Is Cooking From Scratch Always Better? It Might Be…

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It might be time to ditch that box of pancake mix and the canned soup—you’re ready to start cooking from scratch.

Cooking from scratch all the time can seem intimidating. Who am I, the Pioneer Woman? Thank goodness for the luxury of premade foods. If we so choose, we have a bevy of ready-to-eat foods at our fingertips. We need only unwrap the twisty tie around the plastic bag to have a piece of bread, or open a can and heat in order to enjoy a soothing bowl of soup.

But, let’s be honest, there’s a reason we crave home-cooked meals after traveling—just as there’s a reason kids come home from college and eat parents out of house and home. Homemade food is widely renowned as the best food.

5 Things to Start Cooking From Scratch

The benefit of making things from scratch is that you control the ingredients. You can use fresh-from-your-garden produce, locally sourced protein and whole grains—and nix all the other unpronounceable additives that might come along with premade foods.

Here are the other pros and (not-so) cons of making five convenience foods from scratch.

Soup

Pros: The possibilities for homemade soup are endless—from a Cheeseburger Soup to a Cheesy Broccoli to a Comforting Chicken Noodle. Making soup from scratch is going to be, hands-down, more delicious than canned. Fresh ingredients often have far more flavor.

But the other bonus is you can lessen your sodium intake—some popular canned soups have up to 900 mg of sodium per 1/2-cup serving, and the American Heart Association recommends an ideal limit of 1,500 mg of sodium daily for adults.

Cons: Of course, making soup from scratch takes a bit longer than nuking a bowl in the microwave. You may have to chop some carrots, blend some tomatoes or mince some cilantro. But in the end, you will find the time is worth it.

Stuffed Pepper Soup

Stuffed Pepper Soup

I was talking about stuffed peppers with the other cooks at the restaurant where I work. We decided to mix similar ingredients for a soup. Customer response was overwhelming! —Krista Muddiman, Meadville, Pennsylvania

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Cheesy Ham Chowder

My five children all agree that this soothing recipe is wonderful. The soup is full of potatoes, carrots and ham. The best part is that I can get it on the table in only a half hour of hands-on time. —Jennifer Trenhaile, Emerson, Nebraska

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Cabbage And Beef Soup Exps4261 Gb143373c01 16 3b Rms 2

Cabbage and Beef Soup

When I was a little girl, I helped my parents work the fields of their small farm. Lunchtime was always a treat when Mother picked fresh vegetables from the garden and simmered them in her big soup pot. We loved making this delicious recipe. —Ethel Ledbetter, Canton, North Carolina

Go to Recipe

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Cheeseburger Soup

A local restaurant serves a similar cheeseburger soup but wouldn’t share its recipe with me. I developed my own, modifying a recipe I already had for potato soup. I was really pleased with the way this all-American dish turned out. —Joanie Shawhan, Madison, Wisconsin

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Asparagus Soup

Asparagus Soup

Each spring my husband takes our dogs and searches for wild asparagus. He’s been so successful that I finally developed this asparagus soup recipe. We look forward to this special soup every year.—Betty Jones, Kohler, Wisconsin

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Ciopanno mixed seafood soup course with a spoon

Seafood Cioppino

If you’re looking for a great seafood recipe for your slow cooker, this classic cioppino recipe is just the ticket. It’s brimming with clams, crab, fish and shrimp, and is fancy enough to be an elegant meal. —Lisa Moriarty, Wilton, New Hampshire

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Cheesy Broccoli Soup In A Bread Bowl Exps Tohcom22 191564 P2 Md 05 11 5b

Cheesy Broccoli Soup in a Bread Bowl

This creamy, cheesy broccoli soup tastes just like the one served at Panera Bread! My family requests it all the time. You can even make your own homemade bread bowls with the recipe on my blog, Yammie’s Noshery. —Rachel Preus, Marshall, Michigan

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Lentil Chicken Sausage Stew Exps Sscbz18 133317 B09 13 2b 3

Lentil & Chicken Sausage Stew

This hearty and healthy stew will warm your family right down to their toes! Serve with cornbread or rolls to soak up every last drop. —Jan Valdez, Chicago, Illinois

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Cream Of Cauliflower Soup Exps Ssmz20 14667 B10 09 2b 22

Cream of Cauliflower Soup

This mildly cheesy cauliflower soup is a favorite of mine. I make it often in summer, although it’s good anytime. —Karen Brown, West Lafayette, Ohio

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Veggie Meatball Soup

Veggie Meatball Soup

It’s a snap to put together this hearty soup before I leave for work. I just add cooked pasta when I get home, and I have a few minutes to relax before supper is ready. —Charla Tinney, Tyrone, Oklahoma

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Sweet Potato And Crab Soup Exps Sdas17 202268 B04 11 6b 3

Sweet Potato and Crab Soup

This sweet and savory soup is quick and easy to prepare. You can substitute butternut squash or pumpkin for the sweet potatoes, depending on what you have on hand. —Judy Armstrong, Prairieville, Louisiana

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Shrimp Gazpacho Exps Sdjj17 29782 B02 22 7b 14

Shrimp Gazpacho

Here’s a refreshing take on the classic chilled tomato soup. Our twist features shrimp, lime and plenty of avocado. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Quick Mushroom Barley Soup

Quick Mushroom Barley Soup

I surprised my mother with a visit some years ago, and she was preparing this soup when I walked in. It was so wonderful that I asked for the recipe, and I’ve been fixing it ever since. —Edie Irwin, Cornwall, New York

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Red Lentil Soup Mix

Red Lentil Soup Mix

Give your friends the gift of good health. Red lentils are a protein powerhouse, and loaded with folate, iron and fiber. Oh, and this soup tastes amazing, too. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Tuscan Cauliflower Soup

A classic Tuscan soup has lots of potatoes, but I make mine the low-carb way with cauliflower. Turns out, it has a heartier flavor. —Heather Bewley, Bemidji, Minnesota

Go to Recipe

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Soup Exps Sdon17 204681 C06 29 2b 13

Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato Soup

I love that I can top this creamy soup with anything my heart desires, which means I can eat it several days in a row without ever having to have it the same way twice. You can substitute fresh onions and celery in this recipe if you prefer, but using the dried version makes it easy to throw together on a weekday morning. —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia

Go to Recipe

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Clam Stew

This clam stew highlights the fresh, sweet and salty clam flavor, with the chorizo adding a little kick. Fresh Swiss chard greens from our garden, corn and cannellini beans round out the flavor profile. The best part, though, is dipping crusty bread into the delicious broth! —Pamela Gelsomini, Wrentham, Massachusetts

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Chicken Bean Soup

This easy soup is tasty and nutritious, too. I like to top individual bowls with a few sprigs of fresh parsley. Home-baked rolls- I use frozen bread dough- are an added treat. —Phyllis Shaughnessy, Livonia, New York

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Tomato-Orange Soup

Tomato-Orange Soup

Who knew orange and tomato were such a good pair? Whenever I serve this, I keep the recipe handy for requests. —Barbara Wood, St. John’s, Newfoundland

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Carolina Shrimp Soup

Fresh shrimp from the Carolina coast is one of our favorite foods. We add kale, garlic, red peppers and black-eyed peas to complete this wholesome, filling soup. —Mary Marlowe Leverette, Columbia, South Carolina

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Creamy Fresh Asparagus Soup

Tangy lemon and sweet tarragon give this creamy asparagus soup a springtime flavor you’ll savor and share. —Stacy Mullens, Gresham, Oregon

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Pico de Gallo Black Bean Soup

Everyone at my table goes for this feel-good soup. It is quick when you’re pressed for time and beats fast food, hands down. —Darlis Wilfer, West Bend, Wisconsin

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Ground Turkey Vegetable Soup

Low-sodium ingredients don’t diminish the full flavor of this brothy ground turkey vegetable soup. The turkey lends a heartiness that everyone will welcome on a cold blustery evening. —Bonnie LeBarron, Forestville, New York

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Easy Pork Posole

Looking for a meal in a bowl? Sit down to a Mexican classic full of cubed pork, sliced sausage, hominy and more. It all goes into the slow cooker, so you can come home at night to a table-ready dinner. —Greg Fontenot, The Woodlands, Texas

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Roasted Cauliflower & Red Pepper Soup

When cooler weather comes, soup is one of our favorite meals. I developed this recipe for my husband and me. I wanted it to be a healthier version of all the cream-based soups out there. After a bit of trial and error, this is the keeper. —Elizabeth Bramkamp, Gig Harbor, Washington

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

Put a little spice in your menu with my favorite Anaheim pepper recipe. The peppers, jalapenos and cayenne heat up this full-flavored tortilla soup. —Johnna Johnson, Scottsdale, Arizona

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Sausage & Greens Soup

I always have an abundance of fresh vegetables on hand, so I wanted to create a delicious soup to enjoy during the colder months. I think I found a winner! —Angie Pitts, Charleston, South Carolina.

