5 Ingredients or Fewer

Cream of Mushroom Soup

February  3, 2020
5 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten. Prop Stylist: Brooke Deonarine. Food Stylist: Amelia Rampe.
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Makes about 4 1/2 cups (2 to 3 servings)
Author Notes

Cream of mushroom soup often relies on a lot more than just cream and mushrooms. Recipes call in everything from onions and garlic to chicken stock and wine—and don’t get me started on the herbs. All of these ingredients are great, but are they necessary? Turns out, no.

In this Big Little Recipe, fresh creminis (also sold as baby bellas), dried shiitakes, and heavy cream yield umami-rich flavor and a silky, lush texture. I like creminis for their meaty flavor and reasonable cost, but you can use white button mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, or another variety that’s calling your name. Just try to avoid fresh shiitakes, which would make the soup more one-note in flavor.

Important in every recipe but especially important here: Adjust the salt to taste. Because this ingredient list is so sparse, the salt is key in making the mushrooms taste mushroom-y and the cream taste creamy.

Now, if you’re thinking: Who knew mushroom stock was so easy? I want to make this all the time. Great! Put it toward minestrone or miso soup. Or add a splash to simmering tomato sauce for bonus umami.

I like to serve this with warm crusty bread and a brightly dressed salad (a lemon vinaigrette would be nice). It would also be great with a gooey grilled cheese or some sautéed greens topped with crunchy bread crumbs. The recipe also doubles easily if you want leftovers for the week. —Emma Laperruque

What You'll Need
  • 9 dried shiitakes
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh creminis, sliced (about ⅛- to ¼-inch thick)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  1. Combine 3 cups water and the dried shiitakes in a small pot and set on the stove over high heat. Bring to a boil, cook for 5 minutes, then cut the heat.
  2. Add the butter to a wide, high-sided saucepan and set on the stove over medium heat. As soon as that’s melted, add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the mushrooms are sticking to the bottom and deeply browning. (At first, they’ll release a lot of liquid, but don’t worry, it’ll evaporate.)
  3. Season the browned mushrooms with salt and pepper, and stir. Remove a heaping ½ cup mushrooms and set aside on a plate (these will become a garnish for the soup). Now add the cream to the saucepan and scrape up the browned bits at the bottom. Simmer for a few minutes until the cream turns the color of chocolate milk.
  4. Add the cream and mushrooms to a blender, along with the soaked dried shiitakes, and mushroom broth. (Heads up: There might be some grit at the bottom of the pot with the mushroom broth. I find the easiest way to avoid this in the soup is to pour the liquid very slowly into the blender through a fine mesh sieve—the grit should hang back with the last splash of liquid, so just don’t pour that in.)
  5. With the keyhole of the blender lid left open and a kitchen towel held firmly on top, blend on high speed until very, very smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. If you’d like it thinner, just add a small splash of water, cream, or both.
  6. Serve the soup hot with the browned mushrooms sprinkled on top, plus a drizzle of cream if you want.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Rebtile
  • Arthur Silva
    Arthur Silva
  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
  • durun99
  • Larry Kennedy
    Larry Kennedy
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

8 Reviews

Rebtile February 4, 2020
Do you find there is a flavor benefit to using the dried shiitakes, rather than just sauteing some fresh ones with the creminis?
Emma L. February 4, 2020
For sure! The dried shiitakes create the mushroom stock, which rounds out the flavor of the soup.
Arthur S. February 4, 2020
Doesn't cream split if you blend it? I always added it after blending the rest of the ingredients. Also, if you plan to freeze it's probably better to leave it for later.
Emma L. February 4, 2020
Hi Arthur! The cream was very well-behaved during all our recipe tests and we never encountered it splitting. You could try to separate it pre-blend if you want, but we didn't find that necessary.
durun99 February 10, 2020
It split when I blended it with an immersion blender. It also ended up a very unappetizing gray color after it split. All in all, I’d rather just eat a pound and a half of sautéed mushrooms and pass on the soup.
Larry K. November 21, 2020
Heavy cream doesn’t split when it’s boiled.
sms February 4, 2020
In step 2 do you mention butter twice. Should the second reference be "...add the mushrooms?"
Emma L. February 4, 2020
Hi sms! Thanks for the catch, that should be "mushrooms"—just fixed. You can tell how much I like butter :)