33 Terrific Soups and Stews
Lobster bisque—basically decadence in the form of soup—turns extra indulgent with cooked rice blended in as a thickener. Take the time to brown the butter to give it added nutty dimension, then garnish with halved claws for a show-stopping starter.
- Recipe: Brown-Butter Lobster Bisque
Barton Seaver’s Puerto Rican Asopao
A cross between Spanish paella and New Orleans jambalaya, Asopao (a rice-and-seafood stew) is Puerto Rico’s official dish. And it is as varied across the island as chili is in the American Southwest. Chef Barton Seaver starts his with an herb sofrito, then adds smoked paprika. It’s untraditional, but nothing beats its smoky, savory flavors and bonfire-like aroma in the wintertime.
Recipe: Puerto Rican Asopao
Blend everyone’s favorite low-carb spud with floral lemongrass, fresh ginger, and creamy coconut milk for a Caribbean dish to warm even your coldest winter nights. Ladle into dark bowls for a bold contrast to the sunset-orange color (thanks, turmeric!), then give it a Pollock-like drizzle of coconut cream.
- Recipe: Caribbean Sweet Potato Soup
Spanish-Style Stew with Garlic Toast
A small amount of smoked paprika adds depth to this delicious stew. Saffron imparts flavor and color. Steep the tender threads in liquid first to get the best results.
Turn your seafood bounty into a satisfying stew with a distinctly Sicilian touch, thanks to the buttery Castelvetrano olives. Pro tip: add the mussels, shrimp, halibut, and squid into your garlicky tomato broth at the end to ensure they cook just right (and don’t get too rubbery).
Large, succulent shrimp takes center stage in this Asian-inspired soup flavored with fresh ginger and mixed with shitake mushrooms and snow peas.
Recipe: Hot-and-Sour Soup
Caramelized Onion Soup
Bonito flakes are made from fillets of a tuna-like fish that are smoked, aged, and shaved into paper-thin slices for a savory, smoky flavor that's impossible to forget. You'll never make this classic without it again.
Recipe: Caramelized Onion Soup
Yucatecan Chicken-and-Lime Soup
This recipe calls for Key limes, also called Mexican limes, which are smaller and rounder than standard Persian limes—the ones you generally find in your supermarket. Key limes produce a lot more juice with an altogether “limier” flavor.
Recipe: Yucatecan Chicken-and-Lime Soup
Spicy Clam, Chorizo, and White Bean Soup
The classic Spanish combination of briny littleneck clams—the smallest and most tender of the clam clan—smoky chorizo, and tender white beans come together in seamless soup harmony. Turn this liquid lunch into a robust meal with our quick and easy garlic bread—perfect for sopping up every last drop.
Thai Coconut Soup
Lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves really boosts the flavor of this exotic soup. But don’t skip this recipe if you can’t find them; just substitute a teaspoon of lime zest. You can also seed the chilies if you prefer a milder flavor.
Recipe: Thai Coconut Soup
Many Cajun and Creole dishes are seasoned with the so-called holy trinity--bell pepper, onion, and celery. This Creole-style jambalaya has lots of tomato in it.
Recipe: Shrimp-and-Sausage Jambalaya
Lowcountry Boil in a Bowl
Try our take on this Southern classic. It can be made on the stovetop in less than an hour!
Recipe: Lowcountry Boil in a Bowl
If you need to chill the soup quickly, cover it and put it in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes. You can also pour the soup into a bowl and place it in a larger bowl filled with ice.
Recipe: Mango Gazpacho
Gulf Coast Seafood Stew
Using minimum seasonings lets the fresh, light taste of the seafood shine. Opt for fresh garlic for maximum flavor. You can tell it's fresh if it does not have a growing green germ in the center. If you see the beginning of a sprout, pull it out and discard.
Recipe: Gulf Coast Seafood Stew
Clam Soup with Orzo and Meatballs
Have the fishmonger tap clams to make sure they are alive. If the shells are open and do no close when tapped, the shellfish are dead and should be discarded. Clams need to breathe, so when you get home, transfer them to a bowl covered with a damp towel. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Chilled Avocado Soup
Surprise! This rich, velvety soup contains no cream or milk. Pureeing in the blender fills the mixture with air, making it thicker. Add more broth if you like a thinner consistency. It's delicious topped with the Crab-and-Mango Garnish or on its own.
