Can you eat cream of chicken soup from the can?

Quick Answers

Yes, you can absolutely eat cream of chicken soup directly from the can without cooking it first. Cream soups like cream of chicken are shelf-stable products that have been specially formulated and processed for safety prior to canning. As long as the can is not damaged, bulging or rusty, and has been stored properly, the soup inside will be perfectly safe to eat straight out of the can without further cooking. While you may prefer the taste when it’s heated, eating unheated cream of chicken soup poses no health risks if consumed before the expiration date.

Is it Safe to Eat Cream of Chicken Soup Uncooked?

Cream of chicken soup that you buy off the shelf at the grocery store has been commercially sterilized during the canning process, which destroys any dangerous microorganisms that could cause foodborne illness. This makes shelf-stable canned soups safe for consumption directly from the can without cooking them first to further kill pathogens.

As long as the can has no signs of damage, bulging or rust, and hasn’t exceeded its stamped expiration date, the soup inside remains sterile and eating it straight from the can is perfectly safe from a food safety standpoint.

According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), commercially canned foods like soups are regulated by the FDA to ensure they are processed correctly to achieve commercial sterility. As long as the can is in good condition and has been stored properly, the contents are shelf-stable at room temperature indefinitely, although quality may start to degrade after the expiration date.

So you can confidently crack open a can of cream of chicken soup and eat it cold with no concerns about food poisoning or other health risks. The soup has already been heat processed sufficiently during manufacturing to destroy any dangerous bacteria that could make you sick.

Proper Storage Maximizes Safety & Shelf Life

To get the most optimal shelf life out of canned cream soups, the FSIS recommends storing unopened cans in a cool, dry place between 50-70°F. Avoid storing cans in hot spots like near the oven or in direct sunlight.

Once opened, transfer any leftover soup into a sealed container and refrigerate it. Use refrigerated leftovers within 3-4 days. Don’t leave opened cans at room temperature or contamination could occur after opening.

As long as unopened cans are stored properly before the expiration date, and opened cans are refrigerated promptly, cream of chicken soup is perfectly safe to eat straight from the can without cooking it again. The canning process eliminates any harmful pathogens.

Does Uncooked Cream Soup Taste Different than Cooked?

While safe to eat straight from the can, cream of chicken soup and other condensed cream-based soups will taste different uncooked compared to heating them up first.

Right out of the can, cream soups will be thicker, with a more muted flavor and subdued aroma. The richness of the dairy comes across more plainly without the complexity added by cooking.

Heating cream-based soups like cream of chicken boosts the flavor intensity, bringing out a richer, more savory taste. The soup takes on a fuller mouthfeel as the consistency smoothes out from the heat. Aromatic notes like chicken and herbs become more pronounced.

So while eating uncooked cream of chicken soup is perfectly safe, the flavor experience is different at room temperature. Brief heating brings out more complex, robust flavors for a more satisfying eating experience.

Methods to Heat Canned Cream Soup

Here are some easy methods for heating canned cream soup to bring out its best flavor:

– Stovetop: Warm soup over low heat, stirring occasionally until hot. Avoid boiling.

– Microwave: Heat in microwave-safe bowl in 30 second intervals, stirring between sessions, until hot.

– Slow cooker: Combine can of soup with ingredients in a slow cooker. Cook on low 2-3 hours.

– Baked dishes: Cream soups are often used as a base for casseroles, baked pastas or pot pies. The oven heat warms the cream soup as part of the dish.

Any heating method brings out the intended richness, savory flavors and comforting aroma of canned cream soups. But eating straight from the can is safe, if less appetizing.

Nutrition Comparison of Uncooked vs. Cooked

Heating cream of chicken soup doesn’t significantly impact its nutrition profile. According to the USDA, these are the nutrients found in a 1 cup serving of canned, condensed cream of chicken soup:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 410
Protein 7.1g
Carbohydrates 25g
Fiber 0.8g
Fat 26.1g
Saturated Fat 13.4g
Sodium 830mg

These values remain essentially the same whether the soup is eaten straight from the can at room temperature or heated up first.

The only potential difference would be if water, milk or other ingredients were added to thin out the condensed soup’s thick consistency during heating. This would dilute the nutrients and lower the calorie density somewhat. But on its own, cooking doesn’t alter the nutrition already present in canned cream soups.

So you can enjoy the same nutritional value either way – but for best flavor and texture, heating is recommended if time allows.

Does Heating Reduce Sodium Content?

Canned soups are notoriously high in sodium content. At 830mg per cup, a serving of cream of chicken soup contains over one-third of the daily 2300mg limit for healthy adults.

Unfortunately, heating cream soup does not significantly reduce the sodium levels. The canning process results in sodium permeating throughout the entire soup mixture.

Here are some tips for lowering sodium when preparing canned cream soups:

– Rinse canned beans, vegetables or other ingredients before adding to soup to remove some surface sodium.

– Use low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth instead of water if thinning out condensed soup.

– Add milk or cream instead of broth to thin soup and cut down on added sodium.

– Season with herbs, spices, garlic and onion to boost flavor rather than extra salt.

– Compare brands and select lower sodium cream soup options when available.

While heating doesn’t lower sodium, diluting and seasoning creatively when preparing the soup can help reduce total sodium intake from canned varieties.


Cream of chicken soup and other canned cream soups are perfectly safe to eat straight from the container without heating them first. The commercial sterilization process destroys any pathogens that could cause food poisoning. For best quality, store cans properly and refrigerate leftovers after opening.

While safe uncooked, cream soups are thicker and have muted flavors at room temperature. Quick heating on the stovetop, in the microwave or as part of a baked dish improves the flavor, aroma and texture significantly.

Heating doesn’t change the nutrition profile, beyond potential dilution if water or milk is added. To reduce sodium, rinse added ingredients, use low-sodium broths and season creatively.

So go ahead and enjoy your canned cream of chicken soup straight from the can if desired. But taking the extra couple minutes to heat it will provide the most delicious flavor and soothing eating experience.

Leave a Comment