The Food Snob Series – Cream of Mushroom Soup

Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup used to be a staple in my pantry.  Not only did it make a quick meal for dinner with a grilled cheese sandwich, but I also used to use it quite regularly as an alfredo sauce over pasta.  We started keeping an eye on our sodium intake a while ago, and this was an easy adjustment to our diet, considering how high even the low sodium options are. An average person’s daily recommended intake of sodium is 2300mg and just half a cup of this soup will get you to 870mg (and let’s be real about who really only eats half a cup of soup as a meal).

Here are the ingredients in Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup.

Water, Mushrooms, Modified Food Starch, Wheat Flour, Contains Less Than 2% of: Salt, Cream, Dried Whey, Monosodium Glutamate, Soy Protein Concentrate, Yeast Extract, Spice Extract, Dehydrated Garlic, Vegetable Oil: Corn, Cottonseed, Canola and, or Soybean

You start off OK with water and mushrooms (at least they are the first few ingredients!), but down the list, you will find MSG amongst the ingredients – I have found that when I eat products with MSG, I instantly get a headache.  I never get headaches, so I take that as a strong sign that my body is telling me something is wrong.  The one ingredient that you’ll find quite often in processed foods is Soy Protein Concentrate – this is generally used as an emulsifier and is the type of soy product that we should be avoiding.  Soy products are heavily criticized for their estrogenic properties, but it is consuming soy in these non-traditional manners that we should worry about (tofu, tempeh and miso are great ways to consume soy).

I’ve started making my own cream of mushroom soup at home – so simple and so much more satisfying than the canned version.  And if I have leftovers, I can still use it as a pasta sauce the next day.


  • 1 or 2 leeks, trimmed and washed, chopped (I prefer the flavour of leeks, but white onions are a good substitute)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 chili pepper (if you like some heat in your soup)
  • 10 oz fresh mushrooms, a few sliced, the rest rough chopped
  • 250 ml container of cream (I’ve also used soft silken tofu with some success, but it will effect the consistency of your soup)
  • black pepper and white pepper to taste
  1. Melt some butter in a pan (you could use olive oil, but seriously, if you’re about to use cream in your soup, a little bit of butter won’t kill you).
  2. Cook the garlic, leeks and bay leaf in the butter until softened and add the rough chopped mushrooms.
  3. Cook until the water starts to release from the mushrooms.
  4. Add 2 cups of water and bring the mixture to a boil.
  5. Simmer on medium for about 10 minutes and then add in the cream (you can control how much you put in – I usually don’t use the full container – I have also had success with 2% milk, but the soup is not as thick and creamy).
  6. Use a stick blender to blend all the contents, add the sliced mushrooms and simmer for another 5 minutes, keeping an eye on the pot to make sure the soup doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

I have also made this recipe by cooking carrots and celery along with the leeks – it adds a great dimension of flavour to the base. And if you’re not a fan of mushrooms, this recipe tastes great with broccoli or asparagus.


  1. Thanks, I appreciate this summary! I was looking for the ingredient list because I’ve been surprised by the less-than-awesome ingredients in Campbell’s condensed soups in the past, and I like your evaluation. I get MSG headaches, too, but I never took the time to find out that it’s Monosodium Glutamate. Rock on.

  2. I am glad that I came across your web site while searching for the ingredients in Campbell cream of mushroom soup. I have a cold and flu and I thought I will take this mushroom soup. I did not want to take anything on today that would contain onion, garlic, etc. Surprisingly, I saw these stuff there. As commented earlier, I also get MSG headaches. I always wonder why the soup is so salty (which must have been done purposefully to increase heart beats). I will make my own soup now on — possibly some lentil or others with a few other vegetarian ingredients.

  3. I read that Campbell’s soups market value was down by 1/3. So when the article said it was due to more healthy choices available in the supermarket, the ingredients label came to my attention. Thanks for your honesty in evaluating the product. “Vegetable oil” sounds harmless but legally it could be nearly anything and go as low as palm oil which is actively harmful to ones heart. Since no labeling of genetically modified grains is required I assume wheat flour, corn starch and vegetable oil may likely come from GMOs. WTF is “soy protein isolate”…? I don’t think I would deliberately put that in anything I cooked! MSG is definitely no. “Whey powder” sounds like something that used to be milk. Always question the composite material of the container that soup sits in for 90 days or more on the supermarket shelf. We in America are not only fat we’re being misled and poisoned by ConAgra, Monsanto and DOW, and the legislature(s) are well paid to keep their mouths shut.

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