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Fennel Carrot Soup

Fennel Carrot Soup

This soup is perfect as a first course for a special-occasion dinner. It gets its delicious flavor from toasted fennel seeds—a pleasant complement to the carrots, apple and sweet potato. —Marlene Bursey, Waverly, Nova Scotia

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Hearty Beef Barley Soup

Hearty Beef Barley Soup

My entire family just loves this delicious and comforting soup. Loaded with chunks of tender beef, the rich broth also includes plenty of fresh mushrooms, sliced carrots and quick-cooking barley. —Barbara Beattie, Glen Allen, Virginia

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Loaded Baked Potato Soup

The only thing that beats the comforting flavor of this thick and hearty loaded baked potato soup is possibly the idea that it simmers on its own all day in a slow cooker. —Barbara Bleigh, Colonial Heights, Virginia

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Beef & Black Bean Soup

I lead a busy life, so I’m always trying to come up with timesaving recipes. This zippy and colorful soup is one of my husband’s favorites. It has been a hit at family gatherings, too. —Vickie Gibson, Gardendale, Alabama

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Cabbage And Beef Soup Exps4261 Gb143373c01 16 3b Rms 2

Cabbage and Beef Soup

When I was a little girl, I helped my parents work the fields of their small farm. Lunchtime was always a treat when Mother picked fresh vegetables from the garden and simmered them in her big soup pot. We loved making this delicious recipe. —Ethel Ledbetter, Canton, North Carolina

Go to Recipe

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Chicken Potpie Soup

My grandmother hand-wrote a cookbook. She included this amazing pie crust, and I added this delicious chicken potpie soup for it. —Karen LeMay, Seabrook, Texas

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Split Pea Soup with Bacon & Crab

Split Pea Soup with Bacon & Crab

Many split pea soups use ham and bacon for good, smoky flavor. Taking it one amazing step farther-add crabmeat. Freeze this one without toppings (freeze the cooked bacon separately), then reheat soup in a saucepan. Feel free to add more chicken stock or broth when reheating if you need it. Sprinkle bacon and fresh crab on top of bowls of hot soup. —Stephen Exel, Des Moines, Illinois

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Slow-Cooker Lasagna Soup

Every fall and winter, our staff has a soup rotation. I have modified this recipe so I can prep it the night before and put it in the slow cooker in the morning. My colleagues love it! —Sharon Gerst, North Liberty, Iowa

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Potato Clam Chowder

Potato Clam Chowder

I ran across this recipe in one of my antique cookbooks. It’s a timeless classic I like to prepare for friends and family throughout the year, but especially during the holidays. —Betty Ann Morgan, Upper Marlboro, Maryland

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Up Next: The Best Soup Recipes of 2021

The Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup

The Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup

My first Wisconsin winter was so cold, all I wanted to eat was homemade chicken noodle soup. Of all the chicken noodle soup recipes out there, this one is my favorite, and is in heavy rotation from November to April. It has many incredibly devoted fans.—Gina Nistico, Denver, Colorado

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Grandma’s Chicken ‘n’ Dumpling Soup

I’ve enjoyed making this rich homemade chicken dumpling soup recipe for more than 40 years. Every time I serve this type of soup, I remember my southern grandma, who was very special to me and was known as an outstanding cook. —Paulette Balda, Prophetstown, Illinois

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Broccoli Chowder

Broccoli Chowder

Sue Call of Beech Grove, Indiana serves this comforting soup on chilly stay-at-home evenings. Nutmeg seasons the light creamy broth that’s chock-full of tender broccoli florets and diced potatoes.

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Easy Beef Soup

This colorful, easy beef soup comes together in minutes. Even my husband, who admits he’s no cook, makes it on occasion.” —Agnes Bierbaum, Gainesville, Florida

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Cream Of Celery Soup Exps Ft21 28681 F 1105 1 11

Cream of Celery Soup Recipe

This rich cream of celery soup recipe will warm up any family gathering or quiet evening at home. With just the right amount of onion flavor, it’s creamy and crowd-pleasing. —Janet James, Bluff City, Tennessee

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French Onion Soup Exps Sbz19 294 C09 14 2b 2

French Onion Soup

My daughter and I enjoy spending time together cooking, but our days are busy so we appreciate quick and tasty recipes like this one. Hot and delicious, this soup hits the spot for lunch or dinner. —Sandra Chambers, Carthage, Mississippi

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Pasta Fagioli Soup

My husband enjoys my version of this dish so much that he doesn’t order it at restaurants anymore. With fresh spinach, pasta and seasoned sausage, this fast-to-fix soup is a meal on its own. —Brenda Thomas, Springfield, Missouri

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Country Fish Chowder Exps Sbz19 3580 C09 14 7b 6

Country Fish Chowder

You’ll think you’re on Cape Cod when you taste this thick, wholesome chowder made from a recipe I’ve treasured for many years. It’s one of my husband’s favorites. He likes it more and more because over the years I’ve “customized” the basic recipe by including ingredients he enjoys. —Linda Lazaroff, Hebron, Connecticut

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Fennel Carrot Soup

Fennel Carrot Soup

This soup is perfect as a first course for a special-occasion dinner. It gets its delicious flavor from toasted fennel seeds—a pleasant complement to the carrots, apple and sweet potato. —Marlene Bursey, Waverly, Nova Scotia

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Creamy Chicken Rice Soup

Creamy Chicken Rice Soup

I came up with this creamy chicken rice soup recipe while making some adjustments to a favorite stovetop chicken casserole. We like this soup for lunch with a crisp roll and fresh fruit. —Janice Mitchell, Aurora, Colorado

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Weeknight Turkey Tortilla Soup Exps Sdon18 55924 C06 19 1b 2

Weeknight Turkey Tortilla Soup

This is now my family’s most requested soup—so much so that they will make sure I have leftover turkey. You can spice up this soup and make it more hearty by adding smoked sausage or andouille and some Cajun seasoning to taste. —Gail Lucas, Olive Branch, Mississippi

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Potato Soup Exps Cwdj17 44986 C08 19 5b 4

Potato Soup

I decided to add some character to a basic potato chowder with a jar of roasted red peppers. The extra flavor gives a deliciously different twist to an otherwise ordinary soup. —Mary Shivers, Ada, Oklahoma

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The Best Chicken & Dumplings

 Homemade chicken and dumplings from scratch harken back to my childhood and chilly days when we devoured those cute little balls of dough swimming in hot, rich broth. It’s one of those types of soup you’ll want to eat again and again. —Erika Monroe-Williams, Scottsdale, Arizona

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English Pub Split Pea Soup Exps Edsc18 184673 B03 20 1b 5

English Pub Split Pea Soup

This family favorite is the same recipe my grandmother used. Now with the magic of the slow cooker, I can spend 15 minutes putting it together, walk away for five hours, and come back to “soup’s on.” Finish it with more milk if you like your soup a bit thinner. —Judy Batson, Tampa, Florida

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Beet Borscht

Beet Borscht

My mother used to make this hearty soup from her garden’s bountiful crop of beets and other vegetables. —Ruth Andrewson, Leavenworth, Washington

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Cheesy Cream of Asparagus Soup

Cheesy Cream of Asparagus Soup

Kids may not want to try a vegetable soup, but once they spoon up a mouthful of this cheesy variety, the flavor will keep them coming back for more. —Muriel Lerdal, Humboldt, Iowa

