The Trick For Making Creamy Soups Without Adding Any Dairy

Simple and comforting yet flavorful and filling, something about the texture of creamy soup is just perfect for a cool evening meal. And there's no shortage of options in the category; your soup can be corn chowder, cream of tomato, or chicken and tortellini, but one thing that ties many of them together is the need for dairy. The silky texture you want from soup often relies on heavy cream as a finishing agent that takes all the flavors you've developed and immediately transforms them into a rich, decadent broth. But sometimes dairy isn't what you want in soup. Whether it's because of dietary restrictions, or just the milky taste, there are times when you want a nice, thick soup, but don't want to use cream. Well, the good news is that you have plenty of options to make creamy soup without dairy, and a lot of them are already a welcome addition.

The thing to do when thickening soups without dairy is to add a type of starch. Starch molecules thicken and take on water when exposed to heat, which can take any liquid from runny to thick and creamy. Bread and wheat are starches, but so are rice and potatoes, cornmeal, and other cereal grains. Simply filling your soup with rice or potatoes for an extended time is enough to release starch and help thicken it, giving you a creamy consistency, dairy-free.

Choose from a variety of starches to give your soup a creamy texture

Rice and potatoes are great thickening choices because they work well with so many soups, but you have plenty of options beyond these. Leftover stale bread is frequently used to thicken soups in a lot of European dishes like the Italian ribollita. Grains like barley and oatmeal will have a similar effect and can add a hearty element. And of course, pasta water is famous for its ability to smooth and thicken sauces, and adding some noodles to your soup will do the trick too. With some starches like bread or rice, it may also help to put your soup in a blender for a quick spin to further break down the ingredients and make it extra creamy.

If you don't want to blend your soup, you can also break down some starchy ingredients in other ways to help thicken your broth. Beans will make your soup a little creamier, but once they are cooked you can also fish out a few tablespoons worth, mash them, and add them back to the soup to thicken it. The same goes for potatoes. Finally, you can use flour to make a vegan roux with vegetable oil in place of butter, and then simmer your soup with it until it thickens. Any one of these options can give you a great creamy soup, so you don't have to fret if dairy isn't an option.