13 Ways To Use Canned Cream Of Mushroom Soup

Generic mushroom soup can
Generic mushroom soup can - sockagphoto/Shutterstock

It's easy to see canned cream of mushroom soup as nothing more than what it is: a simple meal that's quick and easy. But it can be so much more than that. Most canned cream of mushroom soup is made with ingredients that provide the foundation for many made-from-scratch dishes, already assembled in one package. Flour, fat, garlic, onion, stock, and mushrooms -- this ingredient list is at home in everything from fancy French cooking to humble homemade hotdishes. So, if you have a can of cream of mushroom soup on hand, you have more than soup; you have the beginning of a great meal made easier.

The best part? Canned cream of mushroom soup has come a long way since the classic red-and-white can was your only option. These days, there's a version for every dietary preference, from vegan to gluten free. It's a pantry staple that can enhance many dishes with its creamy texture and savory flavor with just a few tweaks and additions. Here are 13 creative ways to use canned cream of mushroom soup.

Read more: 20 Popular Canned Soups, Ranked Worst To Best

Use Cream Of Mushroom Soup As A Casserole Base

Mushroom spinach casserole
Mushroom spinach casserole - Leeannwhite/Getty Images

Casseroles are the sturdy workhorses of weekday dinnertime, and canned cream of mushroom soup is the perfect base. Arguably, the most recognizable version of this staple of harried households is tuna noodle casserole (dubbed "tuna nuna" in this writer's house growing up) or as a green bean side dish on Thanksgiving.

Green beans and tuna aren't the only two pantry staples that can be transformed into a casserole with the addition of cream of mushroom soup. Combine a can of mushroom soup with sour cream, hashbrowns, cheese, and chopped onions, and then pour it into a greased casserole dish, top it with crushed cornflakes (or fried onions — your choice), and bake until bubbly. Slice up potatoes and add a can of soup for a delicious and easy side dish that comes together in about five minutes. Utilize an abundant harvest of summer squash mixed with canned soup and topped with breadcrumbs for a delicious, easy potluck supper offering.

The message here? Canned cream of mushroom soup is a great base liquid for pretty much any casserole combination. It makes a solid vegetarian dish or one that can be tailored to carnivores.

Turn This Canned Soup Into A Pasta Sauce

Mushroom pasta alfredo
Mushroom pasta alfredo - DronG/Shutterstock

Few things are better than a bowl of pasta, and when you're in a hurry and need a shortcut, a can of cream of mushroom soup is key. Classic sauces often begin with a roux — fat and flour cooked together, then thinned with milk or stock — and a can of soup has all those ingredients already emulsified and seasoned.

To make a simple mushroom pasta sauce, simply thin your soup with a bit of milk or cream and pour it over pasta. There are myriad ways to tart it up, too. Saute shallots and fresh mushrooms in butter before adding the soup and milk, and then finish the sauce with some fresh thyme (and a knob of butter if you want to really indulge). You can chop up protein like cooked chicken or keep it vegetarian. Whatever version you select, a sprinkling of chopped fresh herbs never hurt anybody, and freshly cracked black pepper is always a good thing in our book.

Top Off Your Pot Pie Filling For A Boost Of Umami Flavor

Chicken and mushroom pie
Chicken and mushroom pie - Seita/Shutterstock

Pot pie is a winter wonder that need not be fussy or hard to make. Sure, you could make your own pie crust and create a luscious sauce using homemade stock or broth, but that sort of attention isn't always possible. So, when you crave a pot pie, head to the pantry and get creative.

Start with the pie crust. A frozen bottom crust works fine, but you'll need to add a pastry lid to make the pie authentic. The refrigerated section of the grocery store has the answer: roll and bake pie crusts. Line a pie tin with one crust and fill it with classic ingredients for a chicken pot pie: potatoes, peas, carrots, and corn. Fresh thyme and tarragon are great here, too. Beef is also an option, especially with the earthiness of cream of mushroom soup; but vegetarians and vegans, never fear. Veggie-based proteins like tofu and seitan also work. Use chicken stock or milk (dairy or non-dairy) to thin the soup to a sauce consistency and pour it over your pot pie filling. Top the filling with another pie crust and crimp the edges to prevent leaks.

Cut a few vents in the top crust and bake until golden brown. Feeling British? Take a hint from cooks across the pond and serve your finished pot pie upside down.

Combine Canned Mushroom Soup Into Creamy Rice Dishes

Vegetarian risotto
Vegetarian risotto - Stefan Tomic/Getty Images

Rice is a beautiful, often overlooked ingredient. There are many varieties of rice, each with a unique flavor profile and best uses. But for a creamy rice dish using canned soup, any rice will do. Reach to the back of your pantry for that bag of plain white rice; short- or long-grain is also fine, and even the dusty brown rice you bought and never got around to cooking works.

