Kitchen Shelf: Kathleen’s Favorite Soup Books

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Campbell’s was right: Soup is good food. But it’s even better for you if you make it yourself. If you’re craving more creamy, hearty, vegetable-y happiness by the bowlful, here are some of my favorite soup cookbooks. Be sure to check out my post, How to Make Soup out of (Almost) Anything.

Splendid Soups
Talk about hearty. James Peterson’s robust 600-plus-pager is a soup lit classic. With almost 300 recipes– from simple French Onion and Gazpacho numbers to fancier fare like Duck Consommé and Foie Gras and Truffle soup – there’s bound to be a palate-pleaser for everyone. Plus, plenty of soup recipes from around the world – such as Vietnamese Spicy Soup with Rice Noodles – and many, many, many more. $29.70.

500 Soups
This one by Susannah Blake packs a lot of punch for the price ($12.71 at Amazon), and readers love it for for easy-to-follow instructions. Each recipe come with variations, and many have pairing suggestions. A great place to start for anyone who’s still warming up.

The Daily Soup Cookbook
Leslie Caul and Bob Spiegel serve up 200 recipes for soups, stews and stocks, all organized by ingredient (vegetables, beans, fruit and so on) alongside lots of silly sidebars, like the Periodic Table of Soup. Another chapter: “Really Delicious Soups That Didn’t Fit into Any Chapter.” Handy for anyone from novices to souper-stars, plus the authors’ tongue-in-cheek tidbits remind us to have fun and stop taking our soup (and ourselves) so seriously. List price $18.95.

Dairy Hollow House Soup & Bread
Inspired by her country inn and restaurant, Crescent Dragonwagon’s down-home soup book starts with stock and ends with salads, hitting cornmeal dumplings, breads and of course, a slew of tempting soups and in between. She has soups for all seasons, sections dedicated to solving kitchen quandaries (like  how to cook and eat an artichoke) and inventive entries like Fishysoisse,  a hot-served version of vichysoisse with an addition of fish. Honestly, the reading is just as stellar as the recipes. Sadly, this book is no longer in print, but you can sometimes find it at independent bookstores, Amazon and eBay.

What are your go-to soup guides? Tell us in the comments below. (Updated October 2013)


  1. I JUST finished making beef barley soup, because I could not waste left over brisket! THAT is because The Kitchen Counter Cooking School is always on my mind! If I throw away a bunch of cilantro, I try to think of a way not to!

    I have both Splendid Soup and the Daily Soup. As much as I love cookbooks, I always end up making up my own soup recipe once I check a few others. So wierd…. I am so meticulous when it comes to following recipes, but with soup, I feel free to create (sometimes a hit, others a miss).

    I really like the Gourmet cookbook for reference. Even though I have over 500 cookbooks (I have a book problem), when in a PINCH, I check Fanny Farmer, the 2nd cookbook I ever bought.

    Kathleen, your wisdom is always, honestly, ALWAYS in the back of my mind.

  2. I am not confident about making soup. Thanks for these ideas!

  3. This is a great collection. Thanks!

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