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Condensed “Cream Of” Soup Substitute (3 Ways)

This quick and easy homemade condensed “cream of” soup substitute can be used in all of your favorite recipes that call for canned cream soup. Choose cream of chicken, cream of mushroom or cream of celery!

All you need is just a few simple ingredients and 10 minutes or less to make a batch. It’s thick, creamy, flavorful, and it will make your recipes taste even better!

The season of casseroles, slow cooker meals, Instant Pot meals, and all the cozy and comforting food is upon us, friends. And many of those recipes often call for canned condensed “cream of” soup.

Sure, it’s a great convenience item. But maybe you’re like me and would rather use a homemade version that’s quick, easy, can save you money, and lets you control the ingredients.

In fact, I know that a lot of you prefer not to use canned soup because my casserole recipes that are made without it, such as Chicken Zucchini Casserole, Classic Tuna Casserole and Green Bean Casserole, are some of the most popular recipes here on the blog.

Or maybe you just need some canned soup for a recipe but don’t have any in the pantry and don’t have time to go to the store.

Whatever the reason, these substitutes for cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup and cream of celery soup are exactly what you need. Use them in any recipe that calls for condensed cream soup.

Each recipe makes a little over one cup, which is the equivalent of one 10.5-ounce can of soup. And just so you know, it’s going to be thick (just like the stuff in the can).

Give one of these a try the next time you’re making a recipe that calls for canned “cream of” soup and see why I’ve been using this recipe and haven’t bought a can of soup in years!

condensed cream of mushroom soup substitute in a bowl garnished with mushroom slices and a spoon on the side

Ingredients You Need

  • Butter (I use salted butter)
  • All-purpose flour
  • Chicken stock or broth* (for the cream of chicken only)
  • Milk (I use whole milk to keep it creamy)
  • Fresh mushrooms (for the cream of mushroom only)
  • Celery (for the cream of celery only)
  • Vegetable stock or broth* (for the cream of mushroom and cream of celery)
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

*For the stock or broth, I use either a roasted chicken base mixed with water or a roasted vegetable base mixed with water (such as Better Than Bouillon; #notsponsored). I think it has much more flavor than canned or boxed broth.

Note: Ingredient amounts are in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

How to Make Cream of Chicken Soup Substitute

1: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.

2: Once the butter is melted, add the flour. Stir until combined and smooth and then cook, stirring constantly, for one minute.

2 numbered images, number 1 is of butter melting in a small saucepan, and number 2 is of flour added to the butter in the saucepan and then being cooked and stirred with a whisk

3: Add the chicken stock or broth and the milk; stir to combine.

4: Increase the heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

2 numbered images, number 3 is of broth and milk added to the saucepan and being stirred with a whisk, and number 4 is of the thickened mixture in the saucepan being stirred with a whisk

How to Make Cream of Mushroom Soup Substitute

1: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have softened.

2: Add the flour to the mushroom mixture. Stir until combined and smooth and then cook, stirring constantly, for one minute.

2 numbered images, number 1 is of butter melting in a saucepan and then chopped mushrooms being sauteed in the butter, and number 2 is of flour added to the saucepan and then being cooked and stirred with a wooden spoon

3: Add the vegetable broth or stock and the milk; stir to combine.

4: Increase the heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

2 numbered images, number 3 is of broth and milk added to the saucepan and being stirred with a whisk, and number 4 is of the thickened mixture being stirred with a whisk

How to Make Cream of Celery Soup Substitute

1: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the diced celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the celery has softened.

2: Add the flour to the celery mixture. Stir until combined and smooth and then cook, stirring constantly, for one minute.

2 numbered images, number 1 is of butter melting in a saucepan and then diced celery added to and being cooked in the saucepan, and number 2 is of flour added to the celery mixture and then being cooked and stirred with a wooden spoon

3: Add the vegetable stock or broth and the milk; stir to combine.

4: Increase the heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

2 numbered images, number 3 is of broth and milk added to the saucepan with the celery mixture and being stirred with a whisk, and number 4 is of the thickened mixture being cooked and stirred with a whisk

Note: This is just a brief overview of the steps. Scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for the full printable recipe with ingredient amounts and detailed instructions.

Recipe Tips & Tidbits

  • Once the mixture comes to a boil and simmers, it is going to be thick. That’s how it’s supposed to be. It should be very similar to the consistency of condensed soup straight from the can.
  • Because the mixture will thicken up even more as it cools, it is best when added to your recipe right away for that nice creamy texture.
    • It’s okay to let it sit in the pot off the heat for a few minutes while you prepare your other ingredients or start to prepare your recipe. I just don’t recommend making it ahead of time and keeping it in the fridge because it will get really overly thick.
  • If it gets too thick, you can always stir in a little more broth or milk to loosen it up.
  • If you’re in a pinch and need some cream of soup for a recipe, the cream of chicken substitute is the most basic and can be used in pretty much any recipe, even those that call for cream of mushroom or celery if you don’t have those veggies on hand to make those versions.
  • These soup substitutes are not really meant to be eaten as a soup; they’re intended for use in recipes.
    • Try my Homemade Creamy Mushroom Soup if you’re looking for a delicious soup to have for lunch or dinner. It’s easy to make and is way better than anything you could ever get from a can!
condensed cream of celery soup in a bowl garnished with sliced celery and a spoon on the side

