Homemade Condensed Cream of Celery Soup

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Homemade Condensed Cream of Celery Soup that just happens to be gluten-free

Cooks who liked my homemade Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup have requested recipes for other varieties of condensed cream soups.  Just in time for Thanksgiving, I revisited the idea and came up with this condensed cream of celery soup for those of you who would rather not use the canned stuff in your favorite dishes.

Consider this recipe your starting point.  Decide if you want to make it in the microwave or on the stove. Directions are included for both. Then consider the possibilities for variations. Try different herbs, spices, or flavored oils. For example, I usually substitute 1-2 tablespoons of fresh or frozen chopped onion for the onion powder because I like the taste better with real onion. The original recipe specifies powdered onion because it results in a taste closer to the commercial soup.

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Vacuum-pack celery in a glass jar to buy some extra days of freshness or chop and freeze it.

While we’re talking about celery, did you know you can freeze it? I probably wouldn’t use it in chicken salad, but it works great in a recipe where the celery is cooked. Chop it up and throw it into a plastic bag. It’s a good solution for leftover celery that might otherwise languish in the produce drawer until it turns brown and slimy. Vacuum-packing the stalks into a glass jar (kept in the refrigerator, of course) will also buy you a few more days of storage time.

Illustrated Guide to Cooking Condensed Cream of Celery Soup in the Microwave

microwave storyboard cream of celery soup

 Illustrated Guide to Cooking Condensed Cream of Celery Soup on Top of the Stove

top of stove story board--celery soup

Condensed Cream of Celery Soup
 
Author:
Serves: 3
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Using only a whisk and a microwave, you can make your own condensed cream of celery soup. Customize to your own taste.
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup finely-chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
  • 8-ounces 2% evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder (I substitute 1 tablespoon chopped onion)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon celery salt or table salt
  • Pinch of sugar
Instructions
Microwave
  1. Place chopped celery and oil into a 2 quart glass microwave-safe bowl. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 minutes. (If substituting onion for onion powder, add the onion to the celery to knock off the crunchiness.)
  2. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth.
  3. Microwave for 2 minutes, stopping to whisk after 1 minute and again when finished.
Stove-top
  1. Saute celery (and onion if substituting for powder) in hot oil in skillet over medium heat.
  2. When vegetables are softened, add milk, then whisk in remaining ingredients. Stir constantly and cook gently until thickened.
Notes
Just a word about substitutions for the evaporated milk. Various kinds of fresh milk from non-fat to half and half will work, but they will not stand up to the prolonged cooking many recipes require. If you accidentally let the soup boil, it could break and curdle. Also, freezing soup made with fresh milk may result in some separation when it thaws--something you may or may not care about depending on how you are using it. Evaporated milk is more stable and results in a product closest to that found in the can, in my opinion.

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Sharon Williams November 22, 2016 at 10:58 pm

Hi! I will be using this recipe to make green bean casserole for Thanksgiving. I need it to be gluten free and am wondering if I could use gluten free flour instead of corn starch and could I substitute butter for the oil? Thanks! I realize I am cutting this close to the holiday so if I don’t hear back from you in time I will just experiment!

Paula November 23, 2016 at 6:51 am

Hi Sharon,
I have not tried gluten-free flour myself. Would think that butter would work fine although I haven’t tried that either. Hope it works for you. Happy Thanksgiving.

Lisa November 10, 2015 at 7:40 pm

How long can you keep it in the refrigerator?

Wendy June 17, 2014 at 3:01 pm

So I just prepared this using the microwave. I plan on using it in a tuna rice casserole that I have always used the canned soup in. I can’t seem to figure out if this makes an amount equal to one can, and is it truly condensed? As in, am I supposed to add an equal amount of water if the recipe says to add one can of water? It looks really good, but mostly all I tasted was the cornstarch. Maybe I need more salt or to cook it longer? Thank you! I love how easy this was!

Paula June 17, 2014 at 9:51 pm

Hi Wendy,
I use this soup exactly the way I would a can of soup from the store. It is truly condensed. I can’t imagine eating it straight up without adding water or milk–way too thick and rich. I’m not sure about the cornstarch taste. I do not detect it myself. This soup has considerably less salt than what you get at the store. You might try adding more salt if that’s what you are use to.

You should cook it until it is very thick–however long that takes. Of course, it will become a lot thicker as it cools.

Jeannie May 18, 2014 at 10:12 am

I made this for my Funeral Potatoes recipe and it worked great. Fantastic flavor and I know exactly what ingredients used were. Thank you!

