Warm up with a comforting bowlful of our tastiest recipes, from veggie minestrone to tortilla soup
Thomas J. Story
A favorite at Cowgirl Creamery’s Sidekick Cafe in San Francisco, this soup is a grilled cheese sandwich’s best friend. Its success depends on really good canned tomatoes and long, slow simmering, so that all the flavors meld.
Recipe: Sidekick Tomato Soup
We left the soup chunky with a clear broth, but you could easily purée it to create a smooth soup. Just don't skip the avocado mixture, as it makes a refreshing contrast to the beans and spice.
We made our matzo balls small, for easier eating, but if you prefer 1 large ball per serving, divide the dough into 4 to 6 balls and boil them 10 minutes longer.
Recipe: Matzo Ball Soup
A popular Japanese winter dish, warm soba with toppings is just the thing for lunch on an overcast day. The broth is made with dashi, a staple soup base whose delicate flavor comes from dried bonito tuna flakes and seaweed.
Recipe: Warm Soba Noodle Bowl
This lightly spicy soup shows off the heirloom kale’s tender texture and mild flavor.
A far cry from the store-bought packages, real ramen starts with amazing broth. Chef Kolin Vazzoler, of the late, lamented Shimo Modern Steak in Healdsburg, California, simmered his for 12 hours. Our simplified version of his dish doesn’t take nearly that long, but it’s still over the top, taste-wise.
This soup has two layers of kumquats—cooked in the soup to become mellow and tender, and finely chopped with parsley for a bright topping.
Recipe: Lentil and Kumquat Soup
Classic. Simple. Comforting. Nothing beats a good bowl of miso soup, and this recipe is sure to become one of your go-tos on rainy days. We used edamame and tofu, but you could substitute cooked meat and most any vegetable you have on hand.
Recipe: Miso Soup with Tofu and Nori
Get the most out of great fresh carrots by making pesto out of their tops.
This pretty soup takes on an added delicacy if you use ravioli made with thinly rolled pasta, but it's good with the sturdier type too.
Recipe: Herb Ravioli Soup
We like the fennel flavor of Italian sausage, but any chicken sausage will work.
Some of corn’s best partners—medium-hot chiles, chorizo, and basil—join up in this simple dish. It’s substantial enough to call a chowder, but light enough for summer.
Recipe: Spicy Chorizo Corn Chowder
Thomas J. Story
This lovely soup is practically spring in a bowl. To make it heartier, scatter quartered cherry tomatoes and croutons on top. Snap peas often have a fibrous string that runs down the pod's straight side; to remove it, snap off the stem end and pull down sharply.
The charm here lies in the toppings, which diners can customize to their liking.
Recipe: Tortilla Soup
One large dumpling per diner tastes just as good as many smaller ones, but it's faster to make and looks more dramatic.
Make this simple soup when tomatoes are at their peak. Chilling melds the flavors.
Recipe: Easiest Garden Gazpacho
This spicy Malaysian soup may have a long list of ingredients, but it’s super easy to make.
Recipe: Chicken Laksa
“When I serve this soup to my 7-year-old,” says Sunset reader Cristina Gonzalez, now of Fredericksburg, VA, “we talk about how his Mexican abuelito [grandfather] and I ate it growing up in L.A., and how he’s eating it now.” She changed out the original beef for turkey. The flavors are very gentle, making this a great family dish.
Recipe: Meatball Vegetable Soup
This 5-ingredient recipe leaves you free to spend the rest of the evening out of the kitchen.
While the pot simmers, brush some slices of country bread or levain with olive oil and toast them, to serve with the hot soup.
Recipe: Chard and White Bean Soup
With its lively dance of flavors, this soup is a tonic.
Recipe: Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup
Minty oil and toasted almonds highlight the sweet taste of peas in this soup. It’s especially good with fresh peas from your garden, but still delicious with pre-shelled ones from the store.
Recipe: Fresh Pea Soup with Mint
Leo Gong; Charles Gullung
Serve this lively soup, a fine showcase for Dungeness crab, to brighten up a winter day.
Recipe: Carrot Soup with Dungeness Crab
Use either soft, cold-smoked salmon (also called lox or Nova-style) or firmer, hot-smoked salmon (also called kippered), or offer both for an interesting mix.
This 5-star favorite can be prepped the day before and completed quickly just before serving.
Recipe: Italian Sausage and Pasta Soup
Hominy gives this flavorful soup a satisfying bite and plays up the Southwest vibe of the avocado and cilantro toppings.
Recipe: Crab and Hominy Chowder
The variety of the vegetables, two kinds of legumes, and the Italian trick of cooking a bit of parmesan rind in the soup for added flavor create a palate-pleasing minestrone miles beyond the bland bean-and-pasta version so often served. The soup is flexible too; add your favorite vegetables or use whatever is bountiful in your garden this harvest.
Recipe: Vegetable Minestrone
Tamarind, cilantro, mint, and cucumber flavor this bowl.
Recipe: Indian-spiced Tomato Soup
Using canned broth, this classic Greek soup is ready in 30 minutes.
Recipe: Egg, Lemon, and Rice Soup
Add the flavors of Italian salsa verde―bright parsley, tart lemon, piquant capers, and green olives―for a fresh, fast twist on cold-weather cooking.
Guests can sip this festive, zesty soup from small cups or glasses. Pimentón de La Vera is a Spanish paprika that adds a smoky, sweet intensity, but Hungarian or regular paprika work too.
Recipe: Roasted Red Pepper–Tomato Soup
After one of her favorite restaurants refused to divulge the recipe for its velvety butternut squash and apple soup, Brie Tennis came pretty close with her own version.
Recipe: Brie’s Butternut Squash Bisque
George Morrone, executive chef of Redwood Park in San Francisco, uses fresh chanterelles in this soup, but it's also delicious with common button mushrooms.
Spicy sausage, sweet potato, and saffron brighten up familiar halibut in this chowder.
Recipe: Halibut and Sweet Potato Chowder