5-Minute Homemade Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup

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Are you tired of “salt pills” that come packaged as condensed cream soups? Maybe they aren’t available where you live, or perhaps it’s Thanksgiving eve and you can’t find any in the pantry to make Aunt Bertha’s casserole.

Here is a quick way to make it yourself at home. You control the salt. You control the seasonings. You control the freshness.

So far, I’ve tackled condensed cream of mushroom, condensed cream of celery and now, condensed cream of chicken soup. If you care about such things, they all just happen to be gluten-free as far as I know.

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This recipe is the simplest yet. Whisk all ingredients together and microwave for 3 minutes, or longer if you have a slow or older microwave. For those of you who don’t do microwaves, cook it gently on top of the stove, stirring frequently until it thickens.

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The primary source of chicken flavor is the Better Than Bouillon chicken base pictured above. I prefer it over bouillon cubes or store-bought chicken broth. The only thing that tastes better would be homemade chicken stock, but to use it in this soup would require a major reduction and way more time than 5 minutes. This chicken base is much easier. I highly recommend the organic reduced sodium chicken base. (I buy mine at Costco.) The regular reduced sodium chicken base has 500 mg sodium per serving compared to the 350 mg per serving as seen on the label above. Translation:  Using the organic, reduced sodium Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base will yield a product with roughly half the the amount of sodium as the condensed cream of chicken soup sold in the red can.

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The most frequently asked question about the other cream soups was, “Can I freeze it?” In my experience, yes. It will separate slightly but a quick warm-up in the microwave followed by a vigorous whisking will restore the original creamy texture.

 

Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: soup
Serves: Equal to 1 10-3/4 ounce can
Ingredients
  • 1-1/4 cup 2% evaporated milk (see note about milk)
  • 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons chicken base
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons finely chopped, cooked chicken
Instructions
  1. Whisk together in a microwave-safe glass container no less that 1 qt in size. Microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes until very thick, stopping to whisk mixture after each minute. Microwave ovens vary wildly so it may take longer in yours. Just keep cooking and whisking every so often until it gets thick.
  2. Alternatively, you may pour whisked mixture (see notes) into a saucepan or skillet and cook on medium low on top of the stove until thickened.
  3. If you are unfortunate enough to find lumps in your soup, pour it through a strainer. Add finely chopped chicken.
Notes
1.You can use fresh milk instead of evaporated (never sweetened condensed milk), but it will not hold up to prolonged cooking or freezing like the evaporated milk does.

2. If you choose to make this on the stove, I recommend you mix it in a blender first, OR plan to push it through a strainer when it has been cooked. The chicken base doesn't seem to dissolve as readily as it does in the microwave so blending it first results in a creamier product.

3. Be advised that microwave ovens vary wildly. If your soup doesn't thicken after 3 minutes, keep cooking and stirring every minute until it does.

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Betty November 1, 2013 at 6:44 pm

I have stopped using the condensed soups because of the high sodium and will definitely try this in my favorite chicken enchilada recipe. I love the Better than Bouillon, and have some in my refrigerator. :)

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Connie November 2, 2013 at 4:36 am

Just in time for the holidays. Sounds delish! Thanks for the recipe:)

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Jocelyn November 3, 2013 at 11:28 pm

This recipe is a gem! I used it tonight in a new recipe for taco soup, and it worked like a charm. I am thrilled never to need store bought cream of chicken soup again. Thanks so much!

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Paula November 4, 2013 at 9:29 am

Love to hear from people who actually try the recipe. Thanks so much Jocelyn.

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Suzanne November 8, 2013 at 10:28 pm

Paula it’s just awesome that you created your own condensed creamed soups, I must try this. I always love your recipes!

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Kathy November 20, 2013 at 9:56 am

Thanks so much for this! You have just blessed my day! :)

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Garrick December 3, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Paula, you’re my new heroine! I’ve been looking for Cream of… recipes forever!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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Saver Mom December 12, 2013 at 7:44 am

This is a much easier to make than I thought it would be! I love that you’ve used a lower sodium bouillon too. Now that I’m looking for it, too much sodium seems to be everywhere in the grocery stores. I’d like to make a big batch of this for my freezer. Any idea how long it will keep?

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Paula December 12, 2013 at 10:04 am

Mom,
I can’t say for sure. I like it best fresh but if I do freeze it, seems like I use it quickly. Maybe 6 mos? maybe even longer but haven’t tried it myself.

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Whitney December 29, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Are you able to can this? Bell/mason jar if so how??? :)

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Paula December 30, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Good question…..but, I don’t know the answer. I am not an expert in home canning nor have I tried it. Perhaps somebody else can answer from experience.

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Maddie January 1, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Is there a way to make this dairy free? I may try rice milk… Anyone tried it before?

(My son can’t have dairy or soy and is nursing – so none for me either!)

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Tyicia January 7, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Can you make batches of this and freeze it freezer bags for later use?