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Land of Enchantment Posole

My family named this spicy soup after our state moniker, “New Mexico, Land of Enchantment.” We usually make it around Christmas when we have lots of family over…and we never have leftovers. —Suzanne Caldwell Artesia, New Mexico

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Egg Drop Soup

We often start our stir-fry meals with this fast egg drop soup recipe— it cooks in just minutes flat. There are many versions of the recipe, but we like the easy addition of cornstarch to thicken the soup and give it a rich, golden color. I got the recipe from my grandma’s old cookbook. —Amy Beth Corlew-Sherlock, Lapeer, Michigan

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Classic French Onion Soup Exps Thfm18 160479 D10 17 2b 26

Classic French Onion Soup

Enjoy my signature French onion soup the way my granddaughter Becky does: I make onion soup for her in a crock bowl, complete with garlic croutons and gobs of melted Swiss cheese on top. —Lou Sansevero, Ferron, Utah

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Beef Lentil Soup

You can prepare this soup as the main course in a hearty lunch or dinner. On cold winter evenings here in New England, I’ve often enjoyed sipping a steaming mugful in front of our fireplacel. —Guy Turnbull, Arlington, Massachusetts

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Quick Cream Of Mushroom Soup Exps Sdam17 11767 B12 02 8b 7

Quick Cream of Mushroom Soup

My daughter-in-law, a gourmet cook, served this cream of mushroom soup recipe as the first course for a holiday dinner. She received the recipe from her mom and graciously shared it with me. Now I’m happy to share it with my own friends and family. —Anne Kulick, Phillipsburg, New Jersey

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Over-the-Rainbow Minestrone

This colorful soup is vegetarian-friendly and full of fresh flavors from a rainbow of vegetables. You can use any multicolored pasta in place of the spirals. —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, Colorado

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Cheddar Potato Chowder

Cheddar Potato Chowder

I only made this soup occasionally because the original recipe was quite high in fat. I doctored it up a bit, using healthier ingredients, and now we eat this rich flavorful chowder more often.—Ellie Rausch of Goodsoil, Saskatchewan

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Spicy Thai Coconut Chicken Soup Exps Sdfm18 205272 C10 05 7b 7

Spicy Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

For national soup month in January, I came up with a new recipe every day. This one is my favorite! It’s so easy, with just a touch of special Thai flavors. For an even richer flavor, try using whole coconut milk. —Diane Nemitz, Ludington, Michigan

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Cheese Soup with a Twist

Cheese Soup with a Twist

One of my favorite childhood memories is of my Aunt Claire serving up hearty bowlfuls of her famous cheesy soup. She would pair this cheese soup with a slice of warm buttered bread for a downhome lunch. —Rob Feezor, Alexandria, Virginia

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Crab Corn Chowder

Crab Corn Chowder

No time to make a homemade soup? Think again! You’ll be ladling out steamy bowls of satisfying chowder in no time. Canned corn and crab blend beautifully in this creamy, colorful soup. —Sarah McClanahan, Raleigh, North Carolina

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Split Pea Soup with Ham & Jalapeno

To me, this spicy pea soup is total comfort food. I cook it low and slow all day, and it fills the house with a yummy aroma. It’s so good with a nice, crispy baguette. —Chelsea Tichenor, Huntington Beach, California

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Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

My dear friend Shirley shared this recipe with me several years ago. Every time I think of her, I make the soup. I sometimes add a cup of cheddar cheese at the end and melt it in for an extra measure of comfort. —Carol Brault, Woodville, Wisconsin

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Hearty Vegetable Soup Exps Hc17 15651 D01 20 6b 32

Hearty Vegetable Soup

A friend gave me the idea to use V8 juice in vegetable soup because it provides more flavor. My best vegetable soup recipe is perfect to prepare on a crisp autumn afternoon. —Janice Steinmetz, Somers, Connecticut

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Homemade Chicken Stock

Homemade Chicken Stock

Peppercorns and a handful of herbs add the perfect seasoning to this low-sodium stock developed here atTaste of Home.

Browning the chicken and sauteeing the veggies gives it more flavor. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Fresh Corn & Potato Chowder

Fresh Corn & Potato Chowder

This corn chowder recipe was one of my favorites as a child in upstate New York, and I still love it today. For extra depth, place the spent cob in the soup, simmer, then remove. —Tracy Bivins, Knob Noster, Missouri

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Easy Hamburger Soup

Lunches on the run will be a little tastier with this hot and hearty beef and barley soup. The recipe is very simple to prepare. —Mary Prior, Rush City, Minnesota

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Chicken Barley Soup

No question—this is my favorite barley soup! It’s so filling that I serve it as a hearty main dish, and I have given the recipe to many of our friends and relatives. It simply tastes too good to keep to yourself! —Diana Costello, Marion, Kansas

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Italian Sausage and Zucchini Soup

Everyone in my family likes this soup recipe. Sometimes I add mini farfalle because my grandchildren say the noodles look like tiny butterflies. This recipe also works in a slow cooker. —Nancy Murphy, Mount Dora, Florida

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Best Ever Potato Soup

You’ll be surprised at the taste of this rich and cheesy easy potato soup. It really is the best potato soup recipe, ever. I came up with it after enjoying baked potato soup at one of our favorite restaurants. I added bacon, and we think that makes it even better. —Coleen Morrissey, Sweet Valley, Pennsylvania

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Stuffed Pepper Soup

Stuffed Pepper Soup

I was talking about stuffed peppers with the other cooks at the restaurant where I work. We decided to mix similar ingredients for a soup. Customer response was overwhelming! —Krista Muddiman, Meadville, Pennsylvania

Go to Recipe

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Cheesy Ham Chowder

My five children all agree that this soothing recipe is wonderful. The soup is full of potatoes, carrots and ham. The best part is that I can get it on the table in only a half hour of hands-on time. —Jennifer Trenhaile, Emerson, Nebraska

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Cabbage And Beef Soup Exps4261 Gb143373c01 16 3b Rms 2

Cabbage and Beef Soup

When I was a little girl, I helped my parents work the fields of their small farm. Lunchtime was always a treat when Mother picked fresh vegetables from the garden and simmered them in her big soup pot. We loved making this delicious recipe. —Ethel Ledbetter, Canton, North Carolina

Go to Recipe

Cheeseburger Soup Exps Sbz23 2832 Dr 10 06 1b V2

Cheeseburger Soup

A local restaurant serves a similar cheeseburger soup but wouldn’t share its recipe with me. I developed my own, modifying a recipe I already had for potato soup. I was really pleased with the way this all-American dish turned out. —Joanie Shawhan, Madison, Wisconsin

Go to Recipe

Asparagus Soup

Asparagus Soup

Each spring my husband takes our dogs and searches for wild asparagus. He’s been so successful that I finally developed this asparagus soup recipe. We look forward to this special soup every year.—Betty Jones, Kohler, Wisconsin

Go to Recipe

Ciopanno mixed seafood soup course with a spoon

Seafood Cioppino

If you’re looking for a great seafood recipe for your slow cooker, this classic cioppino recipe is just the ticket. It’s brimming with clams, crab, fish and shrimp, and is fancy enough to be an elegant meal. —Lisa Moriarty, Wilton, New Hampshire

Go to Recipe

Cheesy Broccoli Soup In A Bread Bowl Exps Tohcom22 191564 P2 Md 05 11 5b

Cheesy Broccoli Soup in a Bread Bowl

This creamy, cheesy broccoli soup tastes just like the one served at Panera Bread! My family requests it all the time. You can even make your own homemade bread bowls with the recipe on my blog, Yammie’s Noshery. —Rachel Preus, Marshall, Michigan

Go to Recipe

Lentil Chicken Sausage Stew Exps Sscbz18 133317 B09 13 2b 3

Lentil & Chicken Sausage Stew

This hearty and healthy stew will warm your family right down to their toes! Serve with cornbread or rolls to soak up every last drop. —Jan Valdez, Chicago, Illinois

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Cream Of Cauliflower Soup Exps Ssmz20 14667 B10 09 2b 22

Cream of Cauliflower Soup

This mildly cheesy cauliflower soup is a favorite of mine. I make it often in summer, although it’s good anytime. —Karen Brown, West Lafayette, Ohio

