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Soup makers can help you save time in the kitchen by making soups and stews without the need to constantly stir and monitor to make sure they don’t overcook. There are several different kinds: Some are simply high-power blenders that can simultaneously puree and heat soups with the friction created by their spinning blades; others are blenders with built-in heating elements to actually cook and heat raw ingredients; some are electric pressure cookers or slow cookers that can either make long-cook dishes in a fraction of the time or gently simmer for hours while you’re away; and finally there are dedicated soup-making machines with a blade that, unlike a blender, descends from the lid, rather than the base.
These specialized soup machines will heat and cook the ingredients that you add for a certain number of minutes before blending to your choice of a velvety or chunky texture. Many of these appliances offer additional functions and can make smoothies, juice, and cold soups, or even frozen desserts, jams, and soy or nut milks. The best models simplify the process from start to finish, allowing you to chop ingredients, cook, and blend into a puree all in the same device. Some even offer a self-cleaning cycle.
Here are our picks for the best of each type.
Best Overall: Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker 6 Quart
What do buyers say? 87% of 1,900+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
The Instant Pot electric pressure cooker has gained something of a cult following recently. It’s a multifunction kitchen appliance that—besides its many other functions—is perfect for making soup, from homemade stock to searing ingredients all the way to keeping soup warm until it’s time to eat. You can choose between cooking your soup quickly with the pressure-cook function or slow cooking it over a longer time.
The Duo is one of the more affordable Instant Pot models, yet it has a lot of useful functions like presets for making broths or stews, cooking rice, or sautéing. It has a generous capacity for feeding large families and can maintain food at the optimal temperature until it’s served.
Best Dedicated Soup Maker: Philips Soup Maker, 1.2 liters
Designed specifically for soup making, this handy gadget is great for making small batches of soups, for 2 to 4 servings. It offers several preset cycles, for smooth or chunky soup, fruit compotes, or smoothies. It even has a special function that’s optimized for milk-based soups, and it can also be used for cold-blended soups and as a regular countertop blender.
It can make soup in as little as 18 minutes, but it’s better for vegetable-based soups or soups made with pre-cooked ingredients; it can’t cook large chunks of raw meat into a hearty stew. It also requires careful handwashing since the electric components can’t be immersed with water.
Best High-Speed Blender: Blendtec Designer 725 Blender
Blendtec is a U.S.-based manufacturer of professional-quality blenders (the brand produces blenders for many well-known national chains), and its blenders are some of the few that can achieve speeds high enough to heat ingredients through friction alone. This means you can use the blender to make silky-smooth soups and heat them at the same time.
It features a preprogrammed “hot soup” cycle just for this purpose, in addition to preset buttons for making salsa, smoothies, and even ice cream. The 36-ounce pitcher is BPA-free. This blender is great for vegetable purees or milk-based soups that could be ruined by overheating, but not for chunky soups or long-simmered stews.
Best Blender with Integrated Heater: Instant Pot Ace Nova Blender
Unlike blenders that warm food using only the friction of their spinning blades, this machine, from the makers of the wildly popular Instant Pot, has an integrated heating element in the base that lets it cook soups while it blends, and it can make chunky soups instead of just purees. It can also be used without heat for making chilled soups, smoothies, blended cocktails, soy or nut milks, and even frozen desserts.
The pitcher is made from durable borosilicate glass, which is resistant to extreme temperature changes and won’t hold odors or stains. The only downside is that it’s a bit heavy, compared to plastic versions.
Best Multipurpose: KitchenAid Multi-Cooker
This high-tech kitchen workhorse features a digital display with numerous preset functions for making not only soups and stews but also porridge, risotto, and even yogurt. The precision temperature and timer controls ensure perfect and consistent results. The cooker features a sear function, for browning soup ingredients before adding liquids, as well as a 24-hour keep-warm function. The 4-quart pot has a nonstick ceramic coating and it’s dishwasher safe. It comes with a steamer basket/roasting rack and a clear glass lid designed for easy pouring and straining.
Besides its multiple functions, it’s sleek and stylish enough to leave on your countertop and comes in attractive colors, like a shiny candy-apple red, to match the famous KitchenAid stand mixer line.
