How to Become the Usain Bolt of Soup

Tie that apron on tight because with these 5 tips you’re gonna be the fastest soup-maker in the world.

5 Tips for Becoming the Usain Bolt of Soup

We don’t mean that you’ll be running around the kitchen as fast as Usain Bolt. Don’t worry. We keep our running for the outdoors and like to be calm and cool in the kitchen.

These are just some tips to help you get soup on the table really quickly for days when you just neeeeeeeed to eat noooooowwwwww.

#1 Read the Recipe

It seems silly to say this, but we know it happens all the time. We do it too. You kinda skim the recipe and do a mental, “Yep, I have that stuff. Yep, I know what to do.” Then you go to start cooking and realize that you’re missing ingredients, and somehow the steps in the recipe are not at all what you expected, “Huh? I was supposed to pre-cook the rice? Oh no! Dinner will never be ready!” So, we’ll say it: READ THE RECIPE CAREFULLY. Read the ingredient list and make sure that you do have everything. Then read the instructions. Don’t skim. Read. Does everything make sense? Is there anything in there that you need to do ahead of time? Is there any equipment you’re missing. Spend that bit of extra time reading it through and you’ll save time when cooking.

#2 Gather your Stuff

“Where the heck is that frigging Worcestershire sauce?!?!” You know you have it. You saw it yesterday. The next step in your recipe calls for it and you cannot, for the freaking life of you, find it. Well, maybe you never will. But we’re guessing that if you had calmly searched out all of the ingredients BEFORE you started cooking, you would have been more likely to find it. So, after carefully reading through your recipe, gather up all of the ingredients and tools you’ll need to make it. That way, everything is at your fingertips so you can spend more time cooking and less time swearing.

#3 Be a Multitasker

Soup’s not finicky. Ingredients can be added at different times and it’s not going to matter much. They’re therefore the perfect recipes for practicing your cooking multitaskability. How to do it? You’re basically constantly cooking/heating some things while chopping and prepping others.

An example: Get your soup pot heating with some oil. While it warms, chop an onion. Put it in the pot. Pour broth into a big bowl and put it in the microwave to get it heating. Open up a bag of shredded carrots and add some to the onions. While the carrots and onions soften, cube a chicken breast. Add it to the pot with some seasonings (I’m thinking salt, chili powder, cumin and a pinch of cinnamon). Open a can of diced tomatoes and get them in there. Take the bowl of broth out of the microwave and add the hot broth to the pot. Bring it to a simmer and cook until the carrots are tender and the chicken is cooked through. While it finishes cooking, get some garnishes ready (chopped fresh cilantro and slightly crushed tortilla chips would work here). Soup’s done!

#4 Turn up the Heat

Soup and high heat are best friends. It’s nearly impossible to burn broth-based soups and with the short amount of time on the stovetop, cream-based soups hold up quite well. So crank the burner up to high (or medium-high if you’re feeling skittish) and let the soups cook up quickly. Just stir often to make sure nothing is burning on the bottom.

Other heat tips. 1) Keep the lid on the pot as much as possible. That traps the heat in and gets things cooking more quickly; 2) Use the microwave or a second pot to get the broth hot. While you chop and sauté veggies and meats, get the broth going so that you can add it already hot to the other ingredients. This is a HUGE time saver.

#5 It’s in the Pot

You need the Goldilocks of pots. If it’s too small your ingredients won’t easily fit and you’ll spill when stirring. A really full small pot also takes longer to heat than a larger less-full pot. But if your pot is too big there’s too much space between the cooking liquid and the lid, which results in a longer cooking time as well. You also sometimes run into the problem of ingredients not being fully submerged in shallow liquid.

This 5-quart Dutch is just right. Not only is it the perfect size but it has a good heavy bottom. That makes it stand up well to high heat and it holds the temperature evenly.

So what do you think? Are you ready to make soup crazy-fast now? On your marks. Get set. GO!

Lyndsay Burginger

It’s always entertaining when Lyndsay’s in the kitchen. She’s even been known to belt out Broadway show tunes while making dinner (a handy whisk as her microphone, of course). She currently writes for her international food and travel site, Lyndsay's Travel Kitchen . Lyndsay is also on the editorial team at The Cookful.