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Chicken soup review

Cheapest, lowest salt, gluten free? As winter closes in, we compare chicken soups.

warming up with a bowl of cream of chicken soup
Last updated: 12 May 2020

Need to know

  • Chicken noodle and chicken and corn are the most popular varieties of chicken soup in supermarkets
  • You can pay from $0.11 up to $4.50 per serve for store-bought chicken soup
  • The most meaty soups contain 11% chicken. Nine of the 53 products reviewed contain none – they’re just chicken flavoured

You know we're heading into winter when the aisle ends of supermarkets are piled high with packets of soup, bags of lentils and cartons of stock.

Sure, you can make your own, but it's also handy to have a can, packet or pouch of soup stashed in the pantry to pair with crusty bread for a quick and easy lunch, or for instant warmth during a cold snap.

Chicken soup in particular is a fave, in part because of its claimed cold-busting benefits. It may not cure your cold (the claims are unproven), but a mug of steaming hot chicken soup can certainly make the sniffles more bearable.

We compare the price, ingredients, nutrition details and country of origin of 53 supermarket chicken soup products from brands including Campbell's, Continental and Heinz – and share our top picks for your pantry.

coles chicken noodle flavoured soup mix no added msg
woolworths essentials chicken flavoured noodle soup

Cheapest chicken soup

  • Coles Chicken Noodle Flavoured Soup Mix ($0.45 per 4-pack)
  • Woolworths Essentials Chicken Flavoured Noodle Soup ($0.45 per 4-pack)

These two products were the cheapest in our review, working out at just $0.11 per serve (or $0.05 per 100mL) when prepared with hot water, as directed.

At the other end of the price scale is Australian Organic Food Co 100% Australian Organic Chicken, Spelt & Vegetable Soup, which costs $4.50 for a single serve pouch ($1.36 per 100mL).

continental chicken noodle simmer soup salt reduced

Lowest salt

  • Continental Chicken Noodle Simmer Soup Salt Reduced

This was the only product in our review with a sodium content of less than 120mg per 100mL (as prepared), a level considered to be 'low salt' according to the Food Standards Code.

Although it's the only product specifically marketed as low salt, the sodium content of the other products is still fairly moderate, all sitting below 400mg per 100mL (as prepared).

australian organic food co 100 organic chicken spelt and vegetable soup
heinz classic country chicken soup

Most chicken

  • Australian Organic Food Co 100% Australian Organic Chicken, Spelt & Vegetable Soup (11% chicken)
  • Heinz Classic Country Chicken (11% chicken)

These are the meatiest soups in our review, both weighing in at 11% chicken.

This might not sound like a lot – chicken is the key characterising ingredient of chicken soup, after all – but it's significantly more than 0%, which is the chicken content of nine of the 53 products in our review. That's right, some chicken soup products are simply chicken-flavoured.

And although you may feel ripped off, tucking into chicken soup only to find it's chook-free, there is a silver lining. Because these products are suitable for vegetarians, you can serve them up on meat-free Monday!

In fact, two of these soups – also the cheapest products in our test – are free from animal products altogether, making them suitable for vegans too.

the soup co chicken and sweetcorn soup
heinz big n chunky chicken and corn soup
campbells chunky chicken korma soup
lazuppa tuscan chicken and vegetable soup

Most sweetcorn, vegetables and noodles

Soup described as 'chicken & corn' can contain as little as 1.5% corn. Craving corn? These soups are top of the crops:

  • Aldi The Soup Co Chicken & Sweetcorn Soup (35% corn)
  • Heinz Big'N Chunky Chicken & Corn (35% corn)

Of all the products described as 'chicken & veg' (or whose packs claimed vegetable content), these had the most vegies:

  • Campbell's Chunky Chicken Korma (48% veg: potatoes, carrots, tomato puree, green beans, peas, onion, spinach)
  • La Zuppa Natural Soup for Two Tuscan Chicken & Vegetable (40% veg: cabbage, potato, carrot 6.9%, borlotti bean, zucchini, onion, lentils 2.2%)

The noodle content of the chicken noodle soups we reviewed ranged from from 1.6% up to 77%. If you're after oodles of noodles, look no further than this soup:

  • Continental Chicken Noodle Simmer Soup Salt Reduced (77% noodles)

Most Australian ingredients

At least a third of the soups in our review contain no Australian ingredients at all. For those looking for significantly more local flavour, the following products topped the list for Australian ingredients, all with more than 90%:

  • Australian Organic Food Co 100% Australian Organic Chicken, Spelt & Vegetable Soup (100%)
  • South Australian Gourmet Food Company Creamy Chicken & Sweet Corn Soup (96%)
  • Campbell's Condensed Cream of Chicken (95%)
  • Coles Chicken Noodle Flavoured Soup Mix (91%)

Best value

Are you after a good all-rounder that offers value for money? The following 12 chicken soups get a tick for both price (they cost just $0.70 or less per 100mL as prepared) and ingredients (they all contain at least 5% chicken and have a higher than average sweetcorn or vegetable content, where this applies)

  • Aldi The Soup Co Old Fashioned Chicken Soup
  • Campbell's Chunky Chicken Korma
  • Campbell's Chunky Roast Chicken & Vegetable
  • Campbell's Country Ladle Chicken & Sweetcorn
  • Campbell's Country Ladle Chicken Noodle
  • Campbell's Country Ladle Creamy Chicken
  • Coles Chicken & Vegetable Soup with Buckwheat
  • Hart & Soul All Natural Chicken Noodle Soup Cup
  • Heinz Classic Country Chicken
  • Heinz Classic Creamy Chicken & Mushroom
  • Heinz Soup of the Day Old Fashioned Chicken
  • South Australian Gourmet Food Company Creamy Chicken & Sweet Corn Soup

Which chicken soups are gluten-free?

Twelve of the 53 products we looked at are gluten-free:

  • Aldi The Soup Co Chicken & Sweetcorn Soup
  • Coles Chicken & Corn Soup
  • Hart & Soul All Natural 56 Calorie Chicken Bone Broth Soup
  • Hart & Soul All Natural Chicken & Corn Soup
  • Hart & Soul All Natural Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Hart & Soul All Natural Chicken Noodle Soup Cup
  • Heinz Soup of the Day Thai Style Chicken
  • La Zuppa Natural Soup for Two Creamy Chicken & Vegetable
  • La Zuppa Natural Soup for Two Tuscan Chicken & Vegetable
  • La Zuppa Natural Soup in a Bowl Chicken Noodle
  • La Zuppa Natural Soup in a Bowl Creamy Chicken & Vegetable
  • La Zuppa Natural Soup in a Bowl Hearty Chicken & Vegetable

Avoiding MSG?

A very small number of people who have food allergies and intolerances, especially those with asthma, may be sensitive to glutamate. These people need to avoid glutamates in food – both those that occur naturally in foods such as parmesan cheese or tomato, and those such as monosodium glutamate (also known as MSG, or additive 621), which have been added to food as flavour enhancers.

The following four soups do contain additive 621, so are probably best avoided by people who are glutamate sensitive:

  • Continental Chicken Noodle Simmer Soup Salt Reduced
  • Continental Cup a Soup (Our Classic Flavours) Chicken Noodle
  • Continental Cup a Soup (Our Classic Flavours) Cream of Chicken
  • Heinz Classic Country Chicken
homemade chicken soup from recipe

Chicken soup recipes

Prefer homemade? Pull out your stock pot and get your cook on with these simple chicken soup recipes – stock recipe included – from Fiona Mair, CHOICE home economist.