There are a few easy ways to thicken up taco soup and give it a richer, heartier texture:
- Add a slurry – Mix together some cornstarch or flour with water to form a slurry and stir it into the simmering soup. This will thicken as it cooks.
- Mash some beans – Mashing a portion of the beans will release starch and thicken the soup naturally.
- Grate in potatoes – Grate in some raw potato. As it cooks, the starch released will thicken the broth.
- Blend the soup – Use an immersion blender to lightly puree some of the soup. Be careful not to over-blend.
- Cook it down – Simmer the soup uncovered for longer to allow some of the liquid to reduce.
What options work best for thickening taco soup?
When it comes to thickening taco soup, you have a few options that work exceptionally well:
Making a slurry is one of the easiest and most effective ways to thicken any soup or stew. To make a slurry:
- In a small bowl, whisk together 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch or flour with 2-3 tablespoons of cold water until smooth.
- Stir the slurry into the simmering pot of taco soup. It will thicken up within a few minutes as it reaches a boil.
- For best results, add the slurry toward the end of cooking so it doesn’t break down too much from the extended simmering.
The slurry method works because the starch molecules from the flour or cornstarch swell and absorb liquid as they cook, increasing the soup’s viscosity and producing a thicker consistency.
Another way to thicken taco soup without adding any extra ingredients is to mash some of the beans already in the soup. Here’s how:
- Scoop out 1-2 cups of the cooked beans from the soup.
- Mash the beans with a potato masher or fork until they form a thick, chunky paste.
- Stir the mashed beans back into the soup until well combined.
Mashing the beans releases their starch and fiber, which adds body to the surrounding liquid. Focus on mashing pintos, great northern, cannellini and other beans high in starch for the best thickening power.
Grating in Potatoes
By grating in some raw potato, you can thicken up taco soup with an ingredient you likely have on hand. The potato releases starch as it cooks.
- Grate 1-2 medium russet or Yukon gold potatoes. You want about 1 cup grated potato.
- Add the grated potato to the simmering soup. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the potato is very tender.
- The starch from the potatoes will help widen the soup as it simmers. If needed, mash some of the softened potatoes against the side of the pot to release more starch.
Potatoes add great thickness to soups and stews. Just avoid overcooking them or the starch will start to break down too much.
Using an immersion blender is a super easy way to thicken taco soup without altering the flavors. Here’s how:
- Once the soup has simmered and all the ingredients are tender, use an immersion blender to lightly puree the soup.
- Give it quick pulses until it reaches your desired consistency – be careful not to over-blend or it will get too thin.
- The immersion blender purees some of the beans and vegetables to release starch and body.
Blending gives a creamier, heartier result than just cooking the soup down. But don’t overdo it or you’ll lose the chunky texture.
Simmering the Soup
For a natural thickening method, simmer the taco soup with the lid off for a longer period. This evaporates some of the liquid and condenses the ingredients.
- Cook the soup uncovered for 30-45 minutes after adding all ingredients.
- Stir occasionally and add extra water if it gets too thick before serving.
- The condensing method doesn’t change the flavor like other techniques.
Allowing the soup to simmer longer works best for mild thickening. For a truly thick result, use it in combination with one of the other methods.
What ingredients help thicken taco soup?
Certain ingredients included in taco soup can also help thicken it up:
Beans are a natural thickener thanks to their high starch and fiber content. Go for beans like pintos, great northern and kidney beans. Partially mashing some of the beans releases more starch.
Tomato paste is concentrated, so it adds rich texture. Stir a few tablespoons into the soup along with the tomato sauce.
The bits of tomato, onion and peppers in chunky salsa add body compared to smooth, liquidy salsa.
Sprinkling a bit of cornstarch directly into the soup as it simmers will help thicken it up.
Stirring in a splash of heavy cream or half-and-half adds a velvety thickness. Avoid boiling the soup after adding.
Opt for reduced-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock rather than water for a richer, thicker base.
Topping the soup with baked tortilla strips adds thickening texture as they soak up liquid.
Tips for getting the right taco soup consistency
Taco soup is meant to be rich, hearty and comforting. Follow these tips for getting the perfect spoon-coating texture:
- Don’t over-thicken. You still want the soup to have a stew-like consistency that you can sip from a spoon. It shouldn’t be too dense or gluey.
