The subtly sweet, nutty, and earthy flavor of the chestnuts is the true star of the show in this comforting soup recipe. We’re using other simple ingredients, like fresh veggies and herbs, vegetable broth, and a little cream, to complement the chestnuts and provide a luxurious, velvety creaminess. Here’s what you’ll need:
- For the chestnuts, I chose to boil the nuts, which I’ve found to be the easiest cooking method. In my How to Boil Chestnuts post, I provide detailed instructions for boiling and peeling fresh chestnuts, as well as make-ahead and storage information. If you’re in a pinch, you can buy roasted and peeled whole chestnuts at your local grocery store or even buy chestnuts online (affiliate link). They are also available cooked and peeled in a jar (affiliate link). Just make sure that the only ingredient listed is chestnuts, as we don’t want any unnecessary sugars or additives.
- To make the soup, you’ll need extra virgin olive oil, a shallot or a small onion, a carrot, celery, garlic cloves, fresh thyme, a bay leaf, vegetable broth, kosher salt, white pepper (or black pepper), heavy cream (optional), and grated nutmeg.
- To garnish the soup (optional), you can use creme fraiche, chopped fresh chives, or chopped bacon.
How to Make This Recipe?
With a little bit of hands-on time to prepare the veggies and only 15 minutes of cook time, you’ll have a steaming bowl of this velvety cream of chestnut soup on the table for everyone to enjoy. Here’s how to make it:
- Cook the veggies: Add the olive oil to a large pot or Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat. Add in the shallot, celery, and carrots and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the veggies are soft.
- Cook the garlic: Add the garlic to the pan and cook for one minute.
- Add additional ingredients: Place the chestnuts, vegetable stock, thyme, bay leaf, and salt and pepper in the pan and give it a stir.
- Cook soup: Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes or until the vegetables are fork-tender.
- Purée soup: Remove and discard bay leaf. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup (careful, it’s hot!) until it appears smooth and creamy.
- Add the heavy cream: If using heavy cream, add it to the chestnut puree. Bring the soup to a rolling boil. Give it a quick taste, and season with salt and pepper if needed. Stir in the grated nutmeg right before you are ready to serve.
- Garnish and serve: Ladle into a soup bowl and garnish with your toppings of choice.
Making this creamy chestnut soup isn’t rocket science, but I’ve put together a few tips to make things a little easier (and safer) in the kitchen.
- Be careful when blending: Whether you’re using a food processor, a regular blender, or an immersion blender to puree the soup, remember that you’re working with very hot soup that may burn you. Take your time and wear oven mitts if needed.
- No hand blender, no problem: I prefer to use an immersion blender (aka hand blender) because it yields a super smooth and creamy texture, but you can also use a food processor or a regular blender and puree it in batches for similar results.
- Foam on top: You may end up with some foam on top after pureeing the soup. This is normal. You can remove it with a spoon or bring the soup to one last boil while stirring it constantly. It should disappear as you stir it.
When roasted, chestnuts have a subtly sweet, nutty, and earthy flavor. Some say the flavor reminds them of a sweet potato!
Although they’re small in size, chestnuts are packed with a variety of health benefits. They are a good source of copper, manganese, and vitamin B6, as well as several antioxidants. Check the ingredient label if you’re buying pre-cooked or peeled chestnuts, as they may contain added sugars or other ingredients you’ll want to avoid in order to reap their full health benefits.
To prepare chestnuts for soup, you’ll want to cook and peel them first. The main two cooking methods are roasting and boiling, which involve either roasting the nuts in the oven or over a fire or boiling them in water on the stove.
To make a vegan chestnut soup, omit the heavy cream and garnish it with your vegan toppings of choice. If you want to make the soup “creamy,” you can add a little almond milk instead of heavy cream. You can even make it a vegan Christmas soup by topping it with a tbsp of brandy or sherry to make it festive.
Other Soup Recipes You Might Like
If soup is your go-to winter meal, why not add a few more delicious soup recipes to your book? We love a good soup here on the blog, so be sure to check out the tasty ones below.
If you try this Creamy Chestnut Soup recipe or any other recipe on Foolproof Living, please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. And if you took some pictures, be sure to share them on Instagram using #foolproofeats so I can share them on my stories.
Chestnut Soup Recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 shallot or ½ small onion, chopped
- 1 medium-sized carrot chopped (~ ⅓ cup)
- 1 stalk celery chopped (~ ⅓ cup)
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 2 ½ cups chestnuts cooked and peeled* – (about 15 oz.) plus more for garnish
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper or black pepper
- ¼ cup heavy cream – optional
- ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons creme fraiche
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives chopped
- 4 cooked bacon strips chopped (or turkey bacon) – non vegetarian option
- Cook the vegetables: Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven (or large saucepan) over medium heat. Add shallot, carrot, and celery. Cook, stirring regularly, for 5-7 minutes or until vegetables are softened.
- Add the garlic: Add in the garlic and cook for one minute.
- Add additional ingredients: Stir in the chestnuts, thyme, bay leaf, vegetable stock, and salt and pepper.
- Cook the soup: Bring to a boil and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes or until all the vegetables are fork-tender.
- Puree the soup: Discard the bay leaf. Using an immersion blender, carefully puree the soup until it is creamy.
- Add the heavy cream: If using, stir in the heavy cream. Bring it to a quick rolling boil. Give it a quick taste and add more if necessary.
- Add the nutmeg: Right before serving, stir in the grated nutmeg.
- Serve: Ladle into individual bowls and if preferred, garnish with your choice of toppings.
- This recipe makes 5-6 cups of chestnut soup, making it approximately 1 1/2 cups per serving. The calorie information listed below does not include the optional toppings.
- Cooking Chestnuts: You can use store-bought chestnuts (affiliate link) or boil fresh chestnuts yourself. Alternatively, you can use roasted chestnuts to make this soup recipe.
- To make it vegan: If you are following a plant-based diet, please omit using heavy cream, creme Fraiche, and bacon. This soup is naturally gluten-free with or without the optional ingredients.
- Foam on top: You may end up with some foam on top after pureeing the soup. You can remove it with a spoon. Or do what I do, bring the soup to one last boil while stirring it constantly.
- Bacon: If you want to cook the bacon on the stovetop, you can cook it in the same pot you will use to make the soup. Simply place the strips in a cold pot, arrange them in a single layer, and cook them over low heat until they are crispy. Transfer them to a paper towel, pour out the excess grease in the pot, and then follow the instructions starting with cooking the vegetables. You can also use Baked Turkey Bacon as a topping.
- Store: Let the soup cool down to room temperature before storing. Transfer it into an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Freeze: Let it come to room temperature and store it in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Thaw: To thaw from frozen, let the soup thaw in the fridge overnight.
- Reheat: Reheat in a saucepan on the stove, making sure to stir often as it heats up. The soup tends to thicken as it sits, so you may need to add a quarter cup of liquid to thin it out.