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Veggie Meatball Soup

Veggie Meatball Soup

It’s a snap to put together this hearty soup before I leave for work. I just add cooked pasta when I get home, and I have a few minutes to relax before supper is ready. —Charla Tinney, Tyrone, Oklahoma

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Sweet Potato And Crab Soup Exps Sdas17 202268 B04 11 6b 3

Sweet Potato and Crab Soup

This sweet and savory soup is quick and easy to prepare. You can substitute butternut squash or pumpkin for the sweet potatoes, depending on what you have on hand. —Judy Armstrong, Prairieville, Louisiana

Go to Recipe

Shrimp Gazpacho Exps Sdjj17 29782 B02 22 7b 14

Shrimp Gazpacho

Here’s a refreshing take on the classic chilled tomato soup. Our twist features shrimp, lime and plenty of avocado. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Quick Mushroom Barley Soup

Quick Mushroom Barley Soup

I surprised my mother with a visit some years ago, and she was preparing this soup when I walked in. It was so wonderful that I asked for the recipe, and I’ve been fixing it ever since. —Edie Irwin, Cornwall, New York

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Red Lentil Soup Mix

Red Lentil Soup Mix

Give your friends the gift of good health. Red lentils are a protein powerhouse, and loaded with folate, iron and fiber. Oh, and this soup tastes amazing, too. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Tuscan Cauliflower Soup

A classic Tuscan soup has lots of potatoes, but I make mine the low-carb way with cauliflower. Turns out, it has a heartier flavor. —Heather Bewley, Bemidji, Minnesota

Go to Recipe

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Soup Exps Sdon17 204681 C06 29 2b 13

Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato Soup

I love that I can top this creamy soup with anything my heart desires, which means I can eat it several days in a row without ever having to have it the same way twice. You can substitute fresh onions and celery in this recipe if you prefer, but using the dried version makes it easy to throw together on a weekday morning. —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia

Go to Recipe

Block Island Littlenecks With Chorizo Exps Rc21 263882 B07 27 11b

Clam Stew

This clam stew highlights the fresh, sweet and salty clam flavor, with the chorizo adding a little kick. Fresh Swiss chard greens from our garden, corn and cannellini beans round out the flavor profile. The best part, though, is dipping crusty bread into the delicious broth! —Pamela Gelsomini, Wrentham, Massachusetts

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Chicken Bean Soup Exps22521 Lsc143267d10 01 1bc Rms 5

Chicken Bean Soup

This easy soup is tasty and nutritious, too. I like to top individual bowls with a few sprigs of fresh parsley. Home-baked rolls- I use frozen bread dough- are an added treat. —Phyllis Shaughnessy, Livonia, New York

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Tomato-Orange Soup

Tomato-Orange Soup

Who knew orange and tomato were such a good pair? Whenever I serve this, I keep the recipe handy for requests. —Barbara Wood, St. John’s, Newfoundland

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Carolina Shrimp Soup

Fresh shrimp from the Carolina coast is one of our favorite foods. We add kale, garlic, red peppers and black-eyed peas to complete this wholesome, filling soup. —Mary Marlowe Leverette, Columbia, South Carolina

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Creamy Fresh Asparagus Soup

Tangy lemon and sweet tarragon give this creamy asparagus soup a springtime flavor you’ll savor and share. —Stacy Mullens, Gresham, Oregon

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Pico de Gallo Black Bean Soup

Everyone at my table goes for this feel-good soup. It is quick when you’re pressed for time and beats fast food, hands down. —Darlis Wilfer, West Bend, Wisconsin

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Ground Turkey Vegetable Soup

Low-sodium ingredients don’t diminish the full flavor of this brothy ground turkey vegetable soup. The turkey lends a heartiness that everyone will welcome on a cold blustery evening. —Bonnie LeBarron, Forestville, New York

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Easy Pork Posole Exps Mcbz16 119489 D07 13 1b 2

Easy Pork Posole

Looking for a meal in a bowl? Sit down to a Mexican classic full of cubed pork, sliced sausage, hominy and more. It all goes into the slow cooker, so you can come home at night to a table-ready dinner. —Greg Fontenot, The Woodlands, Texas

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Roasted Cauliflower & Red Pepper Soup

When cooler weather comes, soup is one of our favorite meals. I developed this recipe for my husband and me. I wanted it to be a healthier version of all the cream-based soups out there. After a bit of trial and error, this is the keeper. —Elizabeth Bramkamp, Gig Harbor, Washington

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

Put a little spice in your menu with my favorite Anaheim pepper recipe. The peppers, jalapenos and cayenne heat up this full-flavored tortilla soup. —Johnna Johnson, Scottsdale, Arizona

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Sausage & Greens Soup

I always have an abundance of fresh vegetables on hand, so I wanted to create a delicious soup to enjoy during the colder months. I think I found a winner! —Angie Pitts, Charleston, South Carolina.

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Fennel Carrot Soup

Fennel Carrot Soup

This soup is perfect as a first course for a special-occasion dinner. It gets its delicious flavor from toasted fennel seeds—a pleasant complement to the carrots, apple and sweet potato. —Marlene Bursey, Waverly, Nova Scotia

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Hearty Beef Barley Soup

Hearty Beef Barley Soup

My entire family just loves this delicious and comforting soup. Loaded with chunks of tender beef, the rich broth also includes plenty of fresh mushrooms, sliced carrots and quick-cooking barley. —Barbara Beattie, Glen Allen, Virginia

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Loaded Baked Potato Soup

The only thing that beats the comforting flavor of this thick and hearty loaded baked potato soup is possibly the idea that it simmers on its own all day in a slow cooker. —Barbara Bleigh, Colonial Heights, Virginia

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Beef Black Bean Soup Exps Sscbz18 14994 B10 18 1b 8

Beef & Black Bean Soup

I lead a busy life, so I’m always trying to come up with timesaving recipes. This zippy and colorful soup is one of my husband’s favorites. It has been a hit at family gatherings, too. —Vickie Gibson, Gardendale, Alabama

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Cabbage and Beef Soup

When I was a little girl, I helped my parents work the fields of their small farm. Lunchtime was always a treat when Mother picked fresh vegetables from the garden and simmered them in her big soup pot. We loved making this delicious recipe. —Ethel Ledbetter, Canton, North Carolina

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Chicken Potpie Soup

My grandmother hand-wrote a cookbook. She included this amazing pie crust, and I added this delicious chicken potpie soup for it. —Karen LeMay, Seabrook, Texas

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Split Pea Soup with Bacon & Crab

Split Pea Soup with Bacon & Crab

Many split pea soups use ham and bacon for good, smoky flavor. Taking it one amazing step farther-add crabmeat. Freeze this one without toppings (freeze the cooked bacon separately), then reheat soup in a saucepan. Feel free to add more chicken stock or broth when reheating if you need it. Sprinkle bacon and fresh crab on top of bowls of hot soup. —Stephen Exel, Des Moines, Illinois

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Slow Cooker Lasagna Soup Exps120053 Edsc163648d01 07 2bc Rms 3

Slow-Cooker Lasagna Soup

Every fall and winter, our staff has a soup rotation. I have modified this recipe so I can prep it the night before and put it in the slow cooker in the morning. My colleagues love it! —Sharon Gerst, North Liberty, Iowa

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Potato Clam Chowder

Potato Clam Chowder

I ran across this recipe in one of my antique cookbooks. It’s a timeless classic I like to prepare for friends and family throughout the year, but especially during the holidays. —Betty Ann Morgan, Upper Marlboro, Maryland

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Up Next: The Best Soup Recipes of 2021

The Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup

The Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup

My first Wisconsin winter was so cold, all I wanted to eat was homemade chicken noodle soup. Of all the chicken noodle soup recipes out there, this one is my favorite, and is in heavy rotation from November to April. It has many incredibly devoted fans.—Gina Nistico, Denver, Colorado

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Grandma’s Chicken ‘n’ Dumpling Soup

I’ve enjoyed making this rich homemade chicken dumpling soup recipe for more than 40 years. Every time I serve this type of soup, I remember my southern grandma, who was very special to me and was known as an outstanding cook. —Paulette Balda, Prophetstown, Illinois

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Broccoli Chowder

Broccoli Chowder

Sue Call of Beech Grove, Indiana serves this comforting soup on chilly stay-at-home evenings. Nutmeg seasons the light creamy broth that’s chock-full of tender broccoli florets and diced potatoes.

