Thick, creamy and savory, this vegan condensed cream of mushroom soup is the best delicious stand-in for your favorite creamy mushroom recipes. This cream of mushroom substitute is dairy-free, oil-free, vegan and easy to make.
Serve it as a soup, over rice or in casseroles and other recipes that call for a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup as an ingredient.
Cream of mushroom soup is especially popular in the fall and winter, when the weather turns chilly and we're all craving comforting, warming dishes.
This version is vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, oil-free and wfpb (whole food plant based). Variations are provided to make it soy-free and nut-free.
🧄 Ingredient notes
- Mushrooms - fresh button mushrooms are the key ingredient in making this naturally savory soup
- Plant-based milk - use an unsweetened, unflavored milk - I recommend almond, soy or cashew milk. Make sure the milk you're using as no added sugar or flavors, like vanilla, which will ruin the dish. Also, plant-based milks that are naturally sweet or have strong aftertastes, like oat and coconut, don't work well in this.
- Mushroom powder - for a light, subtle mushroom flavor in this cream soup, omit the mushroom powder. For a stronger, more concentrated mushroom flavor, use it.
📋 Substitutions and variations
Here are some suitable substitutions to use when making this vegan creamy mushroom soup:
- Fresh mushrooms - instead of white button mushrooms, use baby bella mushrooms or big portobello mushrooms. You can also use frozen mixed mushrooms that have been diced.
- Almond milk - instead of almond milk, try using unsweetened, unflavored soy milk or cashew milk, which both work well in savory dishes. Cashew milk has a quality that enhances the flavor of what you add it to.
- Sage, thyme and parsley - substitute all three seasonings with an equal total amount of poultry seasoning.
- Vegetable bouillon paste - substitute the better than bouillon paste with one cube of vegan vegetable or no-beef bouillon cube.
- Corn starch - substitute with arrowroot powder (equal amounts) or ground chia seeds (start with 1 tablespoon, stir it in well, then wait a few minutes and see if you need more). Ground white chia seeds will not affect the color as much as ground black chia seeds. You could also use cashew sour cream to thicken it slightly, but it will not thicken it as much as the cornstarch.
Mushroom powder and umami seasoning
What brand and kind of mushroom powder you can find will vary greatly, depending on where you live. Below are pictured 6 mushroom powder options you can try:
- Trader Joe's Umami Seasoning Blend - well-balanced, but spicy
- Simply Organic Umami Blend - Original - well-balanced with a touch of heat
- Natierra Organic Shiitake Mushroom Powder - no added salt
- Natierra Organic Maitake Mushroom Powder - no added salt
- Natierra Organic Kind Trumpet Mushroom Powder - no added salt
- Whole dried shiitake mushrooms - process in a blender or food processor into homemade mushroom powder yourself. Dried porcini mushrooms or dried button mushrooms are more difficult to find, but provide a more mild mushroom flavor.
- not pictured: Better than Bouillon makes a mushroom bouillon base that has excellent flavor for this dish, but it has oil and whey powder added to it 😢. It is a good option for vegetarians or those who don't mind a small amount of dairy or oil in their diet.
Want to switch up the flavor or ingredients to suit dietary needs? Try one of these variations:
- Spicy - add chili pepper flakes (or use one of the two mushroom umami seasonings that are spicy) to infuse a little heat.
- Green peas - the freshness and sweetness of steamed green peas contrast the earthy, savory mushroom soup. Add them on top of the finished soup or with rice and peas.
- Creamy mushroom gravy - use this soup as a gravy by serving it over toast or vegan biscuits as in this recipe for vegan creamy mushroom gravy on my site
- Vegan mushroom stroganoff - omit the cornstarch, add nutritional yeast and reduce the quantity of milk for a delicious pasta sauce. Combine with cooked gigli pasta or stroganoff noodles and serve immediately.
- Nut-free - make this nut-free by using a nut-free plant milk, like soy milk.
- Soy-free - make this soy-free by using a soy-free milk, like almond or cashew and by using a vegetable bouillon that does not contain soy (better than bouillon does have soy in it).
- WFPBNO - make this whole food plant based no oil by using a bouillon that is oil-free (such as the Better than Bouillon organic vegetable base) and be sure to use an oil-free milk
- SOS-free - make this SOS-free by omitting the salt and using a mushroom powder that is salt free, like the Natierra brand found at Whole Foods.
It's easy to make this soup, here are the step by step instructions!
Heat a dutch oven or medium-large pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and steam-sauté for 5 minutes.
Add mushrooms, bouillon, sage, thyme, parsley, garlic powder, salt and pepper to pan. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until mushrooms have reduced to half their original size, about 5 minutes.
Add milk to pan, stir well and heat soup until just below boiling.
