorful base for a myriad of casseroles, sauces, and gravies. Furthermore, it enriches a diverse array of dishes we enjoy not just during the holiday season but all year round. A pantry with cans of cream of mushroom soup is one prepared to support a vegetarian diet without compromising on the enriching depth and distinct earthiness it offers our meals.

For a more unconventional use, try incorporating this canned soup in instant ramen. This modification is blissfully simple, and you'll merely substitute half the water typically used with this soup. The noodles bask and cook in the creamy infusion, yielding a unique, comforting flavor profile seldom experienced with regular ramen. It also provides a nice base for any flavoring packet you could want to add. This nice base for spicy ramen can help mellow it out a little bit.

Cream of chicken

When working with chicken dishes that need that extra feel of chicken essence — particularly chicken casseroles — we find ourselves reaching for the reliable can of cream of chicken soup. It's also a welcome addition to soups that might not boast larger morsels of chicken, lending just that bit more protein to the ensemble. The protein amount will, of course, vary depending on the brand. Campbell's has 5 grams of protein, while Pacific Food's has 9 grams in the can. If protein is what you're going for, be sure to compare labels while shopping. 

Flavor-wise, cream of chicken soup can ensure meals don't skimp on flavor, even if the meal might be missing larger chicken pieces. For a chicken casserole that may very well become a favorite weekday offering, start by boiling and chopping or shredding your chicken. While the chicken is cooking, begin making up those egg noodles. We love using the broad ones for so much comfort and noodly goodness. Then, put together your cans of cream of chicken and cream of mushroom soup, sour cream, and a sprinkle of some favorite seasonings. You'll top your mixture with chopped white bread and let it bake to a nice golden color.

Cheddar soup

Cheddar soup creates dishes with that velvety, creamy, cheese-laden touch that elevates casseroles, sauces, and appetizers to delectable new heights. For those challenging moments when enticing kids to consume their greens seems an impossible task, cheddar soup could potentially be a solution. Create a rapid cheese sauce by melding the soup with a pinch of salt, a sprinkle of pepper, and just the right amount of milk to achieve the desired saucy consistency. Gently heat this blend in a saucepan, and in a blink, you'll have a sauce that promises to transform mundane veggies into a treat kids can't resist.

Speaking of cheesy dishes, canned cheddar soup is the secret ingredient that propels your mac and cheese to legendary status in your family's menu. By uniting milk, water, and the cheddar soup in a saucepan, your pasta can luxuriate and cook directly in that delicious sauce, absorbing every ounce of its rich flavor. With a can of cheddar soup tucked away in your pantry, you're essentially armed with a magic wand, just a few flicks (or ingredients) away from manifesting the ultimate comfort food. Whether it's to dazzle your family at dinner or to craft a dish that becomes a cherished family tradition, cheddar soup sets the stage for a chees, delicious meal.

Cream of chicken and mushroom

If cream of chicken soup has always been a staple in your pantry, but you've yearned for a deeper flavor profile, you'll love cream of chicken and mushroom soup. It marries the hearty feel of chicken with the rich earthiness of mushrooms.

Whenever you lean toward adding a dash of veggies or wish to bring the robust flavors of mushroom into your casserole, this blended soup offers an excellent twist to your recipes. For those times when you're contemplating adding a chickeny hint to your cream of mushroom-centric recipes, it's a seamless swap. This versatile fusion finds its rightful place in many types of dishes, from soups to casseroles.

One standout dish that benefits immensely from this delightful soup blend is the green bean casserole. With the cream of chicken and mushroom soup at its core, the casserole takes on a richer, heartier dimension, making it even more of a comfort food favorite. It's a nod to tradition, yet with a contemporary twist that's sure to please lovers of the original and those who want something a little different.


