The Best Soup Seasonings
The Best Soup Seasonings

Soup is the blanket for your insides on frigid days, and it brings all the comfort you could possibly need when you are sick. It can be a disappointing experience when you sit down to a bowl of steaming soup to find yourself underwhelmed by the flavor. If only you had added a little bit more salt at the beginning, or thought to drop in some powdered garlic. You could add it to your bowl then, but it's just not the same as cooking with the spices. Do not beat yourself up, everyone has bad cooking days. Chalk it up to a learning experience and take a few moments to master some different ways to season soup. Whether you love chicken noodle soup or stick to the classic combination of tomato soup with grilled cheese, you are sure to discover some spices here that will help you bring this comfort food into your regular rotation. Your tongue will thank you for your efforts.


Soup Seasoning

Where can we start when talking about soup seasoning? There are so many kinds of soup to choose from, and you will certainly want to pick the right spices and blends to compliment the soup you are making. When considering soup recipes, start with salt. Salt is one of the world's best flavor enhancers, teasing out tremendous nuances and savory goodness when used correctly. Salting to taste is a phrase you will hear a lot in soup preparation, but that phrase is subjective. One person's bland is another's over-salted. Salt sparingly and allow the people eating your soup to salt it to their own tastes.

Salt probably makes you think of all the savory soups you can make. Savory soups are delicious appetizers for the long winter months, you can also enjoy a steaming bowl of soup as your meal, rounded out with a salad or a piece of bread. First, let's consider the savory goodness of vegetable soup.


Vegetable Soup Seasoning

What do you do once the cold weather arrives and you want to build a good vegetable soup from a solid, tasty base? Something that's rich, hot, filling, and uses the end-of-season veggies you've got in your fridge?  Soup is the great refrigerator cleaner, and you can put just about any vegetables you have, into a pot and call it a soup. When  you season it, we recommend starting with our Vegetable Soup Mix. It's perfect as a vegetable soup base. It contains celery salt, parsley flakes, garlic powder, sea salt, summer savory, marjoram, thyme, black pepper, turmeric and sage, which are all excellent with root vegetables, so you could easily incorporate things like carrots or potatoes into the soup. If you want to go a step further, you can try our Vegetable Stock Powder, which has nutritional yeast, onion, garlic, thyme, celery, rosemary, parsley, oregano, marjoram, sage, turmeric, and basil. Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast that imparts a cheesy, umami flavor, and it's much beloved by vegetarians, vegans, and omnivores. To really make the flavors pop in your vegetable soup, try just a pinch of lemon zest to help bring together all the flavors.
If you don't want to build a base and you've decided to just jump in with a black bean soup for dinner, you will do especially well with herbs like Mediterranean oregano or basil. Black bean soup can be made infinitely better with a finishing salt like Smoky Citrus Salt. You would want to put a finishing salt on after you've distributed the soup to bowls, since finishing salts give texture and visual appeal to the dish.

Sweet potato soup is a less savory vegetable soup that can even be treated as a dessert. Surely you have at least one family member who doesn't favor sweets but really enjoys soup. Sprinkle the soup with allspice for some extra flavor. If you are daring, try pairing the sweet potato soup with a vanilla bean ice cream. Ginger also compliments sweet potato soup well, so add a bit of powdered ginger for soup that's sweet with a bit of heat. As a bonus, ginger compliments vanilla ice cream really well, too.

Eventually, thoughts turn towards tomato soup, that eternal cold-weather favorite. How can you shake up the recipe that you pulled from your mom's faded cookbook, and make it your own creation that you can call along some day? We suggest Moroccan Vegetable Rub. This seasoning blend gives everyday tomato soup real dimension. It has a little sharpness from the paprika, chili powder, and cayenne, but it also lends a tiny bit of sweetness because of the cinnamon, allspice, and cloves in its ingredients list. Whole peppercorns ground fresh over your soup will cement it as a showstopper.

Most meaty soups begin with an aromatic vegetable base. Whether you're making beef barley soup, a classic chicken noodle (there will be more on this below), or ham and bean, you would do well to add a bay leaf to your recipe. The bay leaf will give the soup a little something extra without overwhelming the dish. Bay leaves have a great relationship with meat dishes, as they help enhance the flavor of the whole dish. Remove the bay leaf before serving your soup; you don't want anyone to choke.
If you are just testing the waters with making your own soup, you can't go wrong with onion or garlic, which are wonderfully dynamic. They will give flavor to any kind of vegetable soup you can imagine. Dehydrated vegetables are excellent in traditional vegetable soups as well, with some favorites including, Dried Shallots, Dehydrated Red Bell Pepper, Dehydrated Green Bell Pepper, Celery Flakes, Tomato Flakes, Minced Onion and Roasted Garlic Flakes.


Spices to use in Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken soup is good for the soul, or so say pop-culture writers, and it's hand-in-hand with warmth, happiness, and security. So what makes a good chicken soup, one that will taste delicious and impart those same feelings? Start with the bright, snappy flavor of Celery Seed, and add in some aromatics, like California Minced Onion and California Granulated Garlic. Salt and black pepper round out the basics; from there, try some Poultry Seasoning, or look at our Oaxacan Vegetable Seasoning for a new spin on a traditional chicken noodle soup. 

If you add potatoes or sweet potatoes to your chicken noodle soup, then we suggest that you complement them with cayenne pepper. This is also a great idea if you have a cold; need we say more about hot spices and stuffy noses? Smoked sweet paprika is also delicious in chicken soup. Should you want more of an herbal tasting chicken noodle soup, parsley and basil are perfect because they are both mellow but slightly sweet. These will give you a more pronounced, classic chicken soup flavor.


Broth Seasoning

Sometimes you just want some broth! This might be the case if you have a scratchy throat or just feel like swallowing your soup without the hinderance of all those noodles and vegetables, no matter how delicious they may be.

Broth seasoning depends on what kind of broth you are starting with. A good chicken broth seasoning would be sea salt, which we have already talked about extensively. Herbs de Province is a good spice blend that will help you get a mellow, herbaceous flavor in your broth that will certainly delight you in conjunction with the flavor of the chicken broth, without overwhelming it.

Beef broth is extremely flavorful as is, but you can certainly add some spices. A common combination is cinnamon sticks, cloves, ground coriander and star anise, which when used in conjunction with one another recreate the flavor of pho. You could also simply use pepper to taste.

Vegetable broth seasoning is very similar to vegetable soup seasoning. Celery seed powder will give a good neutral, grassy flavor to vegetable broth, which will keep it earthy. If you want a spice blend, there are things like Chinese Five Spice and Maharajah Curry that would be excellent for lots of flavor with minimal effort. Spice blends eliminate the need to layer flavors on your own, which is lovely if you are in a rush.

Just like any other kind of cooking, testing out different flavors is key. Learn what you like best by being unafraid of failing in the kitchen. Sometimes your creations will be delicious and sometimes they will taste awful, but that is okay. It's all a learning process. Enjoy the rest of your winter with these tips on spicing up your favorite soups.