Make it Yourself: Cream of Mushroom Soup Substitute

I have a confession. If you looked in my pantry, you would see a not-insubstantial stockpile of cream of mushroom soup.  I admit, they’re a convenient way to add flavor to the casseroles my family loves.

But here’s what I don’t love: the BPA in the can liners. The unpronouncable ingredients.  The sodium content.

So I looked for a substitute. It took a while, because many of the alternatives I found included bouillon cubes, which are problematic on their own (sodium, MSG, etc.)

Finally, I was able to find a passable cream of mushroom soup substitute that works great in casseroles, and is almost as easy as popping open a can.

cream of mushroom soup

cream of mushroom soup

Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup

(Or Cream of Broccoli Soup)

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 3 tbsp. flour (Are you Gluten Free? No Problem? I like Bob’s Red Mill GF Flour)
  • 1/2 c. low sodium chicken broth ({Update} I am no longer recommending any packaged chicken broth, even if its labeled organic.  You will get the best flavor results — as well as the best health profile — if you make your own, as I do here.)
  • 1/2 c. low-fat milk (can use alternative milks as well but it won’t thicken as much)
  • 1/2 cup sauteed mushrooms or broccoli – I like to saute in butter; I think it gives a richer flavor

Instructions:

1. Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium heat. Whisk in the flour to create a roux.
2. Add the chicken broth and then the milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps.
3. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. You can add sauteed mushrooms, diced onion, or diced broccoli, depending on what you will be using the soup for.

Use in casseroles and recipes just as you would a cream condensed soup!

Easy Tip: Make a large batch and freeze in 1-cup portions to make it even more convenient to use. I like the Ball Plastic 8-Ounce Freezer Jars – they’re portioned just right and BPA-free.

Want to read more Make It Yourself Ideas?

 

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Comments

  1. Thanks for posting! I’ve been looking recently for an alternative and this one seems to be just perfect!

  2. i love this, and it is SO easy. i do this with leftover chicken and frozen veggies. simple and tasty.

  3. Just in time for green Bean casserole!

  4. I can’t believe how easy this is!

  5. THANK YOU!!! I’ve been trying to figure out how to do this for a year now! I’m going to try it this week with a casserole!!

  6. Oh thank you, thank you, thank you! I had seen the recipes using bouillon cubes too, but didn’t want that MSG. What a great idea to freeze it! I’m making this tomorrow!

  7. have you reproduced the cream of celery or cream of cheddar soups as well?

  8. Thanks for posting this! I’ve been looking for a good substitute as my husband has recently become gluten-free. I’ve found other recipes before, but all of them required cooking up the soup part at the time of use, which I didn’t really like because I like the convenience factor of the soup in a can. Having a few of these made up already in the freezer will be awesome!

  9. Thank you! Thank you! I’m totally going to do this! I’ve actually quit making some of the tasty things I used to make that have cream soups in them just because I didn’t want to feed that junk to my family. Now, I can make it all again! :)

  10. I’ve tried other cream soup recipes and they just didn’t taste any good, so I can’t wait to give this one a try. Thanks a bunch ! !

  11. Oh by the way – will you be adding pinterest any time soon, so we can pin them ? PLEASE ? PLEASE ? PLEASE ? Thanks again ! I

  12. I like the idea of freezing this in 1 c portions. If you make up a batch right after you cook a whole chicken, you could use your own fresh homemade chicken broth too! Thanks for sharing.

  13. This is great. So so so SO great. Pinning it!

  14. Jennifer, This recipe is not gluten free as it uses flour. Your could substitue cornstarch for the flour and then it would be gluten free. I don’t remember the amount of cornstarch that equals a tablespoon of flour but I know it wouldn’t be a tablespoon. But, if you use cornstarch it doesn’t freeze well. There is another kind of starch similar to cornstarch that does freeze well but I don’t remember the name for it.

  15. What do you suggest for freezing the 1 cup portions in?

    • You could pour it into a muffin tin, put it in the freezer overnight until frozen, then pop them out and put them in a freezer bag.

    • In the canning section of the grocery store, you can buy 1 c plastic freezer containers…they are put out by Ball. Also, the glass canning jars can be used for freezing. Both are great for freezing small portions of anything. I use the plastic containers when I make homemade hotdog chili. I pop several containers in the freezer so I don’t have to make chili every time the hubby wants a hotdog.

  16. Given that BPA occurs in plastic I’d be just as concerned about the potential for BPA in the milk jug and the Swanson Broth carton – especially as Cambell’s/Swanson is already a none offender for having BPA in its plastic linings.

    I also commend you for being able to pronounce the ingredients in your Natural Goodness Chicken Broth: Yeast Extract Autolyzed (a politically acceptable term for monosodium glutamate, MSG), Dextrose, and the umbrella term of who-knows-what-it-is “Flavoring.”