Amber March 19, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Do you need to add the oil if you are using the microwave version?

Paula March 20, 2014 at 8:35 am

Amber,
Oil adds flavor, improves the texture, and gives you a product closer to what most people are used to out of the can. But you can leave it out if you like.

Leah Scholten November 21, 2013 at 4:45 am

Is this recipe equivalent to one can of the name brand stuff or is it more?

Paula November 23, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Hi Leah, Yes. Same amount as a regular can of Campbells soup.

Carolyn November 4, 2013 at 9:52 am

Can this be frozen or canned for later use? I need to restock my pantry and might just make rather than buy!

Paula November 6, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Yes, it can be frozen. Have not tried to can it so can’t say about that. It may separate slightly when thawed but if you nuke it a bit and give it a good whisk, it will be smooth again.

Jessica September 16, 2013 at 10:13 am

Thank you for all your condensed cream soup recipes! We have a gluten allergy in our home, and all cream soups on the shelf have gluten! Your recipes have given us some of our favorite dishes back!! Thank you!

:-)Kim June 7, 2013 at 9:16 pm

I am so happy to find this relatively easy-looking recipe, since the commercial maker of the gluten-free cream of celery soup I have been using stopped making it. I always keep some on hand, as I use it instead of cream of mushroom soup in a LOT of recipes. Can you freeze this?

Jeri April 4, 2013 at 12:59 pm

This was as easy as you made it look. I made on the stove and it wrked perfectly in the dish it was for. Thank you.

Julie February 28, 2013 at 6:38 pm

Is there a way to make a vegan version of this condensed soup? I see that when you talk about using evaporated instead of cow milk, you talk about the curdling, etc. Would that be handled better by almond, coconut, or soy milks?

hillary February 10, 2013 at 1:02 pm

have tried several different recipes for gluten free “cream of ..soup” this is by far the best perfect consistency the evaporated milk makes all the difference

Liz January 22, 2013 at 11:27 pm

Thanks.
I need this to make Reuben Chowder for relative who has celiac’s disease and need everything gluten free. This should do it.

Marilou December 5, 2012 at 6:40 am

I like to use the cream of mushroom soup in beef stew, especially if I have no fresh mushrooms and no time to run to store. This is great, so now I know exactly what we are ingesting.
Love your web site. Have used so many of your recipes and tips.

Paula December 5, 2012 at 8:36 pm

Thank-you Marilou. Your comment made my day!

maureen November 19, 2012 at 12:27 pm

love the homemade versions for cream of any soup. do use cornstarch rather than flour–cooks up much nicer

Suzanne November 12, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Nice recipe Paula, I do like how you take the high salt and preservative canned soups that work so great in recipes and make it homemade and it really looks pretty easy too.

Sarah G November 10, 2012 at 8:45 pm

This is brilliant. I cringe to use canned soups. I’ll have to try this.

The Café Sucré Farine November 9, 2012 at 9:53 am

Wow, I would have never thought about making this at home but it certainly sounds a lot healthier and tastier!

donna November 9, 2012 at 8:23 am

Do you have a recipe for cream of chicken soup? It is the one that I use most often.Thanks and love your blog.

Paula November 9, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Donna,
Great suggestion. It is on my (long) list.

Paula November 8, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Mmm….mmmm…mmmm! Looks healthy and hearty and I can see switching out the celery for broccoli at some point too. Have you ever done that?

Kate November 8, 2012 at 11:07 am

Thank you – can’t wait to try it.

Vicki W. November 8, 2012 at 6:25 am

Paula, I may be the last cook in America to admit this, but I haven’t used cream of (anything) soup in recipes, LOL. Could you give a few examples where you would use this? The only one I ever knew of is when my mother in law would use cream of mushroom over a roast to make a gravy.

Paula November 9, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Hi Vicki,
I love to make pot roast with cream of mushroom soup. If you look in any community cookbook, I suspect you’ll find several recipes calling for condensed cream soups.

Amanda Rhodes November 7, 2012 at 9:57 pm

I love the new recipe cards! Very cool.

Karen K November 7, 2012 at 9:22 pm

Oh thank you! I was just thinking about how I’d like to convert some recipes that call for this to fully home made. Fantastic!

Betty November 7, 2012 at 9:15 pm

It’s good to have an option other than the canned stuff! Why haven’t I ever thought of freezing celery? Great idea!

Lorraine November 7, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Love to try this! I usually use cream of chicken soup but I could try this substitute.

Great stopping by, Paula!

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