Cozy, savory, and perfect for fall, this Vegan Cream of Chicken Soup is hearty, healthy, and stick-to-your-ribs satisfying. Whether you make up a big pot to eat throughout the week, serve to your family with crusty bread, or freeze for a snowy day, this soup is sure to become your new household favorite. Did we mention it takes only 30 minutes to make?
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Hey Internet, we had quite a chill last week in the Chicago area, and I made this soup several times to warm myself up after *many* dog walks. She may be small, but our dog Luna requires a LOT of exercise.
Anyway, this soup is easy, quick (only 30 minutes or less!), and delicious--whether you’re sick, chilly, or just hungry, I know this recipe is perfect for you.
But there’s DEFINITELY a soft spot in my heart for this delicious vegan creamy chicken soup.
It’s also naturally a gluten-free recipe, so it’s suitable for those with wheat-restrictions.
Alright, enough yapping, let’s get into it!
What You’ll Need
So let’s start with the vegan chicken. There are a bunch of different options for you in the “What Substitutions Can I Make” section below.
I used soy curls for the chicken because they most resembled it and did the best job of absorbing the soup flavor. They also are easy and you don’t have to pre-cook (bake or panfry or something) them to add them. Just rehydrate and throw in!
For the soup veggies, I highly recommend onion, garlic, celery, and carrots, because they are the PERFECT soup combo, adding so much flavor without much effort.
I like sweet/Vidalia onions or Spanish/yellow onions for soups, as they have a less pungent flavor than white or red onions.
For garlic, use as much or as little as you like. I used about 3 giant cloves for myself and my husband, as we love garlic but didn’t want it to overwhelm the soup. If you’re not a super garlic fan, I recommend 1-2 small cloves, or just leave them out.
I’ve got some other broth options in the substitutions section below if you can’t find the No Chicken base, though!
For a bit more flavor, I swapped out a cup of broth for a cup of white wine. The alcohol will cook off, leaving only a bit of extra flavor, but it’s totally optional. If you do want to use the white wine, Barnivore (not affiliated, just a fan) is a phenomenal resource for finding vegan alcohol!
Next, to make it satisfying and reference that delicious classic I’ve enjoyed at diners, I’ve added some rice to this soup.
Note that brown rice and white rice will both work fine in this recipe, so use your preference. I’ve used organic white rice here, as I love the flavor.
As far as herbs, I’ve only added dried thyme as the Better Than Bouillon is quite well seasoned, so feel free to use what you like. Sage or Italian herbs would also be great here.
Finally that creamy goodness. I started off my soup with a cheater’s roux--A roux is typically made with butter, and flour, but I’ve just used a bit of flour here before stirring in the broth.
This gave it the base, and I added a small amount of coconut milk at the end to make this a creamy and delicious soup.
You could use vegan butter if you want to do a real roux, and if you want to skip the flour altogether, you absolutely can.
What Substitutions Can I Make?
I understand many people have food intolerances, dislikes, and trouble finding items especially in this season of the world.
I try to provide as many substitutions as possible, but I encourage you to play around with all my recipes, including this vegan cream of chicken soup. Feel free to ask questions if you need to!
Instead of the soy curls, you could use any kind of vegan chicken you like. You could use chickpeas, baked tofu, seitan (use my vegan chicken nuggets recipe as a base!), or a store-bought chicken alternative like Gardein.
Vegan Chicken Broth
My go-to vegan chicken broth is Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base because it tastes SO GOOD. Other vegan chicken bouillon products (like Orrington Farms) will work, as will prepared vegan chicken broth (like Imagine).
In a pinch, vegetable broth will also work--in this case I recommend adding a bit of poultry seasoning, which is totally vegan and just contains the herbs typically used in preparing poultry.
Brown or white rice will work well for this recipe. Brown rice will take slightly longer to cook, and may require a touch more water (add at your discretion).
You could also sub it for pasta--like rotini noodles or even orzo--for a slightly faster cooking time.
If you’d like to omit the rice altogether, I’d recommend reducing the broth by about 2 cups, otherwise it will be quite thin.
Feel free to add the flour at the beginning like I did, make a real roux with vegan butter (I did not), or leave it out altogether. The flour does add some substance and creaminess but it’s totally optional.
Coconut Milk or Cream
Finally, I used coconut cream (the thick part of canned coconut milk because it was handy and adds a beautiful creaminess to the soup. I promise you can’t taste the coconut, but you can substitute cashew cream or a thicker plant based milk if you like.
Tips for Making Vegan Cream of Chicken Soup
- Make sure to rinse your rice well before you start, and just set it aside for when you’re ready to add it.
- I recommend chopping your onions pretty small, they kind of melt into the soup. But if you like big chunks of onion, go for it!
- I minced my garlic, but chopped my carrots and celery decently because I still wanted them to have some texture. The one thing you want to do is cut all your carrots approximately the same size and all your celery approximately the same size so you don’t have some that are overcooked and some that are undercooked.
- I also recommend chopping all your veggies BEFORE starting, so you’re not scrambling when it comes time to cook.
- I like to start by sauteing the onions over medium high heat for about 2-3 minutes, in just a splash of water. You can use oil if you want to, but I prefer to just use water or sometimes broth.
- Add the garlic and saute for another minute, then add the celery and carrots. Saute those for about 2 minutes--you’ll notice that they become much brighter in color.
- If using flour, add it now and just let it soak up any extra moisture in your pot, stirring constantly. Otherwise move onto the next step.
- Add the rice, broth, wine if using, and dried thyme. Stir well, bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 10-15 minutes (I’d check it in 10, especially if using white rice).
- While that cooks, if using soy curls, rehydrate them by adding them to a medium bowl and covering them with water or broth. I used about one and a half cups of vegan chicken broth to rehydrate them.
- When the rice is cooked, or almost there, add your rehydrated soy curls (or whatever vegan chicken you are using).
- Add the coconut milk and stir well. Continue to cook until the soy curls and coconut milk are heated, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and serve!
Does It Keep?
My Vegan Cream of Chicken Soup actually keeps great!
Store it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or you can freeze it for up to 3 months.
It’s a thick soup, but if it gets too thick, you can add a little water or broth when reheating.
More Cozy Vegan Soup Recipes
In the colder months, I can’t get enough soup. It fills me up, soothes a sore throat, and makes me feel all cozy and warm. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Vegan Matzo Ball Soup
- Butternut Squash Carrot Ginger Soup
- Vegan Double Chicken Noodle Soup
- Tomato Soup with Vegan Grilled Cheese
- Corn Chowder
- Creamy Mushroom Lasagna Soup (weird but good!)
- Hearty Lentil Vegetable Soup
As always, I hope you love this recipe--I know I do, and Mr. Zardyplants does too. It’s rare that we’ll both lick the bowl, but we did!
We had a lot of leftovers from testing this recipe a few times to make sure it was perfect for you, and every day we were excited to eat more of the leftovers--it is quite a feat to make Mr. Zardyplants like leftovers so much!
This Vegan Cream of Chicken Soup is:
- And perfect for meal prep or a holiday meal. It’s a crowd pleaser!
Let me know in the comments below if you make this recipe or tag me @Zardyplants on Instagram so I can see your beautiful recreations! If you tag me on IG, I will share your post in my stories :)
Also, one quick request: if you love how this recipe looks or tastes, please leave me a 5-star rating and a nice comment–ratings help more people find my recipes which helps me keep providing them! Thank you!