Soup Du Jour quite literally means “soup of the day”. And while there may not be a specific recipe for Soup Du Jour, today we’re sharing our formula for making any soup, with any ingredient, any day.
This is the ultimate guide to making soup without a recipe, and we’re breaking it all down for you step-by-step. Let’s cook!
What is soup du jour?
“Soup du jour” is a French phrase that you might have come across in restaurants. It simply means “soup of the day.” It’s a way for eateries to offer a freshly prepared soup option that changes daily.
This phrase gained popularity outside of France, especially in English-speaking countries, where it added a touch of continental flair to menus. It became associated with a certain kind of culinary sophistication, suggesting that the soup was prepared with care and with the freshest ingredients available.
So is there a soup du jour recipe? Well, no. Given the meaning of soup du jour, there isn’t any one recipe that can be described as soup du jour.
Which is why today, we’re showing you how to make virtually any type of soup! This is a choose-your-own-adventure of soupy deliciousness, so grab a pot and let’s cook!
Types Of Soup
The very first step in building your perfect pot of soup is to determine what texture you want the finished soup to have:
- Brothy Soup: These are usually more delicate soups that rely on having a great broth or stock. They have a higher proportion of liquid to fillings. Examples of brothy soups include miso soup or egg drop soup.
- Chunky Soup: These soups have more fillings that simmer together for a while, creating a dynamic but easy to make soup. Vegetable soup or minestrone soup are examples of chunky soups!
- Pureed Soup: After simmering away on the stove, these soups are pureed until silky smooth – think tomato soup or pumpkin soup.
How To Make Soup
Regardless of which type of soup you pick, they’ll all have these foundational elements.
Step 1: Aromatics
The first step is to create a flavorful base for your soup! You’ll heat a pat of butter or a drizzle of oil in your pot, then add your aromatics and cook until they’re soft, about 5 mintues.
You’ve got a bunch of options here, depending on which direction you want to take your soup.
For most basic soups, mirepoix is the best flavor base!
- Formula: 2 parts onion / 1 part carrot / 1 part celery
- Servings: Use 1/4 cup of onion per serving (for example, if you are making soup for four people this equals 1 cup of onions, 1/2 cup of carrots, and 1/2 cup of celery)
- Variations: Make it Cajun by replacing the carrot with green bell pepper
For South or Central American soups, sofrito is a great base.
- Formula: 2 parts onion, 1 part tomatoes, 2 cloves garlic
- Servings: Use 1/4 cup of onion per serving
- Variations: Make it Italian by adding 1 part celery
For Asian-inspired soups, this trifecta is a must.
- Formula: 1 green onion, 1 tsp ginger, 1 clove garlic
- Servings: Use 1 green onion per serving
- Variations: Make it Thai by adding 1 tsp of lemongrass, galangal, or shallots, or by adding a few kaffir lime leaves
Step 2: Protein
Once your aromatics have cooked into fragrant deliciousness, it’s time to add your protein! You’ll cook the protein to brown it, which will provide so much flavor for your soup! We’re a vegetarian food site, but for the sake of this post we’ll provide options for all eaters.
Servings: You’ll need about 1/4 pound of protein per serving.
- Mushrooms: cook until the sweat out their moisture and begin to brown
- Tofu or Tempeh: crumble and cook until crispy and browned
- Meat Alternatives: cook to sear until brown
- Poultry, Pork, or Beef: cook to sear until brown
Making a pureed soup? Wait for this step!
If you’re making a pureed soup, do not add any meat, tofu, or tempeh at this point! You can add those at the very end if you’ll be pureeing. If using mushrooms, they can be pureed.
Step 3: Seasonings
Next up are your seasonings! These are either your dried herbs or your fresh hardy herbs (like fresh rosemary or thyme). This is not the step for adding tender herbs (like fresh parsley or basil).
Servings: While these differ based on seasonings used, aim for about 1 teaspoon of seasoning per serving.
- Italian Seasoning Blend: dried basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, sage, bay leaves
- Mexican Seasoning Blend: cumin, chili powder, coriander seed, Mexican oregano, paprika, garlic powder
- Chinese Seasoning Blend: star anise, Chinese five spice, dried ginger, white pepper, Sichuan peppercorns
- Thai Seasoning Blend: dried kaffir lime leaves, ginger, turmeric, dried red chilies, cumin, coriander seed, lemongrass
Step 4: Vegetables
Time to add some bulk to our soup with vegetables! Choose up to 3 vegetables from this list. Be sure to cut them into bite-sized pieces.
Servings: You’ll need about 1 cup of vegetables per serving of chunky or pureed soups. For brothy soups, add less vegetables.
