If you already have a copy of Go Dairy Free: 2nd Edition, then you’ve probably been enjoying this recipe for a couple of years. But because it’s been a top requested recipe that I reference often, I’ve decided to post my favorite Dairy-Free Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup here. It works perfectly as a dairy-free substitute for Campbell’s in recipes, and it tastes delicious as a stand-alone soup!
Dairy-Free Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup that’s Better than Campbell’s
This creamy condensed soup is a different formula from my Dairy-Free Condensed Cream of Mushroom and Cream of Celery recipes. I have tested the chicken version with a similar recipe to those, and it was good. But we like this version just a little better. It’s “accidentally” gluten-free, soy-free, and even paleo-friendly. And I have tested and included a meat-free, vegan option. But I know some of you have additional questions and needs, so I’ve put together this quick list of FAQs.
Does this Really Work as a Campbell’s Substitute in Recipes?
It works like a dream! The amount it makes is spot on for 1 can of Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup. I measure it, but you can just eyeball it when cooking it down. If you come out with a little more or a little less, it should still work great in your recipe.
Should I Soak the Cashews?
No, do NOT soak the cashews! In this recipe, the cashews add both creaminess and thickening. If you pre-soak the cashews, they become water-logged and don’t thicken as well. I know, some people are obsessed with soaking cashews. But trust me, this method works far better for this recipe.
But, if I Don’t Soak the Cashews, Will it Be Smooth Enough?
Yes! Grinding the nuts into a powder first helps ensure a very smooth finish, even if you don’t have a high-power blender. I use a cheap coffee grinder. If you are concerned, you can pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into your pot to catch any remaining nut bits. Whenever I do this, there are no bits – it’s purely creamy!
I’m Allergic to Cashews! What Can I Substitute?
Cashews produce the best and most seamless taste, but you can substitute macadamia nuts or almonds in a pinch (freshly grind them; do not use almond meal or flour). The taste will be affected slightly. If you need nut-free, I have recipes for Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup and Condensed Cream of Celery Soup, which are both made without nuts. I have done some nut-free tests for this cream of chicken soup, and am not yet 100% happy with the results. Leave a comment if you want a nut-free version of this recipe specifically, and will prioritize working on it if there is demand!
Can I Use a Different Milk Beverage?
Coconut milk beverage is the drinkable version in large cartons, not classic fatty coconut milk in cans. So technically, yes, you can substitute another unsweetened plain milk beverage. BUT, I highly recommend coconut milk beverage. Something about coconut and cashew together seems to work to create a more neutral, appealing, creamy flavor. Other milk beverages will affect the flavor differently. And keep in mind that some milk alternatives, like oat milk, taste sweet. Try to avoid any added sweetness for the best results. Also, some milk beverages could separate or “curdle.” If it does, don’t panic. Just whisk away.
Can I Meal Prep this Dairy-Free Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup?
Yes, you definitely can. If you like to prepare meals completely and freeze, go ahead and use this alternative. It freezes just fine. If you want to prepare several batches of this Dairy-Free Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup in advance, you have two options. One is to quadruple the batch and portion it into four servings. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or can be frozen. The second is to use the Dry Mix Option in the recipe below!
Does this Recipe Taste Good as Soup?
We think it’s delicious! Go ahead and add a little water, heat it up, and toss in any additions you like. It’s a wonderful cream soup or even stand-alone soup.
Special Diet Notes: Dairy-Free Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, peanut-free, soy-free, optionally vegan, plant-based, paleo, and optionally vegetarian.
- ½ cup cashews
- ¾ cup unsweetened plain coconut milk beverage
- ¾ cup chicken or vegan no-chicken broth
- ⅛ teaspoon onion powder
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon thyme (optional)
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Put the cashews in your spice grinder or food processor. Process until powdered, about 1 minute.
- Put the cashew powder and milk beverage in your blender. Blend until smooth, about 1 minute.
- Pour the cashew mixture and broth into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and thyme and whisk to combine. Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for about 10 minutes, whisking often. It should reduce to about 1¼ cups of very thick “condensed” cream of chicken soup, weighing roughly 10½ ounces.
- Whisk in the salt.
- Use this condensed soup in recipes as you would the original.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or freeze it to enjoy later.
Dry Mix Option (4 Servings): Grind 2 cups cashews into a powder. Place the cashew powder in an airtight container, and whisk in ½ teaspoon each onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and thyme, and 2 teaspoons salt. Store it in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 1 month. To prepare one batch, use ¾ cup of the cashew dry mix in place of all dry ingredients in the recipe above.
Nutrition Notes: Campbell's nutrition facts are based on 2.5 servings, while ours are based on 2 servings. The nutrition facts here would be lower if based on the same servings as Campbell's Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup.
Good morning! If I make this and put it in the crockpot all day, will the coconut milk separate?
I don’t think so, but if it did you could whisk it until smooth without a problem. I’d just worry that prolonged cooking might be an issue. It cooks and thickens quite quickly. You could realistically blend it, put it in the refrigerator all day, then blend it again and simply reheat and it would thicken. That would save on energy.
But if you mean in a recipe, it should work fine.
Will this soup freeze? I make a simple chicken and dressing casserole and usually make two, freeze one. But I did this with the Campbell’s….before we had a mammal allergy in the family.
Yes, it definitely freezes well! It actually freezes better than most, since it contains no added starches, which can be finicky with heating and cooling.
I soak the cashews in the milk called for in the recipe (no extra liquid) and then just put it all in blender before cooking so do not need to grind the nuts and it all comes out super smooth.
Yes! As long as you don’t do the soaking and draining method (where you soak in water, drain the liquid, and then add the milk), this works too! Great plan ahead idea to soak them in the milk!
How long do you soak?
There is no soaking in this recipe. Please read the FAQs above the recipe. Enjoy!
This looks amazing. Here’s a question, what if you have nut sensitivities and coconut sensitivities. It can be a huge problem for me.
Finding milk alternatives is really hard.
I need some suggestions 🙏🏻
For this particular recipe, I would use the cream of mushroom alternative recipe for now, but omit the mushrooms if you wish. For milk alternative, I would use another option, like soymilk, peamilk, or oat milk. It often comes down to personal preference.
Am very new to dairy free recipes. Are the cashews roasted? Salted or unsalted? Thanks.
raw, plain, unsalted cashews
Any chance you can use cashew flour to skip having to grind them yourself?
Hi Dawn, honestly, since cashew flour isn’t very common, I haven’t tested it. I do prefer fresh ground as it tends to absorb the most moisture, but in theory, pre-ground flour should work well. It just depends on if they have processed it in any way.
Sounds delicious! We are on a canning role. Does anyone know if you can pressure can this recipe?
How do you prepare the dry soup?
So you’re using 3/4 cup dry mix in place of all dry ingredients in the recipe. So start with step #2, blending it with the milk beverage. Pour into the pot with the broth (you’ve already got the spices in the dry mix) and continue with the recipe.
My daughter is dairy and peanut/tree nut allergic, so I would love to have a nut-free version. We’re currently just avoiding all cream soup based recipes.
Hi Misty, well I do have a condensed cream of soup that you can start using now! It’s Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup (you can omit the mushrooms, if preferred) and it is nut-free -> https://www.godairyfree.org/recipes/dairy-free-condensed-cream-of-mushroom-soup-2
I just haven’t perfected a nut-free chicken version that I’m 100% happy with.
Would love a nut free version! Im allergic 🙁
Bummer! Thanks for commenting on this Shannon. I’ll probably work on an option soon!
Would love a nut free version please!