How to Keep Soup Warm

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A full pot of soup slow cooking in a crock pot on the kitchen counter.
A full pot of soup slow cooking in a crock pot on the kitchen counter. (Image: Matthew Hart/iStock/Getty Images)

Nothing heats you up on a cold day like a steaming bowl of soup. Fortunately you can keep your soup warm in different ways, depending on your location and the ingredients you're dealing with. With a little preparation, you can even keep this one-pot meal warm when you're on the go.

Taking Things Slowly

The best way to keep any soup warm during the day until you get home at night is to use a slow cooker to prepare it. A slow cooker cooks food on a low temperature, usually around 250 degrees Fahrenheit, without burning it. Slow cookers have a tight-fitting lid so that the liquid inside won't evaporate, making them ideal for making soups. Most modern slow cookers have an option to cook foods and keep foods warm for up to 12 hours, which means that a soup you start cooking in the morning will be finished and piping hot at the end of the day.

It's Getting Hot in Here

After cooking your soup on the stove, turn the heat down to low to keep it warm for a few hours. Leave the soup covered to limit evaporation and stir it every 10 to 15 minutes to prevent the soup from burning. You can also warm a covered, oven-safe pot of soup in the oven at 250 F to prevent the soup from burning. If making a soup containing starchy ingredients like pasta, rice or potatoes, cook and store them separately from your soup. Add them to your soup while it's warming around 20 minutes before serving to prevent them from becoming mushy and absorbing much of the soup's liquid.

Soup on the Go

It's not always practical to reheat soup if you're at work or on the move. In these cases, keep your soup warm and ready to eat by putting it in a heat-retaining container like a thermos. Prior to putting your soup in the thermos, pour boiling water into it and close it for five minutes to preheat it. Heat your soup on the stove or in the microwave until it boils. Pour out the hot water from the thermos and pour in the piping hot soup. Immediately seal the thermos to trap the heat inside. The soup should stay toasty warm for several hours.

Staying Safe With Soup

After preparing your soup, if you don't plan on serving it within two hours, refrigerate it at just below 40 F or keep it at a constant temperature of 140 F or above. Temperatures between 40 and 140 F allow for the growth of harmful bacteria in your soup. When reheating soup that's been stored in the refrigerator, first heat it to an internal temperature of at least 165 F, then reduce the heat to keep it at 140 F or above until you serve it. Allow your soup to cool for 10 to 20 minutes until it's warm to the touch before storing leftover portions in your refrigerator.

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