Made with a full pound of mixed mushrooms, fragrant thyme, and a splash of sherry, this top-rated homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup is the real deal. Elegant comfort food at its best!
Truth: I’m a person who could eat soup 365 days a year. It could be the middle of a steamy summer afternoon, and I’d have no problem sautéing, deglazing, and simmering away for the sake of a scrape-your-bowl-clean soup recipe.
If you aren’t someone who’s excited to dig into soup in flip flops, this homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup is just the ticket for warming up on a cold day. It’s easy enough for a quick weeknight dinner, and makes an elegant starter course for a dinner party or holiday meal.
Types of Mushrooms to Use for Soup
My favorite cream of mushroom soup is made with a hearty proportion of cremini mushrooms (sometimes called “Baby Bellas”), mixed with shiitake and oyster or chanterelle. I find that using a mix as opposed to a single variety makes a more complex soup with a well-rounded flavor.
Truthfully, you can turn just about any mushroom variety into a luxurious soup. Using all white button mushrooms will yield a soup that’s earthy, but very mild-tasting. I prefer a stronger mushroom flavor, so I rarely use a large proportion of buttons, but I’ll sometimes include them in my mushroom mix.
I usually prefer to buy whole mushrooms and slice them myself, but I have come across a few pre-sliced “gourmet mushroom blends” that have been fantastic in this soup recipe.
It’s fun to venture out and try making soup with different varieties of mushrooms that look fresh and interesting when you’re at the market.
Want to read more about different mushroom varieties before you go shopping? Check out this visual guide from Epicurious.
How to Make Cream of Mushroom Soup: Step by Step
Start the soup by sautéing chopped onions in butter, just until they’re softened. (Photos 01-02) Then, add the sliced mushrooms, and cook until most of the liquid they release into the pot evaporates. (Photo 03)
To help thicken the soup, make a roux by stirring all-purpose flour into the mushrooms. Cook it just for about a minute or two to get rid of the raw flour flavor. (Photos 03-04)
I like to deglaze the pot with dry sherry, using a wooden spoon to scrape any brown bits up from the bottom of the pan. Those bits add great flavor to the soup! If you prefer, you can use a dry white wine, like Pinot Grigio, instead. (Photo 05)
Once the sherry evaporates, add the chicken or vegetable stock to the pot with fresh thyme leaves, and start simmering! You’ll only need to simmer the soup for about 20 minutes. (Photos 06-07)
To help give the Cream of Mushroom Soup a velvety texture, I like to puree a small portion in blender or food processor after it’s simmered, and stir it back into the pot. (Photos 08-10)
Tip: I love a creamy soup base contrasted with pieces of meaty sautéed mushrooms. If you’d prefer to turn this recipe into a smooth mushroom bisque, that’s certainly doable! Just puree the whole batch and add a bit more broth to thin it a bit.
Finish the soup with heavy cream and season it to taste with salt and pepper. The amount of salt you add will depend on the stock you’ve used. (Photo 11)
Sometimes, adding the cream will cool the soup down a bit too much for serving. If this is the case in your batch, just gently warm it over low heat, without boiling, until it’s warm and steamy. (Photo 12)
Serving the Soup
Ladle your homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup into bowls, and serve with a few grinds of freshly-cracked pepper. Don’t forget a piece of crusty artisan bread on the side for dipping!
Or, even better, serve it with a batch of my Buttery Garlic Croutons. Bread and soup are a match made in heaven!
How to Make this Recipe Ahead
You can make this Cream of Mushroom Soup a couple of days in advance of serving. It will last for about 3 days in the refrigerator. In this case, I like to leave out the heavy cream and add it once I’ve reheated the soup and am ready to serve my guests.
This recipe also freezes well for up to 3 months if you omit the cream and add it after defrosting and heating. Store it in an airtight container with at least an inch at the top for expansion. To read more about the do’s and don’ts of freezing and reheating soups, check out this article on Food52.
Top 5 Tips for Making Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup
- Remember that the mushroom variety you choose will determine how “mushroomy” the finished soup is. Button mushrooms will be mild. Soup made from cremini and gourmet mushroom mixes will have an earthier flavor.
- Broths and stocks can vary quite a bit in terms of salt content. If you aren’t working with homemade stock or a brand that you’re very familiar cooking with, look for low sodium labels, and add kosher salt to the soup, to taste.
- Don’t worry if the soup looks a little “gloppy” when the liquid is first added. Stir well and the roux coating the mushrooms will melt into the soup as it simmers for a velvety base.
- Unfortunately, this soup is not a good stand-in for recipes calling for condensed cream of mushroom soup, even when calling for it to be reconstituted. Canned condensed soups often contain additional thickening starches. This soup, made just with a flour roux and heavy cream, won’t behave the same way.
- If you’re going to make the soup ahead of time for the freezer, remember to leave out the heavy cream and add it after reheating.
Other Reader-Favorite Soup Recipes to Try
Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup
- 1 pound fresh mushrooms (I use a mix of cremini, shiitake, and oyster or chanterelle)
- 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup all purpose flour
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup dry sherry
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth or stock
- ½ to 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves *
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Clean mushrooms and discard any tough stems. Cut mushrooms into ¼-inch thick slices. Set aside.
- In a large heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt butter until foaming subsides. Add onion and cook until soft but not browned, about 5-8 minutes. Add mushrooms and ½ teaspoon each kosher salt and black pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until mushrooms have released their liquid and are soft, about 10 minutes.
- Add flour and stir to coat the mushroom mixture. Cook for 1 minute. Add sherry and cook for an additional minute, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Stir in chicken or vegetable broth and thyme leaves. Bring to a boil, stirring. (The soup may look, for the lack of a better term, “gloppy” at this point. This is normal! As you stir and the liquid heats, the roux will dissolve.)
- Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
- Transfer 1-½ cups of soup to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Stir pureed soup back into the pot.
- Stir in heavy cream and season to taste with salt and pepper. Gently warm over low heat, if needed, and serve.