While trying to teach my younger kids to make dinner, I realized how easy it was for my mom to teach us this skill. She used cans of soup, pre-made crusts, and pre-chopped veggies. etc. Feeling frustrated with my kids’ inability to “just make dinner,” it dawned on me that I have made it hard by being that “health-conscious” mom. I make most of our food from scratch, and I can not tell you how many times my kids open the overfull fridge or cupboard and lament, “There’s nothing to eat.” <insert my eyeroll, facepalm, big sigh.> 

I have relented on some items. I buy pre-shredded cheese and frozen mixed vegetables. I am trying to make dinner easier for my kids to put together and feel accomplished reasonably independently. 

If you follow me at all you will know that thrifty is my middle name. I am aka The Thrifty Widow. But sometimes thrift for me looks like eating healthier so that we can avoid expensive health issues down the road. It’s a tricky line to walk when you live on a tight budget. The following recipe I am going to share with you can make dinners easier for your kids to prepare while still being healthier than canned soup bases. It is not, however, the cheapest option. 

I prepare a batch of the Cream of Mushroom Soup and put it in pint jars in my fridge so the kids can make dinner and use the premade sauce. 

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how to make the best homemade cream of mushroom soup from scratch

cream of mushroom soup ingredients

½ onion, finely chopped

5 (or more if you like) large mushrooms, sliced

6 Tbsp butter

½ cup cream

½ cup sour cream

2 cups milk

1 cup water

2+ Tbsp Beef Better than Bouillon (#afflink)

½ cup white unbleached flour (substitutions below)

homemade cream of mushroom soup instructions

  • Melt 4 T. butter in a large frying pan.
  • Add onions and mushrooms and saute till soft and onions are translucent.
  • Add the rest of the butter and the flour and stir until flour is mixed in.
  • Then add cream, water, milk, and sour cream and mix well.
  • Finally, add the beef bouillon and bring to a slow boil.
  • Simmer, stirring frequently for 2-3 minutes.
  • Let cool a bit then put the mix into the blender and blend to desired consistency.

Note: You may reserve a few mushrooms and cut them into small pieces to be added back after the blending or blend it all for a smooth creamy sauce or soup. 

Makes about 2 pints or the equivalent of two large cans of cream of mushroom soup.


  • Delicious soup
  • Green Bean Casserole: Mix with green beans, top with dried onions, and bake for half an hour
  • Stroganoff: Add cooked pieces of beef and cooked noodles)
  • Beef Casserole: Mix with cooked ground beef and serve with squash, noodles, or rice
  • Anywhere you might use cream of mushroom soup knowing you are serving something with minimal ingredients and much healthier than canned soup! 

easy to make cream soup variations

Keto Cream of Mushroom Soup

Skip the milk, use 1 cup of cream, ½ cup of sour cream, and 3 cups of water. Instead of flour, you can use glucomannan, but I honestly prefer the taste and consistency of the flour; I just use ¼ cup and have a runnier end result. 

Gluten-Free Cream of Mushroom Soup

Replace the wheat flour with tapioca flour. Tapioca starch and tapioca flour are the same product, just labeled differently.  

Cream of Chicken Soup 

Substitute chicken bouillon for the beef and substitute chicken broth for the water. Skip the mushrooms. Add chopped chicken and cooked veggies after blending.

Cream of Celery Soup

Skip the mushrooms. Add 5 ribs of celery finely chopped and sauteed until softened. 


how to store homemade cream soup

Mushroom soup can be safely stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. Just gently reheat.

can you freeze mushroom soup?

Looking to batch cook? You can freeze the leftovers for up to two months. Allow to cool to room temperature, then place into freezer bags of your desired size, squeezing out any air. Seal and lay flat for best results.

Here are more useful tips to make dinner prep easier for younger kids; keep reading to the end for the first dinner all my kids learn to make!

  • Shredded cheese (Shred a big block yourself to save $ and skip unnecessary additives; freeze it in smaller bags.)
  • Frozen homemade pizza dough
  • Frozen mixed vegetables
  • Teach them to make biscuits and substitute these for crust on pot pies 
  • Make homemade refried beans and freeze in quart-size bags
  • Buy frozen flat pita bread and keep it in the freezer for quick individual pizzas 
  • Make a big batch of spaghetti sauce and freeze in quart bags

Your kids can learn to help with these simple prep steps too. 

And, as promised, here is the first dinner my kids learn to make independently–usually by age 6 or 8. 

The Best Nachos Ever

  • 1 quart bag (or a can) of refried beans
  • 1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup salsa
  • sour cream
  • tortilla chips

In a baking dish spread beans evenly on the bottom. Evenly sprinkle the shredded cheese over the beans. Pour Salsa over the cheese. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes. 

Serve with sour cream and chips. To eat, take a chip and dip it in the bean mix, then in the sour cream and enjoy an amazing taste sensation that will have your kids declaring these “The Best Nachos Ever!”


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