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Basic Soup Recipe

The Easiest Effing Soup Recipe Ever — Seriously

I have not always been into cooking. At one time, my diet consisted mostly of Lean Pockets and "salads" made with only carrots and ranch dressing. For my wedding, my husband and I registered mostly for camping gear. We wanted sleeping bags and water filtration systems, not blenders and toasters. As my loved ones and I were celebrating said wedding with a lovely bridal shower, however, one of my dearest friends gifted me a slow cooker (an item I had not registered for). In the card, she wrote something along the lines of this: "I don't know what most of the things are that you registered for, but this is the same slow cooker I received for my own wedding and I love it." And the rest, as they say, is history.

Well, not exactly. But over these past few years, I have come to love cooking and coming up with delicious, healthy recipes. Taking care of two small kids, though, does not leave me much time in the kitchen. I've had to find ways to cook healthy meals that don't take a ton of time and also make plenty of leftovers so I can spend more time with my family and less time over the stove.

That is exactly why I am so in love with what I like to call my "kitchen sink soup" recipe. Why kitchen sink? Because once you know the quantities and simple preparation method, you can literally throw just about anything in your slow cooker (except the kitchen sink), and you'll come out with a delicious, nutritious soup! First, let's take a look at the basic recipe, and then I will share with you a few of my favorite variations.

Kitchen Sink Soup

Time: 6-8 Hours
Serves: 8

Recipe Notes
Optional: Before adding to slow cooker, brown meat on all sides for more flavor. To do this, heat two tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When skillet is hot, add meat in an even layer and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until all sides are browned. If using a roast, sear one side at a time. If using ground meat, cook, stirring occasionally, until no pink remains. Delicious, but not necessary if you are crunched for time.


  • 1 1/2 pounds protein (ground beef, pork roast, beef stew meat, chicken breasts or thighs, chickpeas, beans, etc.)
  • 5 cups chopped vegetables (carrots, tomatoes, celery, zucchini, onions, broccoli, peppers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, mushrooms, corn, butternut squash, etc.)
  • 5 cups stock (vegetable, chicken, or beef)
  • 3-4 teaspoons seasoning (minced garlic, fresh or dried herbs, citrus zest or juice, chili paste, chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, etc.)


  1. Add meat and vegetables to slow cooker. Pour in broth and seasonings and stir well to combine.
  2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Stir well. If necessary, shred meat with a fork before serving.

Easy enough, right? There are so many ways to remix this recipe! Two of my favorites are taco soup and beef and butternut squash soup, but you can literally come up with thousands of twists on this basic soup recipe. Feel free to try out my recipes as a jumping off point, and then come up with your own creations. Happy cooking!

Variation: Slow-Cooker Taco Soup


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 4 medium tomatoes, chopped (or two 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes, drained)
  • 1 4 ounce can diced green chiles
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup salsa of choice
  • 5 cups beef stock
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of paprika, garlic powder, and dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon each of onion powder and crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Add meat, onion, tomatoes, chilies, garlic, and salsa to slow cooker. Pour in stock and all spices and stir well to combine.
  2. Cook on low for six to seven hours, until meat is tender and vegetables are soft. Stir well to break up meat before serving.

Variation: Slow-Cooker Beef and Butternut Squash Soup


  • 1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cubed
  • 4 cups butternut squash cubes (about 1 large or 2 small butternut squash)
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 5 cups beef stock
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Add beef, butternut squash, and onion to slow cooker. Add stock and all spices. Stir well to combine.
  2. Cook on low for six to seven hours, until meat is tender and vegetables are soft. Stir well before serving.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Nicole Perry
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