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.