Best Hands-Off: Bellini by Cedarlane BMKM510CL Kitchen Master
This pricey but impressive appliance is a real multitasker. Not only can it make stocks and soups in its 2-liter stainless-steel bowl (with or without an optional stirring function), it can also knead bread dough, sauté, crush ice, whip cream, and steam. It can chop vegetables, then sauté them perfectly, with precise temperature control and adjustable stirring speed, for burn-proof results. You can then add stock to make a perfect vegetable soup. It even has a self-cleaning function.
You can practically sip a cocktail in the living room while this device makes an entire dinner on its own, unattended. It comes with a handy digital kitchen scale, for precise measuring of ingredients, as well as steamer accessories.
Best Budget: Presto Kitchen Kettle Multi-Cooker and Steamer
This affordable electric cooking pot with a temperature-control dial is great for simmering simple soups and casseroles, but it can also function as a deep fryer and steamer and comes with a removable frying/steaming basket. The clear glass lid lets you monitor cooking. It has a nonstick coating for easy cleanup and is dishwasher safe.
It has a generous 6-quart capacity, to make enough servings for a large family and a “warm” setting to keep food hot on a buffet or at the dining table. It’s not the most multipurpose appliance we reviewed, but surprisingly versatile for its price point.
We're awarding the Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker the top spot because of it's versatility. You can use it to create your own stock, sear ingredients, keep your soup warm over time, or even heat up a soup in just a few minutes. Looking for something more affordable? You can't go wrong with the Presto Kitchen Kettle Multi-Cooker and Steamer (view at Amazon). It's great for making soups, casseroles, or even french fries.
What to Look for in a Soup Maker
There are a few types of soup makers available for making different soups. A normal soup maker has a blade on the lid, while a blender-style soup maker has the blade on the bottom. To heat up soups, these products use the friction of the blades or feature their own heating element. This makes them good for making smooth to chunky soups, but they aren't good for soups that have longer cooking times.
Electric pressure cookers and slow cookers are ideal for soups that have a long simmer or use raw ingredients that need to be seared and cooked through. Whichever type you get will depend on what kinds of soups you plan to make, your budget, and your personal preference.
Consider the number of servings you plan to make for your soup. An average soup maker will usually have enough capacity to make soup for four people. If you plan to cook for larger groups, it may be better to invest in a larger pressure cooker or slow cooker.
Soup makers will come with a variety of features to accommodate many different soup recipes and other foods with similar textures. Aside from heat and blending presets, look for soup makers that can also make ice cream, smoothies, salsa, and more. Some soup cookers even come with a kitchen scale to help you perfectly measure out ingredients.
Always check the cleaning instructions on your soup maker. If you're looking for fast cleanup, look for a soup maker that is dishwasher safe. Not all soup makers can be submerged in water, due to the electrical components, so if you do have to hand-wash it, make sure it's easy to wipe down and clean.
Can you put raw meat in a soup maker?
Soup makers are designed for a short cooking time. To ensure it's thoroughly cooked and safe to eat, it's best to precook any meat before adding it to your soup maker. You can brown ground beef, pork, and other meats or sauté chunks of chicken and turkey directly in the machine with some models. However, most of the time, you'll want to cook the meat in a frying pan and then add it to your soup maker.
Do you put raw vegetables in a soup maker?
Unlike meat, you can get away with adding raw vegetables to the soup maker. To ensure everything is cooked through and tender when the soup is ready to eat, thaw frozen vegetables and cut all veggies into small chunks that will cook evenly. Another option is to quickly sauté aromatic veggies like onions and peppers, intensifying their flavor in the finished soup. It also helps to preheat the soup's liquid, so bring the water or stock in your recipe to a boil on the stove before adding it to your soup maker.
Why does my soup maker keep burning on the bottom?
When the heat comes from below, any cooking appliance will naturally be hotter on the bottom. That's why you stir pasta in a pot of boiling water on the stovetop. Most soup makers are no different, and there are a few reasons the soup may burn and stick to the bottom of the pot. First of all, make sure that you're adding enough liquid to your soup. This is especially important with thicker soups, such as tomato-based soup; add more soup stock or water to thin it before cooking. When building a chunkier soup, add a portion of the liquid to the soup maker before the meats and vegetables, then top it with the remaining liquid to prevent the ingredients from sticking.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
This article was written by Danette St. Onge, formerly the Italian Food Expert for The Spruce Eats and a features editor at Cook’s Illustrated magazine (part of America’s Test Kitchen). An avid kitchen appliance junkie, she spends hours combing the Internet, comparing options, reading reviews, and testing devices to find the best tool for every job.