How to Make Soup From Scratch

Do you love soup?  I sure do. It’s a delicious and simple meal that can be tailored to any season. It contains a wide range of flavors and highlights vegetables in season.

Most often, when people want to make soup, they go look for a recipe.  “Do you want chicken noodle…vegetable beef…or clam chowder?”  But you don’t really need a recipe to make a great soup.  Even less experienced cooks can learn how to make soup at home; it’s very simple.

The next time you want to make soup, try this method.  You’ll be able to use whatever you have on hand (no last-minute trips to the store for one ingredient!) and you just might love the result.


1) Choose a type of fat

Your soup will (probably) need to start with some type of healthy fat, like butter or olive oil.  This is to sauté any root vegetables or other initial flavours.  Pick whatever you have on hand that will mesh well with your flavours.  (I’d choose olive oil if I wanted an “Italian” soup with a tomato base, and butter if I were making a cream soup; otherwise it’s a toss up.)

2) Choose your base

What do you have on hand?  Chicken, beef, or fish stock? Vegetable stock?  Tomato purée?  Cream or milk?  Choose one — or two.  Stock mixed with tomato purée is delicious, as is stock with milk.  Or even cream with tomato purée!  You choose the flavours you want.

3) Choose your meat

If you want meat, that is.  Is this a chicken soup?  Ground beef (like a chili, or made into meatballs)?  Steak?  Fish?  Choose whatever you like.  You’ll probably want this to match your base (beef with fish stock might not be such a great combination), but use what you have.  I’ve used chicken stock in place of beef stock with great results, especially if I also added tomato.

4) Choose your veggies

Onion is a pretty standard veggie because it imparts so much flavor.  Garlic, carrots, and celery are all fairly common too — though not always used.  There are also beans, potatoes, spinach, kale, corn, and so on.  Use whatever you have, and whatever you like!

5) Choose your spices

Sea salt and black pepper are your two most basic spices, so you will want to include them (well…at least the salt). Here are a few more popular flavor combinations.

  • Celery seed, marjoram, thyme, parsley, and sage go well with chicken.
  • Marjoram, rosemary and thyme go well with beef.
  • Basil, oregano or fennel can be a nice addition to tomato-based soups.
  • Chilis need chili powder and perhaps cumin.
  • Cream soups might benefit from a dash or parsley or thyme.

But, that’s just “common” ones – feel free to dream up any combination you like.  Remember to taste and adjust as you go, though.

Simple Bites French Lentil Soup


Once you’ve decided on what ingredients to use, making soup is very simple:

  1. Heat a large soup pot over medium heat
  2. Sauté your aromatic vegetables (onion, garlic, celery, carrot) in your fat
  3. Cook your meat if necessary (for example, stew beef)
  4. Add your base (except milk or cream), veggies, meat, and spices
  5. Taste and adjust
  6. Allow to simmer for an hour or two
  7. Taste and adjust again
  8. Add any cream or milk just before serving and heat through

That’s it!  You can make any soup using the ingredients you have on hand with the flavors you prefer, without any recipe.

tomato florentine soup

I almost never use a recipe anymore because this is so much easier, though I do write down what I did if it was good.

You may just end up inventing a brand new soup, and maybe even a new family favourite.

More Soup Recipes:

What is your favorite soup that you love to create from scratch?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. Looks delicious. I can skip the meat and add some more veggies and change it into a vegan soup 🙂

  2. Yasin Morta says

    I want to make soup wif pork stew but i dont know how can anyone help me coz i love soup i stay in northen cape and its very rain here and the tunder is dangerous…? I need help plzzzzz.

  3. Steve fisher says

    What??!!! No water??????

    • Misplacedhippie says

      🤣 Yeah you cant really make soup without water. 🤣 Even if your using chicken or beef stock, you’d still need some water. Unless of course you want a VERY rich soup.

    • Terri Roberts says

      Definitely need to add something!

      My method:

      Fry veggies
      Add stock and/or tinned tomatoes and simmer for a few mins
      Add cream if needed (I use coconut)
      Heat through
      Serve/portion out and freeze

  4. Soup is the best meal during long winter months, and I love coming home after a long day to something homemade, hot, and filling. This basic recipe you have is perfect! Someone mentioned turkey soup after Thanksgiving and ham soup after Easter…it all sounds so good, and everything in between (lentils…yum)! I didn’t grow up with homemade soup, so it’s taken me quite awhile to get around to making it myself; I have finally stopped buying canned soup altogether! Thanks for sharing this…such a great way to start the coming fall and winter dinners!

  5. Love this post. Soup is a year round healthy meal. With a good base, meat, and veggies, it can be a hearty staple. We are all about nutrition and soup is a great way to fill up on the healthy stuff. Of course, we sprinkle pecans on top!

  6. Charlles Souza says

    Hi Kate

    I like to add the spices while it’s cooking so they get well-blended throughout the soup

  7. Sarah Haddad says

    I prefer to make very fatty and meaty soups. I use butter, and I use Rotisserie Chicken for base formation. Onions and carrots are very important. Then I like to add a secondary meat, usually beef. Salt and thyme are crucial. Lastly, I add milk…but I only use whole milk.

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