The Inspired Cook

Necessity is truly the mother of invention

Recently, I began to gathering together needed ingredients for a casserole that I planned to prepare for dinner. Disappointment set in when I realized that I only had one can of cream of celery soup instead of two.

This may not be a problem for some people who simply would drive to the grocery store to buy another can. Since I live in the country, driving 17 miles for one can of soup just isn’t feasible.

Instead, I traveled the information superhighway to resolve my dilemma. Within a few short minutes, I discovered that I could make a homemade replacement for cream soup. Using a few recipes as guidelines, I formulated my own recipe.

Since I needed a celery-flavored soup, I had no bouillon or broth with that flavor profile. In fact, I don’t believe there is a commercially manufactured one. So, I made my own thereby salvaging my casserole and dinner that night.

Although the original recipe stated to add in powdered bouillon to the ready mix, I believe my recipe is more practical. Having a universal ready mix—one to which you can add any flavor as you are preparing it—just seems to be a better pantry staple in my personal opinion.

By leaving out the bouillon, you can make any flavored broth. To make a celery soup, I simply added some diced celery and celery seeds to impart flavor. Conversely, adding diced mushrooms will produce a mushroom-flavored soup.

When creating this recipe, I had no idea that I would become one who had to eliminate gluten from my diet due to health reasons. Now, I’m so glad that I substituted corn starch for the flour used in all the recipes I found so that my mix would be gluten-free.

Today I’m sharing my recipe inspired by necessity. By using it, you not only can save money but also can avoid the many health hazards associated with canned cream soups.

Condensed Cream Soup-Replacement Mix


1 c. nonfat dry milk

3/4 c. cornstarch

4 T. dehydrated minced onions

1/2 t. each black pepper, dried basil and thyme

Pinch (1/8 t.) garlic powder


Into a medium-sized mixing bowl, place all of the ingredients, whisking well to thoroughly combine. Place mix into an airtight container, preferably a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Attach a label printed with the name of the mix along with directions for use. Then, store the container in your pantry or cabinet for easy access.

To Use the Mix:

Heat 1 1/4 c. of water over medium-high heat. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of bouillon powder, 1 crushed cube, or paste in it. Once dissolved, add in 1/3 cup of the mix, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil and cook till it thickens, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat. Allow to cool slightly if using with eggs otherwise temper them first. For Celery Soup: Add 1/4 c. diced celery and 1/2 t. of celery seeds to water before boiling. For Mushroom Soup: Add 1/4 c. diced mushrooms to water before boiling.

Yield: 2 c. of mix, the equivalent of 6 cans of soup