How To Save A Watery Soup

True Story: What I thought of as culinary improvisation for dinner last night - taco soup in the crock pot - turned out to be an underwhelming soup combo with waaaay too much liquid in it.  Whoops.

Just keepin' it real.  Watery soup happens here all the time.  I'm pretending to salvage my blunder by sharing some ideas for how to roll with it ... 

Too many cooks spoil the broth, right?  Well, in my case, it would've been nice to have another cook to call me on my oops-too-brothy soup last night.  Instead, I pulled the lid off the crockpot five minutes before we were ready to sit down, and had to pull out a few tricks.  Here are some ideas for you, if by some chance you find yourself in the same boat:

1.  Add salt - too much water in soup throws off the flavor balance.  Adding salt won't help with wateriness, but it WILL help the taste.  Maybe you won't feel like you're choking down hot water for dinner.  Other spices could help too, depending on your soup: cumin and oregano for taco-style soups, coriander and curry powder for Asian soups, basil and rosemary for Italian soups.  All this assumes, of course, that you've already added salt.  Add salt first.  Do it.

2.  Add a few tablespoons (or more) of tomato paste - this thickens the broth and adds a rich tomato flavor.  Start with a good heaping tablespoon, whisk it in, and then add more as desired.  You did already add the salt, right?  Tomatoes and salt were made for each other.

3.  Puree half (or all) of the soup - again, this can thicken what broth is there.  In last night's soup scenario, I pureed about a cup or two of beans that were sitting on the bottom of the pot, then stirred it back in.

4.  If you have time, boil off some of the water.  This should take about 20-30 minutes over high heat.

5.  Serve the soup over rice or corn bread.  With salt, of course.

6.  Layer on the toppings.  Chips, salsa, cheese, sour cream, olives, jalapenos, and even fresh lettuce and tomatoes are great toppings.  And they'll make you think that you MEANT for the soup to be as liquidy as it was, to make space for all that deliciousness.

7.  Scrap it and send the Mister to McDonald's.

Well, there you go friends.  A little bit of culinary honesty, brought to you by the letter H, the number 2, and the letter O.


  1. I have one more suggestion! Drain off some of the liquid and freeze it to use wherever you would use water or stock to add some extra flavor. It make for a no-brainer in-a-hurry rice, etc. If I need to do this, I just scoop ladles into a strainer and dump the fillings back in.

  2. Greta, you're a genius! I did this with the leftover soup we had, and cooked rice for tomorrow's dinner. Thanks for the tip!