Soups are a delicious and nutritious food that can be enjoyed hot or cold. During the summer months when temperatures rise, cold soups provide refreshment and hydration. But which soups are typically served chilled rather than piping hot?
Quick Answer: Popular Cold Soups
Some of the most popular cold soups include:
- Gazpacho – A cold tomato-based soup originating from Spain.
- Vichyssoise – A French soup made of potatoes, leeks, onions, and cream.
- Fruit soups – Such as strawberry, peach, or watermelon.
- Cucumber soup
- Chilled avocado soup
- Cold beet borscht – A Eastern European soup made with beets.
- Chilled melon soup
- Yogurt-based chilled soups
These are some of the most common varieties of soup that are served cold rather than hot. Their cool, refreshing flavors make them ideal for summertime meals or as appetizers on hot days.
What Makes a Soup Suitable for Serving Cold
Not all soups lend themselves well to being served cold. Certain ingredients and qualities make for better cold soups:
- Vegetable-based – Cold soups are usually vegetable-based or fruit-based rather than creamy. The vegetables or fruit provide moisture and flavor.
- Bright, fresh flavors – Cold soups feature lively flavors like tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, citrus, etc. These flavors tend to be refreshing chilled.
- Smooth texture – Cold soups are typically pureed or processed to be smooth rather than chunky.
- Tangy and tart flavors – Ingredients like yogurt, buttermilk, vinegar, lemon, and lime juice help cold soups taste bright.
- Vegetable broth or fruit juice bases – Heartier bone broths do not work as well chilled.
- Lower fat – Cold soups are usually lower in fat so they don’t congeal when refrigerated.
Cold soups showcase fresh produce and herbs at their peak during the warmer months. Their lighter consistency and acidity make them perfect chill-and-serve options for hot days.
Traditional Cold Soups from Around the World
Cultures worldwide have developed delicious cold soup recipes suited to their local cuisines and ingredients. Here are some traditional cold soups from around the globe:
Hailing from Spain, gazpacho is a refreshing, raw vegetable soup made from tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, onion, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and bread. It’s blended to a smooth texture and served ice cold.
Bulgaria’s take on cold cucumber soup, tarator is made with cucumber, yogurt, walnuts, garlic, olive oil, and herbs. It has a lovely cooling, creamy texture.
This Scandinavian soup has a creamy base of yogurt and buttermilk enriched with fresh herbs like dill, chives, parsley, and mint. Cold-climate vegetables like cucumbers and radishes are also featured.
Okroshka is a Russian cold soup traditionally consisting of kvass or kefir combined with boiled meat or eggs, cucumbers, radishes, spring onion, dill, and parsley. The soup has a refreshing sour flavor.
Hailing from Andalusia, salmorejo is another chilled tomato-based soup similar to gazpacho but thicker and creamier with bread purée and olive oil. Hard-boiled eggs and Spanish ham are common garnishes.
In contrast to tomato-based gazpacho, ajoblanco is a Spanish almond soup made from almonds, garlic, bread, olive oil, sherry vinegar, and water. It’s garnished with grapes for additional sweetness and texture.
From eastern Europe to Scandinavia to the Mediterranean, cold soups reveal the breadth of ingredients and flavors around the globe. Countries make use of their regional produce, dairy, and customs to create refreshing hot-weather soups.
Tips for Making Cold Soups
Looking to whip up chilled soups at home? Here are some tips for making crowd-pleasing cold soups:
Use very ripe produce
Since chilling mutes flavors, use fruit and vegetables at their ripest to ensure bold, bright taste comes through. Tomatoes, cucumbers, and melons should be just shy of overripe.
Don’t be afraid to use ample herbs, spices, vinegars, citrus, etc. to amp up flavors. Taste and adjust seasoning when soup is fully chilled.
Get a velvety texture
For smooth soups, blend ingredients thoroughly or pass through a fine mesh sieve. You want it silky without any chunks.
Make sure soups are very cold before serving. Let chill in the fridge at least 4 hours and up to overnight for best flavor melding.
Garnish with toppings
Liven up your cold soup with fun garnishes like croutons, herbs, olive oil, seeds, grated cheese, or crisp chopped vegetables.
Stir before serving
Give cold soups a good stir to recombine ingredients and adjust seasonings right before ladling into bowls.
With vibrant produce and smart seasoning, you can make refreshing cold soups at home even better than the classics.
