Condensed cream of chicken soup has its time and place, like creamy chicken casseroles, pasta bakes, and especially these Cheesy Funeral Potatoes. Most recipes call for canned soup, but today, I’m sharing my recipe for making condensed cream of chicken soup entirely from scratch.
HOW TO MAKE Condensed CREAM OF CHICKEN SOUP
To make this homemade condensed cream of chicken soup, I took a page from making gumbo and started with a roux, which is a combination of fat and flour that helps to thicken soups, intensify flavors and keep the fat from separating out from the other liquids in the soup. The darker the roux the more flavorful the soup, but how dark you go is up to you.
To increase the flavor the soup, I use rendered chicken fat to make the roux and then made a quick homemade chicken stock using chicken thighs. The results are extraordinary, and make a soup worthy of eating as its own meal.
You’ll need four bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs to render enough fat for the roux and to make a rich stock, but you don’t actually need all of the meat for the recipe. If I’m making this to replace canned cream of chicken soup in another recipe, I use two chicken thighs in the soup and save the rest for another use. However, if I’m making the soup as a meal on its own, I add all of the meat.
HOW TO MAKE THE ROUX
To make a roux, you want equal parts fat and flour – in this case 1/4 cup of fat and 1/4 cup of flour. However, the amount of fat might not be exact in this recipe because it’s difficult to know much fat your chicken will render in the pan. Just aim for about 1/4 cup of rendered chicken fat, but don’t worry about it too much. Even if your roux is a little too dry or a little too thin, it still will work.
No matter what, make sure to cook the roux until it deepens in color from white to golden and to whisk constantly to keep it from scorching. The darker the roux the more depth of flavor – another trick I learned from making gumbo.
STREAMLINE YOUR WORKFLOW
This recipe has only a handful of ingredients, but the process of making it can feel a little complex, at least the first time you do it.
To make the process a simple as possible, I recommend getting everything prepped ahead of time. Measure out the flour, mince the garlic, and finely chop the onion. Make sure the chicken is thawed (if frozen) and ready to go.
I also place my frying pan on my stove’s front burner and place the stock pot on the burner directly behind it. That allows for a smoother and less messy transfer of rendered chicken to the boiling water in step three of the recipe.
More than anything else, read through the whole recipe before you begin. Familiarize yourself with the steps and how the different components come together.
Use 1-for-1 in place of canned condensed soup
As written, it makes a soup that’s almost as thick as canned condensed cream of chicken soup and it can be used 1-for-1 in any recipe that calls for canned soup, like our Cheesy Funeral Potatoes.
Make it a Meal
If you’d like to serve this for dinner on its own, just thin it out with a little more broth, heavy cream or water and serve. You can also stir in the meat from the extra two chicken thighs not needed for the condensed version (see Step 7 in the recipe below).
If you need, or prefer, a dairy-free version, just leave out the heavy cream. It will still taste rich and luxurious.
MAKE-AHEAD CREAM OF CHICKEN SOUP
You can make this soup up to four days ahead of time and keep it refrigerated. Like most soups, the flavor is better the day after you make it. I don’t recommend freezing this soup since freezing, thawing, and reheating can affect the texture. If you’re interested in canning this soup, I recommend checking out the information from National Center for Home Food Preservation.