The first few weeks of summer are glorious: full afternoons to spend outside at the park or in the pool, cold watermelon slices and tomato sandwiches and frosty beverages never far away; firefly-flecked twilight hours made for huddling around the campfire, anticipating all the season’s possibilities (and s’mores); grand visions for the bike trips and road trips and adventures that will ensue; fond anticipation for all the ice-cream cones to be had before they melt, all the sunburns to gently nurse with aloe and cream.
But then July and August inevitably roll around, and the pleasant stickiness turns, well, unpleasant. In those dog days, hot, thick air seems to stand still no matter which direction the wind blows. Cooking—let alone mustering up an appetite!—is an energy-sapping, sweat-inducing chore. The siren song of crisp, cool autumn beckons. For all those days, there’s soup.
Seriously! Soup is the perfect summer food. It’ll flexibly, confidently take on any of the ripe produce bopping around in your kitchen. It can be made ahead in big batches, in one pot (or blender!), and ladled out for weeks on end. It can skew cold or hot—and counterintuitive as it may be, the heat will actually cool you down in the most languishing, hellish temperatures. Mostly, soup bring cozy comfort…and heaven knows that this summer especially, we could all use a bit more of that.
Here are 23 soup recipes—both hot and cold—that celebrate the bounty of summer. May you slurp happy.
Gazpacho is classic summer fare; you may be used to seeing it with tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers, but it can take on a lot of other veg (and fruit!). Crisp green apples and creamy avocado, for example.
Succulent, spicy shrimp tops a tart-herbal chilled soup made with cilantro and tomatillos. The whole thing comes together in about five minutes, too, and avoids the stove altogether (grill the shrimp as the recipe suggests, or try broiling it for a few minutes till it turns pink).
Luxurious blanched almonds, juicy cantaloupe, cubes of bread, and a healthy pour of sherry vinegar come together not for a salad but for—wait for it—your new-favorite summer soup.
Another classic salad-turned-soup move. Refreshing watermelon puree, inflected with bright spots of mint, gets a salty bite and lots of textural interest from hunks of feta strewn on top.
Try this one in the first few weeks of summer, when springy asparagus is still available. Blend the tender, fragrant asparagus with caramelized leeks, tangy yogurt, and a quickie DIY stock (just water with salt and pepper, which totally counts!), and enjoy the soup warm or cold.
Ripe, sweet fresh tomatoes canoodle with salty-cured Serrano ham, soft and luscious white bread, and creamy hard-boiled eggs. It’s worth it to pick up good olive oil and the best tomatoes you can find.
Sweet corn, smoky bacon, and a little bit of onion blend together for a clean, satisfying soup that has nothing to hide behind—except for a bright-green basil oil that you can float on top of it.
You might think of beets as a wintertime food, but borscht is a notable exception: The earthy, dill-fragranced soup is just begging to be served cold, with a swirl of sour cream and a sprinkling of refreshing diced Persian cucumbers.
Yogurt for tang, walnuts and country bread for body, garlic for zest, grated cucumbers for moisture and brightness—this soup has it all.
The gorgeous pale green color alone makes it worth whipping up this soup, STAT—that is, until you get a taste of its amazing fresh-vibrant-nuttiness. Make a double batch of the crispy lemony lentils too, as you’ll want to put them on just about every salad and soup you eat.
Nothing spells summer like tomatoes and peaches. In this soup, the unbeatable combination gets gently lifted up by a bit of thyme and cayenne. A swirl of cream to finish seals the deal.
With its cheery yellow color and anise-y tarragon scent, this soup was made for summertime. You can eat it hot or cold, and add or leave out the dairy. The only thing not optional is more tarragon and delicately onion-y chives on top. (Okay, they are technically optional, but we wouldn’t recommend leaving them out.)
We’re back in tomato soup land, but this time, the late-summer edition. Seared sardines and salty capers atop a creamy, fresh tomato-and-fennel-soup bed give a pleasantly Mediterranean vibe to the dish.
Lemon brings freshness and lightness wherever it goes—like this silky egg yolk and orzo-based soup. P.S.: This recipe requires no chopping (you can tear the herbs for garnish!) and takes about 20 minutes to whip up.
Corn chowder is a summer classic, and this take—punctuated with smoky poblano peppers and bacon—will join your regular lineup. It tastes even better as the flavors mingle, so do yourself a favor and make a big batch on a Sunday to enjoy all week.
Another spin on corn soup, this time with a zingy gingery base and a sweet-spicy tofu larb on top. A plethora of herbs, lime, and chile on top is just the ticket.
Egg drop soup requires only minutes of cooking—in this case, 10—and gets you something nourishing and deeply flavorful yet light. With baby spinach leaves and salty Parmesan, you’ll get some greenery and pizzaz.
Summer squash, corn, saffron, and heady turmeric form the base of this delicate, lightly sweet soup. A zesty cilantro-jalapeño-tahini sauce gets drizzled on top for added flair; we guarantee you’ll want to keep extra on hand to pep up the rest of your dinners.
Put together spicy green chiles, tangy tomatillos, tender hominy, and juicy shredded chicken, and what do you get? The ultimate sweat-the-heat-stroke-out-of-you meal.
Uplevel a luscious corn and jalapeño soup with buttery seared scallops; live in bliss for the rest of summer. (Hint: If you have a lot of good corn on your hands, make a triple batch, let it cool completely, and freeze in airtight containers until the depths of winter.)
Umami-rich, super-tangy roasted tomatoes welcome a creamy hit of milky burrata and a swoosh of fresh basil oil. The hardest part will be peeling and seeding the pounds of Roma tomatoes you need for this recipe, but put on a good podcast, turn up your fan to its highest setting, and point it directly at yourself as you work.
Making soups both hydrating and ultra-nuanced, coconut water need not be relegated to your gym bag any longer. Any vegetable will work with this soup base, but summer tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, and onions are our go-tos.
Succotash is a summer staple, but to make it a main meal, we’re turning it into a slurpable soup. Don’t skip the mustard green pesto, as it livens everything up.
What soups do you like to make in the summer? Let us know in the comments.