How many calories is clear soup?

Clear soups, also known as broths, are a low-calorie way to stay hydrated and get nutrients while following a diet. Unlike creamy or chunky soups, clear soups are made by simmering bones, meat, and/or vegetables in water, then straining out the solids. This leaves behind a translucent, protein-rich liquid that can be enjoyed on its own or used as a base for other dishes. But exactly how many calories are in a serving of clear soup? The answer depends on the specific ingredients and portion size.

Calories in popular clear soup varieties

Here are some common types of clear soups and their average calorie counts per 1 cup serving:

Clear Soup Type Calories
Chicken broth 46
Beef broth 56
Vegetable broth 30
Miso soup 69
Egg drop soup 72
Clear tomato soup 90
Clear onion soup 147

As you can see, most clear soups range from 30 to 150 calories per serving. Chicken, beef, and vegetable broths are on the lower end of the spectrum. Asian soups like miso and clear tom yum soup also clock in under 100 calories per cup. On the higher side, tomato soup packs about 90 calories per cup since the tomatoes provide more substance. Likewise for French onion soup, which gets most of its calories from the caramelized onions and broth.

Factors that affect clear soup calories

The exact calorie count of any clear soup depends on:

  • Ingredients used – Meat-based broths have more calories than vegetable broths. Adding noodles, dumplings, eggs, or other ingredients will increase calories.
  • Serving size – Nutrition info is usually listed per 1 cup serving. Consuming larger portions will mean more calories.
  • Cooking method – Fattier cuts of meat, oils, and excess sodium can result in higher calorie counts.
  • Additions – Mixing in cream, coconut milk, cheese, croutons and other high-calorie ingredients will significantly increase the calories.

To keep your clear soup low in calories, opt for vegetable or chicken broth with minimal additions. Measure out a 1 cup portion, and avoid ladling large bowlfuls, which can double or triple the calories.

Calorie differences in homemade vs. canned clear soups

Many people enjoy the convenience of canned soups. But are the calories in canned clear soups any different than their homemade counterparts? Here’s a comparison:

Homemade clear soup

When you make clear broth at home, you control exactly what goes into it. This allows you to minimize calories by:

  • Using lean cuts of chicken or beef
  • Roasting bones/meat before simmering for deeper flavor without added fat
  • Simmering on lower heat to prevent evaporation of liquid
  • Skimming fat and discarding drippings after cooking
  • Adding lots of low-calorie vegetables like onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms, etc.
  • Using minimal salt and avoiding high-sodium ingredients like soy sauce
  • Skipping cream, coconut milk, purees, or thickeners

Following those guidelines can result in a hearty, flavorful broth under 50 calories per cup.

Canned clear soup

Commercially produced canned soups may contain:

  • Lower quality cuts of meat with more fat/gristle
  • Excess sodium from salt, seasonings, or preservatives
  • Starch thickeners like corn starch or wheat flour
  • Milk, cream, or coconut milk added for creamy mouthfeel
  • Sugar or sweeteners to counteract saltiness
  • Vegetable purees for consistency and texture

As a result of those additions, canned broths and clear soups tend to be higher in calories than their homemade versions – sometimes upwards of 100-150 calories per serving.

Exceptions and tips

That said, there are some low-sodium, low-calorie canned soup options with minimal ingredients. Choosing those and giving them a quick dilution or strain can lower the calorie count closer to homemade. Some other tips:

  • Look for “low-sodium” or “50% less sodium” on the label
  • Scan the ingredients list for thickeners, cream, or coconut milk
  • Focus on broth-based varieties, not creamy ones
  • Dilute higher-calorie prepared soups with water
  • Pour off some liquid after heating to remove excess fat

Following those suggestions can help minimize the calorie difference between canned and homemade clear soups.

Calorie and nutrient comparison of clear vs. creamy soups

In addition to clear varieties, creamy soups make up a huge part of the soup spectrum. How do the calories and nutrition in creamy soups compare?


Creamy soups tend to be significantly higher in calories than clear soups and broths. For example:

Soup Calories (1 cup)
Chicken noodle, clear 80
Chicken noodle, creamy 300
Tomato bisque, creamy 215
Roasted red pepper, creamy 190

The higher calorie count in creamy soups comes from the addition of ingredients like heavy cream, milk, pureed vegetables, and flour or cornstarch as a thickener. Those ingredients provide a rich, indulgent texture but pack on the calories.


In terms of overall nutrition, clear soups tend to be lower in calories but also lower in other nutrients:

  • Protein – Creamy soups provide protein from dairy or pureed legumes.
  • Fiber – Pureeing fibrous ingredients like beans, lentils, or winter vegetables adds fiber to creamy soups.
  • Vitamins & minerals – Vitamins and minerals are more abundant in creamy soups thanks to milk, pureed veggies, and added thickeners.
  • Satiety – The thickness and heartiness of creamy soups can be more filling than thin, clear broths.

