10 Foods to Stash in the Freezer for a Quick Weeknight Soup

published Aug 22, 2017
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(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

Soup night is one of my favorites. About once a week in cooler months, I rummage through my freezer for little nuggets of gold that I can quickly turn into soup. Soup is so forgiving and can be made with the smallest bits of different things. Paired with a loaded bread basket, soup night is a winner.

Here are 10 foods to stash in your freezer for quick and easy soup suppers.

1. Stocks and Broths

A good stock or broth is key to a great soup. Whenever I roast a chicken, I make sure to turn what’s left into homemade stock. I build a stockpile in the freezer so that soup night comes together easily.

2. Leftover Drippings, Sauces, or Gravy

Consider the importance of roast drippings, sauces, or gravy: these are packed with flavor! Even a 1/2 cup of gravy or a few spoonfuls of pesto can give your soup a great boost. Squirrel away that liquid gold for your next pot of soup.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

3. Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup

Canned cream soups have fallen out of favor, but homemade? Homemade is delicious! It serves as a great soup starter, allowing you to easily build on a base of flavor.

4. Cooked Proteins

I regularly cook up bulk batches of shredded chicken or beef and store them in two-cup portions (the ideal amount to stir into soup or chili). The heavy work is already done, making soup night a breeze.

5. Herbs and Aromatics

Whether you buy them pre-frozen in cubes or prep your own for freezing, it’s handy to have garlic, ginger, chilies, parsley, basil, and cilantro at the ready for stirring into soups. Get a blast of flavor in one go.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

6. Frozen Veggies

Soups are a great meal for the night before the produce box arrives or when you need to clean out the veggie drawer. But you might not always have fresh on hand. Keep a supply of your favorite vegetables in the freezer so that you can add a handful of this or a handful of that whenever you want.

7. Cooked Beans

Homemade chili, soup, or stew comes together quickly if you’ve got cooked beans on hand. Cook up a big batch and store them in two-cup containers, about the same size as a can of beans.

8. Leftovers

Leftover cooked meats, grains, and veggies can easily be stirred into soup. I often package up these small amounts in labeled, freezer-safe containers and stash them in the freezer for quick throw-together soup nights.

Get the recipe: Thursday Night Soup

9. Day-Old Bread and Bread Crusts

Dry bread got you down? No worries. Throw it in the freezer now and transform it into croutons to float in soup later. You can also bake and freeze the croutons if you want things to be super simple.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

10. Stale Tortilla Chips

Yep, really. If I have a bag of tortilla chips go stale, I stash it in the freezer. Not only can I work those chips into tortilla casseroles or chilaquiles, but they also work great in tortilla soup!