If you want to make something slightly more elevated, use a wild rice mix to create a chopped chicken, mushroom, and cheddar marvel that's comfort food at its finest. Wild rice brings a distinct flavor and chew to the table, which is the perfect foil for the silky soup. Cooked rice works best here, but cooking the rice and the soup together is possible. You'll need to add extra liquid to create a creamy, flavorful sauce, so increase the ratio of liquid to rice. Add an extra half-cup of liquid — stock or milk for the best flavor — and be mindful of the cooking time so the rice doesn't become soggy.

You can also thin your soup with tons of stock and use it to make a risotto recipe. Heat the thinned soup and add it gradually, stirring constantly and adding more liquid as the rice absorbs it. Risotto is finished when a grain of rice smeared on a cutting board leaves a tiny white kernel behind.

Mix Cream Of Mushroom Soup Into A Stroganoff Sauce

Beef stroganoff
Beef stroganoff - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

Tangy sour cream, sharp mustard, cooked mushrooms, and protein in a delicious sauce ladled over egg noodles -- stroganoff is a hearty and satisfying dinner made even easier with canned cream of mushroom soup. You could simply add a dollop of sour cream and a little stock and pour it over noodles, but making stroganoff more authentic is easy.

Slice up a couple of medium onions and cook them in butter until they are translucent before adding a couple of cloves of minced garlic (and maybe some fresh sliced mushrooms). Add your can of soup and a bit of stock to thin the sauce; cook until it is the consistency you prefer. To make a classic chicken stroganoff, add chunks of cooked chicken as you simmer; for beef, use strips of cooked sirloin (or any other cut you like, so long as it is tender). Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the sour cream. Pour over egg noodles or rice and add chopped fresh thyme or parsley for serving.

Use It As A Meatloaf Moisturizer

Italian meatloaf
Italian meatloaf - GK1982/Shutterstock

Meatloaf is a deceptively challenging dish to make. Although the process seems simple — mixing ground beef and seasoning, forming it into a loaf, and baking — the result is often dry, crumbly, and lacking flavor. Turn that lackluster, last-ditch use of ground beef into something special with a can of cream of mushroom soup. This meatloaf moisturizer adds flavor and improves the texture of the final product. The thickeners and stabilizers in condensed cream of mushroom soup produce a flavorful loaf with the proper meaty, moist consistency.

Cream of mushroom soup also serves as a solid base for other flavors you love. Worcestershire sauce pairs well with mushroom soup, as do carrots and tomato paste (two other classic meatloaf ingredients). Add minced garlic, egg, and breadcrumbs to hold the loaf together. You probably won't need to use the entire can of cream of mushroom soup; half a can should do the trick. You can get fancy and serve a soup course before the meatloaf or save it for another use.

Make A Mushroom Gravy Out Of This Canned Soup

Salisbury steak in mushroom gravy
Salisbury steak in mushroom gravy - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

It's a no-brainer to use a can of cream of mushroom soup to make gravy. Condensed versions already have flour as a thickener. Flour and fat are the base of a roux from which homemade gravy springs, so you're halfway there with a can of soup.

For a more upscale version that's a little more complicated than thinning the soup with beef stock, saute a mix of mushrooms in butter first. It's even better if you've cooked a protein and want to use the pan juices for your gravy. Cook the mushrooms separately as you deglaze the pan in which the protein was cooked with the thinned soup. Let that reduce slightly, and then strain the mixture to remove any bits and pour it over the cooked mushrooms. Simmer briefly, then taste and adjust the seasoning. You might want to finish with some butter or add a splash of acid: The late addition of lemon juice brightens the sauce and enhances all flavors. If you plan on adding more dairy, wait until you remove the sauce from the heat to prevent curdling.

Elevate Creamy Vegetable Soup

Creamy mushroom soup
Creamy mushroom soup - Elena.Katkova/Shutterstock

There's no need to complicate vegetable soup's beautiful simplicity. It's the best way to clear the fridge of less-than-fresh veggies and to pack tons of nutrition into reluctant young diners who might otherwise pass them by on the dinner plate. However, vegetable soup can get slightly tedious in the standard carrots, peas, potatoes, tomatoes, and green bean configuration.

Mix up the mundane and bring canned cream of mushroom soup to the party. It can be stirred in at the end and heated through for a bit of creaminess, or you can jazz up plain potato or broccoli soup by pureeing the final product (and even passing the soup through a chinois if you want to get fancy). If you like a smooth puree with a few whole vegetables, remove half of the veggies with a slotted spoon or spider kitchen tool, add the cream of mushroom soup to the pot, and use an immersion blender before adding the vegetables back in. You can also use a regular blender to get a smooth soup, but don't overfill the blender; hot liquids expand and can blow the top off.

Use Canned Cream Of Mushroom Soup As A Dip Base

Mushroom bean paste
Mushroom bean paste - sweet marshmallow/Shutterstock

Dips are easy appetizers to serve with a platter of veggies. They also breathe life into a charcuterie board that needs a little variety beyond pickles and cheese. When you're ready to bust out of the onion dip rut, grab a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup to make two separate dips that liven up your usual appetizer spread.

