Chef John's Most Comforting Soup Recipes (2024)

If you love flavorful, comforting soups that soothe the soul, here are the soup recipes for you. This collection features the best of Chef John's soups for chilly weather. There's tons of variety here, from familiar classics like split pea and chicken noodle to exciting international soups, including avgolemono, minestrone, and sopa de ajo — these Chef John recipes are hearty and soul-satisfying.

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Ham and Split Pea Soup Recipe

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Chef John's Most Comforting Soup Recipes (1)

"This hearty soup is the ideal fall or winter soup," says Chef John, "with the slightly sweet, somewhat salty, and subtly smoky flavor of the ham. A great one for lunches, or as a starter for dinner."

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Chef John's Minestrone Soup

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Here's an incredibly versatile Italian-inspired soup. "This is the type of dish I never make the same way twice," says Chef John. "To make minestrone soup precisely same way every time, using a very specific list of ingredients and amounts, is to trample on the soul of this Italian classic."

03of 17

Italian White Bean and Sausage Stew

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Chef John's Most Comforting Soup Recipes (3)

Chef John describes this substantial white bean and sausage stew as a soup that eats like a meal. "Browning the sausage in a dry pan creates a beautiful fond that adds rich flavor," he says. "With beans, greens, and sausage, this stew is incredibly nutritious and warms you from the inside out. Serve with a hunk of crusty Italian bread."

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Chef John's Black Lentil Soup

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Seasoned with freshly ground black pepper, cumin, dried thyme, and a little cayenne, this sensational soup features black lentils, aromatic vegetables, and bacon. The star of the show, though, is the black (or beluga) lentils. "There's absolutely nothing wrong with green lentil soup, but once you start making it with black 'beluga' lentils, you'll have a hard time going back," says Chef John. "These black beauties cook up melt-in-your-mouth tender, but still retain their structural integrity, which gives the soup both a thick, satisfying body, and a light, non-starchy mouthfeel."

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Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

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Chef John's soul-satisfying chicken noodle soup starts with his homemade roasted chicken broth. "This soul-warming soup is deliciously simple -- just chicken and noodles," says Chef John. "What makes it so good is the homemade roasted chicken stock."

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Avgolemono Soup

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"Even in its quick-and-easy form it's a delicious and comforting meal, but when you use a fresh whole chicken, it becomes epic," says Chef John. "Avgolemono is one of those soups that I've made many times, but rarely from scratch. It's usually a 'there's nothing in the house' type of thing and made with a carton of broth. Garnish with parsley and lemon zest."

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Tuscan Onion Soup (Carabaccia)

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"I've wanted to make carabaccia ever since I found out it was the ancient ancestor of French onion soup," says Chef John. "They say that when made with vegetable broth, it was the favorite soup of vegetarian Leonardo da Vinci. Now you can add these interesting facts to your dinner party conversation repertoire. As for the cinnamon, the safe play is to not add any and live happily ever after. But in tiny amounts it lends a mysterious, warming background note."

08of 17

Tuscan Bean Soup

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More from Tuscany! This hearty Italian bean soup starts with an aromatic base of garlic, fresh herbs, and spices, simmered with cannellini beans in rich chicken broth. "There's just something about that combo of smooth, silky soup, and crunchy, crispy croutons that makes everything seem okay," says Chef John.

Pasta Fazool (Pasta e fa*gioli)

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"This classic Italian-American comfort food works with any kind of sausage, but I like the fennel and anise flavors of sweet Italian sausage with the beans — it's a hearty soup that's fast and easy to put together," says Chef John.

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Chef John's Creamy Mushroom Soup

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Chef John's Most Comforting Soup Recipes (10)

"This is one of my favorite soups of all time," says Chef John. "It is so easy. The secret to this deep, rich soup is a long slow caramelization, the key to unlocking the mushroom's magic. This is just pure essence of mushroom."

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Spicy Coconut Shrimp Bisque

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Chef John's Most Comforting Soup Recipes (11)

New Orleans meets Southeast Asia with this spicy shrimp bisque. "I loved how this shrimp bisque turned out, and I think you will as well," says Chef John. "I hope you give it a try, and maybe tweak it with some different combinations of seafood and garnishes."

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Chef John's Chicken and Dumplings

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Chef John's Most Comforting Soup Recipes (12)

The dumpling dough steams on top of a light chicken broth, emerging light, fluffy, and biscuit-like. "This classic is also one of the most comforting things you'll ever eat," says Chef John. "And the great thing about this dumpling recipe is that it will work on just about any soup or stew!" Read more about Chef John's Chicken and Dumplings.

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Cauliflower Soup with Blue Cheese Fritters

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"Soup is comforting, soothing, soul-warming," says Chef John, "not something that chefs normally day-dream about. This soup was a different story. It may be the single greatest soup I have every made."

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Creole Crab and Corn Chowder

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This classic New Orleans-style crab and corn chowder features the holy trinity of ingredients—for the green pepper part of the trinity, Chef John goes with jalapeño peppers. "Ideally you would make this in the middle of summer with ears of fresh, sweet-as-sugar corn," says Chef John. "You can also make a perfectly fine version of this chowder using a premium-quality, extra-sweet, frozen corn."

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Chef John's Hot and Sour Soup

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Though it's often served as an appetizer, you can easily make this classic soup a meal by adding some pork or little meatballs. "Yes, it's hot, and yes, it's sour, but it's also so much more," says Chef John. "And other than a little bit of slicing and dicing, this is relatively fast and simple to make. Serve with extra sliced green onions on top."

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American French Onion Soup

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"This recipe takes French onion soup and gives it a few American twists that are going to make it a little bit easier," says Chef John. The first twist is to slice the onions into chunks instead of thin slivers. These "Americanized" onions won't slip off the spoon and dangle on the chin. Another twist is to caramelize the onions mostly in the oven instead of on the stovetop.

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Chef John's Spanish Garlic Soup (Sopa de Ajo)

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Chef John's Most Comforting Soup Recipes (17)

This is an intensely flavorful, satisfying soup. One for real garlic lovers."Sopa de Ajo is a wonderfully rustic bread soup spiked with sliced garlic, paprika, and ham," says Chef John. "If that wasn't enough to get your attention, it's also topped with eggs poached in a fragrant, brick-red broth. It's like a steaming bowl of breakfast-for-dinner."

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