Over recent years, soup makers have been the must-have kitchen gadget. Homemade soups are far more appetising than the tin cans bought on a supermarket shelf and give you full control of the ingredients so you know exactly what you are putting into your own and your families’ bodies.
Creating healthy meals with minimal effort, minimal time and minimal washing up. Not difficult to understand why the soup maker is so popular now is it? So, how do we know how to choose the best soup maker? This buyer’s guide has been created to help you do just that.
Only got 5 minutes?
A warm bowl of hot, homemade soup is a family favourite for many, especially on cold winter days. Investing in a soup maker is the perfect way to make all those family favourites with very little time and effort. Simply pop in the ingredients, press a button and leave for 20-30 minutes. What could be simpler?
Benefits to a soup maker are:
- Simplicity of use
- Minimal effort
- Reducing waste- Throw all those leftover or softening bits of veg in the soup maker rather than the bin
- Diversity– It makes smoothies and milkshakes too!
- Healthy- Low in calories and only contains what you put in. No extra sugar, additives or preservatives, unlike many on the supermarket shelves.
So, if you have now considered the benefits and have made the decision to buy, you now need to know your features ready to compare before purchase.
You will find the majority will advertise 20-30 minutes. However, you need to bear in mind things such as some models not being able to sauté onions, meaning you will spend more time preparing.
The power of the motor, and the strength and durability of the blade can vary. This will affect its ability to blend certain ingredients and larger chunks of ingredients.
A larger soup maker means more capacity, however, it will mean taking up more of the work surface in your kitchen, and so if you have limited space, it is worth checking the size before purchase.
This may not be important to everyone, but some will want their soup maker to fit In with the aesthetics of their kitchen.
Even the basic models should offer settings of smooth or chunky. However, a good soup maker should offer a range of options.
Keeping it simple
The basic models do tend to be simple. The more functions and settings, the more complicated the gadget becomes. A good model should be simple to set up and should come with clear, concise instructions.
One of the main issues users face is cleaning the gadget. Some do not come apart easily and are not dishwasher safe. It may be worth looking for a model with a self-clean setting.
You can expect to pay anywhere between £30 and £130 for a soup maker.
Do I need a soup maker?
For many of us there is nothing better than a nice bowl of hot soup on a cold, dark winter’s night. However, my initial thought, and yours may be too, was why do I need a soup maker when making soup isn’t so difficult anyway? Well, there are a number or benefits to a soup. Yes making your own soup is simple but let’s be honest, how many of us actually do it? Being able to simply throw some vegetables into one pot and press a button means we are more inclined to do so.
A soup maker is so simple to use and so very quick. Throw in your chopped ingredients, press a button, wait 20 minutes and hey presto! Soup complete. Rather than being left with the frying pan, pot, blender, utensils and everything else that comes with making soup, the soup maker leaves you with just the one, saving you yet more time and effort.
The soup maker also helps to save waste. Almost anything can be made into soup, whether it’s those carrots that are starting to go soft, that last bit of broccoli when there is not quite enough for 2, or that left over Christmas turkey when the children have had enough of turkey sandwiches, simply throw it in the soup maker instead of the bin.
The soup maker is really diverse, many can be set to various textures such as chunky or smooth and can be used for making things like milkshakes, smoothies and protein shakes.
Homemade soup is so incredibly good for you and its low calories mean it is perfect for those looking to shed a few pounds or simply be healthier. Unlike many shop bought soups, you can ensure that all that is going in to your soup is fresh ingredients and nutrients, not the preservatives additives, sugar and salt that often found in soups.
Soup maker or soup-making blender?
There are two main types of soup maker on the market. There is the traditional maker that is a specific gadget dedicated to creating soup, and there is another gadget that is more like a blender with an added cooking feature. So what is the difference?
The soup maker looks much like a kettle and has a cooking element at the base and a large blade attached to the lid. The heating element first cooks the food then the blade reaches down into the container to chop and blend the ingredients.
The soup maker will take approximately 20-30 minutes and will allow a choice of chunky or smooth. Many on the market now also offer a cold blending function to make smoothies and milkshakes.
Soup Making Blender
The soup-making blender looks very much like your typical blender and has very similar functions. However, they also contain a heating element to cook ingredients. Nevertheless, they tend to be bigger, bulkier, and more expensive.
How do I use a soup maker?
For those of you who are used to making soup, the answer is simple. Just chop your usual soup recipe ingredients and add to the machine. Just ensure you check your model to see if you need to sauté first.
If you are not as confident, you can easily adapt any recipe. There are also soup maker recipes online and social media groups that share soup maker recipes. You just need to ensure you check or adapt the amount the recipe makes to the capacity of your machine.
It is easy to think that with the simplicity of the gadget, they must all do the same thing and do not vary in their capabilities. However, this is not true and there are some features we feel you should compare before making a decision.
The foremost reason people purchase a soup maker is to save time. So of course, it makes sense to compare times. You will find the majority will advertise 20-30 minutes. However, you need to bear in mind things such as some models not being able to sauté onions, meaning you will spend more time preparing.
If you are willing to spend the extra cash, some models will do all the work for you from scratch, in as little as 20 minutes.
The power of the motor, and the strength and durability of the blade can vary. This will affect its ability to blend certain ingredients and larger chunks of ingredients. This may not be a problem to those of you looking to just make thick, chunkier smooth soups, but if you are looking to make a smoother soup, it is worth checking.
A larger soup maker means more capacity, which is great for a larger family or for cooking and freezing batches. It will also mean however, taking up more of the work surface in your kitchen, so if you have limited space, it is worth checking the size before purchase. The larger they are the more difficult to manoeuvre and difficult to take apart to clean, they usually are.
This may not be important to everyone, but some will want their soup maker to fit In with the aesthetics of their kitchen. Soup makers do vary in appearance with some looking like a standard blender and others that are more glossy and slim line. Don’t be misled into thinking that the more you pay the better it looks, each product completely varies.
As discussed before, the basic models should all offer settings of smooth or chunky. However, a good soup maker should offer a range of options. Pulse and extra stirring settings, allow the user to adjust the soup during the process.
Keeping it simple
Ideally, every user wants a gadget that is simple to set up and use. This is what you will more than likely get when you purchase a simple model. However, like most gadgets, the more functions and settings, the more complicated the gadget becomes. A good model should be simple to set up and should come with clear, concise instructions.
One of the main issues users face is cleaning the gadget. Some do not come apart easily and are not dishwasher safe. It is worth looking for a model with a self-clean setting. Simply add warm water and washing up liquid and select the cleaning function. If you do not opt for this, we suggest you wash or at least rinse the machine straight after use to avoid ingredients sticking.
The price of the soup maker is more than likely to be a major factor in making your decision. There are so many good-quality soup makers on the market, so we are sure you will find the right one for you within budget. The more expensive soup makers usually offer a stronger build, more features and a longer warranty; this does not necessarily mean a better performance. You can expect to pay anywhere between £30 and £130.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can add meat to a soup maker but most models will require you to cook the meat first. There are a limited number of models that will allow you to add small, thin slices of raw meat.
A soup maker is not the same as just rewarming soup on a hob; it is designed to cook the ingredients inside. Therefore, rewarming soup in the maker is not an option as this will more likely result in burnt soup.
As instructions for a soup maker can sometimes be a little vague, this is quite a common question. Ultimately, the decision is yours dependent on how soft you like your vegetables. Using cold water leaves less cooking time so we recommend you use hot but not boiling water.
Yes, Soup makers can also be used to blend smoothies and milkshakes.