- Bell pepper
- Bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
- Butternut squash
- Sweet potatoes
- Yellow squash
Pro Tip: Roast your Veggies First!
Roasted veggies before adding them to soup gives them a smoky flavor dimension that’s next level! Check out our roasted vegetable soup recipe for details on how to do this.
Step 5: Broth or Stock
Add your favorite broth or stock, whether it be vegetable, beef, chicken, or something else (grab our guide to homemade vegetable broth here!) Cover and let simmer for at least 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Generally, the longer it simmers, the better the flavors will be.
Servings: You’ll need about 2 cups of broth per serving.
Step 6: Quick Cooking Ingredients
Once your soup is just about ready to serve, you can add a quick cooking ingredient to add a tasty textural element to your soup! Cook these ingredients separately before adding them to your pot of soup. Your soup can be served right after adding them!
Servings: While it depends on the ingredient, about 1/4 cup of the cooked ingredient per serving is a good guideline.
- Cooked Grains: quinoa, farro, bulgur, barley, wild rice
- Cooked Beans: white beans, black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, chickpeas
- Cooked Noodles or Pasta: udon noodles, egg noodles, rice noodles, couscous, semolina, elbow pasta, orzo, mini farfalle
Making a pureed soup? Wait for this step!
If you’re making a pureed soup, puree it before adding your quick cooking ingredients!
Step 7: Garnishes & Toppings
The best soups are the ones with lots of toppings and garnishes! After portioning your soup into bowls, try adding any of the following:
- Cheese: cheddar, parmesan, goat cheese, feta
- Crunchies: croutons, crackers, tortilla chips, popcorn, fried onions
- Herbs: fresh parsley, fresh basil, green onions, chives
- Dairy: sour cream, plain Greek yogurt
- Spice: hot sauce, kimchi, jalapeño slices
Adjusting your soup
The great thing about soup is you can almost always fix it if you’re not liking the flavor!
How To Fix Salty Soup
Add a creamy element, like heavy cream or coconut milk. You can also balance out the soup by adding something sweet, like a pinch of sugar or honey. When all else fails, simply dilute the soup with a little water or cream!
How To Fix Bland Soup
Try adding a splash of apple cider vinegar, which will add a flavorful element to the soup. You can also add something salty (like salt, soy sauce, or bouillon), which will elevate all of the savory flavors in the soup.
Optional: Blended Soup
After adding your broth and simmering until the vegetables are tender, you can optionally blend your soup using either a handheld immersion blender or by carefully transferring to a countertop blender.
If you choose to puree your soup:
- Puree before adding quick cooking ingredients.
- If adding a bulky proteins (like meat or meat alternatives), add those after pureeing. Mushrooms can be blended.
Favorite Soup Recipes
And that, friends, is how to make soup without a recipe! For more soup deliciousness, check out all of our soup recipes here! Some of our favorites are:
Aromatics (choose one)
- Mirepoix: 1 cup onion, ½ cup carrot, ½ cup celery
- Sofrito: 1 cup onion, ½ cup diced tomatoes, 1 clove minced garlic
- Chinese Trinity: 4 green onions, 4 tsp grated ginger, 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1 lb protein mushrooms, tofu, tempeh, poultry, pork, beef
- 4 tsp desired seasonings see post above for seasoning ideas
- 4 cups chopped vegetables see post above for vegetable ideas
Broth or Stock
- 8 cups broth or stock
Quick Cooking Ingredients (choose one)
- 1 cup cooked grains like quinoa, farro, bulgur, barley, wild rice
- 1 cup cooked beans like white beans, black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, chickpeas
- 1 cup cooked noodles like udon noodles, egg noodles, rice noodles, couscous, semolina, elbow pasta, orzo, mini farfalle
Garnishes and Toppings (choose as many as you want)
- Cheese cheddar, parmesan, goat cheese, feta
- Crunchies croutons, crackers, tortilla chips, popcorn, fried onions
- Herbs fresh parsley, fresh basil, green onions, chives
- Dairy sour cream, plain Greek yogurt
- Spice hot sauce, kimchi, jalapeño slices
- Aromatics: Add a splash of butter or pat of butter to a pot set over medium heat. Add your aromatics (Mirepoix, Sofrito, or Chinese Trinity). Cook until soft and fragrant, about 5 mintues.
- Protein: Add your protein and cook until brown, about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Seasonings: Stir in your desired seasonings.
- Vegetables: Pick up to 3 vegetables and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Add them to your pot.
- Broth: Add your broth. Cover and let simmer over medium heat for at least 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
- Quick Cooking Ingredients: Cook these ingredients separately according to the instructions on their package. Stir them into your soup right before serving.
- Garnishes: Portion soup into bowls, then add garnishes and toppings.