    Making your own cream soup is a fantastic way to better control the flavors and content of what you’re eatting, but don’t call the kettle black and then extol the virtues of the shiny pot.

    • Despite your rather off-putting tone, Bob, I have done some research, and indeed, you are correct that MSG goes by other names (like yeast and natural flavoring). WIth that information in hand, I have updated this recipe to note that I now only recommend homemade broth — which is easy to make and freeze as well.

  17. I tried this and it was GREAT! So much healthier than the canned stuff. I added a tsp of Garlic powder and a tsp of onion powder and it was a nice flavor!

  18. I just finished a batch of this using two stalks of broccoli that were on their way to being unused and it was AMAZING!! I’m not even really a cream of broccoli fan but I’m a reformed woman! I’m freezing them in canning jars and I’m going to kick the habit of store bought cream soups for good!

  19. Katreece says:

    Awesome. Cant wait to try it.

  20. Michelle says:

    Just found you on pinterest because I’ve become an avid label reader and as I pulled out a can of Cream of Chicken soup and noticed that the 2nd ingredient is “Chicken fat” I almost threw up.

    • You know, if it were completely natural, organic chicken fat, it would gross me out less than some of the chemicals that are in it (like MSG).

  21. Very excited to try a better alternative than the canned soups – Have you tried this recipe with soy milk? I saw that you mentioned that by using a milk alternative, the soup won’t thicken as much -would it help if you used a little less than you would if you used regular milk? My daughter has a milk allergy so I’d love to use the soy milk if it would work. Thanks!

    • I have used soy milk, because we usually have both cows milk and alternative milks (almond is a current fave) here too. I just used a 1:1 ratio of soy milk to cows milk when substituting, because if you use less soy milk, the sauce might get too flour-y. Just make sure you beat it consistently with a whisk while it’s cooking.

  22. Shareejbj says:

    This sounds great! I would really like to bottle this creamed soup instead of freeze it. Is that possible? Or do you know a site I can go to for that information? I have a pressure cooker that I can all my vegetables with.

  23. This recipe looks great, and so much cheaper than the canned soup! Will the recipe work with margarine instead of butter? Also, does the recipe make the same amount as one can of soup?

  24. Gonna try this today in some Chicken Divan. It looks like one recipe is roughly equivalent to 1 can of soup, so I assume it can just be doubled, tripled, etc. as needed. You will really impress me if you come up with a lovely substitute for Golden Mushroom (my favorite!)!! I tried a recipe for canning golden mushroom that I found on Pinterest, but it just wasn’t the same. Not bad, but not quite as good.

  25. I wonder if you can get other flavors by using different broths? Beef broth = cream of beef? Vegetable broth = creamy vegetable soup? I think I would like to try.

  26. Is the 1 cup portions that you recommend freezing in equivalent to 1 can of the canned stuff? Does 1 recipe make 1 can? Thanks so much. My son was recently diagnosed as allergic to dairy, so this could help us big time!

  27. Hi,
    I was curious about the kind of milk you use. In the recipe you say low-fat milk but the picture shows vitamin D. Which one do you recommend?
    Thanks so much–I’m looking forward to trying this soon!

  28. Hello Sarah I would like to share a great tip that I got from my Mom, when you boil your chicken. If you will put your chicken inside of a cheesecloth bag, along with any seasoning or vegetables and tie off the bag. You can cook your bird and contain all of the veins, small bones or unknowns inside the bag. No straining over and over to clean the broth. Simply move the bag and contents to a jelly roll pan, let it cool and then you can debone the chicken out of the broth and use the chicken as you choose. The broth will be unbelievable clean and free of any small bones, and unknowns. The easiest thing to do next is to freeze all or whatever amount you want in ice trays, to use as needed. The frozen homemade broth will last for several months without any issues.

  29. I just did this for the first time actually! Though I used the recipe found on onceamonthmom.com. As we are GF, I subbed cornstarch in for the flour which is much more economical than GF flour :)

  30. This is great! I just made my first attempt of this (a different recipe, but I like the look of yours better!) and I was wondering if freezing it was possible. Thanks for the recipe and tips!

  31. Hi! I can’t wait to try this. I do wonder if it works well in a slow cooker? Have you attempted this? My usual pot roast recipe calls for 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup…Thanks! :)

  32. Made this subbing 3Tbs. of Better Batter Gluten Free AP Flour & it was AHHHH-SOME! I used it as a substitute for Campbell’s Cream Of Potato in a chicken pot-pie recipe – the whole family loved it and couldn’t tell the difference. My new go-to!

  33. Excellent blog here! Also your site loads up very fast!

    What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your
    host? I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  34. Cream of Mushroom is my go-to filler for a ton of recipes! :) We love it!

  35. I’ve never made homemade cream of anything soup, but oh, this looks lovely! Now I might just have to make some soup to warm up in this polar vortex mess.

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