37 Cold Soups for When It’s Just Too Hot
Chilled Watercress Soup with Crème Fraîche and Za’atar
Chef Jenn Louis gives this creamy and refreshing chilled watercress soup a modern spin by topping it with za’atar, the fragrant Middle Eastern spice blend.
This chilled, no-cook Spanish soup is similar to gazpacho but blended instead of chopped. Smoked olive oil adds meatiness to the vegetarian dish.
Chilled Spring Pea Soup
Daniel Boulud puts this deliciously light and clean-tasting soup—a mix of sweet peas, favas, pea shoots, snap peas and snow peas—on the menu each spring. To make it even easier, skip the labor-intensive fresh favas, as well as the snow peas and pea shoots. Instead, just use sugar snaps and frozen baby peas.
Zucchini Soup with Crème Fraîche
Winemaker Jeremy Seysses has developed a wide repertoire of dishes to use up the zucchini from his half-acre garden: ratatouille, sautéed zucchini, zucchini fritters, stuffed zucchini, zucchini cake. But this ultra-simple soup is the family favorite. “We have nothing from the garden for an eternity, then all of a sudden, we have to eat zucchini every day for two months just to keep up,” he says. His soup can be served warm, or chilled for a sunny evening. (“Yes, we actually do get occasional sunny evenings in Burgundy,” he reports.)
Chilled Avocado Soup Topped with Crab
At their San Antonio restaurant, Mixtli, F&W Best New Chefs 2017 Rico Torres and Diego Galicia serve this zesty, creamy cold soup as a refreshing beginning course to their Michoacán tasting menu. That region is the largest and most important avocado producer in Mexico, so this dish is a fitting start to the meal. The chilled soup, which is topped with fiery, crisp serranos and sweet crab, is a nice alternative to a classic tomato gazpacho.
Chilled Peach Soup with Fresh Goat Cheese
Chef Jason Franey makes this sweet and tangy summer soup by marinating fresh peaches overnight with dried apricots, honey, vinegar and olive oil and then pureeing the mixture. Since peaches can vary in flavor, Franey suggests seasoning with vinegar to taste as you puree.
Spicy Avocado-Cucumber Soup
This tangy, luscious soup is an excellent make-ahead dish: Simply puree everything except the garnish, then chill. For a milder version, scale back on the serrano.
Chilled Fennel-Grapefruit Velouté with Lemon Olive Oil
Chef Hiroki Yoshitake cleverly uses grapefruit oil to boost the flavor in his chilled four-ingredient soup. Lemon olive oil is a terrific alternative, and easier to find in the US. The citrus oil is used in two different ways: for sautéing fennel before pureeing it with grapefruit juice, and for garnishing the soup before serving.
Chilled Persian Yogurt Soup
“Ask anyone on my staff their favorite summer dish, and they’ll tell you it’s this one,” says Hoss Zaré. Filled with herbs, nuts and raisins, the soup is delicious with grilled bread.
Chilled Avocado Soup Topped with Crab
Top with crème fraîche, fried tortilla strips, and finely chopped chives.
Teresa Barrenechea makes this chunky version of Spain’s most popular soup. If you prefer a smoother variety, puree it and pass it through a food mill or coarse sieve—it will be easier to pour out of a thermos.
Cold Cucumber Soup with Yogurt and Dill
This cool, refreshing cucumber soup from Andrew Zimmern gets tang and creaminess from Greek yogurt and big, summery flavor from lots of fresh herbs.
Chilled Zucchini Soup with Purslane
Alain Coumont’s cool vegan soup gets its creaminess from pureed zucchini, sautéed onion and garlic. It’s brightened with purslane, a lemony weed that Coumont plucks from his Languedoc country garden; if purslane is not available at your local farmers’ market, substitute baby arugula leaves instead.
Cold Watermelon Soup
“Watermelon juice has such a mild flavor that most thickeners would overpower its taste,” says chef Jamie Bissonnette. “But xanthan allows me to turn it into a soup.”
Icy Tomato Soup
Plum tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and tomato paste ensure that this soup is ultra-tomatoey.
Cucumber-Yogurt Soup with Pepperoncini
Pepperoncini (long, thin Italian pickled chiles) give Marcia Kiesel’s otherwise-mild soup an appealingly tangy flavor.