So while clear soups are typically lowest in calories, creamy soups offer more well-rounded nutrition.

Tips for enjoying clear soups while managing calories

Here are some ways to keep your clear soup low in calories while still getting maximum enjoyment:

1. Load up on veggie broth

Choose vegetable broth as the base for your clear soup as often as possible. Veggie broth provides the fewest calories along with vitamins and antioxidants from the cooked down vegetables.

2. Go easy on starchy add-ins

When adding noodles, dumplings, rice, or other starchy ingredients to clear soup, keep portions small to avoid carb and calorie overload.

3. Get creative with garnishes

Instead of high-calorie swirls of cream or dollops of puree, garnish your clear soup with fresh herbs, chili oil, sesame seeds, bean sprouts, lime wedges, or thin slices of raw veggies.

4. Avoid “strips”

Chicken, beef, and vegetable soup stocks provide lean protein for little added calories. But heavier add-ins like strips of meat or sausage can make the calories add up quickly.

5. Fill up on the broth

Savor the savory broth of your low-cal soup by drinking it straight from a mug or bowl. The warmth and saltiness can be satisfying.

6. Balance with other meal components

Pair your clear soup with fiber-rich whole grains, leafy greens, or other vegetable side dishes to add staying power to your meal.

7. Watch portion sizes

Ladling overflowing bowls of even low-calorie soup can lead to excess calorie intake. Measure out a 1 cup portion to keep calories in check.

8. Embrace the variety

With so many clear soup options—bone broth, consommé, tom yum, wonton, miso, etc.—you can enjoy a different one every day while controlling calories!

Sample low-calorie clear soup meals

Here are a few tasty meal ideas featuring clear soups that keep calories around 500 or less:

Chicken & Veggie Noodle Soup

– 1 cup chicken noodle soup (80 calories)
– Salad with 2 cups mixed greens, 1/4 cup chickpeas, 1 tsp olive oil, vinegar (110 calories)
– Whole grain roll (100 calories)

Total calories: Around 290

Thai Coconut Curry Soup

– 1 cup tom kha gai soup (130 calories)
– 3 oz grilled shrimp (90 calories)
– 1/2 cup brown rice (100 calories)
– 1 cup steamed broccoli (30 calories)

Total calories: Around 350

Miso Salmon Bowl

– 1 cup miso soup (60 calories)
– 3 oz grilled salmon (140 calories)
– 1 cup cooked soba noodles (200 calories)
– 1/2 cup edamame beans (80 calories)

Total calories: Around 480

As you can see, enjoying clear soups as part of a balanced diet keeps calories in check while providing hydration and nutrients. Focus on vegetable broths, control portions, and balance with other whole foods for satisfying, slimming soup meals.

Health benefits of clear soups

Beyond being low in calories, clear soups provide many other health perks:


The liquid broth helps keep you hydrated, especially when you are sick or trying to lose weight by cutting calories.


The light, mineral-rich broth can provide a detox as part of a cleanse or fast.


The warmth and salts in clear soup support good digestion and may relieve bloating or constipation.


Hydrating clear soups made with chicken bones or fresh vegetables can help battle colds and flu.


Collagen from animal bones supports healthy skin, hair, and nail growth.

Joint health

Bone broths contain glucosamine and chondroitin for joint, tendon, and ligament health.

For all those reasons, enjoying calorie-controlled clear soups provides healthy benefits beyond just weight management.

Downsides of clear soups

Of course, even the healthiest clear soups have some potential downsides to keep in mind:

Low protein

Broths are not a significant source of protein or muscle-building amino acids.

Low fiber

Without chunks of vegetables or fiber-rich add-ins, clear broths lack filling fiber.

Low vitamins/minerals

Nutrients are minimal in plain broths since everything gets strained out.

High sodium

Canned and restaurant soups often contain very high amounts of added sodium.

Not very filling

Thin broths don’t provide much satiety compared to heartier soups and meals.

The bottom line is clear soups make a tasty, low-calorie start to a meal. But be sure to balance them with plenty of nutritious whole foods to make up for any nutritional deficiencies. Moderating sodium and pairing with fiber, protein and veggies helps clear broth shine as a diet-friendly starter.


When wondering “how many calories are in clear soup?”, the answer can range widely based on the specific ingredients used. But most clear broth-based soups provide less than 100 calories per serving. Opting for vegetable broths and minimized additions helps keep calories down. Though not as nutritious as creamy soups, clear varieties provide plenty of flavor for few calories. Enjoy them as part of a balanced diet to benefit from their hydration, lightness, and warmth while controlling intake. With so many delicious options, low-calorie clear soups can be in regular lunch and dinner rotation for healthy, satisfying meals.

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