Easy Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup for Cooking

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Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup is a wonderful, flavorful, healthy alternative to commercial canned cream soups. It’s easy to make and freezes beautifully. Ditch the can, man!

pot of homemade cream of chicken soup

What’s a staple canned good that most of our grandmothers and mothers regularly kept on hand?

What’s the base of many a casserole, soup, and sauce recipe?

What’s so much better if you make it yourself?

The answer to all of the above is Cream of Chicken Soup. 

Canned cream of chicken soup has been around for generations as a shortcut not just to soup but to any recipe that called for a velouté , a basic white sauce made with a stock.

A white sauce isn’t hard to make, but at the dawn of commercial convenience foods, having some canned short cuts was a welcome respite to many a home cook. Unfortunately, we began to believe that making these convenience foods from scratch was too difficult, and we became reliant on the commercial products.

If you’ve come to the conclusion that homemade tastes better and costs less than commercial items (it does!), then this recipe is for you!

curried chicken and broccoli casserole in green dishes

Many folks have horror stories about canned cream soups. Early in our marriage, my husband declined the recipes I grew up because he’d been so weirded out by the metallic flavor of canned cream soups.

And the fact that his mom served it as a soup. Plain. {Shivers}

When he explained that story, I knew exactly what he meant. I had had a positive first exposure to cream of chicken soup, made from scratch, at a little cafe with my Aunt Cass in downtown Winona, Minnesota.

It was one of those lunches where you’re served in courses. As a ten year old eager to be a grown up lady, I was smitten, particularly with the soup course: Cream of Chicken. I was stunned that I hadn’t discovered something so delicious ever before!

When we got back home to California, I asked my mom if I could have a can of cream of chicken soup for my lunch. She warned me that it wouldn’t taste the same.

It didn’t. {Shivers again.}

Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup is where it’s at!

I’m so thankful that I took the time to learn how to make my own cream of chicken soup! This is the real deal! It’s super easy, absolutely delicious, and soooooo much better than anything you can buy in a can.

jars of cream of chicken soup

What is Cream of Chicken Soup made of?

Whenever possible I like to cook with plain old ingredients. While the convenience of mixes and canned sauces is nice, I feel better about feeding my family just real food whenever possible. (Go here for some of my reasons on all that.)

Making homemade cream of chicken soup is basically the epitome of this! What is more processed than canned cream soup?! Ha.

Check out the ingredients list:

  • Butter
  • All Purpose flour
  • Chicken stock or broth
  • Milk
  • Salt
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Paprika
  • Black Pepper
  • Cooked Chicken

Does Cream of Chicken Soup have dairy in it?

From the ingredients list, you can tell that there’s dairy in the form of butter and milk. However, if you want to make a dairy-free version, you can use oil for the butter and nut- or coconut-milk for the milk.

Obviously, you’ll have some flavor changes, depending on what substitutes you use, but the texture should be similar.

pan of sausage noodle casserole

What can I use homemade cream of chicken soup for?

If you grew up enjoying casseroles made with canned cream of chicken soup, you’re in for a treat when you make this homemade alternative! 

Try it in these casseroles:

You can use this Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup recipe in all your favorite casseroles, but you can also use it as a soup starter. I love it as a shortcut for Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup.

Thin it a bit as is with some broth or stock and you can even serve it for your soup course as Cream of Chicken Soup itself. Amen! Hallelujah!

Can I freeze cream of chicken soup?

Yes, I usually make a bulk batch of this recipe. You can easily scale the recipe with the recipe card below. Just tap the arrow up to however many cups you want to make and the recipe will adjust.

Cook a bulk batch and then divide the soup into 2-cup portions and stash them in the freezer. Homemade convenience at its finest!

I do freeze soups and sauces in glass canning jars as well as plastic containers.

If you’re going to use glass jars,  leave the lids off, allow for extra headspace (about 1-inch), and chill completely. Then freeze until firm, without the lids. Once the soup is frozen solid, lightly twist the caps on.

Your mileage may vary. Breakage can occur. Use other containers for freezing if you prefer.

step by step photos of cooking process

How do you make Cream of Chicken Soup?

As I mentioned, this is a fairly easy process:

  1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter.
  2. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring until bubbly and fragrant.
  3. Whisk in the stock and milk slowly.
  4. Add the salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and black pepper.
  5. Simmer until thickened.
  6. Stir in the minced chicken.
  7. Use in your recipe or store in containers, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for longer storage.

Cream of Chicken Soup in mason jars

How I make this cheap:

I’m sure that you can find canned cream of chicken soup on sale for cheap. However, I promise you this is better and totally worth the upgrade in cost.