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Easy Beef Soup

This colorful, easy beef soup comes together in minutes. Even my husband, who admits he’s no cook, makes it on occasion.” —Agnes Bierbaum, Gainesville, Florida

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Cream Of Celery Soup Exps Ft21 28681 F 1105 1 11

Cream of Celery Soup Recipe

This rich cream of celery soup recipe will warm up any family gathering or quiet evening at home. With just the right amount of onion flavor, it’s creamy and crowd-pleasing. —Janet James, Bluff City, Tennessee

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French Onion Soup Exps Sbz19 294 C09 14 2b 2

French Onion Soup

My daughter and I enjoy spending time together cooking, but our days are busy so we appreciate quick and tasty recipes like this one. Hot and delicious, this soup hits the spot for lunch or dinner. —Sandra Chambers, Carthage, Mississippi

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Pasta Fagioli Soup

My husband enjoys my version of this dish so much that he doesn’t order it at restaurants anymore. With fresh spinach, pasta and seasoned sausage, this fast-to-fix soup is a meal on its own. —Brenda Thomas, Springfield, Missouri

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Country Fish Chowder Exps Sbz19 3580 C09 14 7b 6

Country Fish Chowder

You’ll think you’re on Cape Cod when you taste this thick, wholesome chowder made from a recipe I’ve treasured for many years. It’s one of my husband’s favorites. He likes it more and more because over the years I’ve “customized” the basic recipe by including ingredients he enjoys. —Linda Lazaroff, Hebron, Connecticut

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Fennel Carrot Soup

Fennel Carrot Soup

This soup is perfect as a first course for a special-occasion dinner. It gets its delicious flavor from toasted fennel seeds—a pleasant complement to the carrots, apple and sweet potato. —Marlene Bursey, Waverly, Nova Scotia

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Creamy Chicken Rice Soup

Creamy Chicken Rice Soup

I came up with this creamy chicken rice soup recipe while making some adjustments to a favorite stovetop chicken casserole. We like this soup for lunch with a crisp roll and fresh fruit. —Janice Mitchell, Aurora, Colorado

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Weeknight Turkey Tortilla Soup Exps Sdon18 55924 C06 19 1b 2

Weeknight Turkey Tortilla Soup

This is now my family’s most requested soup—so much so that they will make sure I have leftover turkey. You can spice up this soup and make it more hearty by adding smoked sausage or andouille and some Cajun seasoning to taste. —Gail Lucas, Olive Branch, Mississippi

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Potato Soup

I decided to add some character to a basic potato chowder with a jar of roasted red peppers. The extra flavor gives a deliciously different twist to an otherwise ordinary soup. —Mary Shivers, Ada, Oklahoma

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The Best Chicken & Dumplings

 Homemade chicken and dumplings from scratch harken back to my childhood and chilly days when we devoured those cute little balls of dough swimming in hot, rich broth. It’s one of those types of soup you’ll want to eat again and again. —Erika Monroe-Williams, Scottsdale, Arizona

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English Pub Split Pea Soup Exps Edsc18 184673 B03 20 1b 5

English Pub Split Pea Soup

This family favorite is the same recipe my grandmother used. Now with the magic of the slow cooker, I can spend 15 minutes putting it together, walk away for five hours, and come back to “soup’s on.” Finish it with more milk if you like your soup a bit thinner. —Judy Batson, Tampa, Florida

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Beet Borscht

Beet Borscht

My mother used to make this hearty soup from her garden’s bountiful crop of beets and other vegetables. —Ruth Andrewson, Leavenworth, Washington

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Cheesy Cream of Asparagus Soup

Cheesy Cream of Asparagus Soup

Kids may not want to try a vegetable soup, but once they spoon up a mouthful of this cheesy variety, the flavor will keep them coming back for more. —Muriel Lerdal, Humboldt, Iowa

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Land of Enchantment Posole

My family named this spicy soup after our state moniker, “New Mexico, Land of Enchantment.” We usually make it around Christmas when we have lots of family over…and we never have leftovers. —Suzanne Caldwell Artesia, New Mexico

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Egg Drop Soup

We often start our stir-fry meals with this fast egg drop soup recipe— it cooks in just minutes flat. There are many versions of the recipe, but we like the easy addition of cornstarch to thicken the soup and give it a rich, golden color. I got the recipe from my grandma’s old cookbook. —Amy Beth Corlew-Sherlock, Lapeer, Michigan

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Classic French Onion Soup Exps Thfm18 160479 D10 17 2b 26

Classic French Onion Soup

Enjoy my signature French onion soup the way my granddaughter Becky does: I make onion soup for her in a crock bowl, complete with garlic croutons and gobs of melted Swiss cheese on top. —Lou Sansevero, Ferron, Utah

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Beef Lentil Soup Exps2553 Gb143373b01 16 1bc Rms 6

Beef Lentil Soup

You can prepare this soup as the main course in a hearty lunch or dinner. On cold winter evenings here in New England, I’ve often enjoyed sipping a steaming mugful in front of our fireplacel. —Guy Turnbull, Arlington, Massachusetts

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Quick Cream Of Mushroom Soup Exps Sdam17 11767 B12 02 8b 7

Quick Cream of Mushroom Soup

My daughter-in-law, a gourmet cook, served this cream of mushroom soup recipe as the first course for a holiday dinner. She received the recipe from her mom and graciously shared it with me. Now I’m happy to share it with my own friends and family. —Anne Kulick, Phillipsburg, New Jersey

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Over-the-Rainbow Minestrone

This colorful soup is vegetarian-friendly and full of fresh flavors from a rainbow of vegetables. You can use any multicolored pasta in place of the spirals. —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, Colorado

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Cheddar Potato Chowder

Cheddar Potato Chowder

I only made this soup occasionally because the original recipe was quite high in fat. I doctored it up a bit, using healthier ingredients, and now we eat this rich flavorful chowder more often.—Ellie Rausch of Goodsoil, Saskatchewan

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Spicy Thai Coconut Chicken Soup Exps Sdfm18 205272 C10 05 7b 7

Spicy Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

For national soup month in January, I came up with a new recipe every day. This one is my favorite! It’s so easy, with just a touch of special Thai flavors. For an even richer flavor, try using whole coconut milk. —Diane Nemitz, Ludington, Michigan

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Cheese Soup with a Twist

Cheese Soup with a Twist

One of my favorite childhood memories is of my Aunt Claire serving up hearty bowlfuls of her famous cheesy soup. She would pair this cheese soup with a slice of warm buttered bread for a downhome lunch. —Rob Feezor, Alexandria, Virginia

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Crab Corn Chowder

Crab Corn Chowder

No time to make a homemade soup? Think again! You’ll be ladling out steamy bowls of satisfying chowder in no time. Canned corn and crab blend beautifully in this creamy, colorful soup. —Sarah McClanahan, Raleigh, North Carolina

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Split Pea Soup with Ham & Jalapeno

To me, this spicy pea soup is total comfort food. I cook it low and slow all day, and it fills the house with a yummy aroma. It’s so good with a nice, crispy baguette. —Chelsea Tichenor, Huntington Beach, California

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Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

My dear friend Shirley shared this recipe with me several years ago. Every time I think of her, I make the soup. I sometimes add a cup of cheddar cheese at the end and melt it in for an extra measure of comfort. —Carol Brault, Woodville, Wisconsin

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Hearty Vegetable Soup Exps Hc17 15651 D01 20 6b 32

Hearty Vegetable Soup

A friend gave me the idea to use V8 juice in vegetable soup because it provides more flavor. My best vegetable soup recipe is perfect to prepare on a crisp autumn afternoon. —Janice Steinmetz, Somers, Connecticut

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Homemade Chicken Stock

Homemade Chicken Stock

Peppercorns and a handful of herbs add the perfect seasoning to this low-sodium stock developed here atTaste of Home.

