Cream of chicken soup is a popular canned soup that is used as a base for many recipes. It has a smooth, creamy texture and rich chicken flavor. But is cream of chicken soup high in carbs?
Quick Answer: Cream of chicken soup is relatively high in carbs compared to other canned soups. A 1 cup serving contains around 15g of net carbs. The carb count is higher than broth-based soups but lower than creamy chowders.
For people following lower carb or keto diets, cream soups like cream of chicken may need to be limited or accounted for when planning daily carb intake. There are lower carb alternatives, like homemade chicken soup or broth-based canned soups. But cream of chicken can be enjoyed occasionally in moderation by most carb conscious eaters.
Carb Content of Cream of Chicken Soup
The carb content in cream of chicken soup comes mainly from the added starch and dairy ingredients used to create the characteristic thick, creamy texture.
Here is the nutritional breakdown for a 1 cup serving of condensed cream of chicken soup (prepared with equal parts milk according to package directions):
*Net carbs = Total carbs – Fiber – Sugars
As you can see, a single serving of prepared cream of chicken soup contains 30g total carbs. Once you subtract the fiber and sugars, the net carbs come out to 15g per cup.
Main Carb Sources
The two main sources of carbs in cream of chicken soup are:
Starches: Cream soups rely on starch from wheat/corn flour to create their thick, creamy texture. Cream of chicken gets nearly 10g of carbs just from the added starches.
Milk: Dairy products like milk and cream also contain naturally occurring carbohydrates in the form of lactose (milk sugar). The milk added to cream soups contributes around 5g net carbs per serving.
So while cream of chicken soup does not contain some typical high carb ingredients like potatoes, pasta or rice, the starches and dairy ingredients result in a moderately high net carb count.
How Cream of Chicken Compares to Other Canned Soups
To put the carb count into perspective, here’s how cream of chicken soup compares to some other popular canned soup options (in 1 cup prepared servings):
|Soup Type||Total Carbs||Net Carbs|
|Cream of chicken||15g||15g|
|Cream of mushroom||12g||12g|
|New England clam chowder||23g||17g|
|Tomato basil bisque||15g||9g|
As you can see, cream of chicken soup is higher in net carbs than clear broth-based soups like chicken noodle or chicken broth. But it’s lower in carbs compared to thicker, cream-based chowders like New England clam chowder.
Other creamy condensed soups like cream of mushroom have a very similar carb count to cream of chicken. So the carb content is typical for this type of creamy, condensed canned soup.
Low Carb Cream of Chicken Alternatives
For people following keto or low carb diets, cream soups can be challenging to fit into daily carb limits. Here are some lower carb alternatives to cream of chicken soup:
Homemade Chicken Soup: Make your own soup using chicken broth, shredded chicken, and lower carb thickeners like xanthan gum or psyllium husk. This allows you to control the ingredients.
Broth-based Canned Soups: Choose ready-made soups that are based on broths rather than cream, like chicken noodle soup or tomato basil. They are significantly lower in net carbs.
Diluted Cream Soups: Drain some of the thick soup liquid and replace it with chicken broth or water to reduce the carbs per serving.
Low Carb Thickeners: Add a splash of heavy cream or pureed cauliflower instead of milk when preparing condensed cream soups.
Limit Portion Size: Stick to 1/2 cup servings of cream of chicken soup instead of 1 cup to cut the net carbs in half.
With a few adjustments like these, people following lower carb diets can still enjoy the flavor of cream of chicken soup occasionally without going over their carb limits.
Is Cream of Chicken Keto-Friendly?
The keto diet strictly limits net carbs to 20-50g per day. So is cream of chicken soup keto-friendly?
It can be if eaten in moderation. A 1 cup serving accounts for nearly a third of the daily carb limit on keto. So most people will need to limit portion sizes to 1/2 cup or less and account for the carbs.
Some easy ways to make cream of chicken soup lower carb and keto-friendly include:
– Use it as a sauce or topping rather than a base – less is needed to add flavor
– Combine it with cauliflower rice or mashed cauliflower
– Add protein like chicken or shrimp to balance the carbs
– Increase fat by stirring in butter, oil or heavy cream
– Replace the milk with heavy cream or unsweetened nut milk
– Boost fiber content by adding chia seeds or psyllium husk
Consumed occasionally in controlled portions, cream soups can work for keto. But they should be accounted for due to the higher carb content compared to broth-based soups.
Tips for Working Cream Soups Into a Low Carb Diet
Here are some tips for enjoying cream of chicken soup on a low carb or keto diet:
– Treat it as a condiment or sauce, not a main dish
– Measure exact portion sizes with a measuring cup, don’t estimate
– Count it toward your daily net carb limit
– