Do you really need a soup maker?
There's nothing better to welcome the cold, dark nights than a piping hot bowl of soup - but what's the best way to make it? Are pots and pans too much of a faff? Is a gadget that does everything for you a must-have? Or a waste of cash?
Here's the low-down on the pros and cons of soup makers - plus the best ones to buy if you decide they're just the job.
The verdict from those who can't live without their soup maker...
- It means you can get on with something else. Granjura has found that "the best thing about it is that I can switch it on and go for a walk or potter in the garden, without worrying about the soup...I wouldn't be without it now."
- There's no faff. A soup maker just "tells you when it's ready, keeps hot for a long time, and you can reheat it if you forget about it." Leticia
- It's quick and avoids waste: Maggiemaybe suggests throwing in "whatever you have - garden surplus, veg rack leftovers, etc, roughly chopped, with herbs/stock cube and cold water - and in 21 minutes you have your soup. A quick rinse and the soup maker's ready to go again."
- It's so simple. Leticia likes to "make a jug full and freeze half. It is one of my best buys because it is just so easy. I make up my own recipes with whatever needs using up."
- Saves on clearing up after. If you're not yet entirely convinced, Indinana may have swung it for us: "less washing up, which is always a big plus for me!"
...and from the pot and pan brigade
- There's nothing like tradition: like grannyqueenie, some of us "grew up watching my mum make tasty soup from next to nothing so have always just done it her way."
- It's yet another kitchen gadget you have to find space for. "All you need [to make soup] is a knife, a saucepan and a blender.....Done job!" says merlotgran, while phoenix adds: "I make a lot of home made soup, and have NEVER felt the need for a soup maker! A reasonably heavy bottomed saucepan and a hand held blender do just fine!"
- It's an unnecessary luxury. Using up all your loose bits of veg by throwing it it in the soup maker is something you can also do in a pan: "any veg in the fridge that needs using, plus onion and a tin of tomatoes and you cannot go wrong with the sturdy saucepan." Hattiehelga
- It takes away the accomplishment of a job well done: "Making soup is simple and satisfying, I don't need a machine any more than I'd need a porridge-maker or a curry-maker." apricot
As Leticia says..."I think it comes down to choice - some of us wouldn't want to be without it and some can't see the point - you just need to decide which side you fall."
If you're still longing for that soup maker...
...we've found the top five soup makers on the market, as recommended by gransnetters.
Cuisinart SSB1U Soup Maker, £139.95, John Lewis
"I have the cuisineart one. I've used it so much that I'm on my third in about 5 years. Forget the sauté bit! It doesn't work properly but otherwise it's great." Galen
Morphy Richards 48822 Soupmaker, £59.99 (£50 at the time we published), Amazon
"I have the Morphy Richards 48822 and it's one of the best things I've ever bought. It saves so much chopping and mess." Maggiemaybe
Morphy Richards 48822 Soupmaker, £79.99 (£64.39 at the time we published), Amazon
"What a wonderful gadget, so much easier than the old pan and blender method. I used the sauté function to part-cook and soften the chopped carrot and onion, then added the liquid and spices and left it to it. Twenty-one minutes later I had loads of gorgeous, thick soup." Indinana
Coopers of Stortford 1.7L Electric Soup Maker, £39.99, Amazon
"I have one from Coopers of Stortford which I use a lot. Just put all my spare veg in before it goes off, with water and some bouillon or miso and switch on; then leave it until ready." Durhamjen
Philips Viva Collection Soup Maker Soupmaker, £129.95 (£69.95 at the time we published), Amazon
"Just chuck it all in - it works very well. Ours is a Philips." Granjura
Join the discussion on this thread and share your recipes.
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