If I had to choose one among all the soup recipes in the world, I'd probably take the cream of mushroom soup any day.
The savory taste with hints of garlic, combined with creamy soup, mushroom undertones, and other distinctive flavors will make any day a better one.
However, I have to admit that I can't eat or cook mushroom soup every single day. Sometimes, I have to settle for alternatives.
Luckily, I quickly realized that some alternatives are actually of the same quality as the real thing. So, if you're also looking for a substitute for cream of mushroom soup, I got some for you.
Understanding Cream of Mushroom Soup
To make the right decision when replacing cream of mushroom soup, we need to fully understand what it is.
This should allow us to learn more about its role in a recipe, what we want to get from it, and what alternatives offer the same benefits.
Ergo, here's a quick introduction to cream of mushroom soup and the basic things you need to know about it.
What's Cream of Mushroom Soup?
As the name suggests, a cream of mushroom soup is a type of soup with mushrooms in it. However, we cook it in cream or milk to make the soup thicker.
In North America, we use this term to define a canned cream of mushroom soup, which is denser than the traditional soup.
Where Do We Use Cream of Mushroom Soup?
Cream of mushroom soup is both a recipe and an ingredient in a recipe. Some homemade cream of mushroom soup recipes can be eaten as it is.
On the other hand, we use most canned soup variants as ingredients in casseroles and other types of food including green bean casserole, tuna noodle casserole, and beef stroganoff.
So, what if you find out you don't have any on your shelves but you need a creamy sauce for your meal? Would any condensed cream soup suffice?
Well, it's time to turn to the best substitutes.
Cream of Mushroom Soup Substitutes
The most important things you need to consider when looking for a cream of mushroom soup substitute are the flavor and consistency.
Those are what made the soup popular in the first place. Some of the substitutes below may not nail both of them, but they're still very convenient to have at home.
1. Cream of Chicken Soup
Cream of chicken soup is arguably the most popular substitute for cream of mushroom soup, especially if you're making a creamy sauce or a casserole.
First, the consistency does not deviate too far from cream of mushroom. Secondly, you get the same saltiness.
However, since it uses chicken instead of mushrooms, this substitute is not vegan-friendly. Moreover, the savory flavor is not as prominent as that of cream of mushroom soup.
You can also make a DIY cream of chicken soup at home using chicken broth, flour, butter, and milk. Here's a quick homemade substitute for cream of chicken soup recipe to help you out.
You may use this substitute in a 1:1 ratio.
Best for creamy sauces and casseroles.
2. Golden Mushroom Soup
If flavor is your main concern, consider replacing it with golden mushroom soup. It's widely accessible and has the same taste as cream of mushroom soup.
However, keep in mind that golden mushroom soup does not have a thick consistency. Ergo, it's not the best substitute if you're craving a creamy soup.
Nonetheless, homemade golden mushroom soup is also relatively easy to prepare. You just need to sauté fresh mushrooms, garlic, onion, and herbs on medium heat.
After mixing them in a hot pan, add soup or vegetable broth and stock.
Best for rice dishes, sauces, and side dishes.
3. Cream of Celery Soup
Cream of celery soup is another excellent substitute for cream of mushroom soup in terms of consistency. It also has the same creaminess you want in a creamy mushroom soup.
However, celery has a very distinct flavor. It doesn't have the same umami flavor as mushrooms. Instead, its flavor is more herbal (which probably wouldn't matter if you like celery).
Nonetheless, it's the perfect base for creamy soups and broths because its flavor blends with all the other ingredients, instead of overpowering them.
The lighter taste and vegetable flavor make it an excellent substitute if you're not looking for a heavy soup.
You can find cream of celery soup in cans or you can also make one at home. Use it as a substitute for cream of mushroom soup in a 1:1 ratio.
Best for side dishes as a standalone soup.
4. Heavy Cream
If you're mainly using cream of mushroom soup as an ingredient and you just want its consistency and texture, try using heavy cream.
Its flavor is not as rich and savory, but it helps make your soup or sauce creamier. Plus, it has a neutral flavor, so you won't be affecting the overall flavor profile of your recipe.
However, because of this, you will still need to season it with various ingredients like garlic powder, onion powder, herbs, and other spices.
This will allow you to get a flavor that's closer to cream of mushroom.
Best for sauces and soups.
Check out this homemade alfredo sauce recipe that uses heavy cream instead of mushroom.
5. Cream of Potato Soup
Cream of potato soup adds a meaty, bacony taste to your dish, making it an excellent substitute for the meaty flavor provided by mushrooms.