Browning the chicken and sauteeing the veggies gives it more flavor. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Fresh Corn & Potato Chowder

Fresh Corn & Potato Chowder

This corn chowder recipe was one of my favorites as a child in upstate New York, and I still love it today. For extra depth, place the spent cob in the soup, simmer, then remove. —Tracy Bivins, Knob Noster, Missouri

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Easy Hamburger Soup

Lunches on the run will be a little tastier with this hot and hearty beef and barley soup. The recipe is very simple to prepare. —Mary Prior, Rush City, Minnesota

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Chicken Barley Soup

No question—this is my favorite barley soup! It’s so filling that I serve it as a hearty main dish, and I have given the recipe to many of our friends and relatives. It simply tastes too good to keep to yourself! —Diana Costello, Marion, Kansas

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Italian Sausage and Zucchini Soup

Everyone in my family likes this soup recipe. Sometimes I add mini farfalle because my grandchildren say the noodles look like tiny butterflies. This recipe also works in a slow cooker. —Nancy Murphy, Mount Dora, Florida

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Best Ever Potato Soup

You’ll be surprised at the taste of this rich and cheesy easy potato soup. It really is the best potato soup recipe, ever. I came up with it after enjoying baked potato soup at one of our favorite restaurants. I added bacon, and we think that makes it even better. —Coleen Morrissey, Sweet Valley, Pennsylvania

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Stuffed Pepper Soup

Stuffed Pepper Soup

I was talking about stuffed peppers with the other cooks at the restaurant where I work. We decided to mix similar ingredients for a soup. Customer response was overwhelming! —Krista Muddiman, Meadville, Pennsylvania

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Yogurt

Pros: Active cultures in yogurt have been linked to improved digestive health and a reduced risk of heart disease, so, yay! There are yogurt starters you can buy that contain the live cultures you need. The flavor combinations you can think up in your homemade yogurt lab are nearly endless. Want to do a raspberry vanilla coconut banana? No one is stopping you. You control exactly what goes in it, and this includes the sugar—many store-bought brands are loaded with extra sugar or sweeteners.

Cons: You may want to buy a yogurt maker to help you in the process, but you can also use your Instant Pot. It’ll also take anywhere from six to 10 hours to make, and there can be a bit of trial and error before you find your groove.

Pancakes

Pros: First off, pancakes are pretty much the easiest type of cake you can make from scratch. Here is a simple recipe for pancakes that you can add any number of things to: blueberries, chocolate chips, peanut butter, cinnamon, apples—even bacon. Bonus, you get to skip the sodium caseinate, tocopherols and diglycerides that come in the box mix.

Cons: It’ll take you 6 minutes to make pancakes from scratch and 4 to make them from a mix.* (*OK, this is just a guess, but it can’t be too far off.)

Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Cinnamon Honey Syrup

Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Cinnamon Honey Syrup

This is a great breakfast for special days, but it mixes up so fast that it’s perfect for busy mornings as well. —LeeAnn Hansen, Kaysville, Utah

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Fluffy Pancakes

I found this fluffy pancake recipe among our old family favorites and adapted it to make a small amount. It’s quick and easy to prepare, but we still consider it a special treat. —Eugene Presley, Council, Virginia

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Apple Pancakes With Cider Syrup Exps Mcmz16 38378 C05 20 8b 5

Apple Pancakes with Cider Syrup

Tender pancakes are filled with minced apple and raisin, and drizzled with apple cider syrup. They’re wonderful in the summer or on a cool fall morning. —April Harmon, Greeneville, Tennessee

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Whole Wheat Pancakes

To fix a large batch of tender pancakes for my five children, I rely on this quick and wholesome recipe. It calls for whole wheat flour and buttermilk, which make the pancakes filling but also light. Serve them with hot chocolate for a breakfast that’s sure to delight little ones. —Line Walter, Wayne, Pennsylvania

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Cornmeal Pancakes

Cornmeal Pancakes

I like to joke that these pancakes are so light, you have to hold them down! When we have a chance, we make them with freshly ground cornmeal bought at local festivals. —Betty Claycomb, Alverton, Pennsylvania

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Banana Oat Pancakes Exps Bmz17 28454 C09 29 1b 8

Banana Oat Pancakes

I concocted these fluffy banana oatmeal pancakes using a muffin recipe. We love them topped with strawberry jam for breakfast, supper or even just snacking. They’re delicious drizzled with maple syrup, too. —Janie Obermier, St. Joseph, Missouri

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Apple Dutch Baby

This dish has been a longtime family favorite for Christmas morning. It is light, airy, and filled with eggs and juicy apple. I like to serve it alongside bacon or sausage. —Teeny McCloy, Red Deer, Alberta

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Better-For-You Buttermilk Pancakes

The name is just one reason you should try these for dinner; sweet, fluffy goodness is the other. —Janet Schubert, Rib Lake, Wisconsin

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Puffy Oven Pancakes

Puffy and pretty, with a refreshing hint of lemon, this berry-topped pancake is a cherished favorite of Lily Julow in Lawrenceville, Georgia. What a melt-in-your-mouth morning wake-up or addition to a special brunch!

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Gluten-Free Breakfast Blintzes

Gluten-Free Breakfast Blintzes

These cheese-filled, berry-topped blintzes taste just as mouthwatering and special as they look. —Laura Fall-Sutton, Buhl, Idaho

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Fluffy Pumpkin Pancakes

These pumpkin pancakes are also delicious served with butter or whipped topping and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice. Freeze any extras in a single layer on a cookie sheet, then store in a freezer bag. They’re great fresh out of the toaster! —Mindy Bauknecht, Two Rivers, Wisconsin

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Buttermilk Pancakes

You just can’t beat the best buttermilk pancakes for a down-home hearty breakfast. Pair it with sausage and fresh fruit for a mouthwatering morning meal. —Betty Abrey, Imperial, Saskatchewan

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Brown Sugar Oatmeal Pancakes Exps Ghbz18 3290 B08 08 2b 3

Brown Sugar Oatmeal Pancakes

My family absolutely loves these oat pancakes. I make them every Saturday and Sunday. If I don’t, they don’t believe it’s the weekend! My son’s friends often spend the night, and I think it’s because they like these oatmeal pancakes so much. They are especially delicious served with molasses and syrup. —Sharon W. Bickett, Chester, South Carolina

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Blintz Pancakes

Blintz Pancakes

Blending sour cream and cottage cheese, ingredients traditionally associated with blintzes, into the batter of these pancakes gives them old-fashioned flavor. Top these family favorites with berry syrup to turn an ordinary morning into an extraordinary day.—Dianna Digoy, San Diego, California

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Peach Pancakes with Butter Sauce

I am 10 and I enjoy helping my grandma in the kitchen. I love pancakes and peaches, so we came up with this recipe. —Mikayla Blackstar, Ponca City, Oklahoma

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Berry Coulis with Dutch Pancakes

My husband makes his mom’s crepe-like Dutch pancakes with our kids on Saturdays. I came up with the berry sauce, and the dish is now our brunch standard. —Shannon Koene, Blacksburg, Virginia

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Did you know pancakes are made all over the world? Check out our fluffy Japanese pancakes.

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Sweet Potato Pancakes with Caramel Sauce

Sometimes sweet potatoes end up as leftovers. It happens, but by happy chance, they go well in pancake batter and love to dance on a hot griddle. Topped with caramel sauce, butter and toasted cashews, they look nothing like yesterday’s forgotten dish. Don’t have leftovers? Use canned sweet potatoes. —Sheryl Little, Sherwood, Arkansas

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For a new twist on pancakes, try out this pancake spaghetti.

