Soup is a meal that lends itself well to the slow cooker. The great thing about slow cooker soups is they are easy to customize to your dietary needs and taste preferences because you can easily add or subtract ingredients based on these needs.
Beer and Cheese Soup
The great thing about this hearty soup is you can make it vegetarian (leave out the meat), add meat, or make it gluten-free by selecting gluten-free beer and removing garnishes. The recipe serves four.
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, peeled and chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 32 ounces of unsalted chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 (12-ounce) bottle of your favorite beer
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (vegan or regular)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cups grated mild cheddar cheese
- 1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
- Chopped fresh chives for garnish (optional)
- Croutons for garnish (optional)
- Cooked bacon crumbles for garnish (optional)
- In a non-stick saute pan, heat the oil on medium-high until it shimmers. Add the celery, carrots, and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Add the vegetables to the slow cooker.
- Add the broth, beer, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours (or on high for 4 hours).
- In a small bowl, whisk together the heavy cream and cornstarch. Add to the soup and whisk to combine. Add the cheese. Raise the temperature to high. Cook for 30 minutes more, stirring once or twice during the process. Stir before serving.
- Serve topped with the chives, croutons, and bacon crumbles if you wish.
You can store leftovers, tightly sealed, in the fridge for up to three days, or they will freeze for up to six months.
Butternut Squash Soup With Ginger and Coconut
This soup is sweet and earthy with a delicious bite from ginger and the creaminess of coconut. It's also gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and paleo, so it fits on a number of special diets. The soup is hearty and warming. It makes six servings.
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 4 cups cubed butternut squash
- Juice and zest of one orange
- 32 ounces of unsalted vegetable broth
- 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
- In a slow cooker, combine the onion, garlic, ginger, squash, orange juice and zest, vegetable broth, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
- In a blender or food process, puree the soup. Return to the slow cooker.
- Add the coconut milk. Turn the slow cooker on high and cook for 20 minutes more, stirring once or twice.
Storing Soup Leftovers
You can save the leftovers of this soup tightly sealed in the fridge for up to three days. It will freeze for up to six months. Refrigerate for 24 hours before reheating.
Chickpea and Chorizo Soup
Chorizo is a spicy sausage that has a delicious smoky flavor with a nice heat. This soup uses the hard chorizo sausage you can find in the deli section of most grocery stores as opposed to the type you find in the meat department that needs cooking (although in a pinch you can cook chorizo and use it in place of the hard chorizo). With chickpeas, chorizo, and tomatoes, the soup makes a smoky, spicy, and utterly delicious meal for cool fall or winter evening. It makes six servings.
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 32 ounces unsalted chicken broth
- 1 pound hard chorizo, cut into pieces
- 1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
- 1 (14-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients.
- Cover and cook on low for eight hours or on high for four hours.
Storing the Leftovers
Store leftovers in the fridge for up to five days in a tightly sealed container, or in the freezer for up to six months. You can also store in individual servings for meals on the go.
Slow Cooking Soups
Follow tips to make soup recipes work in your cooker.
Adjusting Other Recipes
With a few adjustments, you can turn virtually any soup into a slow cooker soup.
- For this seafood chowder, cook the vegetables in the butter and add them to the slow cooker. Add the potatoes, broth, thyme, bay leaves, and pepper to the slow cooker and cook on low for eight hours or high for four hours. Then, whisk the milk and flour together and add with the remaining ingredients. Turn the heat up to high and whisk to combine. Cook, stirring once or twice, for 20 minutes more, or until the soup is thick, and the seafood is cooked.
- Make vegetable soups in the slow cooker by adding all ingredients to the slow cooker and cooking, covered, on low for 8 hours.
Tips for Other Soups
To turn soups into slow cooker soups:
- Add vegetables, broths and liquids (except dairy), meat and poultry, and dried herbs, salt, and pepper to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
- You can choose to soften vegetables by pre-cooking in a saute pan if you wish, but it isn't necessary.
- Brown crumbled meats and poultry (like hamburger, ground turkey, or bulk sausage) before adding them to the slow cooker at the start of cooking.
- There's no need to pre-cook non-crumbled meats and poultry as long as you cook them on low for 8 hours or high for 5 hours in the slow cooker.
- Add dairy, cheese, creams, and thickeners (like cornstarch) to the soup in the last 20 to 30 minutes of cooking.
- Add seafood to soup in the last 30 minutes of cooking.
- Taste and season before serving.
Soup for Busy Lives
Cooking soup in the slow cooker is a fantastic way to have a hearty meal ready for you when you come home on busy weekdays. With a little creativity, some know-how, and some tasty recipes, you're sure to find a slow cooker soup your entire family will love.