While many canned soups serve as perfect base ingredients for more complex or ingredient-heavy recipes, chili distinguishes itself by being a hearty meal right out of the can. However, the catch with store-bought chili is that it sometimes lacks that robust punch of flavors we desire. This is why we swear by using canned chili not just as a quick fix but as a foundational element to craft a chili masterpiece.

Adding more flavor to canned chili is easier than you'd think. One fabulous way is by incorporating your own choice of meat. Beef, turkey, or even succulent brisket make fantastic additions, especially if you happen to have leftover options from last night's dinner. If you're looking to infuse some zest into your bowl, nothing beats a sprinkle of fresh cilantro or an infusion of freshly chopped chilis. Their strong flavors meld seamlessly with the richness of the chili.

If you're in the mood for a trip down the culinary lanes of Steak' n Shake, there's the good old Chili Three Ways. Start with a bed of al dente spaghetti, cascade your enhanced chili over it, drizzle with a flavorful chili sauce, and then sprinkle some finely chopped onions. For the final part, scatter some cheese atop the mountain of deliciousness if you so desire.

Chicken noodle

On chilly afternoons, there's nothing quite as comforting as wrapping your hands around a warm bowl of chicken noodle soup. The aroma, the steam rising, and the gentle clink of the spoon against the bowl are enough to chase away any gloom. However, crafting a pot of chicken noodle soup from scratch can seem like a monsterous task, especially when you're craving instant comfort. That's precisely why we swear by having a stash of canned chicken noodle soup in our pantry. Ready to dispense warmth and comfort at a moment's notice, it's our personal little emergency blanket in a can. Plus, you never know when a winter sickness will strike, and nothing quite comforts that sick feeling than chicken noodle.

While chicken noodle soup is a classic delight in its own right, there's always room for a little culinary creativity. For those moments when you crave a little extra, you can seriously upgrade canned chicken noodle soup with whisked eggs. The result is an upgraded, heartier version that's the perfect fusion of two comfort classics. The process is almost as simple as the idea itself — begin by heating your chicken noodle soup in a pan, and once it reaches a gentle simmer, stir the soup in one direction to create a mini whirlpool of warmth. Now, slowly drizzle in your whisked eggs. Watch as the hot broth cooks the eggs into delicate ribbons that float amidst the noodles.

Cream of celery

Among the medley of soups nestled in our pantry, cream of celery stands out as one of the more interesting choices. While cream of mushroom often steals the limelight in many of our recipes, cream of celery sees less usage because its pairing seems unconventional. However, cream of celery has plenty of delightful creaminess with only a little taste of celery and salt. Given that celery often lays the foundation in soup preparations, it's only logical that its creamy counterpart would enrich other recipes just as well.

Its unique profile makes it an addition to dishes like creamy scalloped potatoes, truly enhancing that whole creamy factor. If you're yearning to lend a touch of heartiness to your dish without tipping the scales, cream of celery seamlessly blends with chicken gravy in your scalloped potato preparation. It's a delicate balance of flavors that will certainly have you reaching for this tasty ingredient.

Tomato soup

The classic pairing of canned tomato soup with a golden, crispy grilled cheese sandwich is a lunchtime staple. There's something profoundly comforting about dunking a buttery, cheese-laden sandwich into a warm bowl of tangy tomato soup. It's a lunch that can be whipped up in mere minutes, especially if you keep a can of tomato soup handy in your pantry.

However, don't let the commonness of this combo box you into thinking that canned tomato soup doesn't have more to offer. For the more adventurous, how about a dessert twist? Surprisingly, canned tomato soup can be the secret ingredient in a spiced cake or even cupcakes. The vibrant hue of the soup can shine through, making it an unexpected yet festive treat, especially during the winter holiday season.

However, if the idea of a tomato-based dessert is a tad too odd for your taste buds, fear not — pivot to a classic by transforming your humble canned tomato soup into an exquisite bisque. The process is simple but yields a dish that tastes gourmet. Gently heat your tomato soup, and then introduce some creaminess with milk or even a splash of cream. A dash of cooking wine can elevate it further, imparting a depth of flavor that'll have everyone at the table marveling at the velvety richness of the bisque.

