Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup

Before we transitioned to real foods, a few of my everyday dinner recipes contained a can of Campbell’s Cheddar Cheese Soup. Well, as you can imagine, I haven’t used a can of that since January (of 2013)! Just check out this list of ingredients (from my Fooducate app)…

Campbell's Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup

Holy Moly! And I couldn’t even fit all the ingredients in one screen shot!! I stopped counting after I got to 50… It’s absolutely crazy that this many ingredients are used to make something so seemingly simple. I wanted to make one of my old favorites this weekend (a casserole I haven’t made in almost a year now), but first I had to figure out how to replace that dreaded can of soup. Sure enough, a quick web search found me what I was looking for! I found a recipe for a substitute version on the Meal Planning with Connie blog, then reworked it a bit to meet our ‘food rules.’ It worked GREAT in my recipe and it’s nice knowing if I ever see a recipe that calls for a can of this soup, I can just swap it out with my simple recipe and be good to go!

Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup Substitute

Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup Substitute

Ingredients:

  • 3 T organic butter
  • 3 T white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup organic whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cup cheese, freshly shredded

Melt butter over medium-low in a saucepan. Add flour and whisk/stir together until smooth. Slowly add milk and continue whisking while bringing mixture to a gentle boil. Once it thickens slightly, add cheese and stir until melted.

This makes about 13 ounces (give or take). It’s a little bit less than a standard can of Campbell’s soup, but unless you need it to be e-x-a-c-t, this should work for you. Also, the consistency isn’t as thick as Campbell’s version, but this was actually preferable for my recipe. If you need a thicker consistency, try adding less milk.

Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup
Pouring over my Cheddar Sausage Bake

One of our favorite ‘cold night’ dinners is this Cheddar Sausage Bake recipe (picture above)…it’s a complete meal in one casserole dish!

P.S. – Want to know what my five absolute favorite (and most used) ‘real food’ kitchen tools are??

  1. My breadmaker (for making homemade whole wheat bread)
  2. My smoothie straws (so I don’t have to throw plastic straws away after each use)
  3. My butter crock (so my organic butter is always soft and spreadable)
  4. My cheese grater (because I’ve yet to find a package of shredded cheese that does NOT contain wood pulp)
  5. My Ninja blender with individual blending cups (because I use it almost every day for smoothies, fruit purees…even salad dressings!)

What is your favorite kitchen tool or gadget?? Would love to hear in the comments below!

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31 thoughts on “Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup

  1. Can you tell me what kind of cheese you use when making this? I’ve made this roux with cheddar and it still has a grainy texture? I don’t know if its from the flour or the cheese? Thanks!

    1. Hmmm…I don’t recall it having a grainy texture when I made this the last time. I typically have colby-jack cheese in the house, but I may have also used anything from mild to sharp cheddar. It wasn’t anything different than those…I use pretty basic cheeses! As a note: I use ‘white’ whole wheat flour and not ‘whole wheat,’ so that could account for a difference as well?? Just a thought. I hope that helps a little!

    2. I had this same texture problem for years and thought it was my cheese as well, but after searching all over the internet I figured out that the issue is all related to whisking. The key to a smooth roux is allowing the grains of flour to completely break down and incorporate with the milk, so if you dump all the milk at once and just gently whisk, it will turn out grainy. I’ve found that adding a a little milk at a time (a helper is great for this) and continually and vigorously whisking on a lower heat setting will help you achieve a perfectly smooth roux. If the heat is too high, the milk and flour will clump and boil too quickly which could cause your milk to curdle slightly (also adding to the grainy texture). I’ve also read that using pre-shredded cheese could cause similar problems as this cheese tends to be coated with some type of cornstarch to prevent sticking. I always grate a huge block and freeze it for easy adding.

      Sorry this is so long-winded, and I’m by no means an expert or culinary professional 🙂 but this information has completely changed my experience with mac and cheese!

  2. So glad I found this! We’ve recently started having a meatless meal once a week. This week’s pick called for a can of cheese soup, but the receipe has a total of 1,380mg of sodium. Since we’re on a low salt diet (high blood pressure for both and hubby has ckd), that wasn’t going to work.