Once the soup has heated, taste for flavor. Adjust salt, pepper and add mushroom powder or umami seasoning, if using.
Make cornstarch slurry by mixing the cornstarch and cool water in a bowl with a fork.
Bring your soup to a low boil, so the cornstarch will activate. Stir your cornstarch slurry one more time, then add it to the hot soup in the pan and stir well. It should start to thicken to a gravy consistency within 30-60 seconds. Remove from heat and serve hot. Or, cool, then refrigerate. It will thicken much more in the refrigerator.
🧯 Food safety
- Wash hands with soap and water before cooking
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
⭐️ Expert tips
- Don't be tempted to save time and an extra dirty dish by adding the cornstarch dry to the hot soup. It will clump and ruin your soup. You have to mix it with cool water first to dissolve it completely before adding it. Ask me how I know this! Haha, been there, done that.
- Allow the soup to cool before storing in the refrigerator.
- Dutch oven or medium-large pot
- Santoku knife or chef's knife, for cutting up the mushrooms, onion and garlic
🥡 Make ahead and storage tips
Store the prepared soup in an airtight container or jar in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
These ingredients don't stand up well to freezing.
👨👩👦👦 Serving suggestions
Ways to serve and use this vegan condensed cream of mushroom substitute:
- Vegan green bean casserole
- Creamy mushroom rice with green peas or broccoli
- Vegan creamy mushroom gravy on toast
- Vegan biscuits and mushroom gravy
- Creamy mushroom sauce for vegan meatballs
- Vegan mushroom stroganoff
☕️ Tea pairing
This recipe would be delicious paired with pu-erh tea, to complement the earthiness of the mushrooms. To contrast the savory soup, try a green tea.
No, it is not, since it uses dairy milk, which is an animal product.
You can use alfredo sauce (white sauce) and diced mushrooms as a substitute for cream of mushroom soup. You can also make your own homemade cream of mushroom soup. This recipe is for a dairy-free, vegan condensed cream of mushroom soup substitute.
Amy's brand makes a vegan cream of mushroom soup called "Organic Vegan Mushroom Bisque". Their other mushrooms soups are not vegan, as they contain dairy.
No, it is not. Knorr dry soup mix uses milk products, which are animal products, so they would not be considered vegan.
🗺 Cultural influences
Mushroom soup is traditionally made with a roux base (flour and fat, like butter), cream or milk and mushrooms. Cream soups are found around the world, most notably in Italy and France.
Condensed cream of mushroom soup in a can was created by John T. Dorrance, a chemist with the Campbell Soup Company in 1897. In North America, it is used as a base ingredient in casseroles and comfort foods.
Some have described it as "America's béchamel", since it is used to thicken and flavor a variety of recipes, like green bean casserole.
💜 More recipes you'll love
If you love this vegan mushroom soup recipe, check out these other comfort food plant-based recipes!
Vegan Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup (dairy-free substitute)
- ½ yellow onion minced - about 6 ounces
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 16 ounces white button mushrooms diced
- 1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon paste I used better than bouillon brand
- ½ teaspoon dried sage
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme or ¼ teaspoon ground dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 5 cups almond milk unsweetened, unflavored
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- ⅓ cup cool water
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon mushroom umami seasoning optional (see above blog post for brand options)
- Heat a dutch oven or medium-large pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and steam-sauté for 5 minutes. Add splash of water if it starts sticking.½ yellow onion, 6 cloves garlic
- Add mushrooms, bouillon, sage, thyme, parsley, garlic powder, salt and pepper to pan. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until mushrooms have reduced to half their original size, about 5 minutes. Add a splash of water if they start to stick.16 ounces white button mushrooms, 1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon paste, ½ teaspoon dried sage, ½ teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon dried parsley, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon sea salt, ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Add milk to pan, stir well and heat soup until it reaches a low boil. Do not bring to a rolling boil, as it will make the almond milk start to separate a bit. It tastes just the same but it will have white specks in it and not be as appetizing.5 cups almond milk
- Once the soup has heated, taste for flavor. Adjust salt, pepper and add mushroom powder or umami seasoning, if using.½ teaspoon mushroom umami seasoning
- Make cornstarch slurry by combining the cornstarch and cool water together in small bowl. Whisk the two together with a fork or small whisk to form a cloudy liquid with no lumps. (Tip: Do not attempt to add the cornstarch to the hot liquid without making a slurry first, it will clump up and ruin your soup. Been there, done that.)4 tablespoons cornstarch, ⅓ cup cool water
- Make sure your soup is at a low boil, so the cornstarch activates to thicken the soup. Stir your cornstarch slurry one more time, then add it to the hot soup in the pan and stir well. It should start to thicken to a gravy consistency within 30-60 seconds. Remove from heat and serve hot.