Zucchini Soup

photo of bowl of zucchini soupLast week, I was singing the praises of my friend, Tina, who gave the recipe (more of a method, I suppose) for Fresh corn with Sea Salt and Basil. When I called her the night before the post to make doubly sure she didn’t mind me broadcasting her business, she not only said “no problem” but she upped the ante by giving me another one right over the phone.

She described a soup that sounded easy enough but the lead role went to zucchini. I have always thought of zucchini as an utterly benign food. It is fine. It fills the belly for a bit. But, outside of zucchini bread, which I quite like…mostly because of all the butter I put on top of it, zucchini doesn’t really light my fire. Blah. But, when Tina made corn with no *gasp* butter I was hesitant, too. And, boy was I ever wrong about that one.

photo of ingredients for zucchini soupI stand utterly and totally corrected. This is my new favorite thing in the world. First, the taste. This is alchemy. I don’t know what happened. But, this soup is flavorful and rich. I think I was fairly restrained with only ¼ cup of half & half. But zucchini has some strange silky property that lifts the whole game. It is as though it emulsified in the food processor without the presence of any fat. I don’t know. But it really doesn’t matter. Because, the second most wonderful thing is that it is ready in a flash. And, the third most wonderful thing is the color of the finished soup is something only Jim Henson and the Muppets could have thought up. It is gorgeous. Oh, and the fourth most wonderful thing is that the ingredients are as cheap as dirt.

I do recommend that you drop $5 on the Better than Bouillon soup base. This can be found in the soup aisle with the bouillon cubes and such. It is somewhat like a demi-glace. It is a paste of sorts. But it has the effect of bouillon cubes without any of the strange flavors that are associated with the cubes. They do not add any MSG and from what I can tell, no gluten either. They have several varieties and I used the chicken.

photo of how to make zucchini soupRecipe for Zucchini Soup:


2 pounds fresh zucchini, cut into pieces
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, diced
1 tablespoon chicken base (I used Better than Bouillon)
¼ cup half & half
½ cup chicken broth or reserved cooking water


1. Prepare a large pot of boiling water. Add the zucchini rounds and boil them for 3 minutes. (See Note) Drain the zucchini in a colander and set it aside. Return the empty pot to the stove. Add the butter to the pot and allow it to melt over medium heat. When the butter is hot, sauté the onions until they are tender.

photo of additions to zucchini soup recipe2. Meanwhile transfer the cooked zucchini to the bowl of a food processor. Puree the zucchini until it is smooth. Pour the pureed zucchini back into the pot with the onions. Add the soup base and stir it in with the onions and zucchini. Finally, add the half & half and enough chicken broth to make the soup the consistency that you like.


If you prefer, instead of thinning the soup with chicken broth, you can thin it with some of the cooking water. Simply make sure that you grab a coffee cup and dip out about 1 cup of the cooking water before you drain the zucchini.

photo of zucchini soup from recipe

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48 comments to Zucchini Soup

  • Patricia

    I have a suggestion to substitute for the chicken base. I use Glace de Poulet Gold which is super condensed chicken stock, so thick it is a thick gel. Adds a wonderful flavor but is a bit pricey. You can find tiny 1-2 tablespoon packs in many stores and a pint tub in upscale stores. Great in soups, stews and sauces. It lasts forever in the refrigerator. Also for vegetarians or the more thrifty, you could use Shiro Miso which is white miso. You’ve had it as the base of that clear soup with bits of tofu and green onion in Japanese restaurants. It’s available in Asian stores and in many regular grocery stores. You should be able to find it in Whole Foods or any natural food store too. Hope this helps.

  • Kelly

    Heather, I’m so sorry, but I haven’t done any nutritional calculations for my recipes. Although this one certainly falls on the healthful side where my big ideas are concerned. I’m so glad you liked it, though.

  • Heather

    I made this soup and WOW…most of my family members cringe when I say “zucchini” and the entire pot was gone when I got home…they even ate it cold and loved it !!!

    I was wondering if maybe you had the calorie breakdown for 1 cup? If not no biggie, but thanks for a great 99% temp outside nice cold soup !!!

    Heather – Missoula, MT

  • Courtney

    This soup is simple and incredibly good! I have always liked using Better Than Bouillon. I think it gives soup a nice flavor.

  • tinanolivi

    This looks to be very similar to my grandma’s recipe – the only difference is that I know she used smoked ham as well. I’m going to try it as written first, with high hopes (grandmas soup was awesome and if this is anything close …salivating just thinking about it) Thanks for the recipe!

  • Curt

    Very observant! One of my obsessive hobbies is John Deere two-cylinder tractors and associated implements!
    I tried the sausage add tonight – it’s a hit! I also added fresh garlic – I suggest a rate of 1 clove per onion. I was a little skimpy on the sausage, I made a triple batch of soup but only added one pound of sausage – should have added 2 or even 3. But it’s nearing the end of the season, and I wanted to make a big enough batch to freeze some for later….

    I didn’t do much measuring – it’s a good enough recipe to “eyeball” the ingredients. Thanks for sharing!

  • Kelly

    That sounds fantastic. I never thought of anything like that for this soup and it sounds truly wonderful. BTW…love your email handle…are you a John Deere fan?