Here are some of the strategies I use to make this recipe economical:

  • Use a whole chicken! Cooking a whole chicken (or buying one that Costco roasted for you) can be more economical than buying chicken pieces. You can use the carcass to make homemade stock. You’ll only need a small amount of chicken meat for the soup itself, meaning you can are basically using the leftovers to make this soup. You can easily make this homemade cream of chicken soup with turkey when the whole birds go on sale in the fall. Just call it cream of turkey. 😉
  • Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. Whether it’s buying whole chickens or commercial chicken broth on sale, I buy more than I need in the immediate future. Sales cycles last about 6 weeks, so I try to buy enough to last me that long. Same goes for items like butter and flour. I stock up on these when I find good prices.

Tools I use to make this recipe easy:

Having the right kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs. Here are the tools that I like to use in this recipe.

pot of creamy chicken noodle soup with ladle

If you prepare this recipe, be sure to take a picture and hashtag it #GOODCHEAPEATS. I can't wait to see what you cook up!
0 from 0 votes
Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 
Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup is a wonderful, flavorful, healthy alternative to commercial canned cream soups. It's easy to make and freezes beautifully.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bean soup, cream of chicken
Servings: 2 cups
Calories: 343 kcal
Author: Jessica Fisher
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon finely minced cooked chicken
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring until bubbly and fragrant. Whisk in the stock and milk slowly. Add the salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and black pepper. Simmer until thickened. Stir in the minced chicken.
  2. Use in recipes calling for cream of chicken soup.
  3. To freeze, chill the soup completely before storing in 2-cup portions in the freezer.Thaw and whisk to recombine before using.
Recipe Notes
  • Use a whole chicken! Cooking a whole chicken (or buying one that Costco roasted for you) can be more economical than buying chicken pieces. You can use the carcass to make homemade stock. You'll only need a small amount of chicken meat for the soup itself, meaning you can are basically using the leftovers to make this soup. You can easily make this homemade cream of chicken soup with turkey when the whole birds go on sale in the fall. Just call it cream of turkey. 😉
  • Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. Whether it's buying whole chickens or commercial chicken broth on sale, I buy more than I need in the immediate future. Sales cycles last about 6 weeks, so I try to buy enough to last me that long. Same goes for items like butter and flour. I stock up on these when I find good prices.
Nutrition Facts
Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 343 Calories from Fat 252
% Daily Value*
Fat 28g43%
Saturated Fat 16g100%
Cholesterol 78mg26%
Sodium 1467mg64%
Potassium 249mg7%
Carbohydrates 16g5%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 931IU19%
Vitamin C 12mg15%
Calcium 86mg9%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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Comments

  1. TSandy says

    Thanks Jessica. This is one of the very few things I still buy at the grocery store. I feel guilty when I make homemade turkey or chicken pot pies using that high sodium, preservative laden goop in a can. Your recipe is easy and contains ingredients I always have on hand. Hubby will now get his pot pies made with homemade cream of chicken soup.

  2. Karen says

    Thanks for the tips about freezing this. My all time favorite soup just became a do-ahead. Yesss!

    • Hanaa says

      I made this and it came out really thick. Did I do something wrong? And how can I fix it? Thank you!

      • It should be fairly thick since it’s a substitute for the canned version. If you’re going to serve it as a soup, simply dilute with chicken broth, whisking to combine.

  3. Danielle L Zecher says

    This looks really good. Do you have a recipe for Cream of Onion Soup? Or thoughts on how to adapt this for Cream of Onion Soup? That’s the one I love for casseroles, etc., but I’d love to get rid of all the scary ingredients in it.

    • Instead of stirring in minced chicken, you could add sauteed onions. I might add a green herb, like thyme, and maybe use beef or vegetable broth. This basic recipe would be a good base to switch up in all kinds of ways.

    • Alice E says

      Danielle, I haven’t used the cream of onion more than once because it costs more here and doesn’t go on sale. However, if my memory serves me right you should be close if you sweat your chopped onion in the butter. Then add the flour and liquid. Also, I would change the ratio of broth and milk and use more milk, at least half, because I recall it being closer to a white sauce. The basic recipe is good for lots of variations but I’ll save that discussion for a separate comment. Good Luck.

  4. Micha says

    I make a slightly different recipe than this one that took some testing because I wanted to make sure it held up to slow cooking without curdling. But before I found that recipe I made one nearly identical to this one. It’s been a year since I’ve used a canned of cream of soup and I couldn’t tell you when the last time before that was.

    I’ve absolutely loved watching your culinary journey as a long time reader and find inspiration even from recipes I may not make myself due to family tastes.

  5. Alice E says

    Great idea to share Jessica. May I add that the quality of the broth or stock is going to make a great deal of difference. If it lacks flavor, folks might try cooking some carrots and or celery in it. At our house we really like our carrots cut in chunks and cooked in broth as a vegetable. This leaves a really tasty broth to use later in soup. One suggestion, you might try using chicken fat instead of butter. When I poach chicken I always chill the broth so I can take the fat off the top and save it to use when cooking.

