One of the quintessential ingredients in many homemade casseroles is Cream of Mushroom Soup. Mix a few vegetables, toss in cream of mushroom soup, stir, and bake.
It really is an amazing convenience food, which is why it has been a bastion of “home cooking” for decades.
The problem is that cream of mushroom soup – as well as other store-bought “cream of….” soups – is made more of industrially refined ingredients than it is of whole food. According to Campbell's Away from Home division, the ingredients in their classic cream of mushroom include:
- VEGETABLE OIL (CORN, COTTONSEED, CANOLA, AND/OR SOYBEAN)
- MODIFIED FOOD STARCH
- WHEAT FLOUR
- MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE
- SOY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE
- DEHYDRATED CREAM (CREAM [MILK], SOY LECITHIN)
- YEAST EXTRACT
- DEHYDRATED GARLIC
But cream of mushroom soup is so darn yummy – and so convenient! Thus, a few years ago I decided a homemade version was most definitely in order.
This is the recipe I included in my book, The DIY Pantry, and it makes the equivalent of one can of CONDENSED soup. If you'd like to make more to have on hand (so that it's just as convenient as having the cans ready to grab), just scale up the recipe accordingly.
Also, please note that this is a CONDENSED version – I've created this recipe specifically to have a homemade version on hand to replace the cans of condensed soup, and while it certainly makes a delicious soup to eat just as soup (as opposed to in a casserole) and provides excellent real-food convenience, if you're just in the mood to have mushroom soup for dinner, I recommend this recipe from Simply Recipes.
How to Store Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup
One of the best reasons to make homemade cream of mushroom soup is to have it on hand for convenience. But unfortunately it can't be canned at home easily, as the pH is too high to do it safely.
Thus, your best best is to freeze it in useable portions.
However, do change just one ingredient in the recipe if you freeze it: switch out the cornstarch for tapioca starch. Cornstarch tends to turns spongy when frozen, while tapioca remains more stable. Arrowroot is not recommended, unfortunately, as it renders dairy products slimy and ropy. So tapioca starch is the winner here. 🙂
If you don't have tapioca starch on hand, you can use flour and butter to create a traditional roux and add the blended ingredients, but it is quite thick (since it's a concentrate), so it sometimes burns quickly, which is the reason I've created the recipe using starch in the blending phase rather than the roux method. This also has the advantage of being gluten-free. 🙂 However, if roux is your only option, go for it!
And if you'd prefer not to freeze it, you can always skip this recipe altogether and use our homemade mushroom bouillon cubes to pull together a sauce the next time you need to make a casserole. 🙂
Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
- Yield: approx. 3 cups
- 1/2 of an onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch (use tapioca starch if you’re going to freeze the soup)
- 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups evaporated milk (see how to make your own evaporated milk)
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (see how to make Worcestershire sauce)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley (optional)
- 16–20 large mushrooms, any variety, coarsely chopped
- Place all ingredients except for the mushrooms in a blender and combine until the mixture is fairly smooth.
- Add the mushrooms and pulse until well blended but still a bit chunky.
- Pour the entire mixture into a large saucepan and bring to a very gentle simmer over medium heat, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until thickened, 6–7 minutes, whisking often.
- Use the mixture immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to one week. It may also be frozen for up to 3 months, although the texture may change slightly (it's still delicious and will work just fine in a casserole).
- TO USE IN A CASSEROLE (such as Thanksgiving Green Bean Casserole): Mix the condensed soup with the other casserole ingredients, according to the casserole recipe. Bake as directed.
- TO PREPARE AS A SOUP: Heat the condensed soup with one cup of water or milk and simmer until heated through.
If you don't have evaporated milk on hand, feel free to substitute 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1 1/2 cups milk in its place. It changes the texture slightly, but it's still gorgeously delicious, so it's an easy replacement.