Furthermore, some potatoes are naturally high in starch, so you'd end up with a heavier and thicker sauce than cream of mushroom.
If you want to add more flavor to your recipe, you can season a cream of potato soup with herbs, garlic, and onion.
Similar to other creamy soups on this list, you can use cream of potato soup as a substitute in a 1:1 ratio.
Best for Swedish meatballs, beef stroganoff, and other thick cream soups.
6. Milk and Cream Cheese
Cream of mushroom soup has the perfect mixture of richness and saltiness. That's what makes milk and cream cheese a good substitute.
The best part is that it's relatively easy to prepare. This recipe would probably only take several minutes.
It's a combination of sautéed mushrooms, garlic, butter, flour, chicken broth, and milk. The secret ingredient is cream cheese which you'll add to the mix once it thickens.
If you want to enhance its flavor, just add pepper and salt. Just like that, you have a soup that's as creamy and savory as cream of mushroom soup.
Best for side dishes as standalone soup.
7. Sour Cream
This one may sound strange, and you might have to try it to see what we're talking about. Yes, you can use sour cream as a substitute for cream of mushroom soup.
Sour cream's flavor profile does not steer too far from a creamy mushroom. However, you need to hide its sour taste so it doesn't overpower your recipe.
To do that, you need to add milk, mushrooms, and your choice of seasoning. While it lacks the umami flavor of mushroom soup, learning this ingredient is very convenient.
That's because sour cream is one of the easiest ingredients to find. You might even have one at home already.
However, keep in mind that you're using this as a substitute mainly for convenience and texture, not flavor.
Best for beef stroganoff or sauces.
8. Dry Cream Soup Mix
A dry cream soup mix is an instant soup pack available in grocery stores nationwide. It's a combination of various herbs and spices turned into powder.
Cooking it is very easy because you only need to add hot water, similar to instant noodles. You may also add milk and other ingredients if you want it to taste closer to mushroom soup.
Aside from accessibility, a dry cream soup mix is an excellent substitute for cream of mushroom soup because it only takes minutes to prepare.
Best for side dishes.
9. Cream of Broccoli Soup
If you're a huge fan of vegetables, the creamy goodness of cream of broccoli soup is something you shouldn't miss out on.
Aside from being nutritious, cream of broccoli soup is so delicious that it's an excellent pair for seafood dishes like tuna casserole or scallops.
One of the things I particularly love about this substitute is that it's very easy to find. Several brands offer this in powdered form.
This allows you to adjust the consistency of the soup by adding more or less water. Just be careful not to add too much liquid, as this could ruin the soup's flavor.
Best for scalloped potatoes, tuna noodle casserole, and other casserole dishes that need thick sauces.
Try it on this air fryer green bean casserole recipe.
10. Coconut Milk Broth
To all my vegan readers out there, I want you to know that you don't have to miss out on the oh-so-good creamy mushroom soup because of its milk content.
You can always replace canned cream or cow's milk with coconut milk. It's a dairy-free alternative, so lactose-intolerant folks will also enjoy this.
Just make sure you use unsweetened coconut milk, though. Otherwise, you might end up with a sweet cream of mushroom soup.
Start by mixing coconut milk and broth in a casserole. Adjust the proportions depending on your desired consistency. Too thin? Add coconut milk. Too thick? Add broth.
You can then add mushrooms and other ingredients or spices to the mix and make it more savory. However, do remember that coconut milk has a distinct taste far from regular milk.
Ergo, you might taste undertones of coconut in your cream of mushroom soup.
Best for side dishes as standalone soup.
You may also use coconut milk for this chocolate coconut cake recipe.
11. Homemade Mushroom Soup
If you can't find a canned cream of mushroom soup at your local supermarket, you can always make one at home.
Preparing a homemade mushroom soup is relatively easy. You just need butter, mushrooms, onions, garlic, flour, broth (chicken or vegetable), and heavy cream.
You can also use your choice of broth or replace flour with your choice of milk. However, be mindful of the amount of milk you use as this can make your soup thinner.
Replacing butter with coconut oil will also make this soup more vegan-friendly, especially if you use vegetable broth.
Best for side dishes as standalone soup.
Tips When Using Substitute for Cream of Mushroom Soup
While all the substitutes above are excellent in their own ways, some might be the better option on certain occasions.
It usually depends on what you're looking to get from a substitute. So, when replacing cream of mushroom soup, here are some things you need to consider.
