Humble, bumpy, rough carrots. We peel and slice them into sticks and stuff them in lunchboxes, or put them out with a dip when company comes. We chop them and use them in soups and stews, but rarely do we let them star on their own. This bisque-like soup recipe changes that thinking. Pretty and lush, infinitely spoonable but with a distinct texture, this creamy bowl of deliciousness gives carrots their due respect. Leave out the bacon and use vegetable broth to make this dish vegetarian.
And it’s worth pausing a tic to shake your head at how cheap they usually are. You can do a lot with a pound or two of carrots, and they won’t make much of a dent in the food budget. If you have a bunch of carrots, also think about Roasted Carrots, Roasted Carrots with Pesto Creme Fraiche, or Roasted Carrots with Creamy Cilantro Sauce.
I like making a batch of this at the beginning of the week and keeping it in the fridge for an emergency dinner or quick lunch. Eat it with a pasta salad for a completely make-ahead meal. Or, if you’re in the autumn mood, this soup goes so well with Roasted Honey Mustard Brussels Sprouts and Pork Chops with Applesauce.
Table of Contents
Cream of Carrot Soup: This bisque-like soup is pretty and lush, with a wonderful texture and flavor (and inexpensive and healthy!)Tweet This
- Bacon – The flavor of the bacon creates a base for this soup, and the crispy bacon bits are crumbled on top.
- Butter – Adds some extra richness.
- Carrots – Your run-of-the-mill bagged carrots will do just fine, or maybe you can get some locally grown carrots at a farmers market. I’d love to make this sometime with those purple carrots you see at the market at times. I don’t know if the color would fade a lot in the cooking, but I have to check it out — it could be the coolest-looking soup (oooh….maybe add some cooked beets to that one?).
- Red onion – Adds some punchy onion flavor.
- Shallots – Balances the red onion with a little sweetness.
- Garlic – Mincing the garlic really finely helps its flavor come through.
- White rice – The addition of a small amount of white rice simply serves to thicken up the soup once it’s pureed, which lets the carrots and other supporting vegetables hold the spotlight. You can use any kind of rice; I did try it with jasmine rice once and liked the very faint aromatic flavor that this type of grain lent to the mix.
- Chicken or vegetable broth – Exclude the bacon and use vegetable broth to make this dish vegetarian.
- Heavy cream – It’s always amazing to me how a small amount of cream added to a soup adds such voluptuousness and rounds out the flavor. Only skip it if someone has a lactose problem (and then ladle out their portion and add a bit of cream to the rest). Don’t tell them what they are missing.
- Feta, goat cheese, or blue cheese – This is optional, but a little salty, creamy cheese is a perfect topping here.
- Parsley – Adds a touch of fresh green herbiness.
How to Make Cream of Carrot Soup
- Make the bacon: Crisp up the bacon in a Dutch oven on the stove. Set them aside to drain, and crumble them into little delicious bacon bits. Drain off the excess bacon fat.
- Sauté: Sauté the carrots, onions, shallots, and garlic in butter until everything is soft and tender, about 12 minutes.
- Simmer: Add the rice and broth to the pot and bring it up to a simmer. Simmer the soup, covered, for 30 to 40 minutes, until the rice is soft and the vegetables are super tender.
- Purée: Blend up the cooked soup in your blender or food processor, or use an immersion blender. You may need to blend in batches depending on the size of your blender.
- Serve: Stir the cream into the blended soup. Serve hot, topped with bacon, cheese, and parsley, if desired.
Carrots are seriously nutritious — tons of vitamin A and antioxidants and an assortment of other vitamins and minerals we all need. But once you start eating, you will not be thinking, “Boy, this sure is healthy!” but just surrendering to the velvety texture and round flavor of the soup.
There are two reasons why your carrots may not be softening: first, because of the cooking time not being long enough, and second, because of a high level of acidity. Carrots can take a surprisingly long amount of time to become completely soft and blendable. That’s why in this soup, I cook the carrots for at least 40 minutes on the stove before blending them. Additionally, according to The Kitchn, acidity can prevent carrots from becoming soft. If you want to add a squeeze of lemon or any kind of acid to this recipe, wait until the soup is finished to stir it through.
While some people like to leave their carrots unpeeled, I always try to peel mine. Carrots grow directly in the ground so they can cling onto dirt. Peeling them with a vegetable peeler avoids getting any of that dirt in your soup. However, if your carrots are especially clean or you are willing to give them a very thorough scrub, there is no harm in adding them to the soup unpeeled. They do not have a “peel” in the same way that a potato or an onion does — the outside has the same flavor and texture as the inside does.
This soup will last for 5 days in the fridge. If you know you are going to make it ahead of time, you can leave out the cream and then add it to the soup when you reheat it in a pot over medium-low heat.
If you did add the cream, leftovers can be stored for the same amount of time. Make sure to just heat it over medium-low heat until just warmed through, and don’t let it come to a boil.
What to Serve With Cream of Carrot Soup
More Puréed Soup Recipes
(Wow, it turns out I really love a good pureed soup….who knew?)
- Moroccan Carrot and Cauliflower Soup
- Indian Butternut Squash-Carrot Soup
- Silky Leek Soup
- Creamy Tomato Soup
- Roasted Butternut Squash and Fennel Soup
- Parsnip and Golden Beet Soup
- Spicy Roasted Root Vegetable Soup with Parmesan Croutons
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Cream of Carrot Soup
- 4 slices bacon
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 pounds carrots (peeled and chopped)
- 1 red onion (chopped)
- 2 shallots (chopped)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
- ¼ cup uncooked white rice
- 7 cups less-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- ½ cup heavy cream
To serve (optional)
- Crumbled feta (or goat cheese, or blue cheese)
- Chopped fresh parsley
- In a large pot or a Dutch oven, sauté the bacon until it is crisp over medium high heat. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate, let cool and drain, and crumble the bacon. Set aside.
- Pour off all of the bacon fat, then melt the butter over medium heat. Add the carrots, onions, shallots, and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, until the carrots have started to become tender.
- Add the rice and the chicken broth, turn the heat to high, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer the soup, covered for 30 to 40 minutes, until the vegetables are completely tender and the rice is very soft. Puree the soup in batches in a blender or a food processor, or use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pot, until very smooth. Stir in the cream and heat through.
- Serve the soup hot, topped with the bacon, and a crumble of whatever cheese you like, and some parsley. Give it a final sprinkle of pepper if desired.
- The addition of a small amount of white rice simply serves to thicken up the soup once it’s pureed, which lets the carrots and other supporting vegetables hold the spotlight. You can kind of white rice you like, from jasmine to short grain.
- This soup will last for 5 days in the fridge. If you know you are going to make it ahead of time, you can leave out the cream, and then add it to the soup when you reheat it in a pot over medium-low heat. If you did add the cream, leftovers can be stored for the same amount of time; make sure to just heat it over medium-low heat until just warmed through, and don’t let it come to a boil.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.