How To Thicken Your Soups In A Soup Maker
Last Updated on by Segun Ayo
Making soups using your soup maker can be fun. Plus, using soup makers to make soups saves you so much time and stress. However, what do you do when you want to thicken your soup? If you have no idea what you need to do, then you’d need to read this review.
No matter how you prefer your soup, smooth or chunky, if it turns out too thin and watery for your liking, you’ll likely be disappointed.
Making soup at home is a great way to load up on vegetables without the harmful stuff that can be found in some store-bought cans. Homemade vegetable soups are packed with nutrients and can be made in batches, frozen, and warmed through to give you a quick and easy meal when time is at a premium.
Soups are also a great way to improve the way our foods interact together. Science has shown the importance of food synergy, and combining our veg together in the form of a soup gives us an easy way to mix up the phytochemicals we need to improve health and stave off a plethora of killer diseases.
How does a soup maker work?
A soup maker is an all-in-one appliance that combines various blending functions, to make your soup chunky or smooth (or however you like it), with a heating element or friction blades to cook a batch of soup in about 20 to 30 minutes. Soup makers typically resemble a blender or kettle.
What’s the point of a soup maker?
A soup maker takes the hassle out of making soup. It requires minimal time and effort, which is perfect for busy families and anyone who isn’t fond of cooking. All you need to do is chuck in your ingredients, add the stock and other condiments, sear (if required) and let the soup maker take care of the rest.
Most soup makers have a variety of settings and features to create varying consistencies and textures, or specific recipes, like pumpkin or tomato soup. Basic models typically only have a boiling and blending function with limited consistency settings, which is why most people stick to making soup with a blender.
Features to look for when buying an electric soup maker
When looking to buy a soup maker, there are one or two things you’ll want to look out for:
- Blending modes
Variety is the spice of life, and it also helps when it comes to making awesome soups, too! Keep an eye out for the different types of blending options each machine has when you’re perusing the various soup makers on the market. Some will only have one or two settings, whereas others will allow you to make smooth and chunky soups, crush ice, make smoothies, and more.
- Cooking duration
As we mentioned previously, some of the bladed heated soup makers can have a dish ready for consumption in around seven minutes, but you might have such a headache that you’ll no longer want to eat anything! This is due to the fact that you’ll have to run the blender at full pelt for the whole seven minutes…which is a long time to listen to that racket!
While this speedy option can be handy if you’re in a rush, a much more sedate method is when the ingredients are cooked first by the heating element, then blended. A good soup maker machine will have a piping hot meal ready within 25 minutes, and you’ll still be able to hold a conversation while it works its magic!
This is a big one, and it’s often something people wish they’d taken more notice of before they plumped for a smaller machine. The range of sizes varies quite a bit, and they’re often marketed to single people, families, etc. according to their size.
This, however, can be a little shortsighted, especially for the singletons out there. Think about it; soup generally freezes extremely well, so why not make batches and have a stock of quick and easy meal options for those times when you need something fast?
Opting for the bigger machine can often be a more prudent purchase, too. Buying small amounts of veg can sometimes be problematic, and it’s most certainly more expensive, so being able to make bigger amounts of soup at once can save you money in the long run.
While this feature will generally be more of a boon to those cooking with meat, having a sauté option can be beneficial to vegan and vegetarian soup makers, too. Almost all traditional soup recipes tell you to sauté the harder veg briefly, and there’s a reason for that.
Being able to sauté your vegetables prior to cooking increases the flavor of your soups, so a sauté option is definitely something to consider when deciding which soup maker to buy.
- How easy are they to clean?
This is an important point, as the main reason to buy an electric soup machine is often to minimize mess and fuss. As anyone who already has a few small kitchen appliances will testify, not all machines are created equal.
Therefore it’s worth taking note of whether or not the ingredients can get into places they shouldn’t and whether the soup maker has a tendency to let food get stuck on the bottom of the soup blender. If they do, there’s an increased chance of burning, and we all know just how difficult burnt food is to clean off of anything!
Reasons to Use a soup maker
- It saves time and effort: Making soup from scratch can be very time-consuming. It typically involves chopping up your ingredients and simmering everything using different pots and pans, while keeping an eye on the cooking time etc. A soup maker does all that for you at the press of a button.
- It saves on the washing up: Instead of washing up a frying pan, pots, and a blender; all you’ll have is a jug and blade to clean!
- It’s versatile: Soup makers don’t just make soup. They can also make smoothies, milkshakes, batters, dips, and even baby food. Blenders still typically have way more functionally though.
- It helps reduce food waste: If you often find yourself with random leftovers in your fridge, making soup is the perfect way to use up that food and minimize waste. Chuck everything in the soup maker, add broth, spices and make yourself a hearty chowder or gumbo.
- It saves space in the kitchen. A soup maker is a sleeker and more compact in design than a blender, which means it can fit in even the tiniest of cupboards.
WHEN SHOULD YOU THICKEN A SOUP?
When you thicken up a soup will largely be dependent on what method you are using to make your soup.
These steps are meant for soup makers, but you can use these same methods if you are making soup in a pan on the hob, in a slow cooker, or even an electric pressure cooker.
AT THE BEGINNING
If you think a recipe looks like it’s going to be too thin for your liking you can add in some ingredients before cooking;
- chopped potato
- red lentils (rinsed)
- tinned butterbeans
- coconut milk
WHEN THE SOUP IS MADE
Sometimes you won’t know ahead of time whether a particular recipe is going to turn out thick enough for you. If this is the case you will need to thicken up the soup during, or at the end of making it.
Some ingredients that you can add once a soup has been made include;
- cream (double or single)
- crème Fraiche
- cornflour (mix 1tsp with a little water or milk and stir into hot soup until thickened to your preference)
- mashed potato granules
- thickening granules.
BUT WHAT IF YOU DON’T WANT TO ADD IN ANY EXTRA INGREDIENTS AT ALL?
If you would rather stick to the exact ingredients in the recipe you can achieve a thicker soup by simply increasing the amount of the main ingredients in the recipe, and/or reducing the stock levels.
Side Note: Remember, if you are using a soup maker, you will need to stay between the MIN and MAX ingredient lines, depending on the manufacturer’s guidelines.
You can also achieve a more textured/thicker consistency by blending up part of the soup.
If you are using a soup maker – this will only work on the ‘chunky setting’ – at the end of the cycle, you can manually blend it up in short bursts, checking in between pulses until it is just how you like it.
If you are making the soup in a pan, slow cooker, or electric pressure cooker you can use a hand blender to control the consistency.
Do you use any of these methods for thickening soup? Or perhaps you have a tip not already mentioned? Please let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!
Any of the classic soups can be easily made in a soup maker. From pea and ham, leek and potato, carrot and coriander… even chicken soup is a doddle in a soup maker!
If you’re looking for a convenient way to cook up tasty, healthy vegetarian and vegan soups for you and your family without the fuss, a soup maker would definitely be a welcome addition to your range of kitchen appliances.