For Silkier Soups, Add a Dash of Baking Soda

The ingredient helps vegetables break down, creating the smoothest possible texture.

Published May 9, 2022.

An ultra-smooth pureed soup is dreamy, luxurious—and tricky to pull off. In homemade iterations of the dish, the lush texture of the puree is often marred by fibrous ingredients. There are a few ways of working around this issue—cooking the vegetable for a long time until it breaks down, straining the soup, or adding cream—but we discovered an even easier fix while developing our carrot ginger soup recipe: Baking soda.

Unassuming as it may be, this pantry ingredient is nothing short of a powerhouse when it comes to softening vegetables. Adding baking soda to a soup raises the pH and contributes sodium ions, both of which make the pectin that holds many vegetables’ cell walls together break down faster. The result? Restaurant-level creaminess.

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The proof is in our carrot ginger soup. We tested myriad approaches to attain the smoothest puree possible, including cooking the carrots until they turned to mush, but none produced satisfactory results. When we added a ½ teaspoon of baking soda to the simmering carrots, though, we created a soup that was downright velvety after just 20 minutes of cooking, no fussy straining required. The technique worked like a charm, so we put it to use again in our broccoli-cheese soup, attaining a lush puree. 

So, the next time you have a hankering for a creamy vegetable soup, try adding a scant amount of baking soda to your vegetables as they simmer on the stovetop. You’ll make your silkiest soup yet—the perfect blank canvas for a fancy garnish.

3 Silky Soups:

Sweet Potato Soup

The secrets to creamy sweet potato soup with deep, earthy-sweet flavor? Use those peels, and turn off the heat.
Get the Recipe

Carrot-Ginger Soup

For a soup that tastes like its namesakes, use two forms of carrot and two forms of ginger.
Get the Recipe

Butternut Squash Soup

Forget cream and spices. The secret to squashier squash soup is concentration.
Get the Recipe


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