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Dad’s Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

My dad makes blueberry pancakes for us every Saturday without fail. The combination of oats, cornmeal and buttermilk in the batter gives the pancakes heartiness we can’t resist. —Gabrielle Short, Pleasant Hill, Iowa

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Chocolate Chunk Pancakes with Raspberry Sauce

Chocolate Chunk Pancakes with Raspberry Sauce

Chocolate and raspberries are two of my ideal ingredients, so I pack both into pancakes. I make them in honor of my sister, who adores chocolate. —Katherine Nelson, Centerville, Utah

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Aunt Edith’s Baked Pancake

My aunt made a mighty breakfast that revolved around ‘The Big Pancake’. I always enjoyed watching as she poured the batter into her huge iron skillet, then created the perfect confection: a Dutch baby pancake. —Marion Kirst, Troy, Michigan

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Berry Coulis with Dutch Pancakes

My husband makes his mom’s crepe-like Dutch pancakes with our kids on Saturdays. I came up with the berry sauce, and the dish is now our brunch standard. —Shannon Koene, Blacksburg, Virginia

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Morning Glory Pancakes

Morning Glory Pancakes

These pancakes were inspired by the popular Morning Glory muffins. They are fluffy and delectable without all the oil, but they have the same carrot, fruit and nut flavors.— Kurt Wait, Redwood City, California

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Danish Pancakes

I came to North America from Denmark decades ago, and my mother used to make these pancakes for me and my siblings while growing up. Today, my children and grandchildren love these, so I often have to double the recipe.—Lise Thomson, Magrath, Alberta

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Chocolate Chip Elvis Pancakes Exps Ft19 166320 F 0829 1 3

Chocolate Chip Elvis Pancakes

I’m one of 13 children, so making a recipe that everyone likes can be a challenge. This chocolate peanut butter pancakes recipe was a Saturday-morning special that we all loved. —Keenan McDermott, Springfield, Missouri

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Buttermilk Buckwheat Pancakes Exps Bbbz16 25056 05b 26 2b 6

Buttermilk Buckwheat Pancakes

This buckwheat pancake recipe uses buckwheat flour instead of the wheat-based variety. The light and tender buckwheat pancakes offer a nutty flavor and hearty texture. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Mini-Chip Cocoa Pancakes

For the chocoholic in you, get your fix early by whipping up a batch of hot cocoa pancakes dotted with mini chocolate chips! — Joyce Moynihan, Lakeville, Minnesota

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Almond Berry Pancakes

Whole wheat flour and two kinds of berries add an extra helping of nutrition to these hearty pancakes. It’s a breakfast I feel good about eating. —Sarah Haengel, Bowie, Maryland

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Pigs in a Pool

Pigs in a Pool

My kids love sausages and pancakes but making them during the week was out of the question. I bought the frozen variety on a stick but wasn’t keen on the calories, additives or price. This version of pigs-in-a-blanket is a tasty, thrifty alternative. —Lisa Dodd, Greenville, South Carolina

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Orange Ricotta Pancakes

Orange Ricotta Pancakes

These popular pancakes are likely to spark a craving. For a different twist, switch the citrus ingredient to lime or lemon juice.—Brehan Kohl, Anchorage, Alaska

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Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnamon-Apple Topping

When these pumpkin pancakes are on the griddle, people flock to the kitchen. Grab a spoon and top each stack with buttery, cinnamon-spiced apples. —Kami Button, Cheektowaga, New York

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Dutch Baby Pancake With Strawberry Almond Compote Exps141004 Th2847293c12 18 2bc Rms 2

Dutch Baby Pancake with Strawberry-Almond Compote

Pannekoeken, or Dutch baked pancakes, are a treat in my husband’s family. You can also try this recipe with vanilla extract, blueberries and lemon peel. —Jennifer Beckman, Falls Church, Virginia

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Berry Granola Pancakes

My son and I like to make this breakfast favorite together. You can leave the berries out of the mix and sprinkle them on top, or sub in chocolate chips or nuts instead. —Elizabeth Stewart, Crab Orchard, West Virginia

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Banana Oatmeal Pancakes Exps160876 Thhc2377564d07 10 3bc Rms 2

Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

These pancakes have less sodium per serving than other pancakes made from mixes. Decrease sodium even further by stretching the mix with banana, oats and walnuts. In our house we just sprinkle these with a little confectioners’ sugar, because the fruit is so sweet you don’t need syrup. — Patricia Swart, Galloway , New Jersey

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Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Cinnamon Honey Syrup

Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Cinnamon Honey Syrup

This is a great breakfast for special days, but it mixes up so fast that it’s perfect for busy mornings as well. —LeeAnn Hansen, Kaysville, Utah

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Fluffy Pancakes Exps Tohcom21 7539 G11 19 9b 15

Fluffy Pancakes

I found this fluffy pancake recipe among our old family favorites and adapted it to make a small amount. It’s quick and easy to prepare, but we still consider it a special treat. —Eugene Presley, Council, Virginia

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Apple Pancakes With Cider Syrup Exps Mcmz16 38378 C05 20 8b 5

Apple Pancakes with Cider Syrup

Tender pancakes are filled with minced apple and raisin, and drizzled with apple cider syrup. They’re wonderful in the summer or on a cool fall morning. —April Harmon, Greeneville, Tennessee

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Whole Wheat Pancakes Exps Lsbz18 23297 B01 19 5b 1

Whole Wheat Pancakes

To fix a large batch of tender pancakes for my five children, I rely on this quick and wholesome recipe. It calls for whole wheat flour and buttermilk, which make the pancakes filling but also light. Serve them with hot chocolate for a breakfast that’s sure to delight little ones. —Line Walter, Wayne, Pennsylvania

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Cornmeal Pancakes

Cornmeal Pancakes

I like to joke that these pancakes are so light, you have to hold them down! When we have a chance, we make them with freshly ground cornmeal bought at local festivals. —Betty Claycomb, Alverton, Pennsylvania

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Banana Oat Pancakes Exps Bmz17 28454 C09 29 1b 8

Banana Oat Pancakes

I concocted these fluffy banana oatmeal pancakes using a muffin recipe. We love them topped with strawberry jam for breakfast, supper or even just snacking. They’re delicious drizzled with maple syrup, too. —Janie Obermier, St. Joseph, Missouri

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Apple Dutch Baby

This dish has been a longtime family favorite for Christmas morning. It is light, airy, and filled with eggs and juicy apple. I like to serve it alongside bacon or sausage. —Teeny McCloy, Red Deer, Alberta

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Better For You Buttermilk Pancakes Exps80167 Thhc2377560c03 06 1bc Rms 3

Better-For-You Buttermilk Pancakes

The name is just one reason you should try these for dinner; sweet, fluffy goodness is the other. —Janet Schubert, Rib Lake, Wisconsin

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Puffy Oven Pancakes

Puffy and pretty, with a refreshing hint of lemon, this berry-topped pancake is a cherished favorite of Lily Julow in Lawrenceville, Georgia. What a melt-in-your-mouth morning wake-up or addition to a special brunch!

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Gluten-Free Breakfast Blintzes

Gluten-Free Breakfast Blintzes

These cheese-filled, berry-topped blintzes taste just as mouthwatering and special as they look. —Laura Fall-Sutton, Buhl, Idaho

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Fluffy Pumpkin Pancakes

These pumpkin pancakes are also delicious served with butter or whipped topping and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice. Freeze any extras in a single layer on a cookie sheet, then store in a freezer bag. They’re great fresh out of the toaster! —Mindy Bauknecht, Two Rivers, Wisconsin

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Buttermilk Pancakes Exps Toham22 33639 B11 12 2b 9

Buttermilk Pancakes

You just can’t beat the best buttermilk pancakes for a down-home hearty breakfast. Pair it with sausage and fresh fruit for a mouthwatering morning meal. —Betty Abrey, Imperial, Saskatchewan

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Brown Sugar Oatmeal Pancakes Exps Ghbz18 3290 B08 08 2b 3

Brown Sugar Oatmeal Pancakes

My family absolutely loves these oat pancakes. I make them every Saturday and Sunday. If I don’t, they don’t believe it’s the weekend! My son’s friends often spend the night, and I think it’s because they like these oatmeal pancakes so much. They are especially delicious served with molasses and syrup. —Sharon W. Bickett, Chester, South Carolina

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Blintz Pancakes

Blintz Pancakes

Blending sour cream and cottage cheese, ingredients traditionally associated with blintzes, into the batter of these pancakes gives them old-fashioned flavor. Top these family favorites with berry syrup to turn an ordinary morning into an extraordinary day.—Dianna Digoy, San Diego, California

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Peach Pancakes With Butter Sauce Exps48140 Cx1785612c02 01 1bc Rms 7

Peach Pancakes with Butter Sauce

I am 10 and I enjoy helping my grandma in the kitchen. I love pancakes and peaches, so we came up with this recipe. —Mikayla Blackstar, Ponca City, Oklahoma

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Berry Coulis with Dutch Pancakes

My husband makes his mom’s crepe-like Dutch pancakes with our kids on Saturdays. I came up with the berry sauce, and the dish is now our brunch standard. —Shannon Koene, Blacksburg, Virginia

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Did you know pancakes are made all over the world? Check out our fluffy Japanese pancakes.

