Choosing the best soup maker
By Jane Darling
If you love making your own soup, but are tired of spending half your weekend cooking and washing up in the process, a soup maker could be for you.
Soup makers can help you create homemade soups with fewer pots, pans and gadgets. Most can also make smoothies - ideal if you're turning to blending up your five-a-day in 2017.
Read on to find out the pros and cons of using a soup maker, and the different types you can buy. Alternatively, you can skip straight to our soup maker reviews to discover which ones have impressed us the most in our tests.
Why buy a soup maker?
Soup makers blend and cook your soup in one machine - some are able to sauté, too. This makes for a quick and easy-to-use appliance that you don't have to supervise during cooking, as well as saving you time on the washing up.
However, it does mean one more gadget vying for space on your kitchen worktop, and some are big and heavy appliances, so it's worth doing your research first.
How much do you need to spend on a soup maker?
Soup makers cost from £40 up to about £140. The cheapest models are usually geared primarily towards soup-making, whereas pricier versions have a larger capacity and look more like a traditional blender with an added cooking function.
Some soup-making blenders work by blending and heating the soup at the same time. These are typically high-powered models that aim to cover a range of food-prep jobs from making soup to smoothies, dips and even granola, ice cream and nut butters. Examples include the Nutribullet Rx (£135) and Vitamix Professional Series 300 (£400). Head to our blender reviews to find out if one of these could be the best option for you.
Types of soup maker
There are two main types of soup maker available, and price isn't the only difference between them. Below, we explain more about their benefits and drawbacks to help you choose.
- Look like a normal blender but usually bigger
- Usually more expensive than basic soup makers
- More flexible, especially for blending different quantities
These look similar to an ordinary blender, and offer the same kind of blending functions. They can also cook ingredients, either during blending (using heat generated by the friction of the spinning blades), or via a heating plate in the base. Some models can also sauté food before cooking and blending.
Soup-making blenders usually have transparent jugs, making it easy to see your ingredients during blending, but they tend to be bigger, bulkier and more expensive than both soup makers and ordinary blenders.
Blenders which use the heat generated by the blades to cook your soup, such as the Nutribullet Rx, need to blend on high power for 6-7 minutes to generate enough heat - which can be very noisy.
Prices start from around £40, with budget-friendly brands, such as Andrew James and Tower, offering soup blenders at this price point. Premium brands, such as Cuisinart and Nutribullet, sell soup-making blenders that cost between £100 and £200. Friction-heating blenders can cost considerably more.
- Look like a large kettle
- Cheaper to buy than soup-making blenders
- Usually have strict maximum and minimum quantities
This kind of soup maker looks a bit like a chunky kettle or Thermos flask. The blending blades reach into the jug from the lid, while a heating element in the base heats the soup. They tend to make soup in around 20-30 minutes, and give you the option of smooth or chunky soup. Most include a cold blending function so you can make smoothies and shakes, too. You can't see inside soup makers while they cook, as they have metal jugs.
Soup makers are usually a cheaper option than soup blenders, and you should be able to pick one up for less than £60 (even pricier ones, such as the popular Morphy Richards soup makers, can often be found on offer).
Buying a soup maker: things to consider
Capacity: This can range from 0.8 litres to more than 2 litres - the difference between feeding two or three people or a large family - so make sure you go for a model that can cater to your needs. Some soup makers have a small margin between minimum and maximum capacities, which can limit your options if you only want one portion, or want to make a big batch.
Weight and ease of use: Soup-making blenders have glass jugs that are weighty even when they are empty, while the lids of soup makers can be a fiddle to put on and take off. Use our soup maker reviews to ensure you choose one that will suit you.
Sauté feature: Some soup makers allow you to lightly fry your meat or vegetables in the blender before cooking. Our tests found that this can make a real difference to the flavour of your soup. You can, of course, sauté your ingredients in a frying pan before adding them to your soup maker, but it all adds to the washing-up.
Sautéing ingredients before cooking can really improve the flavour of your soup.
Blending options: All soup makers allow you to make smooth or chunky soup. Some models also include a medium-texture setting for extra flexibility. Most will also allow you to manually blend, so if you find your soup is overly chunky, you can give it another whizz. You'll usually get a smoothie setting, and some models offer extras such as making nut milk, jams and purées.
Time: Some soup blenders can whip up hot soup from scratch in around seven minutes. However, this is a noisy method that involves blending on full power for the whole time. Most soup makers cook the ingredients first, which takes longer - usually between 20 and 30 minutes - but is less of an assault on your eardrums.
Cleaning: If you want to make soup quickly, don't forget to factor in clean-up time. It's no use making speedy soup and then spending ages clearing up. Look for soup blenders with dishwasher-proof parts or soup makers with non-stick coatings to make cleaning easier. Our soup maker reviews also highlight which ones are easiest to clean.
Should you buy a Morphy Richards soup maker?
Morphy Richards pioneered the soup maker, and its soup makers continue to be very popular. A couple of its most recent models, the Morphy Richards Total Control and the Morphy Richards Sauté and Soup maker 501014, have a sauté feature, meaning you can sear meat, spices and vegetables before cooking - or even toast croutons. If you aren't fussed about sautéing, the Morphy Richards 501013 is identical to the 501014, minus the sauté function, and is around £10 cheaper.
Older models, such as the Morphy Richards 48822 soup maker, still sell well - the main difference on newer models is the redesigned lid and handle. Morphy Richards says that the angled display makes it easier to select blending programmes. You can see how the various models stack up against each other by checking our Morphy Richards soup maker reviews.