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Donna January 11, 2014 at 7:59 pm

Love it!! Thanks. We just made my son’s favorite ‘chicken and cheese’ recipe for his birthday last week and I had a fleeting thought “it is so nice, I wonder if we could make it healthier by doing my own cream soup?” and then quickly dismissed the thought since it is cream of chicken and cream of cheese. Well, thanks to you, I am half way there and –at least- already tracking less salt!
THANKS

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judy January 12, 2014 at 3:36 pm

Unfortunately the Better than Bouillon chicken base contains yeast extract otherwise known as MSG. This ingredient causes a significant allergic reaction in many, and avoiding it is the reason I need to make my own cream of chicken soup. How disappointing to find this ingredient in an organic product.

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Sandi March 31, 2014 at 3:26 am

Why? Yeast is organic. Some of us have to avoid peanuts, or eggs, or a wide variety of other things, and some of us have to avoid MSG, which occurs naturally in a wide variety of food. For instance, tomatoes, cheese, papaya and many seaweeds if you’re a sushi lover.

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Red September 23, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Unfortunately, this is inaccurate. MSG does not ever, ever occur naturally – glutamates do. MSG is a chemically processed version of these, meant as a preservative and artificial ‘savory’ taste. L type glutamates are found naturally, whereas MSG contains D type, as well as chemically tweaked ratios that tip into the toxic realm. To compare the two types would be similar to comparing a freshly cut stalk of cane sugar from your backyard to a storebought bag of bleached, processed white granulated sugar. In fact, MSG kills brain cells so definitely that scientists use it when that’s their aim in research or experiments. …I’d recommend avoiding it.

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Sandi September 24, 2014 at 8:53 am

I don’t know where you got that idea, because it is very much not the case. Google ‘Foods that naturally contain MSG’ and you will find the shock of your life. Like this for instance…

‘Glutamate occurs naturally in protein-containing foods such as cheese, milk, mushrooms, meat, fish, and many vegetables. Glutamate is also produced by the human body and is vital for metabolism and brain function. Monosodium glutamate, or MSG, is the sodium salt of glutamate.’

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Red September 25, 2014 at 12:12 pm

All of that is correct. “Glutamate” is natural, even found in breast milk. “MSG” is made :into: he “sodium salt” by manual chemical process. It is the :type: of glutamates that is important here. MSG does not occur naturally, it is made.

KellyT February 5, 2014 at 7:19 pm

Genius!!! As for the canning question. I believe it is not advised to home can anything containing milk, eggs, cornstarch or flour. There is a canning website called sbcanning.com the lady that runs it is a wealth of knowledge about canning. I can’t wait to give this recipe a try. A lot of our faves require that stuff in the red can :)

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Paula February 6, 2014 at 10:03 am

Thanks for pitching in regarding canning this stuff. I don’t do it and wouldn’t consider it but many have asked.

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Lisa February 25, 2014 at 6:53 am

If making a crock pot recipe that calls for cream of chicken soup, can I just throw all the ingredients in the crock pot along with the recipe ingredients?

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Paula February 25, 2014 at 11:53 am

Lisa, I have not tried it. It doesn’t seem like a good idea but can’t say for sure. Paula

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Tiffany March 14, 2014 at 8:10 am

FYI- not gluten free because of the cornstarch, but that can be swapped out for another thickening agent. I’m trying it out today with Potato Statch as the substitute. I’m using it for Potato Soup, so it should sub nicely.

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Becky August 12, 2014 at 2:48 pm

I use Argo brand cornstarch and it says right on the label that it is gluten free. I plan on trying this for my daughter that has Celiacs. She misses the tuna hotdish I used to make.

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Paula August 15, 2014 at 6:55 am

Hi Becky,
Yes, Thanks for pointing that out. Some still do not believe. :-)

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Kaycee March 14, 2014 at 9:48 pm

For Maddie: I did this for years or my son who couldn’t have dairy…I made cream of onion or celery and I always used almond or soy milk. I’d try the rice if you like, it is sweeter, so it may change the flavor a bit.

Paula: my recipe was from the Better homes and gardens cookbook I got for a wedding present (awesome gift, btw) and it adds a dash of ground mustard. I love it. Worth a try? :)

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Kaycee March 14, 2014 at 9:54 pm

And another tip to lump proof your recipe (I am a stove top cooker myself) put your main ingredient in the pan first with the dry corn starh or flour to coat the main ingredient (can be the chicken or mushrooms, celery, or onion) and THEN stir the tea to the wet ingredients into that. The cornstarch (or flour) won’t clump!

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Jenilee March 17, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Cornstarch is gluten free so this is a great alternative for those of us who try to avoid it! Also, it tastes so much better than the canned variety. Thanks for the recipe. I tried it first this past thanksgiving and it has been a staple ever since.

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Sandi March 31, 2014 at 3:19 am

This was my favorite as a kid (many decades ago). Tried it a few years ago, not only was it too salty, now they put MSG, soy and yeast extracts, and something that makes it sweet in in it now. T’was nasty. Thanks for this recipe. Ans yes, the Better than Bouillon is awesome.

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susan monk June 23, 2014 at 3:39 pm

I am so thankful I found this site – I miss the condensed soups cause I won’t use the canned ones – thanks so much!!!!!

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