When it comes to using non-dairy milks or other alternatives for soup. We want substitutes which will thicken a soup but have little to no flavor. The taste should be mild enough or similar to dairy milk.
So if you want to go non-dairy or just wan’t to try something else here are your best options.
Another staple in most kitchens is plain white bread. Even if your loaf has gone a little stale you can still use it to thicken a soup. If you have a fresh loaf of bread then toast it first. This way it absorbs the liquid evenly and dissolves much better.
You want a dry slice of bread to add into the soup, but consider removing the crust first. As the crust doesn’t break up as well and will float in your soup.
Don’t worry about premixing bread and water like you would with other cornstarch or flour. All you need to do is break it down into crumbs. This way you can control how much to add and how thick the soup turns out.
How To Get Breadcrumbs for Soup
The best way to get bread crumbs is to use a food processor. But you can also use a grater, like one used for cheese. Simply grate each slice until you have enough breadcrumbs for your soup. Be careful not to slice your fingers.
If you don’t happen to have a grater then toast the bread first. In a oven, toaster or in a pan either one but you want the bread to be dried out. Remove the crust before toasting the bread as its much easier beforehand.
Then you can smash the bread using the bottom of a glass or a potato masher.
The last option is to use a rolling pin after you toasted the bread. Place the bread in a sealed bag, remove the air then roll the pin over the bag. Smashing the bread into crumbs. This method produces very fine breadcrumbs.
Then all you need to do is dump in the breadcrumbs and stir the soup.
Cornstarch is a great thickener that won’t add any additional flavor. You might have some handy or if not it’s good to keep a jar stocked in your kitchen. When using cornstarch for soup you don’t want to just dump it in. Instead mix cornstarch and water into a paste or slurry.
How to Mix Cornstarch with Soup
Use a 1 to 2 ratio of cornstarch to water. Meaning for every measurement of cornstarch use double that for the water. If you do 1 tablespoon of cornstarch use 2 tablespoons of water. This will help to get the cornstarch dissolved into the soup more evenly.
Cornstarch also works better than flour for soups as it absorbs water much faster. So you don’t have to worry about clumps of flour in your soup.
If you do use flour instead of cornstarch. Make a slurry first similar to the cornstarch only do an equal ratio of flour to water.
If you read tons of stuff about how bad soy milk is, how it raises estrogen levels, and other bad stuff, forget it. Soy can indeed have that effect, but only if you consume it as the soy isolate, not the entire soybeans.
When manufacturing soy isolate, the beans get stripped of everything that makes them healthy, such as good fibers, etc. Soy milk made out of whole beans and water has similar properties as oat milk, making it a great, eco-friendly dairy substitute.
Plus, out of all the substitutes for regular milk, soy has the most similar taste, so if you don’t want to know the difference between your non-dairy and dairy soups, soy milk is a great choice. But, be careful with boiling, too, as it might cause the store-bought soy milk to separate.
Rice milk isn’t the most popular option for everyday use, but it provides you with some of the same characteristics as regular dairy when it comes to cooking. It’s a great choice for stuff that needs a starchy texture. It’s tasty and savory to eat, but you should keep some things in mind before making this choice.
First of all, if you’re planning on using rice milk for soup (especially store-bought), you should be careful when boiling it. Boiling can separate the milk, and instead of getting a beautiful, creamy texture, you’ll get a watered-down soup with chunks in it. So, before adding rice milk into your soup, make sure to take it off the fire and slowly stir it in.
Oat milk tastes a bit sweeter than regular milk, but you wouldn’t even know the difference when cooked. I believe it’s the best substitute for milk when making soup because it’s incredibly creamy, and if you want a foamy texture, there’s no better alternative.
Oat milk is great raw (for instance, for the cereal), but its finest features are shown when cooked into soup. It will make the soup creamy, rich and highlight the taste of the soup, not the milk itself.
However, what puts oat milk over the edge for me compared to other alternatives is the ecological standpoint. Oat milk production requires little water and doesn’t pollute the planet in virtually any way, making it the perfect option: not only does it taste good, but it’s great for the environment when compared to what the other options are.
You might need a minute to get used to the grassy, earthy taste of hemp milk, but when it comes to nutritional value, none other substitutes from this list come close. Hemp needs little to no water to grow and is proven to benefit the soil it grows on. It also has numerous health benefits, making it an incredible choice for a dairy substitute.
Also, it’s great for cooking because it doesn’t contain many fats but still provides a rich foam and subtle texture. The only problem for some might be the taste, but I personally love it. You should definitely give it a shot for your sake and the sake of the environment.
Coconut Milk (Curried)
When it comes to making creamy soups without using milk, nothing works better than full-fat coconut milk. If you already have low-fat coconut milk at home, there’s no need to go to the store. You can still replace dairy with it, but you won’t get the richness and the texture you’d get with full-fat coconut milk.
If you want to get even more texture, make coconut cream out of the coconut milk first (or just buy pre-made cream) and add it to the soup. It melts wonderfully when heated and leaves no curdles, making it the perfect choice to enhance the taste and make your soup perfect.