Seeking Souperlative Sprinkles
December 19, 2019 8:58 AM   Subscribe

I love soup. I love curries and stews and potages and bisques. Sometimes I like to put cheese, or nuts, or roasted chickpeas on top of my soup. There must be a WHOLE WORLD of soup toppings out there that I've never considered, so I turn to you...AskMe...the greatest resource of ideas about edible things that go on top of other edible things. No dietary restrictions, and I'm particularly interested in ideas for what to put on top of creamier soups/curries that might provide some textural contrast.
posted by little mouth to Food & Drink (31 answers total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Crumbled hard-boiled egg, some scraps of serrano ham, a drizzle of olive oil and a few drops of sherry vinegar are great on salmorejo, but I imagine they'd also be good on any creamy tomato-based soup.
posted by theory at 9:03 AM on December 19, 2019

Best answer: Popcorn is a classic topping for beer-cheese soup, and it would probably work well on any x + cheese soup.
posted by ALeaflikeStructure at 9:04 AM on December 19, 2019

Best answer: Crispy fried shallots (which you can make or buy) are the best!
posted by neroli at 9:07 AM on December 19, 2019 [5 favorites]

Pesto. Croutons (of course!). Dice of peeled, seeded tomato. Sour cream or yogurt. Paste of roasted garlic. A thin slice of lemon (not to eat!) A little wine vinegar. Sliced scallions.
posted by tmdonahue at 9:09 AM on December 19, 2019

posted by DrAstroZoom at 9:13 AM on December 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

I like roasting squash seeds and sprinkling those on top of butternut bisque and similar winter squash soups. It's especially good if you sprinkle some soy sauce over them halfway through cooking.

Hard-boiled egg is also good on borscht, both beet and white borscht. Actually, white borscht is all about the toppings--hard boiled egg, sliced kielbasa, cubes of rye bread, dollop of horseradish (the linked recipe is waaay more complicated than my Babci's was).

Toasted nuts or spiced nuts are also wonderful on pureed soups.
posted by carrioncomfort at 9:13 AM on December 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Vietnamese Food Any Day author Andrea Nguyen says Trader Joe's fried onions are an easy substitute for fried shallots.
posted by ShooBoo at 9:26 AM on December 19, 2019

Goreng Bawang, aka Indonesian crispy fried onions.
posted by neushoorn at 9:27 AM on December 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Crushed Amaretti on pumpkin or butternut soups. Surprising and delicious.
Toasted and salted pistachios are always good on creamy vegetable soups.

Sometimes it's lovely to flavor your croutons with garlic or herbs by infusing the oil you are cooking them in.

For curries, roasted mustard seeds, or a combination of mustard seeds, sesame seeds and whole cumin seeds, all roasted in a dry skillet till the seeds start popping.
posted by mumimor at 9:29 AM on December 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Small croutons? Chopped peanuts, if that's a flavor that would work well (Thai soups primarily, but I can see it working with squash or even corn maybe). Finely diced raw red pepper.
posted by Bebo at 9:30 AM on December 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Seconding roasted squash seeds (aka pepitas)
posted by jquinby at 9:33 AM on December 19, 2019

Best answer: Oh - and goldfish crackers are a common go-to for tomato soup around here.
posted by jquinby at 9:36 AM on December 19, 2019

Furikake! It's a Japanese dry seasoning mix that goes great with soup. It comes in lots of varieties or you can make your own. Its mostly a mixture of dried fish, sesame seeds, chopped seaweed, sugar, and salt.
posted by ananci at 9:37 AM on December 19, 2019 [4 favorites]

Garlic snack sticks. Extra-delicious on cream soups, especially cream of potato and garlic soup.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:38 AM on December 19, 2019