French onion

French onion soup, with its rich flavors and hearty depth, is hailed as a classic soup for good reason. However, as anyone who has made the soup will tell you, perfection requires patience. Those golden-brown caramelized onions, which are the very heart of the dish, need a long, lingering cook to transform into what you really need for the dish. If you crave that unmistakable French onion charm without hours to spare, utilize canned French onion soup.

A favorite way of ours to use this one is to put a little spin on the classic roast beef. French onion soup is a great sauce to warm up your deli roast beef and take a sandwich to new heights. You'll just need to add a little Worcestershire in there to give it a little extra flavor. Not only does the French onion-enhanced roast beef become the star of the sandwich, but the remaining soup can be repurposed. Serve it on the side as a tasty sammy dipping sauce.

Vegetable soup

Vegetable soup holds a special place in our pantry. Like its counterparts, it is both a wholesome meal and a versatile ingredient. What makes it stand out, however, is its rich medley of vegetables, each lending its unique flavor and nutrient profile to the pot. With every spoonful, you're not just indulging in comfort but also getting closer to meeting your daily vegetable quota.

However, its potential isn't confined to being ladled into bowls. Vegetable soup can be the secret ingredient that elevates many traditional recipes. Take meatloaf, for instance. A quintessential homestyle dish, meatloaf often calls for milk to bind and moisten. However, if you aim for a dairy-free meatloaf, you might face a quandary. Almond milk or oat milk might throw off the classic taste, given their distinct profiles.

Enter vegetable soup, the unlikely yet perfect substitute. Replacing the milk with condensed vegetable soup can infuse your meatloaf with a medley of flavors, making it not just dairy-free but also richer and more aromatic. As meatloaf pairs wonderfully with veggies, integrating them directly ensures every bite carries that harmonious blend of meat and greens.

Cream of broccoli

Cream of broccoli soup, much like its pantry comrades, is not just a comforting bowl of warmth but also an adaptable ingredient that can lend its unique flavor to various recipes. Its texture and consistency, mirroring other creamy soups like mushroom, onion, chicken, and celery, give it a wonderful versatility. This means if you ever encounter a picky palate or a family member with an allergy to an offering, swapping it out with cream of broccoli (or vice versa) is always an option.

What really makes cream of broccoli stand out is its rich flavor from the nutritious broccoli itself. It's a thoughtful way to introduce this green powerhouse to meals, particularly when navigating the choppy waters of feeding children. Every spoonful, unbeknownst to them, carries the health benefits of broccoli.

For a delightful twist, try infusing it into your traditional alfredo sauce. The result will be a broccoli alfredo that's creamy, flavorful, and packed with an extra punch of nutrients. This subtle blend not only enhances the dish's depth but also elevates its nutritional value.

Cream of onion

In our kitchens, onions have lent their aromatic essence to countless dishes. Although often in the backdrop, their role is vital in shaping the character of any savory delight. In the same spirit, cream of onion soup is not just a hearty bowl of warmth — it's a versatile ingredient with incredible potential.

Think of it as a cheat sheet for gourmet cooking. Consider, for instance, the beloved béchamel sauce, the creamy backbone of many dishes. Preparing it the traditional way can be a tad time-consuming. However, the cream of onion soup can seamlessly replace or enhance the béchamel, saving time and effort, especially in recipes like homemade macaroni and cheese.

While we all hold a soft spot for the nostalgic neon-orange boxed version from our childhood, there's an unparalleled joy in savoring the homemade variant — but achieving that perfect creamy texture and depth of flavor can be a chore. This is where our trusty cream of onion steps in, offering a quick yet gourmet touch. Its delicate balance of creaminess and the distinct flavor of onions can elevate the humble mac and cheese, transforming it from a simple dish to next level mac and cheese.