Divide the can in half. To one half, add fresh spinach and artichokes. To the other, add cream cheese, garlic, shallots, and a splash of hot sauce. Blend each dip until creamy. Top the spinach and artichoke dip with crumbled cooked bacon, and add crispy mushrooms to the other. These hearty dips are perfect with crusty bread and can also be used as a sandwich spread. Use the artichoke and spinach dip to create a vegetable-based sandwich on your favorite whole-grain bread, and slather the hot sauce dip onto ciabatta before piling on caramelized onions and grilled hot beef or chicken.

Add Creaminess And Depth To Slow Cooker Sauces

Slow-cooked pork stew mushrooms
Slow-cooked pork stew mushrooms - larik_malasha/Shutterstock

The ultimate in homemade convenience, slow cookers are like a warm, aromatic hug at the end of a long day. There's nothing like coming home to dinner that's already made. Add this time-saving kitchen tool to the versatility of a can of soup, and your weekday dinner problem is solved.

Cream of mushroom soup in the slow cooker pairs exceptionally well with pork chops and beef, but it also works with chicken if that's your preference. Head toward stew with more liquid, or stay in the realm of protein in sauce by thinning it with less liquid. Because dairy and slow cookers don't usually combine well together over longer cooking times, vegan versions of mushroom soup work better. If you like the texture that dairy imparts, you can always stir in a bit of milk or cream at the end.

Many slow cooker recipes call for browning your protein and onions before adding other ingredients. Although this adds another layer of flavor, it's unnecessary and takes more time. If you're in a hurry, add your protein, can of cream of mushroom soup, and liquid to the slow cooker. Make it even easier for yourself by using pre-chopped veggies, or chop up whatever you have on hand. Garlic and onions are always good aromatics to include, but save the fresh herbs for serving. Dried herbs work just fine.

Make Creamy Mushroom Toast

Mushroom toast
Mushroom toast - Haoliang/Getty Images

Avocados have been hogging the limelight for too long: Toast is the perfect conveyance for a delicious mushroom sauce, quickly whipped up using a can of soup. Because this is such a simple dish, use your favorite cream of mushroom soup. You'll add some flavor with grated cheese and herbs, but the soup will shine here — so you'll want a good one.

Toast a slice of hearty bread while you get started on your sauce. Add your soup to a pan and simmer until it's thickened. You can, of course, add supplemental herbs here if you like, but if your soup is already delicious, you may not need to. When your toast is ready, rub a fresh clove of garlic on it and top it with grated cheese. Send the toast for a quick trip under the broiler to melt the cheese (or skip this step and shave cheese on the top at the end), and then remove it and pour your thickened sauce over top. Chopped fresh parsley is lovely here, but really, all you need is a fork and a knife.

Substitute It For Beef Stock To Enhance Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's pie
Shepherd's pie - hlphoto/Shutterstock

Shepherd's pie is pot pie's English cousin — the perfect way to enjoy the filling without worrying about a fussy crust. Traditionally made of minced lamb, this cozy dish is filled with carrots, peas, corn, and tomato paste and topped with fluffy whipped or mashed potatoes. Enhance the filling of a traditional shepherd's pie by substituting cream of mushroom soup for beef stock, stirred into the sauteed meat (beef, lamb, turkey, or chicken) and vegetables. The soup adds a creamy texture and binds the filling together so that each serving is a self-contained fortress of flavor huddled beneath a cloud of mashed potato.

Keep it a simple shepherd's pie by sauteing onions, garlic, tomato paste, and protein together before adding your carrots, peas, and corn and stirring to combine. Add cream of mushroom soup, usually half a can, and stir. Spoon the filling into a greased baking dish and top it with mashed potatoes. Bake until the potatoes begin to brown, and then let it sit a few minutes before serving.

Use Canned Cream Of Mushroom Soup For Baked Fish

Baked salmon spinach mushrooms
Baked salmon spinach mushrooms - Kiian Oksana/Shutterstock

Baked fish is an easy, healthy dinner choice. Many people are intimidated by cooking fish, but it doesn't have to be so hard. The cooking method itself isn't very tricky; the only real adjustment needed is to modify baking times based on the thickness of the fish. Once you master the art of testing for doneness (properly cooked fish will flake easily with a fork), all you need is a delicious baked fish recipe.

The easiest recipe for baked fish is a non-recipe that is infinitely adaptable and uses canned cream of mushroom soup. Mix the soup with lemon juice, dill, and garlic to create a creamy sauce for baking fish. Pour the sauce over the fish fillets and bake until the fish is tender and flaky. Salmon or thicker white fish like cod works best for this. If you want to explore more wild-caught fish, try halibut. Soak the halibut in milk to neutralize the fishy taste before baking, and then top it with your mushroom sauce and bake. This method helps keep the fish moist and adds a flavorful, creamy topping.

Not sure which canned soups to buy to make every meal a memorable one? Here are the soups you should always have in your pantry, plus popular cans of soup ranked worst to best.

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