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What Is Cream of Mushroom Soup?

By Larry Ray Palmer
Updated May 17, 2024
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Cream of mushroom soup is a hearty, thick soup made with a few basic ingredients, and it can be served on its own or as a side dish. Home-cooked soup is generally considered a moderately simple recipe for beginning cooks. The cream types of soup, including cream of mushroom, cream of celery, and cream of tomato, are considered "comfort foods" in the United States. Commercial canned varieties are available in most areas and are often used in cooking as substitutions for other ingredients. In some cases, they are a main ingredient in other recipes, such as green bean casserole or tuna casserole.

Traditional cream of mushroom soup is made by adding cream or milk and mushrooms to a soup roux of fat and starch, often butter and flour. The recipe is adaptable and is sometimes expanded upon to include a wide variety of mushrooms, such as Portobello mushrooms or even wild-picked morels, or other vegetables. Like many cream-based soups, it can be adapted to personal tastes and preferences easily by adding or omitting ingredients or spices in the recipe.

The simplicity of this soup has led to its omission from the menu of many fine dining establishments, but it can be found in the ingredients lists of many meals. It is often used in the same manner as a remoulade sauce to accompany meats and vegetable dishes or as a thickening agent for other soups and gravies. From clam chowder and bisque to the thick gravy and sauces and hearty casseroles of comfort foods around the globe, cream of mushroom can be found playing a versatile role.

In the home kitchen, cream of mushroom soup can be used for a variety of purposes as well. Canned cream soups are often kept on hand for quick additions to meals or recipes. The thick and creamy soup can be used to complement meats of nearly all varieties or as a substitution in place of water or milk in a recipe. While this type of soup is used extensively in comfort foods, such as casseroles, it can also be used for a wide range of purposes, such as enriching the flavors of boxed pasta meals or as a sauce for meats and vegetables.

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Discussion Comments

By Wisedly33 — On Nov 30, 2014

Homemade cream of mushroom soup is delicious. It doesn't take that much time to make, and it's really worth the effort. I like to use dried as well as fresh mushrooms because the flavor is so much more intense. I even use about a tablespoon of the reconstituting liquid in the soup, and it amps up the flavor.

I like to use a little sherry in my cream of mushroom soup. It doesn't give a special flavor necessarily, but it does add a richness that vegetable broth alone doesn't give. You don't need much, but a little does add something to the finished product.

By Scrbblchick — On Nov 29, 2014

Oh goodness, a can of cream of mushroom soup is indispensable in the kitchen. You can use it for so many things. It's not great as an actual soup, but for casseroles or something like that, you can't beat it.

I'll bet there are 50,000 recipes that use cream of mushroom soup in them. I've used it in the ubiquitous green bean casserole, and in a fantastic chicken and wild rice casserole when I didn't have a can of cream of chicken soup. The cream of mushroom soup worked just fine. It doesn't have a strong specific flavor, so it works with nearly every savory dish. It takes on the flavor of what it's cooked with.

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