How To Replace Cream Soups in Recipes

Once I announced our new Real Food Recipe Makeover:  Heavenly Homemakers Edition feature, many asked me to come up with a substitute for cream soups in recipes. Well, I can check that one off my list right away, because I already have several options for cream soup substitutes that I can share!

The best part of replacing canned cream soups is that it can be absolutely SO SIMPLE! You can take some time to make homemade cream soup if you want, but if you don’t, there are a couple of very easy substitutions you can make that take no extra effort at all!

Cream Soup Substitution Idea One:

Add sour cream instead. If a recipe calls for one 10 ounce can of cream of ________ soup, you can use one cup of sour cream instead. This is how I make Cheesy Beef and Rice. The sour cream makes the casserole creamy and adds great flavor too. So easy!

Cream Soup Substitution Idea Two:

Add heavy cream instead. If a recipe calls for one 10 ounce can of cream of _________ soup, you can add one cup of cream instead. This is how I make Creamy Chicken and Rice Casserole. You won’t miss the cream soup at all!

Cream Soup Substitution Idea Three:

Make Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup. This takes a little more effort than the other two ideas, but you can make up a batch, use it right away, or freeze it for future uses! I use homemade cream of mushroom soup when I make One Dish Meat and Potato Casserole.

For any of these ideas, specificially ideas one and two, you may want to add a few extra herbs or spices to your recipe, since taking out the canned cream soup may also take out some of the flavor. But I have found that taking out the cream soup and replacing it with heavy cream or sour cream – I am then able to taste all the other great natural flavors in the casserole (chicken, vegetables, etc). The result is a fresh, clean taste.

Ah…real food. I love it. :)

Do you have some recipes that call for canned cream soups? Do you think any of the above ideas will work well as a substitute?

If you have a recipe you’d like for me to try and make-over, click here and fill out the form provided.


  1. says

    We make 2 things regularly that often call for cream soups – green bean casserole and tuna noodle casserole. Sour cream works great with the green beans and we make our own mushroom/onion/milk/flour mixture for the tuna noodle. It’s way better without that can of soup – taste wise and nutrition, too. Thanks for this series!


  2. Heather In Michigan says

    I have never been about to find a satisfactory DAIRY-FREE version of creamed soups for our family. (I know, I know… it flies in the face of sanity expecting a *creamed soup* to be DF!!) Rice milk, soy milk and the like just don’t cook up like real milk products. Any ideas?


    Rebecca Reply:

    I have used a combination of Nutritional yeast, ground, soaked cashewes and chicken stock with some added spices. Its not dairy, but very savory and a bit “cheezy” in a way. I would check out vegan web sites for a non dairy “cheese” sauce. Vegweb has several and they are quite good, although not the same as a canned soup.

    I have also found a few soups from Imagine that come in a cardboard box and are dairy free, like the creamy mushroom soup, which I then thicken with cornstarch for use like a can of creamed soup. Sometimes I add some extra salt also.


    Anitra Reply:

    Heather, you want something with a “cream” consistency. Maybe dairy-free (plain) yogurt?


    Lana Reply:

    I used to make a white sauce with half broth and half soy milk that was a good substitute.


  3. Amara says

    I have used your ideas with a lot of success. So glad you provided such “duh” solutions :) Who would have thought it could be so easy?


  4. Melissa M. says

    I have tried a couple of your “creamy” recipes with much success but have never thought about how you had substituted dairy for the cream soups. The suggestion about substituting heavy cream for cream soup is my “duh” moment. Thank you for your ministry!


  5. says

    hello, these are wonerful, just wondering tho, do you do the same for cream of chicken soup as you do for cream of mushroom but replacing the mushrooms with the chicken? I use that more than the others. It’s probably a silly question but I tend to need a recipe for everything til I get it down. Thanks for taking time to share all your knowledge. Have a great day.


  6. trisha says

    To make “cream of something” soup….I use this simple white-sauce recipe
    3 T melted butter and then add
    3 T flour
    1/4 tsp salt
    1 C milk (or stock).

    Cook on the stove until thickened. For celery, saute some chopped celery to the butter. For mushroom, add mushrooms to the butter. Tomato, add tomato juice and a few other spices. For chicken, add chicken brother instead of milk and sometimes I add other seasonings to go along w/it.


    Correna Reply:

    OH Trisha, thank you, thank you, thank you! You summed it all up in one little post, and here I have been
    trying to find a recipe for each. You have made it so much easier and now
    I can have a go-to recipe for all the different ones. You are such a dear to
    answer me so quickly. I also found your onion soup mix recipe, another wonderful
    find, I commented over there already about it. I really enjoy your site and
    will come back often to explore some more. I will probably share some of these
    on my blog with others, but I promise you will be linked to them.Thank you and have a wonderful day.


    Ashleigh Reply:

    THank you as well-I have scoured the internet and done many trials to find something I can make dairy/soy free!! AWESOME!!


  7. Erin says

    I’m wondering if homemade Cream of Something soup will work in the slowcooker. I had a recipe where you put cream of mushroom soup over a potroast with some onion soup(easy to make homemade) and you cook and it’s delicious but I haven’t had in FOREVER because I don’t think the homemade cream soup will slow cook well. Does anyone know? Thanks.


