Mushroom Velouté Soup or Sauce (Cream of Mushroom)

Button or Champignon Mushroom

Button or Champignon Mushroom

by Cat, Nov 9, 2013 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

Canned cream of mushroom soup is a cooking staple in many homes, used to make gravies, sauces, and other soups. But it is a processed food and contains many ingredients that are probably not good for your health, including MSG. Plus the can is lined with a type of plastic (bisphenol, as in BPA or BPB) that has known health issues. Far better to make your own, from scratch.

Years ago, I had a Texan housemate who cooked from a box. One day he announced he would make dinner for us, from a box  as usual. I don’t recall the exact dish, but it required a can of cream of mushroom soup. I’d been trying to show him he could make all his box-dishes from scratch, almost as easily as using the box, so I offered to make the mushroom soup for him. He was quite skeptical about this. However, when the wonderful aroma reached his nostrils, he was totally amazed and had to call all his old friends back home in Texas to tell them about this wonder.

Chanterelle Mushrooms

Chanterelle Mushrooms

You can use any edible mushroom for this recipe – chanterelles make an especially delicious soup (photo, left, from Wikimedia Commons) – but if you are making this to use in a recipe instead of canned soup, I suggest using button or champignon mushrooms (see photo above), which are available in almost every grocery. Did you know that the more expensive portobello or crimini mushroom is a cultivar of the button mushroom?

Mushroom Velouté Soup

I’ve adapted from Soup, by Coralie Castle (1) and from The Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas (2); it does not include cream. I typically use white button or cremini mushrooms that I can get at my local grocer, but fresh, local wild mushrooms can also be used – or reconstitute dried mushrooms.

I make a full batch and freeze a good portion of it in pint Mason jars for future use in recipes. NOTE: See next recipe for Creamy Velouté (Cream of Mushroom) Soup. Serves 6.

This recipe is also used as the base soup for the recipes that follow (Creamy Velouté, Sherry Velouté, and Velouté sauce).

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 1 lb fresh mushrooms, divided
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • ¼ cup minced celery
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 Tbsp butter or olive oil
  • ⅛ tsp dry mustard
  • pinch cayenne
  • zest of ¼ – ½ lemon
  • 2 Tbsp flour or other starch (I use tapioca starch)
  • 6 cups homemade Chicken Stock or Vegetable Broth
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, or ½ tsp dried thyme
  • Unrefined Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Ground paprika to taste (optional)
  • Equipment
  • 2 bowls
  • Soup pot or saucier
  • Jars for freezing (optional)


  1. Prep the veggies:
    • Set aside 8 mushroom caps; slice remainder.
    • Mince onion, celery and garlic; grate zest, and combine with sliced mushrooms in a bowl and set aside.
    • Wash fresh herbs and dry in cotton towel.
  2. Sauté: Slice, then sauté the reserved mushroom caps in 1 Tbsp butter over medium-low heat. Set aside.
  3. Add more butter or oil and sauté the minced veggies until soft. Add the uncooked mushroom slices and seasonings (including lemon zest) and continue to cook until the mushrooms are lightly browned. Sprinkle with flour/starch and continue to cook and stir for 3 minutes.
  4. Cook: Gradually add stock, stirring until smooth and it begins to thicken.
  5. Reduce heat to simmer (use a simmer plate if necessary to keep soup from boiling), add parsley and thyme, cover the pot and simmer 30 minutes.
  6. Strain.
  7. Add reserved sautéed mushroom slices, simmer 5 minutes more. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve, garnishing with paprika (optional).

Cream of Mushroom Soup

This version is adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck (3). Its base (including the mushrooms) is the Mushroom Velouté, above; then cream or a milk/cream mix is added. It is the version I used for my housemate, and I use it in recipes that call for cream of mushroom soup.

Serves 2.

  1. Warm 2 cups Mushroom Velouté Soup (above) in heavy-bottomed, enameled saucepan using a simmer plate.
  2. Stir ½ cup heavy cream, or milk/cream mix, into the soup and warm again. Do not let it boil. Adjust seasoning, adding a pinch of ground nutmeg if desired.
  3. Swirl in 2 Tbsp butter, if desired.
  4. Serve.

Sherry Velouté Soup

This recipe is based on a version from Soup, by Coralie Castle (1). Proportions of sherry and cream add to the base Veloute soup are from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck (3).

I’ve never tired this adaptation, based on a version from Soup, by Coralie Castle (1), but it sounds delicious. To make sauce, thicken the soup with blended egg and cream.

Serves 2.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 2 cups hot Velouté soup, above
  • 2 Tbsp dry sherry
  • ½ cup heavy cream (or ¼ cup each milk and cream)
  • 2 Tbsp butter, softened
  • slivered almonds (optional)
  • Equipment:
  • heavy-bottomed, enameled saucepan
  • simmer plate


  1. Add sherry and cream (or milk and cream), and warm using a simmer plate. Adjust seasoning.
  2. Garnish with slivered almonds, if desired.

Velouté Sauce

This is an enriched version of the soup, which I recommend for use in creamy casseroles. the yolks thicken the soup slightly (the more yolks, the thicker the sauce). Proportions of yolks and cream to base Velouté soup are from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck (3).

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 2 cups hot Mushroom Velouté soup, above
  • 2 egg yolks (or more), beaten
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp butter, softened
  • Equipment
  • bowl
  • heavy-bottomed, enameled saucepan


  1. Beat yolks with cream in bowl; whisk in ½ cup hot soup, then whisk this into the remainder of the soup in the saucepan.
  2. Reheat, using simmer plate, so that the mixture does not boil. Swirl in butter and adjust seasoning as needed.


  1. Soup, by Coralie Castle, Published in 1976 by 101 Productions in San Francisco
  2. The Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas, published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. in 1972
  3. Mastering the Art of French Cooking, by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck

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