    Also, may I comment that what you make when you substitute a light broth, such as chicken or fish, for milk in white sauce was traditionally called a veloute sauce and is one of the 5 basic mother sauces in fancy cooking and usually embellished for use in various dishes. All of the cream soups are variations of either white sauce, veloute sauce or a combination of them with either vegetables, meat, herbs or some combination of them added.

    If folks are looking for a low fat option, they could use a slurry of flour and broth to thicken the soup instead of the butter and flour roux at the start of the process.

    • Excellent input, Alice. Thank you! And yes, homemade stock made with vegetables is always tastier.

  6. Katy says

    Have you used this in crock pot recipes? I know that milk curdles but I wonder if this holds up. Thanks!

    • I have not. To be honest, I’ve never used COCS in a slow cooker recipe. I didn’t realize it was so common. Sorry I can’t be more help.

  7. Heather Barker says

    How could I make double or even triple of this soup? I love to use COCS in tuna casserole, turkey and noodles, potpies and sometimes even just by itself. I would love to have extra on hand for a just in case meal.

    Thanks Jessica!

    • I just multiply the ingredients by 2 or 3 and then use a really big pot. So, if you’re going to triple it, you would use:
      3/4 cup butter
      3/4 cup flour
      4 1/2 cups stock
      1 1/2 cups milk
      1 1/2 teaspoons EACH salt, garlic powder, and onion powder
      3/4 teaspoon EACH paprika and black pepper
      6 tablespoons minced cooked chicken

  8. Joy says

    You “killed it” with this cream soup recipe. I already cooked the whole chicken earlier trying to make soup but i t was kind of flat. My Mother is 97 and i really think she’ll love

  9. Elaine says

    How long does this keep in the freezer?

    • It should be fine for at least a month. Depending on how often you open your freezer, as long as 2 to 3 months.

  10. Hi Jessica, just made this and it went down well. It was also the perfect way to get an extra meal out of a chicken. I added a couple of finely chopped mushrooms as I had them to use. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    xx

  11. Tami says

    Wow! Just made this last night to go in your Overnight Casserole, and DANG! The soup by itself is SO good! Made a double batch just to try and I’m so glad I did. I honestly don’t use very many recipes that call for “cream of” soups. But this seems like it would add great flavor and creaminess to so many recipes. I do have 2-3 faves that use cream of mushroom. I’d love to have your recipe for that! Is it in one of your cookbooks? (30 minute Meals is sitting in my cart!) Thanks again for a great recipe!

    • Yes, you could easily eat THIS as a soup, not something I would recommend with the canned soups. LOL. For mushroom, I would saute a lot of finely chopped mushrooms in butter and then proceed with the recipe.

  12. Kathy says

    Thanks for the reciepe. First time a cream soup ever worked out. I tweeked it by adding carrots and a little broccoli.

  13. Thank you! I love your recipes like this. We have been going without cream of chicken soup because I refuse to buy the canned stuff and haven’t taken the time to come up with a recipe myself. When I have needed a ‘canned’ something, I have been using your celery soup recipe which is fantastic as well! <3
    I just finished making this for the first time and had planned on freezing it to use in another recipe. But, since is was lunch time, I decided on a whim to make it lunch so I quickly cooked some carrots. I added them in, with some cooked rice and some more larger chunks of chicken along with 1/2 cup left over broth and some water left over from cooking the carrots. So good!! I am thrilled to have this recipe – thanks! 😀

  14. Andrea says

    I just want to say thank you for this simple recipe! I had my wisdom teeth taken out a couple days ago and refuse to settle for a broth only diet or canned cream soup. I made this recipe and even my husband asked for more! It’s the most flavorful thing I’ve been able to enjoy!

  15. Pat Giarrusso says

    Thanks for the great information! I’m making a lasagna and wasn’t sure if I should cook it first before freezing or just freeze. That’s how I found you and so much more information! I’ll definitely be back to make the cream of chicken soup and white sauce!
    Thanks.

  16. Bonnie says

    I was out of cream of chicken soup this morning and didn’t want to go to the store. So I thought I would see if I could find a recipe to make it. This recipe is easy, wonderful in flavor and from now on I will be making my cream of chicken soup. No more buying something when I can make it so easily. Thanks for the recipe. It is delicious!

  17. Wanda F Diden says

    I made this today because I did not want to go to the grocery store and I was making a casserole that needed the soup. This recipe was great and was faster than going to the store. I added a small amount of poultry seasoning. It is a keeper and I will be making this winter as a soup. Thanks for this quick and simple recipe.

  18. Alisa Voss says

    Can cornstarch or gluten free flour be substituted for the flour in this recipe?

    • Yes, gluten free flour should be fine. I haven’t tested it, so you may need to use a bit more flour than I use of regular.

      • Alisa Voss says

        Great thanks! Going to give this a try

  19. This looks absolutely delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I think this would make a good base for a cream of chicken and vegetable soup this fall and winter.

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