  • Curt

    Tried this tonight and it is great! I may try adding some crumbled pork sausage next time…

  • Kelly

    You are not a downer. It is great information for anyone trying to avoid MSG. Thanks for the comment.

  • Isabella

    I don’t mean to be a downer, but that Better Than Bouillon has MSG in it. It is often listed under different names or is an ingredient within the ingredient such as “flavorings” ,” hydrolyzed soy protein” and “disodium inosinate guanylate”. It’s very upsetting manufacturers are allowed to make claims of being free of MSG just because it isn’t spelled out on the label.

  • Kelly

    Pia, you could experiment by adding portions of a bullion cube until you like the flavor. Or, you could use a whole can of chicken stock and reduce it down to the called for amount to get a stronger chicken flavor. I haven’t tried either of these personally but I think either would work fine. It is a great soup and I think it will be easy to experiment with. Let us know what you find out.

  • Pia Høyer


    Have, to me, a very important question for you. I live in Norway, and wonder what I can substitute the chicken base with. What’s its purpose and its ingredients? I so would love to try this soup, but I need recipes to cook and have no idea what to substitute the base with.


  • Chisty

    Kelly, thank you so much for the great recipe. My garden has taken off in a way I never expected and I have way more zucchini than I know what to do with. I can’t wait to try this.

  • Kelly

    Yes, I think that would be lovely. Let us know.

  • Karen

    Would it be a good idea to add garlic while cooking the onions?

  • shannon

    I threw in a generous handful of fresh chopped cilantro to the food processor…awesome

  • Kelly

    Well, that was fun! I’m glad you liked the soup. I need to try to do more videos. Perhaps you will inspire me to figure it out.

  • Hi Kelly,
    I’ve just made your soup and a video (for my less adventurous friends when it comes to cooking). About half-way through I finally remember to tell everyone where I got the recipe, so hopefully you’ll get some more readers from it :-)

    Here’s the link:

    Thank you very much for sharing it, so that I could share it too!

  • Kelly

    I love that idea! It sounds delicious.

  • Renee

    I was already roasting a chicken so once I’d browned the onions in a deep skillet, I added the zucchini, stirred well to coat with the carmelly-buttery onions and juice, then covered and roasted until the zucchini was done. Pureed and added the soup base and used home-made yogurt instead of cream.

    Very tasty.

  • Kelly

    Sara, I’m so glad you liked it and I’m VERY happy your kids did. Score! I’m happy to hear about the veggie base. I was just telling how easy and good this soup is yesterday. I need to call my friend Tina and thank her again. And, then I need to make it again. Have a great day.

  • Sara

    This really was fabulous! I used my handy immersion blender to puree everything in the pot, and used Better than Boullion’s veggie broth, to make it vegetarian. Both my small children loved (and my 5 year old is pretty darn picky right now).

  • Kendra

    Simply delicious served warm or cold. Quickly made and enjoyed by my family. As others had done I pureed the entire mixture, onions included, this improved the texture. I then added the cream and served. The cream could be omitted and the soup topped with a bit of Creme Fraiche.

  • Yes you can freeze this (I have a very similar recipe), I too would leave out the dairy if doing so (like Nikki I puree the onion also).Instead of half and half or sour cream consider adding yoghurt instead when serving (for a nice change sprinkle some finely chopped mint over the soup, mint and zucchini are wonderful together!)…this might also be nice chilled.

  • Cathy Mutterperl

    Soup was great!

    Thank you!

  • Kelly

    love the sour cream idea!

  • Nikki

    I have made this twice now and I love it! The second time around, I added the onions to the zucchini in the blender. My daughters liked it better that way. Also used sour cream instead of half and half and it was just as delicious.

  • Kelly

    Eileen, great question and the answer is…drumroll…I don’t know. I’ve never frozen it. But, I think it would probably be great. If I were freezing it, I would probably leave out the dairy and just freeze it without it. Then you can warm it and add the cream whenever you want to eat it. I think it is a great idea for using up some garden overflow. Great plan!

  • Eileen

    Hi Kelly, I cant’t wait to try this but I was wondering with so many zucchini in my garden, can I freeze this?

  • Karen

    I tried this in my Vitamix…just steamed the zucchini and onion in the microwave, then into the Vita with some water and Penzey’s chicken base, and oh my! Completely amazing!! I didn’t even need the butter or half and half. I’m going to be eating a lot of this!

  • Jana Cheadle

    Fabulous Kelly! I made this for lunch today and it was great. My two year old, who had already eaten lunch, ate some too! Making your couscous again for dinner tonight. :)

  • Hey Kelly! Just discovered your blog via Twitter. The soup looks delicious! Looking forward to more of your posts. :)

  • Kelly

    Lee. I’m so glad you checked back in to let me know you made it. I LOVE this soup and I will feel bad if everyone doesn’t try this one. Thanks!!

  • Lee

    I made this recipe tonight and it’s absolutely delicious. Thanks for sharing! Lee

  • This looks fresh, vibrant and delicious and it’s always good to have another zucchini recipe! Thanks, Chris

  • Oh, yum yum yum! Great for this damn heat we’ve been having. A simple soup!

  • That looks awesome! I love how bright green it is :D

  • Colleen

    Looks like a bowl of smooth jewels & sounds divine!

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