- Focus on starch-based thickeners. Ingredients like beans, potatoes, flour and cornstarch give you the most thickening capability for the best texture.
- Thicken at the end. If cooking the soup for a long time, hold off on adding thickeners until the end so they don’t break down too early.
- Go low-and-slow. Slow simmering evaporates liquid gradually so you can better control the thickness.
- Use an immersion blender. Quickly pulsing the soup gives you precise thickening control compared to cooking down alone.
- Watch the consistency. Pull the pot off heat periodically to check the thickness. You can always thin it with broth or water if needed.
Getting the ideal creamy yet chunky taco soup texture is all about control. Mastering a few thickening tricks gives you the ability to achieve the perfect consistency.
Recipes for thick and hearty taco soup
Here are a few top-rated recipes for supremely thick and satisfying taco soup:
Thick and Creamy Taco Soup
Thickeners Used: Flour, heavy cream
Texture: Ultra thick and velvety
Ingredients: Onion, celery, ground beef, chili powder, flour, chicken broth, tomatoes, beans, corn, heavy cream
1. Cook onion, celery and ground beef in a pot until browned. Drain excess fat.
2. Add chili powder, flour, chicken broth, diced tomatoes, beans and corn.
3. Simmer 20 minutes then stir in heavy cream. Heat through but do not boil.
All-In Taco Soup
Thickeners Used: Tomato paste, potato flakes
Texture: Hearty and rich
Ingredients: Ground beef, onion, peppers, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, broth, beans, corn, potato flakes
1. Cook ground beef with onion and peppers until browned.
2. Stir in tomato paste, spices and chicken broth.
3. Add drained beans, corn, potato flakes and simmer 30 minutes.
4. Let soup sit 10 minutes before serving for maximum thickness.
15-Minute Thick Taco Soup
Thickeners Used: Flour tortillas
Texture: Chunky and spoon-coating
Ingredients: Ground beef, taco seasoning, black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, tortillas
1. Cook ground beef with taco seasoning.
2. Add remaining ingredients and shredded tortillas.
3. Simmer 15 minutes, allowing tortillas to thicken the broth.
4. Top with tortilla strips, cheese and avocado.
FAQs about thickening taco soup
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about getting the perfect thickness for taco soup:
How do I thicken taco soup easily?
The easiest ways to thicken taco soup are adding a slurry, mashing beans into the broth, and blending the soup lightly with an immersion blender.
Do I add thickeners at the beginning or end?
It’s best to add thickening ingredients like slurries, starches and potato flakes toward the end to preserve their thickening power. Things like mashed beans and tomato paste can go in early.
Can I use milk or cream to thicken?
Yes, stir in a splash of milk, half-and-half or heavy cream at the end for a velvety texture. Just don’t let the soup boil after adding or the dairy can curdle.
Is cornstarch or flour better for thickening?
Both work well! Cornstarch gives a slightly glossier texture. Flour has a bit more rustic, matte finish. Use about 1-2 tablespoons of either per batch.
Can I thicken the soup too much?
It’s definitely possible to over-thicken taco soup into a paste. Go slowly, adding thickeners a little at a time until desired consistency is reached. You can always thin it with broth.
Should I blend all the soup or just some?
Blending all the soup will make it too smooth and thin. Quickly pulse or lightly blend about 1/4 to 1/3 of the pot contents for ideal thickness.
Is it ok to thicken with instant mashed potatoes?
Yes, instant mashed potato flakes or granules work well stirred into simmering taco soup. Start with a few tablespoons and add more if needed.
Tips for serving thick and creamy taco soup
Getting a perfect bowl of stick-to-your-ribs taco soup also depends on smart serving strategies:
- Ladle the soup into bowls rather than shallow plates so it keeps its depth and thickness.
- Serve with thick tortilla chips, bread chunks or cornbread for dunking.
- Top with shredded cheese, avocado and sour cream for cool contrast.
- Accompany with lime wedges, cilantro and hot sauce for customizing.
- For special occasions, float a spoonful of Mexican beer on top.
- Refrigerate leftovers in shallow containers for fast cooling and reheating.
- Stir a little broth or milk into chilled soup to thin it before reheating.
- Consider topping refried beans, nachos or baked potatoes with leftover soup.
Embrace the voluptuous beauty of a thick, saucy taco soup. A few minor adjustments make all the difference in getting that satisfying, soul-warming texture.