If you’ve ever felt like you can no longer make your favorite comfort foods now that you’re eating gluten and dairy free, then this Dairy Free Cream of Chicken Soup recipe will brighten your day in a big way!
As a child of the 80’s and 90’s, it’s no surprise that I grew up eating plenty of casseroles that included one or more cans of condensed cream of chicken soup.
Anyone else with me here?
One of my favorite meals growing up was this chicken and rice casserole that my mom would make, and it was loaded with cream of chicken (and mushroom) soups. Not one, but TWO cans!
Because so many casserole recipes use canned cream of chicken soup, I was determined to come up with a dairy free alternative so that I could continue making some of my favorite casseroles.
By making this dairy free cream of chicken soup recipe (which is also gluten free, by the way!), you will have so many more meal options for dinner! That’s a win anyone can get on board with, right?
Does regular cream of chicken soup contain dairy and gluten?
YES! Regular canned condensed cream of chicken soup has cream and butter (dairy) and wheat flour (gluten). Those are the easy ingredients to understand! There’s also “modified food starch” which could contain gluten, and “whey”, which is most likely dairy based.
Plus, regular canned cream of chicken soup falls into the category of foods that I believe people should avoid simple because it has several ingredients that are highly processed and are hard to understand.
What ingredients are in this recipe?
You’ll need a total of 9 ingredients (including salt and 1 optional ingredient) to make this recipe. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
- Raw, unsalted cashews
- Low-sodium chicken broth
- Unsweetened coconut milk
- Coarse salt
- Poultry seasoning (this Homemade Poultry Seasoning is my favorite!)
- Olive oil or refined coconut oil
- Cooked chicken (which is optional)
Why are there cashews in this Dairy Free Cream of Chicken Soup?
If you’ve looked around at some of the other recipes on my website, then you may have noticed that I like to add cashews to certain recipes.
Cashews can add more body (or thickness) to the consistency and they contribute to a richer flavor overall.
This is especially helpful when you’re making dairy free versions of recipes that are traditionally creamier and richer.
For example, in this Dairy Free Creamy Potato Vegetable Soup, I could have made a perfectly fine soup without using cashews, but by adding the pureed cashews, it makes the soup extra rich and creamy.
It’s the same for this Dairy Free Cream of Chicken Soup. I first tried making the recipe without using cashews at all, but I wasn’t satisfied with the flavor or texture. I had to use a lot more of the thickener (in this case, arrowroot), and the texture didn’t turn out like I wanted. The flavor was lacking too.
Once I added the pureed cashews (called cashew cream), it turned out just like I wanted!
Is it hard to make your own cream of chicken soup?
It’s actually very simple to make this recipe. It takes a bit of time because you have to let the cashews soak in water so they soften a bit. But, the total “hands on” prep time is quite short.
The main steps to making this recipe are:
- Soaking cashews in water.
- Pureeing the cashews along with a few other ingredients in a blender.
- Cooking onion in a saucepan and then adding the pureed cashew mixture and cooking until it’s thick.
What can I use this recipe for?
You can substitute this Dairy Free Cream of Chicken Soup in any recipe that calls for canned condensed cream of chicken soup.
The recipe makes a total of 2 ½ cups, which is the equivalent of 2 (10.5-oz) cans of condensed cream of chicken soup.
If your recipe calls for 1 (10.5-oz) can of condensed cream of chicken soup, then you would use 1 ¼ cups of the homemade dairy free cream of chicken soup in place of the can of soup.
My favorite way to use this dairy free cream of chicken soup is in casserole and soup recipes, but it also tastes great as a sauce or gravy on cooked chicken or mashed potatoes.
If you have a small amount left of the dairy free cream of chicken soup, add it to your favorite brothy chicken or potato soup to make it richer and more flavorful.
I want to hear from you! Now that you have a recipe for Dairy Free Cream of Chicken Soup, what’s the first recipe you would want to make with it?
For me, it’s a dairy free version of my mom’s chicken and rice casserole, which also happens to be the recipe I will be posting next week! If you don’t want to miss it, jump onto my email list (you can do that over in the sidebar under my photo), and I’ll send you an email once that recipe is posted.
Dairy Free Cream of Chicken Soup
- 3/4 cup raw, unsalted cashews
- 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk (in a carton, not canned)
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning* (see recipe below)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or refined coconut oil
- 1/3 cup finely chopped cooked chicken (optional)
- Place cashews in a medium bowl. Add enough water to cover by about 2 inches. Cover; let stand at room temperature for at least 4 to 6 hours. Or, cover cashews with very hot or boiling water; cover and let stand for 1 hour.
- Drain cashews; rinse cashews with cold water. Drain well. Add cashews to a blender. Add broth, coconut milk, arrowroot, salt, and poultry seasoning. Cover; blend until very smooth.
- In a large saucepan, cook onion in oil over medium-low heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until onion is just tender but not browned.
- Add cashew mixture all at once to saucepan with onion. Cook and stir over medium heat until sauce is just boiling. Reduce the heat; cook and stir 1 minute more. Transfer mixture to a heat-proof bowl. If desired, stir in chopped chicken. Cover; cool about 15 minutes.
- Store cream of chicken soup in the refrigerator up to 4 days. It will be thicker once it is chilled.