5 Secret-Ingredient Soups

We won’t spill the beans, but here’s a little hint: these flavorful ingredients do the work for you.

It’s easy to mix up a soup, but achieving robust results can often take a lot of time. That’s why each of these soups is made with a few flavor bombs which add richness and complexity.


Beef-and-Barley Soup With Porcini

Photo by Hector Manuel Sanchez

Meet your new solution to winter entertaining: a big batch stew full of tender meat, hearty vegetables, and earthy mushrooms (which, you guessed it are the secret ingredient). You’ll learn how to rehydrate dried porcinis, and how to use their soaking liquid, which is basically a homemade mushroom stock. If you don’t want to eat it all right away, this soup also freezes beautifully.

Get the recipe: Beef-and-Barley Soup With Porcini


Clam Chowder

Photo by Hector Manuel Sanchez

Here’s a classic New England-style seafood chowder recipe that doesn’t have you make fish stock from scratch. Dish up the thick, creamy results in heavy soup bowls. There’s bacon in every bite—and plenty of sweet littleneck clams to chew on.

Get the recipe: Clam Chowder


Gochujang Gumbo

Photo by Hector Manuel Sanchez

If you like spicy, this offering is for you. Fiery fermented Korean chile paste adds layers of flavor while fresno chiles and chopped Andouille sausage add additional heat. Sliced okra and shrimp are a nod to the soup's Southern roots. And it gets a scallion garnish to go hand in hand with the gochujang paste.

Get the recipe: Gochujang Gumbo


Quick Hot-and-Sour Soup

Photo by Hector Manuel Sanchez

This warming winter meal tastes like a classic hot and sour soup, but uses easy to find ingredients (think: sherry vinegar instead of rice vinegar, and tomato paste instead of specialty aromatics). We recommend dishing it up with a side of steamed bok choy and some rice.

Get the recipe: Quick Hot-and-Sour Soup


White Bean-and-Parmesan Soup

Photo by Hector Manuel Sanchez

The rinds from Parmesan cheese enrich this soup with salty, nutty flavor. Baby spinach, lemon zest, tomatoes, and parsley add a ton of liveliness to the dish as well. When you use up a block of Parmesan, save your rinds in a resalable plastic bag in the fridge. Some supermarkets carry inexpensive Parmesan rinds, too.

Get the recipe: White Bean-and-Parmesan Soup