    This will work perfect!! Thank you!

    1. Hi Colleen…my guess is that this should probably be used right away for the best results. I’m afraid it would lose it’s creamy consistency if made in advance and then stored in the fridge. I’ve never tried storing it, though, so if you do, please let me know how it worked for you!

  3. Thank you for this post! I used this recipe to make a lighter version of Southern Living’s sausage cheese muffins. I used Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese and White Wheat Flour (unbleached) and did not have any problems with a grainy texture. I did add the milk in a slow constant stream and when mixing the cheese in, I added a quarter of a cup at a time. I did substitute your whole milk for skim milk and regular butter for a butter and olive oil stick mixture. But it tasted great and worked well for the recipe. Also it produced 1.5 cups for the person who was asking how much it made. Thanks again!

  4. I don’t know why, but when I did it according to recipe, it came up with a very thick, doughy texture. I ended up having to double the milk amount. It was still super thick. I don’t know if that’s normal, since I’ve never actually used condensed Cheddar cheese soup haha.

    1. Hi Eveyln, sorry for the delay in response (I’ve been on vacation)! Hmmm…I’m not sure what happened! I’ve made this recipe several times and haven’t had any issues with it being thick or doughy. I suppose a variation in type of flour or cheese could make a difference, maybe? I’m not really sure. Sorry it didn’t work out for you, though. 🙁 It’s worked great for me when I’ve needed it on a few occasions. Cambpell’s regular condensed cheese soup is somewhat thick, but not doughy. Again, sorry it didn’t work out for you!

  5. Love how helpful the internet is for making real food- many thanks for this blog!

    I wonder if anybody can say whether this works in slow-cooker recipes?

    (I believe there may be reason to worry about curdling, in a slow-cooker?)
    Many thanks for any wisdom you may be able to give on the matter!
    (Slow Cooker Mac n cheese is my aim)

    1. I agree…I’m not sure if this would work in a slow cooker due to possible curdling, but it might be okay on low for a few hours? I’m sure it’s possible to make slow cooker mac n’cheese, but I have yet to try with only ‘real’ ingredients. Maybe that needs to be my next mission!! 🙂

  6. Woo hoo! I have a recipe for a taco bake that calls for canned cheddar soup, but no way did I want to put it in. This looks like it will work perfectly, and it’s basically how I was thinking of doing it (I do my own cream of chicken and mushroom soups).

  7. this is so similar to a traditional cheese sauce recipe. Try adding a tsp or so of mustard, it will really bring out the cheese flavour. Cayenne pepper or jalapeños will make it nice and spicy. I also like to add a splash of soya sauce or Worcestershire sauce for a deeper flavor.

  8. For the questions about will this soup stand up in a slow cooker and not curdle, here is your answer, use condensed milk as that will stand up to long cooking times and will not curdle like regular milk.

    For the graininess some have encountered making this recipe, use cornstarch instead of flour.

  9. I’ve been looking for a cheese soup recipe for a casserole we love and this looks great! I’m wondering though, can I substitute gluten free all purpose flour for the white whole wheat flour?

    1. Sorry for the delay in responding! I don’t get notifications on older blog posts! Hmm…good question. I would think it would work? But I’m not positive. If you give it a try, I would LOVE to hear how it turns out for future reference! Thanks!

    2. Rebecca — Did you try this recipe with gluten-free flour? If so, what kind did you use and what were the results?

  10. I’m wondering if anyone has used gluten-free flour for this recipe and, if so, what kind and what were the results?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Nina…I have not, but that’s a good question!! If I remember, I will try to use gluten-free flour next time I make this and post my results here.

      1. I’m a celiac, and I’m sure GF flour would work just fine. I would avoid GF blends with xanathan gum (or any gum) in them to prevent the possibility of it “gumming” up on you. there is a chance it might turn out grainy because most GF flour is a rice base. but we’re only talking about a small amount, so I’d use the techniques mentioned above to combat the issue. Good luck! 🙂

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