Recipe: Chilled Avocado Soup
Salmon Chowder with Chives
To cut back on calories, replace half the cream with a little mashed potato. This adds thickness and creaminess without sacrificing flavor.
Recipe: Salmon Chowder with Chives
Chicken-and-Vegetable Soup with Herb Dumplings
Substitute 4 bone-in chicken breasts for the whole chicken and cut into pieces, if desired.
Sicilian Fish Soup
Fish cooks quickly, so add it last. Lower the heat so the soup no longer bubbles, and then add the fish. Depending on the portions, it should cook through in about seven minutes.
Recipe: Sicilian Fish Soup
Fans of French onion soup will enjoy this rich version topped with the ultimate melting cheese—Gruyère.
Recipe: Five-Onion Soup
Curry Citrus Cauliflower Soup with Seared Scallops and Crispy Shallots
Scallops are an excellent source of vitamin B12; one 4-ounce serving contains one-third of an adult’s daily minimum requirement. So eat up!
Scallop Chowder with Pernod and Thyme
Pernod is an anise-flavored liqueur that adds depth to this chowder.
Saffron Mussel Soup
Saffron adds subtle flavor and tints this elegant soup a cheerful yellow.
Recipe: Saffron Mussel Soup
Christine’s Vegetarian Chili
Crab roe is the secret ingredient that defines this Lowcountry specialty, but no worries if you can’t find it―it’s completely optional, and most people don’t miss it at all.
Recipe: She-crab Soup
Nantucket Lobster Chowder
This soup gets our highest rating. Using lobster tails instead of steaming a whole lobster makes it easy, too.
Recipe: Nantucket Lobster Chowder
Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho with Lobster
Luscious chunks of lobster complement the vibrant heirloom tomatoes in this fresh-from-the-garden soup. Tip: The white and pale green portion of leeks are the edible parts. The dark green tips are tough but can be added to broths and stocks for extra flavor.
Black Bean Bisque with Rock Shrimp Escabèche
Rolando “Chef Roly” Cruz-Taura, executive chef at the grand Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida, transformed traditional black beans into this smooth, rich soup topped with a fresh shrimp salad. Tip: Use an immersion blender to quickly purée the beans.
Recipe: Black Bean Bisque
Recipe: Rock Shrimp Escabèche
Salmon Chowder with Bacon
This creamy Salmon Chowder tastes as good as if served in a restaurant. The crumbled bacon on top adds extra crunch and flavor to the soup. We recommend Alaskan king or sockeye salmon. For extra flavor, try hot smoked salmon and skip the 1-minute cooking step.
Recipe: Salmon Chowder
Low-fat Shellfish Gumbo
The roux in this highly rated gumbo is made by baking flour to a dark golden brown instead of cooking flour with equal parts oil.
Recipe: Low-fat Shellfish Gumbo
Duck and Oyster Gumbo
Know any hunters? They will love this delicious recipe. Dark turkey meat is great substitution.
Recipe: Duck and Oyster Gumbo
Quick Seafood Cioppino
Traditonal cioppino is a kitchen event. You’ll like our speedy version any night of the week.
Recipe: Quick Seafood Cioppino
Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo
What makes this gumbo extra delicious is the dark roux. Take your time―it’s worth the effort.
Recipe: Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo
Cape Cod Clam Chowder
Roasting clams in the oven until they open slightly is the easy way to shuck them. Save the flavorful liquid, but strain first to remove any grit or pieces of shell.
Recipe: Cape Cod Clam Chowder
Creamy Celery Root Soup with Smoked Trout
This recipe mixes celery root, apple, and potato to create a bowl of creamy goodness. It's then topped with smoked trout and hazelnuts.
We love this chowder from Flying Fish restaurant in Seattle. It's perfect for a weeknight meal—preparation time is 15 minutes and cook time just 35!
Recipe: Salmon Chowder