Soup-making requires few tools to create hearty, comforting bowls of goodness. Whether you’re simmering up a classic chicken noodle, a creamy mushroom, or experimenting with new, exotic flavors, having the right equipment can make the process more efficient and enjoyable.

Below is a list of tools to have on hand. Are they essential? No. You DO NOT need to have every one of these tools. It took me years to build up my kitchen arsenal and learn what tools I like best. Start with what you have and expand as you can.

kitchen tools

Stockpot

If you only buy one thing, an enameled cast iron pot would be my first pick. Can you get away with a big pot? Absolutely. I used a large-capacity pot that came in my starter set for years. But now that I have a good cast iron pot, I rarely use anything else. A large, heavy-bottomed stockpot (also called a Dutch oven) is the perfect vessel for making soup. It allows for even heat distribution and provides ample space for ingredients to simmer and meld flavors together. My favorite is a 9-quart enameled cast iron pot.

The upside to this utensil is that you will soon find that you use it for much more than soup. Enameled cast iron pots are incredibly versatile for various cooking tasks on the stovetop or in the oven. Below are some common uses, though you’ll have to look beyond this site for recipes:

  • Soups and Stews: Enameled cast iron pots excel at slow, even cooking, making them ideal for simmering hearty soups and stews. They distribute heat evenly and the heavy lid helps retain moisture for tender, flavorful results.
  • Braising: Whether you’re braising meat, poultry, or vegetables, the pot’s ability to maintain a consistent temperature over low heat helps break down tough cuts of meat, resulting in succulent, flavorful dishes. (Braise: to lightly fry then stew in a closed container.)
  • Roasting: Enameled cast iron pots can also be used for roasting meats and poultry in the oven. The durable enamel coating prevents sticking and ensures easy cleanup, while the pot’s heat retention promotes even cooking and browning.
  • One-Pot Meals: From casseroles to risottos, enameled cast iron pots are excellent for preparing one-pot meals. They can go from stovetop to oven seamlessly, allowing you to sauté ingredients before adding liquid and finishing the dish in the oven for a deliciously cohesive meal.
  • Baking Bread: Many enameled cast iron pots are designed with lids that can withstand high oven temperatures, making them perfect for baking artisan-style bread. The pot’s heat retention and steam-trapping properties help create a crisp, golden crust and a tender, airy interior.
  • Deep Frying: The sturdy construction of enameled cast iron pots makes them suitable for deep frying. Their thick walls help maintain oil temperature, while the enamel coating ensures easy cleanup.
  • Sauces and Gravies: Enameled cast iron pots are ideal for making sauces, gravies, and reductions. The pots’ superior heat distribution prevents scorching and allows for gentle simmering.
  • Canning and Preserving: The large capacity and durable construction of enameled cast iron pots make them well-suited preserving fruits, vegetables, and jams for canning. Their non-reactive enamel coating ensures that flavors remain pure and unaffected during the preservation process.
  • Marinating: Enameled cast iron pots can also be used for marinating meats and vegetables. The non-reactive surface is perfect for acidic marinades, while their heavy lids help seal in flavors and aromas.
  • Serving: Beyond cooking, enameled cast iron pots can be used for serving dishes straight from the stovetop or oven to the table. Their attractive designs and vibrant enamel colors add a touch of elegance to any dining experience.

Overall, enameled cast iron pots are kitchen workhorses that can handle a wide range of cooking tasks with ease. With proper care, they can last a lifetime and become cherished heirlooms passed down through generations.

The downside to acquiring an enameled cast iron pot is the cost. A 9-quart pot will run you about $500 at Le Creuset. However, the Martha Stewart 7-quart Dutch oven (available on Amazon) will run significantly less at $100-$200 (depending on size and color) and is equally in quality to Le Creuset in my opinion.

Be aware that cast iron pots are quite heavy and will get even heavier when filled.

Immersion Blender

An immersion blender, also known as a stick blender, is perfect for pureeing soups directly in the pot and eliminates the need for transferring hot liquids to a stand blender. While I find that a good stand blender does a better job of pureeing, I love the ease of an immersion blender. It does a good-enough job and may leave a little chunkiness in the soup for added texture. The best part is that you can pick up an immersion blender for as little as $25.

Stand Mixer

When you’re ready to graduate to next-level blending, my favorite tool is the Vitamix Blender. The blades in the Vitamix spin fast enough to create heat and can take a soup from cold to steaming hot in about six minutes. I use the Vitamix when I’m looking for an even smooth texture with no chunks left behind. This blender can handle tough ingredients and it’s also self-cleaning! Available on Amazon for around $400.

Chef’s Knife

A sharp chef’s knife is essential for prepping vegetables, meats, and other ingredients used in soups. Look for a sturdy, well-balanced knife that feels comfortable in your hand for efficient chopping, dicing, and mincing. To help keep knives sharp, do not put your knives in the dishwasher as this tends to dull the edge. Always cut on appropriate cutting surfaces like wood or plastic, and do not cut on hard surfaces like stone or granite that can dull the blade. Keep your knives sharp using a sharpener at home or taking to a knife sharpener a couple of times a year. The most important thing is to learn how to chop properly so you don’t risk any finger injuries. Trust me when I say that having to get a shot in your finger to stop the bleeding hurts like hell. Here’s a video to get you started:

Cutting Board

Choose a large cutting board with a non-slip surface to provide a stable workspace for chopping ingredients. Opt for one that is easy to clean and sanitize. And having two is optimal—one for veggies, the other for raw meats.

Wooden Spoon

A wooden spoon is a versatile tool for stirring and tasting soups as they cook. Unlike metal utensils, wooden spoons won’t scratch the surface of your pots and are gentle on non-stick coatings.

Ladle

A ladle with a deep bowl is essential for serving up generous portions of soup. Look for one with a comfortable handle for easy maneuvering and serving. Don’t have a ladle? A coffee mug will do just fine.

Measuring Cups and Spoons

Invest in a set of measuring cups and spoons for precise portioning of ingredients like broth, spices, and herbs. While measuring cups and spoons will serve you well if you are new to cooking and measuring, you may find that eventually you don’t need to rely on them quite so much. At first you will want to know how much of an ingredient you put in your soup so you know whether to put in more or less next time. Once you’ve been cooking for a while, you will get a feel for measuring by hand. I rarely use a measuring spoon for spices. I can measure a teaspoon or tablespoon in the palm of my hand and eyeball a cup of broth. But when you’re just starting out, accurate measurements are crucial for achieving consistent results.

Do you need different tools for wet and dry ingredients? Maybe. If you were baking a loaf of bread, I would say you absolutely need different cups for wet and dry ingredients. And a scale would also be a good investment. However, for soup, a little more than a cup of broth or a little less than a cup of beans is not going to make or break your meal. Measuring spoons, on the other hand, are the same for wet and dry ingredients—one set is fine.

Vegetable Peeler

A quality vegetable peeler makes quick work of peeling carrots, potatoes, and other vegetables used in soups. Look for one with a comfortable grip and sharp blades for effortless peeling. In my opinion, peeling is overrated and can actually remove the layer where all the nutrients are stored. A good scrub will suffice for most soup veggies: carrots, beets, potatoes.

Wanna know what ingredients to have on hand?

Check out this article on pantry items.