Chilled Tomato Soup with Goat-Milk Yogurt
Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge make yogurt from goat milk. They blend the tangy yogurt into this herb-flecked soup.
Raw Sweet Corn and Cashew Chowder
Not only is yellow corn a good source of vitamin B, magnesium and thiamin, it also contains carotenoids (organic pigments with health benefits) not found in white corn. Ani Phyo likes to add a handful of vitamin A—rich spinach or soft lettuce to the chowder. “Then it becomes part-soup, part-salad,” she says.
Chilled Cucumber Soup
Chef Eric Skokan grows hundreds of vegetables at his farm, analyzing each variety for its best use. He prefers the Zagross Persian cucumber for this tangy soup.
Combining fresh tomato juice and orange juice, this cold soup was inspired by sangrita—the zippy Mexican drink typically served at bars as a tequila chaser. “I love how the tomato and orange juices combine to form an entirely new flavor,” Marcia Kiesel says. For fun, add a shot glass or two of silver tequila.
Chilled Edamame Soup with Ginger Crème Fraîche
One of the basic rules of pairing wines with food is that rich dishes match well with wines that have good acidity. This silky soup—a simple puree of onion, edamame and chicken stock—is no exception. “I love to sip a grower Champagne with this,” Peter Kasperski says, referring to the smaller Champagne brands that come from individual estates rather than the major houses.
Classic Andalucian gazpacho combines raw vegetables like tomatoes and onions with red wine vinegar for a little kick. Kerry Simon transforms the recipe by using grilled vegetables brightened with a blend of vinegar, orange juice and lemon juice.
Chilled Cucumber-Avocado Soup with Spicy Glazed Shrimp
Douglas Keane is such a fan of chilled soups that he puts at least one on his menu every season including winter. The combination of cucumber and red wine vinegar in this recipe reminds him of the wonderful Greek salads he had growing up outside of Detroit, Michigan, home to a huge Greek community.
Chilled Tomato Soup with Tarragon Crème Fraîche
Supersweet tomatoes will make this cold soup extra-delicious. But to enhance the flavor of even less-than-perfect produce, Melissa Rubel Jacobson adds tomato paste, which has a rich, concentrated taste.
Tangy Green Zebra Gazpacho
Green Zebras are heirloom tomatoes with a striped pattern; they are sweet like red tomatoes but give this gazpacho a lovely jade hue. To make the chilled soup extra tangy, use tomatillos or unripe red tomatoes instead of Green Zebras.
Spicy Tomato-and-Watermelon Gazpacho with Crab
The Lees created this gazpacho as a riff on a recipe from The Virginia Housewife, a seminal Southern cookbook first published in 1824 that is still in print. They sweeten the cold tomato soup with watermelon and make it fiery with habanero and poblano chiles.
Sweet Pea Soup with Ham and Croutons
Instead of the usual starchy split peas, chef Chad Newton blends fresh sweet peas—at their peak in spring—with spinach to make a silky, vibrantly green soup that’s good hot or cold.
Andrew Zimmern’s Gazpacho
Andrew Zimmern adds Worcestershire sauce and herbs to his gazpacho, giving extra layers of flavor to the classic chilled soup.
Buffalo mozzarella, traditionally made from the milk of water buffalo, has an exquisite tangy edge. Shea Gallante ingeniously turns the cheese into a soup, liquefying it in a blender with the water it comes packed in and some fruity olive oil.
Almost-Instant Chilled Borscht
Fresh beet juice and shredded beets are the secret to this ultra-fresh, super-quick take on borscht.
Chilled Sour Cherry Soup with Fennel & Sour Cream
Traditional Hungarian chilled sour cherry soup is sweet enough to be a dessert. Nicolaus Balla blends fennel into his more savory version and serves the beautiful pink soup as a first course. “Fennel might be my favorite vegetable,” he says.
Chilled Red Bell Pepper Shooters
Round out a feel-good picnic with this cool red-pepper soup.
Chilled Cucumber Soup with Salt-Roasted Shrimp
Jim Burke’s cucumber soup with lime, garlic and ginger is light, refreshing and restorative; his kitchen staff jokes that it’s like a mini spa treatment. For extra substance, Burke adds salt-roasted shrimp, avocado and a hit of spicy chile oil.