Hearty Winter Soups and Stews

a bowl of lentil soup

Every year we eagerly anticipate soup season. Not only are savory root vegetables are in abundance, nothing sounds better on a cold day than a hot bowl of soup, stew or chili. Soup lovers can use their home freeze dryer to prep soup ingredients ahead of time, or to keep freeze dried soups and stews at the ready for easy meals. Freeze dried soups are also well-received by friends and family sidelined by winter ailments.

Vegetable Soups

We love vegetable soups because they’re easy to make, root vegetables are inexpensive, plentiful, and the variations are endless. However we also love vegetable soups because they’re low in calories and high in nutrition. Having vegetable soups as a staple meal in winter helps balance out the holiday season’s more indulgent treats. All vegetable soups share a broth base – whether it’s poultry, beef, or savory vegetable stock. Add flavor by including herbs such as bay leaf, oregano, and thyme. To punch up the protein, include red, white, or garbanzo beans to the mix. Then add vegetables liberally, including diced carrots, celery and green beans.

For root vegetable soups, roast vegetables in the oven with plenty of salt, pepper and olive oil. When tender, puree in a blender or food processor with enough liquid stock to make a thick soup. To add sweetness, roast apples alongside the vegetables. To add depth, roast a diced onion for every two cups of roasted vegetables.

Use your freeze dryer to make vegetable soups easy by freeze drying diced vegetables ahead of time and saving in recipe-size portions. Just add freeze dried vegetables to hot stock with herbs and you’ve got a delicious instant meal.


Traditionally chowders are cream-based soups with seafood, corn and potatoes added. Lighten up your chowders by substituting fresh cashew milk for cream. Celery salt, paprika and dried parsley add flavor depth to vegetarian and vegan chowders. For fast chowder, freeze dry cubed potatoes, corn off the cob, and cooked seafood. Add freeze dried ingredients to hot cream or cashew milk broth for a quick and hearty lunch or dinner.

Chicken Soup

Chicken soup is a nostalgic winter staple in most households, and everybody knows homemade chicken soup is a cure for everything from the common cold to winter blues. From cooked cubed chicken, chicken stock, and diced vegetables, you can freeze dry all of the ingredients for chicken soup ahead of time. If you traditionally add rice, pasta, or dumplings, just add them to your simmering broth.


There are as many ways to make chili as there are people who love to eat it. Freeze dry your secret ingredients ahead of time to speed up preparation, or freeze dry an extra batch of chili after it’s made and the flavors have blended. To make chili from freeze-dried ingredients, just add them to a simmering tomato juice base. To re-hydrate chili, add hot water until it reaches your desired consistency.

Hearty Stews

Winter stews are a great way to use leftover bits of steak and chicken. Freeze dry cooked and seasoned stew meats and store in an airtight container until you’re ready to make soup. You can also freeze dry diced or cubed vegetables to cut down on prep time. Add ingredients and herbs to a hot broth or tomato base and simmer to let flavors blend. You can also freeze dry batches of stews. Spread stew on the freeze drying trays and process. To re-hydrate, add hot water until it returns to its original consistency.

Are you enjoying winter soups and stews? Share your favorite recipes with our freeze drying community on our Facebook page!


I want to make soups with noodles for backpacking. Can I cook everything but the noodles, freeze dry, then add the uncooked noodles to the Mylar bag after I’ve added the freeze dried ingredients? Seems counterintuitive to cook the noodles just to freeze dry them again.

If you cook and freeze dry the noodles also, your finished food will only need to be reconstituted, but if you add noodles, rice or whatever that is uncooked and not freeze dried, you will have to cook it as usual to get them to eating stage. Which could really overcook the rest of it’s all packed together. Think instant noodles/rice vs traditional.

This i an old comment, but I’ll add my two cents for anyone else that may come across it…
In my experience that can work, depending on the contents of the freeze dried component and the order you add them.

By freeze drying both soup and cooked noodles together, everything reconstitutes at more or less the same time, preserving textrues and making it so you don’t have to boil as long–or could even use cool water in a pinch.

Reconstituting the soup THEN adding noodles to boil together may leave your slightly-more-delicate FD soup falling apart (pieces like carrots, potatoes etc could just boil away to a slurry)

If you don’t want to FD the noodles, I’d suggest boiling the noodles FIRST, then adding the FD component. You may get your best results that way.

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