Upgrade your soup-making game with these 12 tools.

Breana Lai, M.P.H., R.D.
September 15, 2016

Upgrade your soup-making game with these 12 tools. Veggie-Packed Minestrone Soup Recipe

Technically, all you need is a pot and a spoon. But cooking is much easier and faster with the right equipment. Nab these kitchen essentials for making soup and get stirring, whizzing and slurping.

1. Stock Pot
Typically much taller than a large pot, stock pots can hold up to a whopping 20 quarts. The tall sides prevent too much liquid from evaporating during the long cooking times needed to make a rich-tasting broth. They're also great for making extra-large batches of soup.

2. Chinois or China Cap Strainer
Serious soup makers need serious sieves. These large conical strainers are made of a very fine mesh or perforated metal. Deeper than your typical colander, you can really load them up to strain broths or make soups smooth.

3. Storage Containers
Soup recipes are great for doubling and some even taste better as leftovers. For storing and transporting soup, we like glass containers with lids that snap to form a tight seal. Glass containers allow you to see what's inside, can go in the microwave and last longer than plastic. Look for containers with BPA-free lids.

4. High-Powered Blender
While any blender will work, high-powered blenders, such as a Vitamix or Oster Versa, create the smoothest soups. The stronger motors pulverize ingredients quicker and whip air into the mixture, creating a light and fluffy texture. Plus, new models often have an oversized pitcher, so you don't have to puree in batches.

5. Large Pot
A large pot (sometimes called a Dutch oven) with a wide, heavy bottom is the workhorse when it comes to making soup. Pick a heavy pot that holds at least 4 quarts and is made of stainless steel or enameled cast iron, such as a Le Creuset, to make sure your soup cooks evenly and doesn't burn on the bottom.

6. Soup Skimmer
This flat, circular strainer is particularly important when making stock to skim froth and any unwanted bits off the surface.

7. Long-Handled Wooden Spoon
Unlike metal, this tool stays cool as you stir your soup and won't scratch your pot, especially if you have any bits stuck to the bottom you need to scrape up.

8. Ladle
With a deep, rounded bottom, large soup ladles mean fewer trips from pot to bowl. If you're watching your portion size, purchase one that has cup measures inside the ladle so you know how much you're eating. If your ladle isn't labeled, transfer a full scoop into a measuring cup so you know how much it holds.

9. Immersion Blender
This tool lets you puree directly in the pot so you don't risk a mess when transferring piping hot soup to a blender. Plus, most immersion blender blades snap off and go straight into the dishwasher, making cleanup a breeze.

10. Microplane
These sharp, thin graters are perfect for adding a super-fine finishing touch of hard cheese or citrus zest to soup. Use for grating garlic, ginger and whole nutmeg as well.

11. Slow Cooker
It's hard to beat the convenience of a slow cooker. Beans, lentils, tough cuts of meat and root vegetables all turn to tender morsels, no stirring required. Be sure to purchase one that automatically switches to "warm" when it's finished.

12. Thermos
A good thermos can keep your portable portion of soup hot (or cold) all day long. Look for a double-walled, vacuum-insulated, wide-mouthed jar that can hold at least 16 ounces. The gap between the inner and outer layers of the thermos creates a vacuum that prevents hot-or cold-air from escaping. This simple science means your soup will be almost the same temperature when you open your thermos hours after filling it. The wide mouth makes it easy to get a soup spoon in.

EatingWell Soups Special Issue January 2016