Soup makers compared
If you're in the market for a soup maker, Morphy Richards isn't your only option. We've tried out all the most popular models, including the Tefal EasySoup and cheaper rivals from brands such as Salter. Below, you can see a quick summary of how the key models measure up on specs, including capacity, price and features. Alternatively, head straight to the best soup makers to see the models we recommend.
Morphy Richards Total Control, £99
- Capacity: 1.6 litres
- Features: smooth, medium and chunky soup, sauté function, five temperature settings, blend, pre-clean, reheat and keep-warm, recipes included.
Launched in 2017, this soup maker offers additional functionality over older Morphy Richards models, and allows you to make a broader range of portion sizes, including enough soup for two. You can also get a medium-textured soup if smooth or chunky don't fit the bill.
See our full Morphy Richards Total Control soup maker review.
Morphy Richards Sauté and Soup 501014, £55
- Capacity: 1.6 litres
- Features: sauté, smooth and chunky soup, smoothies, blend, pause function, non-stick coating, recipes included
This soup maker can sauté, cook and blend ingredients to make a variety of soup and smoothie recipes. It will make smooth or chunky soup. Sautéing food, such as onions or meat, prior to cooking should result in tastier soups.
Read the full Morphy Richards Sauté and Soup review to get our verdict.
Tefal BL841140 Easy Soup, £64
- Capacity: 1.2 litres
- Features: smooth and chunky soup, smoothies, compote, self-cleaning function, keep-warm setting, recipes included
The Easy Soup has four functions: chunky, smooth, compote and blend, meaning that it can be used to make soups, smoothies and desserts. There’s even a keep-warm function to make sure your soup is kept hot for up to 40 minutes once cooked.
Find out how we rated the soup it made in the Tefal Easy Soup review.
Salter Electric Soup Maker, £35
- Capacity: 1.6 litres
- Features: smooth and chunky soup, blend, measuring jug, safety cut-out sensor, recipes included
This soup maker lets you choose between a smooth or a chunky soup, but there’s no sauté function – so if you need to cook and brown some ingredients, you’ll need to do this separately. It has a helpful feature of pausing if you remove the lid during soup-making, and picking up where it left off when you replace the lid – handy if you’ve forgotten to add an ingredient or two.
Get the full lowdown in our Salter Electric soup maker review.
Morphy Richards Soup & Milk Maker 501000, £48
- Capacity: 1.6 litres
- Features: smooth and chunky soup, soya milk setting, smoothies, nut milks and shakes, non-stick coating, recipes included
The soya milk setting on this Morphy Richards is a plus if you want to make your own dairy-free drinks, especially as it can also blend other nut milks. It doesn’t have a sauté function but it does blend to make shakes and smoothies.
Is this the soup maker for you? Find out in our full Morphy Richards Soup & Milk Maker 501000 review.
Lakeland Touchscreen Soup Maker, £125
- Capacity: 1.4 litres for soup, 1.75 litres for cold liquids
- Features: smooth and chunky soup, sauces, ice-crushing, smoothies, auto-clean, customised cycles, glass jug, recipes included
The Lakeland Touchscreen Soup Maker is a large soup-making blender. It has a glass jug, so you can easily check on progress, and has preset programmes for making sauces as well as soups. You can also manually control the temperature, time and blending for ultimate control over your soup-making.
See what we thought of this soup maker in the full Lakeland Touchscreen Soup Maker review.
Cuisinart Soup Maker Plus SSB3U, £99
- Capacity: 1.4 litres for soup, 1.75 litres for cold liquids
- Features: sauté, smoothies, ice-crushing, stir function, dishwasher-safe glass jug, recipes included
The Cuisinart SSB3U is the third iteration of the popular Cuisinart SSB1U soup blender. It can be used for soups and dishes such as risotto, as well as hot and cold sauces. It has a glass jug and non-stick heating plate to help with cleaning.
Find out what we thought of this version in the Cusinart Soup Maker Plus SSB3U review.
Soup to go: travel mugs
Some personal blenders include travel lids for converting the blending cup into a drinking mug and transporting your smoothie or soup safely to work or when you're out and about. This is handy if you're keen to take soup on-the-go. Here are two soup-making personal blenders which offer this feature.
Nutribullet Rx, £135
- Capacity - 1.3 litres (jug)
- Features - smoothies, ice-crushing, soup-making, additional one and two-portion blending cups, travel lids for taking on-the-go, recipes included.
This Nutribullet blender claims to make hot soup from raw veg in just seven minutes, making light work of tough ingredients. It comes with a range of 'clean eating'-inspired soup recipes, called SouperBlasts. It only makes smooth soup, but it does include handy travel cups for transporting your soup or smoothie easily.
To find out what we thought of its quick soups, read the full Nutribullet Rx review.
Vitamix S30, £289
- Capacity - 0.6 litres (blending cup), 1.2 litres (blending jug)
- Features - Variable controls, vented lid, soup-making, smoothies, ice-crushing, insulated portable blending / drinking cup, recipes included.
The Vitamix S30 personal blender has insulated travel cups to keep your soup warm or your smoothies cold as you travel. It's pricey though. Find out whether its worth investing in by reading our Vitamix S30 blender review.
Getting the best out of your soup maker
It's worth reading the instructions carefully before using your soup maker, to avoid a burnt mess. But these two handy tips should help you to make great soup every time:
1. Chop ingredients evenly: smaller chunks will help your soup to cook more quickly.
2. Add water first: this can help prevent food sticking to the bottom and burning during cooking.
Make sure you've got the best gadget for the job, too - see the Best Buy soup makers we recommend.