    Lana Reply:

    Homemade cream soups have worked fine for me in the slow cooker.
    It doesn’t hurt to try it and find out. If you don’t care for it then
    you may want to try a different recipe. I would not sub the heavy cream though
    as it would most likely separate. The ones I have used are more of a white
    sauce base.


  8. Mary Ann says

    There is a great little book called Country Beans that answers this very question! I just got it in the mail, at the recommendation of a friend. I haven’t used it yet, but she makes cream soups all the time and uses bean flour (yes, she grinds up dried beans, like white beans or garbanzo beans, into a flour) to thicken her soups. I would definitely recommend that you check it out.


    KimH Reply:

    that sounds like a truly awesome option. Thanks!


  9. says

    I have a funny story. My family are “homemade food snobs”. They like homemade better ALWAYS. Anyway, one time I was making green rice casserole and I didn’t have any cream of chicken soup. So I got out my trusty cookbook and found a recipe for making it myself. I whipped it up, included it in the casserole, and served dinner as usual. As they were eating the casserole, my husband and daughter both said to me: “What did you do different? This tastes so much better than usual.” I couldn’t believe it! How could they tell??? I tell you, they’re homemade food snobs.

    Another time I made cornbread muffins from a mix. They KNEW! They said: “Are these homemade?” Dang. Busted. I was taking a shortcut and got caught. They have a sixth sense about stuff like that.

    Love your ideas. Never thought of using something INSTEAD of cream of ____ soup.


  10. Hillary says

    For added mushroom flavor, the Oregon Spice Co. sells a tasty Mushroom Soup Mix that you can sprinkle into recipes. I get mine from Azure.


  11. Kristin says

    Since were on the subject of replacements, I thought I’d mention one for EVAPORATED MILK. In preparation for Thanksgiving desserts, I was searching for some canned evaporated milk that didn’t contain Carageenan. Having no luck, I googled how to make it. One suggestion involved using powdered milk, which of course was no good since powdered milk contains oxidized cholesterol (the stuff that clogs your arteries), however, I eventually came across a recipe that has you evaporate whole milk on the stove top.

    Yes, it is more expensive and time consuming then using the canned variety, but I feel good that I am feeding my family quality organic milk that doesn’t contain carageenen and wasn’t exposed to BPA from the lining of a can. Plus, I never have to run to the grocery store mid-recipe, because I’m out of canned evaporated milk again. Happy baking!


    Lana Reply:

    You can actually use heavy cream on Pumpkin pie instead of evaporated milk.
    An old church cookbook I have calls for ‘top milk’. I had to ask my Mother
    what that was and she said it was cream since it rose to the top of the milk
    and many older ladies called it that.


    Kristin Reply:

    Yes, I thought about just substituting whipping cream as I have a different Drunken Pumpkin Pie recipe that calls for it. However, I was also planning to use the evaporated milk in fudge and caramel bars and was unsure how they would turn out. I also like the idea that I can make the exact amount needed do I not have to worry about using up leftover cream (it usually involve more dessert, LOL).


  12. Bernadette says

    Would you be able to use plain greek yogurt instead of cream? Wondering if that would be slightly healthier by adding the protein rather than the extra fat.
    Also, how would this freeze in recipes? I do a lot of freezer cooking and haven’t had a problem with freezing recipes that contain cream soups but I won’t freeze recipes with milk in them because they don’t thaw well. Wondering if yogurt or cream would freeze well, sour cream usually freezes well if it’s mixed in with something else.


  13. Jenee Bare says

    How do you freeze your homemade cream soup? I would love to make a large batch to save time later…


    Erin Reply:

    I have just frozen it in containers roughly the size of a soup container and then thaw and use. I always make extra soup when I make it.


  14. Jennifer says

    cool I am gonna try this the last option.I will convert your mushroom soup using soy. My daughter is allergic to anything with dairy so bad we have to have an epi pen at all times. So we replace milk with soy. I have missed using my crock pot recipes that call for canned soups because ALL canned soups have milk in them. :( would you have any ideals for cream of chicken?


  15. John says

    Thanks for the simple replacement for cream of ____ soup. I didn’t want to load three kids in the car to go get a can of soup from the store, so I used sour cream instead. Dinner (a simple Mexican casserole) turned out great! Thanks again.


  16. Kris says

    You can look up recipes on Pinterest under “auto-immune” because for those of us who can’t do much of anything, therw are some pretty creative peeps out there! Wellness Mama and Pheonix Helix are well known. Cashews work, nutritional yeast is great for replacing cheese, Otto’s has a yucca flour, for soups I’ve used puréed potato or cauliflower. I also frequently use full fat coconut milk.


  17. Beth says

    I need a substitute for cream soups that eliminates the cream – I’ dealing with an allergy to milk here! Heavy cream and sour cream are no help.
    Thanks for any suggestions.


    Laura Reply:

    Ooh, that’s a tricky one! Coconut milk, maybe?


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