Ingredient vs. Side Dish
As I mentioned earlier, cream of mushroom soup is both an ingredient and a side dish. That's why you need to consider how it works in a certain recipe.
If you're using it as an ingredient for sauces and other recipes, you might be better off sticking with the pre-mixed or powdered versions you see in supermarkets.
However, if it's a side dish, take the time to prepare it with real ingredients since you have to ensure it pairs well with your main dish.
Be Mindful of Consistency
The substitutes and other ingredients you use will significantly affect the consistency of your recipe. As we all know, cream of mushroom soup is popular for its thick, creamy, and savory soup.
This becomes even more important if you're using it as an ingredient because the cream of mushroom soup is usually the one that thickens the sauce.
Learn the tricks on how to thicken soups and sauces so your substitute will be identical to the real thing.
Dairy vs. Non-Dairy
This factor mostly applies to homemade recipes since pre-mixed cream of mushroom soup will already have its own ingredients in the package.
So, if you're replacing cream of mushroom soup with a different kind of soup, consider the people who will consume it.
Most cream of mushroom soup recipes uses cow's milk, which could be harmful to lactose-intolerant folks.
If this is the case, go for dairy-free milk variants. This includes coconut milk, almond milk, cashew milk, and other types of nut milk.
Should You Go Vegan?
Some people have strict diets, and all vegans can probably relate to this. Thankfully, there are so many recipes for vegan cream of mushroom soup.
Fortunately, there are dozens of non-dairy vegan milk you can find in stores. However, you must also keep in mind that aside from the milk, some ingredients in cream of mushroom soup are non-vegan.
Just be sure to look for substitutes for these as well. Don't worry. These aren't hard to find.
Cream of Mushroom Soup Substitute FAQs
What can I use as a substitute for cream of mushroom soup?
The best substitute for cream of mushroom soup depends on what you need it for. You can try any of the creamy soups above if you're looking for a side dish.
Cream of chicken, celery, broccoli, or potato soup all work well as side dishes for any meal.
On the other hand, you can use heavy cream, sour cream, or cream cheese combinations to substitute cream of mushroom soup as an ingredient in a recipe.
How to make mushroom flavor?
If you have the soup or broth and you're only looking to add the umami flavor of mushrooms, you can purchase mushroom seasoning in grocery stores or make one yourself.
You just need salt and dried mushrooms. Place the ingredients in a blender until they turn into fine powder. Transfer to a container, and just like that, you have mushroom flavor seasoning!
What can I substitute for cream of mushroom soup in beef stroganoff?
When using a cream of mushroom soup substitute in an ingredient, you want something that doesn't overpower the flavor profile of the final dish.
In beef stroganoff, cream of potato soup is the best substitute because it blends with all the other ingredients in the dish.
What can I substitute for cream of mushroom soup in green bean casserole?
You can never have enough greens for this recipe. That's why cream of broccoli soup is the best substitute for this dish.
Aside from blending with the flavor of the beans, broccoli does not overwhelm the taste of the dish. The chewy texture of broccoli is also an interesting touch to the hearty meal.
Choosing the Best Substitute for Cream of Mushroom Soup
Cream of mushroom soup is an essential ingredient in so many recipes. The good news is that there are several substitutes that will be perfect for certain dishes.
Just remember that the most important thing to consider is what you're using the substitute for. Is it for the flavor? Consistency? Or for side dishes?
Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup Recipe
- 1 pound fresh mushrooms (a mix of white and cremini mushrooms is nice)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth for a vegetarian version
- 1 cup heavy cream
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- fresh parsley and/or thyme, finely chopped (for garnish)
- Clean the mushrooms by wiping them with a damp paper towel. Do not rinse them as they will absorb water. Slice them thinly.
- In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté until the onions are translucent and softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the sliced mushrooms to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 5-7 minutes, or until the mushrooms have released their liquid and started to brown.
- Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and stir well to combine. Cook for another 1-2 minutes.
- Gradually add in the chicken broth, stirring continuously, so that no lumps form. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Once it's boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes. The mushrooms should be very tender and the flavors well combined.
- Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until it's as smooth or chunky as you like. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can transfer the soup to a regular blender in batches, but be careful because hot soup can cause a blender to splatter. Always allow the soup to cool a bit before blending it and never fill the blender more than halfway.
- After blending, return the soup to the pot (if necessary) and stir in the heavy cream. Heat the soup for another 2-3 minutes, until it's heated through.
- Season the soup with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with fresh parsley and/or thyme before serving.
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