16 Hearty Soups Filling Enough to Serve for Dinner

Potato Broccoli and Cheddar Soup
Photo: Alpha Smoot

Everyone knows that a warming bowl of soup is pure comfort food. From classic minestrone and new takes on chicken noodle to crowd-pleasing vegetable-based options, these filling soup recipes are sure to satisfy any day of the week.

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Linda Pugliese

There's nothing like a good, substantial soup to set you right at the end of a long day—it's homey, comforting, and often makes for a great leftover lunch tomorrow. The soup recipes in this gallery are wonderfully wide-ranging, but every one of them is filling enough that it can stand on its own for dinner (though a side salad or a good loaf of bread is never a bad idea!).

The meaty options include two takes on chicken soup—one classic and one with a Peruvian twist that includes rice, potatoes and loads of zippy cilantro—as well as an Italian Wedding Soup that uses sausage instead of meatballs (a super-smart trick for busy cooks, since sausage is already seasoned). Time-pressed cooks will also love a wonton soup that doesn't actually involve making any dumplings; rather, you drop broken wonton wrappers into the broth along with meatballs. All the traditional elements of the soup are there, but you'll skip out on the labor-intensive step of filling wontons. There's also a Pork-and-Cabbage Soup that's reminiscent of Polish stuffed cabbage (again, no filling of cabbage leaves involved!) and a bean soup that includes leftover ham or lamb for heft.

Filling soups needn't be heavy on the meat, though. Take our Escarole and Bean Soup, shown here, which uses canned beans and comes together in just 25 minutes and is an excellent option for a busy weeknight meal. Another good choice is our lentil soup, which includes the game-changing inclusion of shiitake mushrooms—some added to the lentils and simmered, some roasted in the oven for serious umami flavor. We've also got a number of vegetable-heavy options, such as a potato, broccoli, and cheddar soup; minestrone; an Asian-inspired coconut-zucchini soup; and a quinoa and lemon soup whose delicate flavor belies its ability to fill up hungry stomachs.

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Smoky Black-Bean Soup with Sausage

smoky black-bean soup with sausage
Nico Schinco

A quick soup that starts with basic canned black beans. Adding andouille sausage and canned fire-roasted tomatoes brings a delicious depth of flavor in just 40 minutes.

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Peruvian Chicken Soup with Rice and Potatoes

Rice & Potatoes

As with classic chicken soups, this Peruvian aguadito de pollo starts with a whole chicken to make a broth (plus extra chicken wings for even more flavor!), along with bay leaf, thyme, parsley, salt, black peppercorns. What makes this unique are the rice and potatoes, which give it plenty of heft—and a generous amount of cilantro for a bright, fresh taste.

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Shortcut Italian Wedding Soup

Shortcut Italian Wedding Soup
Alpha Smoot

A Parmesan rind is the powerhouse ingredient behind this fast and robust version of the classic soup. Instead of meatballs, you use sausage, which already has lots of flavor, and the soup also incorporates fennel, pastina, and escarole.

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Lentil Soup with Crispy Kale

lentil soup with crispy kale
Armando Rafael

This vegetarian lentil soup has a few creative twists that take it in a surprising (and delicious) new direction. While the lentils simmer with onion, carrots and rich, buttery shiitake mushrooms, you roast more mushrooms plus lacinato kale in the oven. Stirring in the roasted mushrooms at the end gives the soup an extra umami punch, and the crunchy kale chips are a tasty garnish.

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Potato, Broccoli, and Cheddar Soup

Potato Broccoli and Cheddar Soup
Alpha Smoot

Broccoli is used two ways in this kid-friendly dish: it's simmered until tender for the soup base and roasted for the garnish. On the side, try classic ham sandwiches—they're just as comforting and familiar as this nostalgic soup.

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Kale, White Bean, and Farro Soup

kale white bean and farro soup served in a white bowl
Kate Mathis

Cannellini beans provide protein and fiber in this fragrant, steaming broth. It's loaded with vegetables (carrots, celery, and tomatoes), grains (farro, which gives it a pleasant chew), and herbs (fresh sage leaves lend an earthy note).

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Classic Minestrone


This beloved Italian soup has so much going for it: It's hearty, healthy, and also totally flexible. A typical minestrone includes lots of leafy greens, other vegetables, and beans. Which to choose? You're only limited by the contents of your refrigerator and pantry. The only must: a smattering of grated Parmesan on top just before serving.

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Green Coconut Zoodle Soup

Green Coconut Zoodle Soup recipe
Lennart Weibull

Versatile, delicious, and healthy spiralized vegetable noodles are terrific in soup, such as this and this Asian-influenced vegan one. Cilantro and coconut milk give it gorgeous hue and zippy flavor; baby bok choy and zucchini noodles give it toothsome texture and extra greenery; and roasted shiitake mushrooms and kabocha squash lend heft and depth.

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Test Kitchen's Favorite Chicken Soup Made with a Whole Chicken

chicken soup
Armando Rafael

Want a classic, go-to chicken noodle soup recipe? Look no further than this solid version, which starts with a whole chicken (ask your butcher to cut a chicken into pieces and give you the backbone; it makes for a richer broth) and ends, hours later, with dill and lemon juice.

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Customizable Vegetable Soup

homemade vegetable soup with toasted bread on cutting board
Marcus Nilsson

The choose-your-own-adventure formula of this smart recipe is designed for you to make a big batch of soup starring any vegetables you please. Use vegetable broth or water to make it vegetarian, and omit the Parmesan to make it vegan. Any vegetables work, from potatoes, parsnips, turnips, or squash, to green beans, broccoli, zucchini, peas, or corn.

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Broken Wonton Soup

broken wonton soup in red bowl
Justin Walker

No need to form wontons for this soothing soup! The wrappers go into the garlic-ginger broth separately from the filling (mini pork meatballs, which get a boost from soy sauce and cilantro). Vitamin-rich bok choy provides a welcome pop of green.

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Lemony Quinoa-and-Spinach Soup

lemony quinoa spinach soup
Armando Rafael

Want something fresh? This delicate soup bursts with bright flavor thanks to spinach, dillm and lemon. It gets some heft from quinoa, which cooks quickly (just be sure to rinse the quinoa first, to remove any bitterness).

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Sweet Potato-Sausage Soup

sweet potato sausage soup

This cool-weather stew tastes as if it's been cooking for hours, but it actually comes together in a flash. You start by cooking onion and garlic in oil; next add sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. In go cut-up sweet potatoes, broth and water, then small pasta shells, and finally chopped greens, such as kale or Swiss chard. Before you know it, you've got a deeply sweet and tasty dinner.

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Ham or Lamb Bean Soup

Ham or Lamb Bean Soup 30
Minh + Wass

Any white bean, such as great Northern or navy, can be used in hefty soup, which is a great way to use up leftover baked ham or roasted lamb. It's a filling dinner on its own, but is especially nice alongside some good bread and cheese (try a tangy one, like blue or goat, which will be a nice counterpoint to the rich meat).

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Pork-and-Cabbage Soup

pork cabbage soup
Christopher Testani

Two types of pork—bacon and spareribs—and cabbage—Savoy and sauerkraut—are the stars in this version of the hearty Polish soup known as kapusniak. It's the perfect dish for a chilly night, even better when served with fresh dill, sour cream, seeded rye bread and salted butter.

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