Here's How To Beat The Winter Blues By Hosting A Soup Swap

It'll become your favorite winter tradition.

Person Holding Soup

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Now that the holidays are over and cookie exchange season is behind us, it’s time to plan another type of swap. We have the perfect party to help you beat the post-holiday blues: a soup swap.

Soups are great for sharing and swapping because the recipes generally make a large quantity and can even be easily doubled if you need even more for a large crowd. A soup swap will allow you to sample and share different recipes with friends, so you’re not stuck eating 10 bowls of the same soup. The swap will start with a tasting of the soups and then guests will fill to-go containers so they can take home a variety of different soups. After the swap, everyone's freezer will be stocked with soups to enjoy all winter long.

Tips For Hosting a Soup Swap

While soup swaps should be fun and casual, we’ve compiled a few tips and suggestions to help you host a successful gathering. Time to start planning!

Pick a Date and Invite Guests

The first order of business when hosting a party is to pick a date, make a guest list, and send invitations. We suggest giving guests a few weeks' notice so they’ll have time to pick and prepare their soup. Plus, the event will be on their calendar before it fills up. The invite can be as formal or as informal as you would like, but we do suggest a guest list of six and no more than eight guests. If the party gets much larger, logistics will become more complicated. 

Collect RSVPs

Not only is collecting RSVPs important so you’ll know how many quests to expect, but we suggest also having guests share what type of soup they’re bringing when they RSVP so you can make sure you don’t end up with too many of the same type of soup.

Pro tip: Sending an online invitation by e-mail or on a site like Paperless Post allows guests to share their recipes by "replying all" or on the e-vite's "message board."

Manage Expectations

Make sure everyone knows that by attending, they’re committing to bringing enough soup to share with the group (but they’ll be getting just as much soup in return!). A good rule of thumb is a quart per attendee, so if there will be six guests they should bring six quarts. One quart is allotted for sampling, while the remaining quarts will be sent home with the other guests. 

Have Guests Bring Their Own Slow Cooker

“I could see slow cookers being the easiest way to do this,” says Deputy Editor Lisa Cericola. “Although you'd have to make sure you have enough outlets!” If guests bring their soup in a slow cooker, the soup will be warm for sampling and everyone can then package their soup to take home at the end of the night.

If a guest prefers not to go the slow cooker route, make sure they bring at least one quart of soup that can be heated for tasting and the rest of their soup can be stored in the refrigerator until it’s time to pack to-go containers.

Purchase Plastic Containers

“I would suggest buying plastic deli containers for the swap so you don't have to worry about trying to get back your favorite Tupperware,” says Assistant Food Editor Alana Al-Hatlani. “They are also conveniently quart-sized.”

In addition to the containers, provide labels and a pen for guests to label their soups. Once the tasting is complete, everyone can fill the containers to be stored in the refrigerator or freezer when they get home.

Provide Small Bowls for Tasting

Use small bowls so you can sample everything, go back for seconds, and still have plenty of leftovers to send home,” says Senior Food Editor Josh Miller. You’ll want to have plenty of spoons and napkins on hand as well.

Create a Toppings Bar

Al-Hatlani also suggests setting up a toppings bar for the soup tasting. “It could be fun to do a toppings bar with different grated cheeses, crunchy toppings, herbs, and condiments like sour cream, hot sauce, etc.” We also suggest providing plenty of bread and crackers for dipping.

Our Best Soup Recipes

If we've convinced you to host a soup swap this winter or you've already received an invite to one, here are our best soup recipes for sharing:

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