Sweet Potato Pancakes With Caramel Sauce Exps126525 Toh2237243d10 05 5bc Rms 2

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Caramel Sauce

Sometimes sweet potatoes end up as leftovers. It happens, but by happy chance, they go well in pancake batter and love to dance on a hot griddle. Topped with caramel sauce, butter and toasted cashews, they look nothing like yesterday’s forgotten dish. Don’t have leftovers? Use canned sweet potatoes. —Sheryl Little, Sherwood, Arkansas

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For a new twist on pancakes, try out this pancake spaghetti.

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Dad’s Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

My dad makes blueberry pancakes for us every Saturday without fail. The combination of oats, cornmeal and buttermilk in the batter gives the pancakes heartiness we can’t resist. —Gabrielle Short, Pleasant Hill, Iowa

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Chocolate Chunk Pancakes with Raspberry Sauce

Chocolate Chunk Pancakes with Raspberry Sauce

Chocolate and raspberries are two of my ideal ingredients, so I pack both into pancakes. I make them in honor of my sister, who adores chocolate. —Katherine Nelson, Centerville, Utah

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Aunt Edith S Baked Pancake Exps Ugfbmz 4269 C04 27 1b 12

Aunt Edith’s Baked Pancake

My aunt made a mighty breakfast that revolved around ‘The Big Pancake’. I always enjoyed watching as she poured the batter into her huge iron skillet, then created the perfect confection: a Dutch baby pancake. —Marion Kirst, Troy, Michigan

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Berry Coulis with Dutch Pancakes

My husband makes his mom’s crepe-like Dutch pancakes with our kids on Saturdays. I came up with the berry sauce, and the dish is now our brunch standard. —Shannon Koene, Blacksburg, Virginia

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Morning Glory Pancakes

Morning Glory Pancakes

These pancakes were inspired by the popular Morning Glory muffins. They are fluffy and delectable without all the oil, but they have the same carrot, fruit and nut flavors.— Kurt Wait, Redwood City, California

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Danish Pancakes

I came to North America from Denmark decades ago, and my mother used to make these pancakes for me and my siblings while growing up. Today, my children and grandchildren love these, so I often have to double the recipe.—Lise Thomson, Magrath, Alberta

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Chocolate Chip Elvis Pancakes Exps Ft19 166320 F 0829 1 3

Chocolate Chip Elvis Pancakes

I’m one of 13 children, so making a recipe that everyone likes can be a challenge. This chocolate peanut butter pancakes recipe was a Saturday-morning special that we all loved. —Keenan McDermott, Springfield, Missouri

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Buttermilk Buckwheat Pancakes Exps Bbbz16 25056 05b 26 2b 6

Buttermilk Buckwheat Pancakes

This buckwheat pancake recipe uses buckwheat flour instead of the wheat-based variety. The light and tender buckwheat pancakes offer a nutty flavor and hearty texture. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Mini Chip Cocoa Pancakes Exps160494 Th2847293c12 19 8bc Rms 2

Mini-Chip Cocoa Pancakes

For the chocoholic in you, get your fix early by whipping up a batch of hot cocoa pancakes dotted with mini chocolate chips! — Joyce Moynihan, Lakeville, Minnesota

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Almond Berry Pancakes Exps Qebz20 94480 B01 22 4b 2

Almond Berry Pancakes

Whole wheat flour and two kinds of berries add an extra helping of nutrition to these hearty pancakes. It’s a breakfast I feel good about eating. —Sarah Haengel, Bowie, Maryland

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Pigs in a Pool

Pigs in a Pool

My kids love sausages and pancakes but making them during the week was out of the question. I bought the frozen variety on a stick but wasn’t keen on the calories, additives or price. This version of pigs-in-a-blanket is a tasty, thrifty alternative. —Lisa Dodd, Greenville, South Carolina

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Orange Ricotta Pancakes

Orange Ricotta Pancakes

These popular pancakes are likely to spark a craving. For a different twist, switch the citrus ingredient to lime or lemon juice.—Brehan Kohl, Anchorage, Alaska

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Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnamon-Apple Topping

When these pumpkin pancakes are on the griddle, people flock to the kitchen. Grab a spoon and top each stack with buttery, cinnamon-spiced apples. —Kami Button, Cheektowaga, New York

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Dutch Baby Pancake With Strawberry Almond Compote Exps141004 Th2847293c12 18 2bc Rms 2

Dutch Baby Pancake with Strawberry-Almond Compote

Pannekoeken, or Dutch baked pancakes, are a treat in my husband’s family. You can also try this recipe with vanilla extract, blueberries and lemon peel. —Jennifer Beckman, Falls Church, Virginia

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Berry Granola Pancakes Exps88837 Sd143205d01 24 1bc Rms 4

Berry Granola Pancakes

My son and I like to make this breakfast favorite together. You can leave the berries out of the mix and sprinkle them on top, or sub in chocolate chips or nuts instead. —Elizabeth Stewart, Crab Orchard, West Virginia

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Banana Oatmeal Pancakes Exps160876 Thhc2377564d07 10 3bc Rms 2

Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

These pancakes have less sodium per serving than other pancakes made from mixes. Decrease sodium even further by stretching the mix with banana, oats and walnuts. In our house we just sprinkle these with a little confectioners’ sugar, because the fruit is so sweet you don’t need syrup. — Patricia Swart, Galloway , New Jersey

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Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Cinnamon Honey Syrup

Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Cinnamon Honey Syrup

This is a great breakfast for special days, but it mixes up so fast that it’s perfect for busy mornings as well. —LeeAnn Hansen, Kaysville, Utah

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Breakfast Sausage

Pros: What goes better with pancakes than homemade breakfast sausage? And making it is no harder than combining some ground meat with lots of yummy spices—no sausage-making machine or casings required. Just form into patties and brown in a skillet. You can even make a double batch and freeze them for up to three months.

Cons: Your family will probably never want to go back to frozen sausage patties again.

Bagels

Pros: Homemade bagels are surprisingly easy to make, says cook Jennifer Reese, author of Make the Bread, Buy the Butter. Dropping them in boiling water before baking may seem intimidating, but “boiling is what gives bagels their unique, tight, shrink-wrapped crusts.” You can watch her tutorial on bagel-making, and then try out these homemade cinnamon bagels.

Cons: Again, just time. About 1 hour to make from scratch versus 5 seconds to open a package of premade ones. But, you get to skip the preservatives by making your own and take out some aggression when it comes time to punch the dough.

In an ideal world, we’d have time to make all our food from scratch, but that’s not always possible. Luckily, there are a lot more healthy, premade options now than there were 20 years ago. There are organic microwavable meals, low-mercury canned tunas, low-sodium boxed soups and natural peanut and almond butters with no added sugar.

You can use premade foods as a shortcut, but I’d recommend pairing them with a vegetable. That means when you pop a frozen pizza in the oven, have a side of broccoli as well!

Vegetable Couscous Salad

Vegetable Couscous Salad

This salad is great as a side with any kind of grilled meat or fish. If you want to serve it as a vegetarian main, add some crumbled goat cheese or tangy feta cheese. —Patricia Levenson, SANTA ANA, California

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Pressure Cooker Lemon Red Potatoes Exps Cfcsbz17 207938 B09 12 1b 5

Pressure-Cooker Lemon Red Potatoes

Amanda Kippert has been an award-winning freelance journalist for nearly two decades. She is based in Tucson, Arizona and specializes in food, health, fitness, parenting and humor, as well as social issues. She is the content editor of the domestic violence nonprofit DomesticShelters.org.

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