20 Essential Soups You Need to Make This Summer

Gazpacho with Scallop Brochettes
Photo: Jason Donnelly

Stepping into a farmers' market or produce section in the middle of summer is like stepping into a treasure chest. With all the best tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and corn at your disposal, it's impossible to resist extending soup season through the summer. These recipes, from cool gazpacho to creamy corn chowder, will help you put those delicious summer veggies to good use. Recipes like our Yellow Squash Soup and Gazpacho with Scallop Skewers are perfect for a weekend lunch or dreamy night at home.

01 of 20

Yellow Squash Soup

Yellow Squash Soup
Victor Protasio

This healthy yellow squash soup has smoky undertones from the combination of spices like cumin and smoked paprika, while potato adds body and creaminess. This rich but light soup is perfect for a take-along lunch at work or to enjoy alongside a green salad for a healthy dinner.

02 of 20

Tomato-Basil Soup with Herbed Focaccia Croutons


Created by chef Fabio Viviani of Siena Tavern in Chicago, this vegetarian tomato-basil soup recipe takes full advantage of fresh tomatoes. Roma or plum tomatoes are fleshy, low in seeds and cheap--making them a good candidate for tomato soup. During peak season you may also see other suitable plum-shaped heirloom varieties at your farmers' market, but you can also ask for any low-seed, fleshy varieties they may have. While this silky soup is the perfect partner for grilled cheese sandwiches, the homemade croutons add an herby-crunchy accent that should not be missed.

03 of 20

Lobster Bisque


The secret to this richly flavored lobster bisque recipe lies in the shells from the lobster tail that get pureed into the soup itself. This is one appetizer soup that will really wow your guests! Be sure to strain the soup through a fine-mesh sieve twice to get the traditional smooth, creamy texture.

04 of 20

Fish Chowder with Corn & Fennel

Fish Chowder with Corn & Fennel
Dera Burreson

You can use any kind of fish to make this fish and corn chowder, but try to avoid full-flavored varieties like mackerel or bluefish unless it's straight off the boat or it'll overwhelm the soup. "When you're staring down a new type of fish, chowder is a foolproof preparation," chef Mike Lata says, so try this recipe with different kinds of fish.

05 of 20

Strawberry Gazpacho

Strawberry Gazpacho
Greg Dupree

This strawberry gazpacho has a good amount of savory flavor to complement the strawberries, thanks to fennel, thyme and low-sodium tomato juice.

06 of 20

Sheet-Pan Tomato Soup

Sheet-Pan Tomato Soup
Jacob Fox

Roasting the tomatoes concentrates their flavor, yielding a richly flavored soup. Make a manchego grilled cheese for dunking.

07 of 20

Clam & Corn Chowder

Clam & Corn Chowder
Jason Donnelly

Clam and corn chowder is a staple in New England during the summer months. Here we make it healthier—and faster—than the traditional cream-laden version, but just as luscious.

08 of 20

Gazpacho with Scallop Skewers

Gazpacho with Scallop Brochettes
Jason Donnelly

We give this classic summer soup a protein-packed upgrade by pairing it with skewers of grilled scallops seasoned with citrusy compound butter. Make a little extra to spread on grilled bread to serve alongside.

09 of 20

Herby White Gazpacho


This take on gazpacho replaces the tomato with melon or grapes for a sweeter taste and gets its silky texture from Marcona almonds. If you can't find them, use skinless almonds and add 1 tablespoon oil and a pinch more salt.

10 of 20

Instant Pot Summer Corn & Crab Chowder

a bowl of soup with corn and crab

Sweet corn and tender lump crabmeat go together wonderfully to make this rich, hearty chowder. This colorful, quick and easy Instant Pot soup makes a great starter for a summertime meal.

11 of 20

Use-It-Up Vegetable Soup

Use-It-Up Vegetable Soup
Photography / Jenny Huang, Food Styling / Tyna Hoang, Prop Styling / Nicole Louie

For the best results, choose one "star" vegetable and no more than 3 supporting ones to prevent the flavors from getting muddy—go green with a mixture of broccoli stems, cauliflower leaves and core, wilted kale and spinach, or get a beta carotene boost with leftover winter squash, wrinkly carrots and a parsnip. The addition of potato (perhaps an old one that's growing roots?) and a scoop of oats give the soup a luxurious mouthfeel without cream, while lemon juice brightens the flavor.

12 of 20

Yellow Gazpacho


The yellow vegetables of summer--fresh corn, yellow tomatoes and yellow peppers--make this slightly sweet gazpacho soup recipe a beautiful and delicious alternative to red gazpacho.

13 of 20

Cream of Zucchini Soup

Cream of Zucchini Soup
Victor Protasio

This cream of zucchini soup recipe is a great way to use up your garden zucchini. The potatoes add to the creaminess, while croutons add texture and chives brighten the flavor.

14 of 20

Crab Bisque

Crab Bisque
Photographer / Jen Causey, Prop Stylist / Kay Clarke, Food Stylist / Chelsea Zimmer

This lighter version of crab bisque is still plenty rich and velvety thanks to lightly thickened half-and-half in place of the more traditional heavy cream. The crab topping with lemon and parsley makes this easy bisque company-worthy while helping to balance the flavors.

15 of 20

Arugula-Zucchini Vichyssoise


This version of the French potato-and-leek soup is whisper-light and a lovely green color because we swap zucchini for the potatoes. Serve chilled or hot.

16 of 20

Easy Tomato Gazpacho


Many gazpacho recipes are thickened with bread, but this easy gazpacho recipe uses just vegetables, making it a gluten-free refresher for a hot summer day. The key to any flavorful gazpacho is giving it time to rest. The flavors meld and become cohesive when the soup is allowed to sit a bit before serving.

17 of 20

Vegan Cold Cucumber Soup

Cold Creamy Vegan Cucumber Soup
Jennifer Causey

Silken tofu thickens this cold cucumber soup while letting the flavor of fresh cucumber shine. The herbs and olive oil add an extra layer of flavor to this refreshing soup which will continue to thicken as it chills. But perhaps the best thing about the soup is that it comes together in 10 minutes in your blender!

18 of 20

Corn Chowder with Bacon


Pureeing some of the corn-and-potato mixture in a blender gives this soup rich creaminess without much cream. Red bell pepper imparts a beautiful golden hue to the chowder (and is a great source of vitamin C). For a final touch, a little bacon crumbled over this easy corn chowder recipe goes a long way.

19 of 20

Creamy Zucchini-Chickpea Soup with Spinach

Creamy Zucchini-Chickpea Soup with Spinach
Carolyn Hodges, M.S., RDN

Canned chickpeas combined with tahini thicken this simple vegetable soup and give it a creamy consistency. The chickpeas also provide satisfying plant protein and combine with the veggies to add plenty of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Serve this easy dinner with baguette slices.

20 of 20

Cold Cucumber Soup

Cold Cucumber Soup

Tangy buttermilk and fresh mint make this chilled soup a refreshing starter in the summer.

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