Ingredients to Include or Avoid
Certain ingredients lend themselves particularly well to cold soups, while others don’t work as well. Here are some ingredients you’ll want to include or avoid:
- Melons like cantaloupe or honeydew
- Strawberries, peaches, mango
- Yogurt or buttermilk
- Citrus juices
- Leafy fresh herbs
- Crunchy vegetables like bell peppers or radishes
- Pungent alliums like onions, shallots, garlic
- Vinegars and olive oil
- Starchy root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, turnips
- Heavy cream or half and half
- Meat broths and bone stocks
- Thick pureed beans
- Bread or grains
- Raw spinach or kale
- Hard-boiled eggs
Choose mostly water-rich fruits and vegetables, along with yogurt, herbs, and bright acids for delicious cold soup bases. Starchy, dense ingredients don’t work as well.
Choosing the Best Garnishes
Garnishes add textural contrast, visual appeal, and extra flavor. Here are tasty garnish ideas for cold soups:
|Garnish||Works Well In|
|Croutons||Gazpacho, other vegetable soups|
|Diced vegetables||Any cold soup|
|Fresh herbs||Yogurt or cream-based soups|
|Crumbled cheese||Creamy vegetable soups, fruit soups|
|Olive oil, vinegar||Tangy gazpacho, Mediterranean-style soups|
|Chopped nuts||Fruit soups, vegetable & yogurt soups|
|Crispy bacon||Potato or other creamy soups|
|Whipped cream||Fruit soups, sweet vegetable soups|
Get creative with crunchy, creamy, herby, and acidic garnishes to finish your cold soups with exciting contrasts and beauty.
Serving Ideas for Hot Summer Days
Here are some tips for serving cold soups when the temperatures rise:
As a starter course
Ladle small portions before a meal to whet appetites on a hot day. Gazpacho, fruit soups, and creamy yogurt soups work well.
For easy summer parties, serve 2-3 oz portions of colorful cold soups in shot glasses or small mason jars.
With summer salads
Pair a cold soup with a fresh green, grain, or pasta salad for a light, seasonal meal.
In bread bowls
For a fun presentation, ladle gazpacho or vichyssoise into hollowed-out small bread loaves.
As a cocktail
For adults, add a splash of vodka or gin to chilled tomato, beet, or fruit soups.
In sip cups to-go
Let guests take cold soup on the road in portable cups with lids and straws for sipping.
Pair a small cup of cold soup with summery sandwiches for picnic baskets or brown bag lunches.
Served in creative ways, cold soups make perfect hot weather food you can enjoy guilt-free.
Choosing the Right Accompaniments
Beyond garnishes, what are some full accompaniments that complement chilled soups nicely? Consider these ideas:
Breads and rolls
Bread is a natural pairing for sopping up every last bit of delicious soup. Baguettes, rolls, pita, and flatbreads are all excellent choices.
During summer, cold soups and sandwiches make ideal companions. Pair gazpacho with BLTs, or fruit soup with chicken or tuna salad sandwiches.
From garden greens to tuna pasta salad, a side salad adds freshness and crunch to balance creamy, rich cold soups.
For a pretty, light meal, accompany cold soup with raw seasonal vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers for dipping.
Add a cheese course with hard cheeses, soft goat cheese, or creamy burrata to enjoy before or alongside cold soups.
Fresh melon wedges, berries, stone fruit, or citrus all make bright, sweet counterpoints to savor with chilled savory soups.
With thoughtful sides and starters, cold soups become full, satisfying summer meals perfect for taking advantage of seasonal produce.
Cold Soups for Kids
During the summer, chilled soups are a great way to keep kids happy and hydrated. Here are some tips for kid-friendly cold soups:
Keep it simple
Focus on mild flavors and smooth textures without much mixing and matching. Cold tomato or fruit purees are best.
Add a swirl of cream
For a touch of richness and white contrast, drizzle cold fruit or vegetable soups with plain yogurt, sour cream, or heavy cream.
Top with croutons
For crunch, toast small bread cubes tossed in olive oil and herbs. Sprinkle croutons over the top of soup.
Garnish with cheese
For savory flavor, add shredded cheddar, crumbled feta, or grated parmesan over tomato or vegetable-based soups.
Blend soups very smooth
Kids don’t like chunks. Use a high-powered blender or sieve soups through a fine mesh strainer.
Chill soups extra cold
Make sure soups are ice cold for serving. Coldness makes them extra refreshing and thirst-quenching for kids.
With kid-friendly adaptations like smooth textures, gentle flavors, fun garnishes and icy cold temperatures, you can make cold soups a hit with children.
When the weather heats up, chilled soups offer the perfect way to transform peak summer produce into light, tempting meals. From gazpacho to fruit purees, cold soups highlight colorful vegetables and fruits at their best. Just be mindful of textures and seasonings, and feel free to get creative with garnishes and serving methods. Served icy cold, low-fat, high-flavor soups will be your new go-to hot weather lifesavers.