Best answer: Fried sage leaves (white bean soup, butternut squash soup, etc)
A little salad of diced tomatoes, onions, fresh basil, etc (white bean soup)
Gremolata (lentil soup)
Grated Swiss/gruyere not as topping but in bottom of bowl (lentil)
posted by HotToddy at 9:43 AM on December 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Bacon bits. Toasted/fried in butter panko breadcrumbs.
posted by zengargoyle at 9:49 AM on December 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Here is a pretty exhaustive list. Some more unique ones I've had and enjoyed were pomegranate arils on a savory squash soup, unsweetened puffed rice on creamy soup, sprouts or pea shoots on a brothy soup, and I really love tortilla strips or wonton strips as a soup topper and I make those at home in an air fryer in bulk and store them in airtight containers. Sliced radishes hold their texture pretty well over hot soups for vegetal peppery crunch. Osem brand soup mandel is something I grew up with that's nostalgic, found in the Kosher/Jewish section of your grocery store.
posted by juniperesque at 10:01 AM on December 19, 2019 [4 favorites]

Microwave Fried Leeks
posted by Dr. Twist at 10:16 AM on December 19, 2019

When I make potato soups I toss the peels in a little oil and then spread them out on a baking sheet and crisp them in the oven. Adds an earthiness as well as texture.
posted by padraigin at 10:21 AM on December 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I like to put Snyder's pretzel pieces (cheddar flavor) on top of tomato-based stews and chilis. They're pretty big chunks, so you'd probably want to match them up with thicker, hearty soups.
posted by mhum at 10:25 AM on December 19, 2019

Maybe because I was just in the Hanukkah thread, the first thing that came to mind was mini mandlen. Tiny crunchy things.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 10:31 AM on December 19, 2019

Best answer: Plain cornflakes, cornbread, matzo, broken-up crunchy breadsticks, potato chips, pretzels, tostones, poached eggs, Stella D'oro cookies, toasted ravioli, toasted barley, roasted lentils, deli meat, pepperoni/andouille/kielbasa coins or bacon/bacon bits, apple or pear slices/pieces (esp. on cheesy soups) oyster crackers, and, for a different perspective on your creamy soup options, did you see "Eggs Benedict with grilled cheese and tomato soup hollandaise is the mashup of dreams" at

(a soup is merely a liquid sandwich. yes, try swirling in dry or prepared mustard, especially when you have a cold.)
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:57 AM on December 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

Nutritional yeast?
posted by Borborygmus at 1:29 PM on December 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

I had Brussels sprouts roasted (or broiled?) until crisp on top of a bean stew once and it was amazing.
posted by yasaman at 1:48 PM on December 19, 2019

Best answer: Trader Joe's sells dukkah, which is meant to be mixed with olive oil as a dip for bread, but it's a pretty great soup garnish, especially for bisques. And you can make it yourself.
posted by holgate at 3:28 PM on December 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Toasted shredded coconut.
posted by kapers at 5:19 PM on December 19, 2019

Best answer: Chinese Chili crisp.

Also “Everything” seasoning, like the bagel. Has onion and garlic and sesame and poppyseed, sort of an American furikake.

Warning, both can be absurdly expensive or totally reasonable at different places, so if you like them and want to buy repeatedly, do some cost comparisons.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:09 PM on December 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Diced pancetta or bacon
Fried sage leaves (just fry briefly in the barest bit of oil or butter)
Fried capers (same as the sage)
Seasoned breadcrumbs (not just for casseroles!)
Diced green chiles (raw, roasted, or pickled)
Diced pickles
Shredded cabbage
posted by rhiannonstone at 7:42 PM on December 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Came to suggest Chili crisp but SaltySalticid beat me to it.

So my suggestion is to brown some butter and gently crisp some herbs in it and pour that over your creamy soup. Sage is popular and very good if you do it low and slow and don't brown it. And if you like, scoop out the sage and then brown some gnocchi in the sage butter and put all of it on your soup. Delish!

In this vein, many Indian recipes will temper a dish with oil and spice as a finishing garnish. The technique is generally called tadka and will lead you to delicious places.
posted by ninazer0 at 9:10 PM on December 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: ALL of these are fantastic suggestions. I marked the ones I intend to try right away as best answers, but honestly I’ll revisit all of these answers in the months of soup season yet to come! Special thanks to juniperesque for tha comprehensive link, helpfully organized by type of soup/stew/chili. ❤️
posted by little mouth at 6:30 AM on December 20, 2019

Pork floss (rousong, pork sung, or pork fu). I put some on a butternut squash soup and it really livened it up.
posted by Jasper Fnorde at 5:48 AM on December 22, 2019

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