How to Make the Best Slow-Cooker Soup Without a Recipe
Once you've researched and bought the best slow cooker and learned how to safely use it, it's time to try making one of the most basic staples: soup. Sure, you could follow a tried and true slow-cooker soup recipe, but it's fun to get creative — with some guidance of course. We're outlining the best bases, meats, and veggies for slow-cooked soups along with proper amounts and cooking times. While the appliance does enable you to have a “dump it and forget it" mentality, there are a few rules of thumb to follow.
Rules For Slow-Cooking Soup
- Assuming you're using a six-quart slow cooker, we recommend using six to eight cups of liquid, one to two pounds of meat, and three to five cups of vegetables and extras. As for seasoning? Start with one teaspoon total.
- Most soups should cook on low for six hours. This is enough time to let flavor develop, without making your soup too thick by letting out too much liquid.
- Browning meat before using it in a soup or stew often gives you a richer flavor. When using ground meat in soups or chili, be sure to brown and drain it before adding it to the soup.
- Our favorite chicken shortcut is to grab a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from the deli of your grocery store, shred it, and toss it in the soup last minute for a quick protein option.
- If your soup isn't as thick as you hoped, whisk in a little flour or gluten-free thickener at the end.
- Tougher cuts of meat work just fine for soups and stews, just cook them for several hours on low before adding other soup ingredients.
Best soup bases
- cream of mushroom soup (great for a stew)
- coconut milk
- boneless, skinless chicken (cube or shred the chicken once it's cooked)
- rotisserie chicken
- stew beef
- ground beef
- sausage (either pre-cooked or raw with casings removed)
- bacon or pancetta, diced
- tomato (crushed, stewed, diced)
- sweet potato
- spinach/kale (add shortly before serving, cook only until it wilts)
- beans: pinto, black bean, white bean, chickpeas, lentils (they all add hearty protein to your soup and will withstand hours of slow-cooking)
- rice or quinoa
- pasta (add to slow cooker uncooked toward end of cook-time)
- cheese (cheddar and gruyere melt best; add them in the last few minutes of cooking)
- sour cream or Greek yogurt added at the end for creaminess
- salt and pepper
- fresh cilantro (stirred in at the end)
- fresh parsley (stirred in at the end)
- lemon zest and/or juice
For more slow-cooker recipes, check out Brit + Co on Pinterest!
(Illustration via Marisa Kumtong / Brit + Co)
Fall is right around the corner, and we're getting amped up for our next session of Selfmade, Brit + Co's 10-week interactive startup school. Designed to help you create a new business or grow your existing one, this course is personally led by Brit + Co founder Brit Morin and co-founder Anjelika Temple, and supported by more than a dozen of the top female entrepreneurs, creatives, and investors in the country. Students receive personalized coaching on everything from how to get out of your comfort zone to how to scale your business, and everything in between. And now, thanks to Office Depot, even more of you can join the course!
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To nominate yourself or someone you know for a scholarship, head to our nomination form right here. The deadline for scholarship nominations is September 27th — it's time to take the leap!
Beyond the scholarship, Office Depot is all about helping you accomplish more. Whether it be the start phase, growth phase or keep businesses going phase, Office Depot offers a full suite of business solutions, including services and products, to help you work from anywhere, organize and save time and help build your brand.
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