Incredibly creamy and so very flavorful, this cream of mushroom soup is flavored with butter, garlic, and thyme.
You can serve a cup of it as an appetizer, or serve a bowl as a filling and flavorful main course.
Soup is the perfect wintertime appetizer. But it's not just an appetizer! In fact, I often serve a bowl of it as a main course. And if you like mushrooms, I think you are going to absolutely love this delicious soup.
It's silky, creamy, and incredibly flavorful. One of us actually dislikes mushrooms (even these wonderful sauteed mushrooms), but she loves this soup and regularly asks for seconds when I make it.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this cream of mushroom soup. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Unsalted butter: For cooking the mushrooms and garlic. I love using creamy European butter, but any butter will be great.
Fresh mushrooms: I normally use cremini mushrooms. White mushrooms are fine too.
Minced garlic: Mince it yourself, or use the stuff that comes in a jar. Both work.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use, or the soup could end up too salty.
Chicken broth: Store-bought is fine. But when I have homemade chicken broth, I use that instead.
Dried thyme: Make sure it's fresh! A stale spice can easily ruin a dish.
Heavy cream: I tried once to use half-and-half instead, and decided that heavy cream is much better.
Cornstarch: I sometimes use it to thicken the soup. It's an optional ingredient.
Making cream of mushroom soup is surprisingly easy. Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
- You start by cooking the mushrooms and garlic in butter with some salt.
- Next, add the remaining ingredients except for the cream and cornstarch. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.
- Puree the soup using an immersion blender.
- Stir in the cream (and the cornstarch slurry if using), heat, and serve.
There are two ways to puree a soup. For a very creamy texture, working in at least two batches, carefully transfer the hot soup to your stand blender. Blend each batch until completely smooth and transfer it to a bowl. When all batches are done, return the pureed soup to the pot and proceed with the recipe. You can see the results of this method in the photos on this page - very smooth and creamy.
The second method is to use an immersion blender and blend the soup right inside the pot. I used this method when filming the video, and as you can see, the soup is not as creamy. However, it's just as tasty, and using an immersion blender is easier.
Which of these methods you choose is up to you. Both work and both yield great results, just different textures.
When using a stand blender, never fill your blender past the maximum fill line. It's best to fill it no more than half full. If the lid of your blender wasn't designed to allow steam to escape, you’ll need to remove the center piece and drape a clean towel on top of the lid.
You can hold down the lid when blending to prevent it from being pushed off, but do so without actually placing your hand - or your face - over the hot steam.
Frequently asked questions
Yes! Sometimes when I'm out of fresh mushrooms but still crave this soup, I use a package of frozen mushrooms, as shown in the video.
That works too, and you can add them frozen to the pot. They'll release more liquid than fresh mushrooms, but I haven't found that to be a problem.
If you'd rather not use cornstarch for thickening the soup, another option is to puree the soup in batches (and carefully!) in a stand blender, instead of using an immersion blender which isn't as powerful.
The mushrooms will be better pureed, and this will considerably thicken the soup without any added thickeners.
I don't recommend that. For the best, creamiest, and most flavorful results, I highly recommend using heavy cream.
Want to change things up? Here are a few ideas:
- Add a handful of wild mushrooms to the soup. One of the reasons I like to use frozen mushrooms is that they contain wild mushrooms which are very flavorful.
- Sage is very good in this soup, in addition to or instead of thyme.
- You can cook the mushrooms in olive oil instead of butter. I do think that butter is best, but olive oil is very good too.
- When adding heavy cream to the soup, you can also add ¼ cup of grated (not shredded) parmesan.
- You can turn this soup into a complete meal by adding cooked shredded chicken breast. Add it at the very last stage of cooking, after you've added the cream and cornstarch, to ensure it doesn't dry out during prolonged cooking.
I usually serve cream of mushroom soup as a first course at dinner, a cup per person. But a bowl of it is also wonderful for lunch. Add a couple of cheese muffins or cheese biscuits to make a tasty, filling lunch.
Leftovers keep well in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 2-3 days. Gently reheat them, covered, in the microwave on 50% power or on the stovetop on medium heat, taking care not to bring the soup to a boil.
You might need to slightly thin the soup out first by mixing in a tablespoon or two of water.
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Cream of Mushroom Soup
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 lb. fresh cremini mushrooms wiped clean, quartered*
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt or ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- 3 cups chicken broth (I use Pacific natural, 550 mg sodium per cup)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper (or white pepper)
- ⅛ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ cup heavy cream (remove it from the fridge when you start cooking)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch (optional, but helps to thicken the soup)**
- Heat the butter in a large, heavy stockpot over medium-high heat. When the butter starts to foam, add the mushrooms, garlic, and salt. Cook, stirring often, for 5-7 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender and dark.
- Add the chicken broth, black pepper, and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the soup, partially covered, for 10 minutes, to allow the flavors to meld.
- Turn the heat off. Puree the soup using an immersion blender. Prior to blending the soup, you can reserve a few mushrooms to use for decoration, as shown in the photos.
- Stir the heavy cream into the pureed soup. Taste and decide if you'd like to add more salt - this would depend on how salty your chicken broth is.
- Turn the heat back on to medium and bring the soup to a low simmer. If you'd like to further thicken the soup, mix the cornstarch with two tablespoons of cold water until smooth and stir the slurry into the soup.
- Continue heating the soup (but don't bring it to a boil - lower the heat if needed), stirring, until heated through and thickened, 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately.