Photo: Alison Miksch; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Margaret Monroe Dickey

Add a little crunch or a dollop of cream for a burst of unexpected flavor.

Southern Living Editor

When the weather gets cooler, a nice warm soup is definitely on the menu. Soup can start to get a little boring though. That is where soup toppings come in. This extra ingredient will add another note to your soup. You can add texture with a crunchy nut or cracker, add spice with a punched up sour cream, or even fry up some herbs for unexpected flavor. So pull out your slow-cooker and put on some warm, tasty soup.

1. Flash-Fried Herbs

Fry fresh, thoroughly dried herb leaves (such as sage, parsley, or basil) in 1/4 inch of hot canola oil until they crisp up, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, and sprinkle with salt while the herbs are still hot. This will add flavor, texture, and something visual to your bowl of soup.

2. Crispy Chickpeas

Heat oven to 400°F. Drain, rinse, and dry 1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas. Place chickpeas on a rimmed baking sheet; use your hands to coat evenly with 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Sprinkle  with salt. Roast 25 to 30 minutes or until golden and crisp. This crispy and salty topper will give an extra crunch to your soup.

WATCH: Spiced Butternut-Pumpkin Soup

3. Spicy Sour Cream

Combine 1 cup sour cream; 1 to 2 Tbsp. Sriracha chili sauce, chipotle paste, or adobo sauce from canned chipotle peppers; 1 tsp. fresh lime juice; and 1 tsp. salt in a small bowl. Chill sour cream until ready to use. Add a dollop of this spicy sour cream to a corn soup or Southwestern chili.

4. Buttery Cracker Crumbs

Melt 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter in a saucepan. Add 1 cup roughly crushed saltine crackers and 1 tsp. seasoned salt, and cook until the crackers are evenly coated and golden brown, about 2 minutes. These cracker crumbs are perfect in a classic tomato soup.