Substitutions & Variations

  • For the cream of mushroom substitute:
    • You can use ½ cup of drained and finely chopped canned or jarred mushrooms instead of fresh. Since they’re already cooked, you’ll only need to sauté them in the butter for a few seconds before adding the flour.
    • Try using a mushroom broth or stock (or a mushroom base mixed with water), if you can find it, to really up the mushroom flavor.
  • For the cream of chicken substitute, you can add ½ cup of finely chopped cooked chicken if you’d like. I leave it out because I find that there’s hardly any chicken in the canned soup anyway. Plus, if I’m using it for a pork chop recipe, I don’t necessarily want pieces of chicken in there.
  • For the cream of celery substitute, you can up the celery flavor by replacing the salt with celery salt.
  • Cream of broccoli soup substitute: follow the recipe for cream of celery, but replace the celery with ½ cup of finely chopped cooked broccoli. Since the broccoli will be cooked, just sauté in the butter for a few seconds before adding the flour.
  • Feel free to add fresh or dried herbs, spices or any other seasonings that you’d like to change up the flavor, such as garlic powder, onion powder, poultry seasoning, parsley, thyme, paprika, and more.
condensed cream of chicken soup substitute in a bowl with a spoon on the side

Make Ahead, Storing & Freezing

As mentioned, I recommend using this soup substitute immediately for the best creamy results because it will thicken up a lot more as it cools. And it will become super-duper thick if you put it in the fridge. So, for that reason, I don’t suggest making it ahead.

That being said, if you’re not going to use it right away, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator, once cooled, for up to 3 to 4 days.

Before adding it to your recipe, remove it from the fridge, give it a good stir to loosen it up, and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to take the chill off. Give it another good stir and add a little stock or broth, if needed, to thin it out a bit.

I don’t recommend freezing this, as the texture can become curdled/grainy and unpleasant.

condensed cream of mushroom soup substitute in a bowl with a spoonful lifted out

How to Use This Condensed “Cream of” Soup Substitute

Use this substitute in any recipe that calls for canned condensed cream of soup. One recipe of any of the 3 versions makes a little over a cup and is equal to one 10.5-ounce can of soup. If you need 2 cans of soup, just double the recipe.

I hope you try this Condensed “Cream Of” Soup Substitute recipe and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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Casserole Recipes Without Canned Soup to Try

If you made this recipe, I’d love to know how it went! Please leave a star rating and comment below. Thanks!

3 bowls of cream of soup substitute, chicken, mushroom and celery

Condensed “Cream Of” Soup Substitute (3 Ways)

This quick and easy homemade condensed "cream of" soup substitute can be used in all of your favorite recipes that call for canned cream soup. Choose cream of chicken, cream of mushroom or cream of celery!
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Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1 can equivalent (recipe makes a little over 1 cup)
Estimated Calories: 470

Ingredients

Cream of Chicken

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup chicken stock or broth, I use a roasted chicken base mixed with water
  • ½ cup milk, I use whole milk
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste

Cream of Mushroom

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup vegetable stock or broth, I use a roasted vegetable base mixed with water
  • ½ cup milk, I use whole milk
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste

Cream of Celery

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup finely diced celery
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup vegetable stock or broth, I use a roasted vegetable base mixed with water
  • ½ cup milk, I use whole milk
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste

Instructions

Cream of Chicken

  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat (I use a 1-quart saucepan).
  • Once the butter is melted, add the flour. Stir until combined and smooth, and then cook, stirring constantly, for one minute.
  • Add the chicken stock or broth and the milk; stir to combine.
    I like to use a whisk for this step and the remaining steps; it helps to more easily break up any lumps and keep the mixture smooth.
  • Increase the heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cream of Mushroom

  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat (I use a 1-quart saucepan).
  • Add the chopped mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have softened (about 3 to 4 minutes).
  • Add the flour to the mushroom mixture; stir until combined and smooth, and then cook, stirring constantly, for one minute.
  • Add the vegetable stock or broth and the milk; stir to combine.
    I like to use a whisk for this step and the remaining steps; it helps to more easily break up any lumps and keep the mixture smooth.
  • Increase the heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cream of Celery

  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat (I use a 1-quart saucepan).
  • Add the diced celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the celery has softened (about 4 to 5 minutes).
  • Add the flour to the celery mixture; stir until combined and smooth, and then cook, stirring constantly, for one minute.
  • Add the vegetable stock or broth and the milk; stir to combine.
    I like to use a whisk for this step and the remaining steps; it helps to more easily break up any lumps and keep the mixture smooth.
  • Increase the heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Notes

  • After simmering, the mixture will be quite thick and should have about the same consistency as canned condensed soup straight from the can. Note that it will thicken up even more as it cools. If it gets too thick, you can always stir in a little more stock or broth to loosen it up a bit.
  • Because the mixture continues to thicken as it cools, it is best when made fresh and added to your recipe right away for that nice creamy texture.
    • It’s okay to let it sit in the pot off the heat for a few minutes while you prepare your other ingredients or start to prepare your recipe. I just don’t recommend making it ahead of time and keeping it in the fridge because it will get really thick.
  • Use these soup substitutes in any recipe that calls for canned condensed “cream of” soup. One recipe of any of the 3 versions makes a little over one cup, which is the equivalent of one 10.5-ounce can of soup. 
  • Estimated calories shown of 470 are for the entire recipe for either the cream of mushroom or cream of celery substitute. Estimated calories for the entire recipe for the cream of chicken substitute is 465. 
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it!Share it on Instagram, tag @nowcookthis and use the hashtag #nowcookthisrecipes. Thanks!
Recipe Rating




Barbara A Jones

Wednesday 20th of September 2023

Wow what a great idea these condensed soups are. I will surely be making them. Thank you so much. Best Wishes Barbara

Michelle

Thursday 21st of September 2023

Thank you, Barbara! Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!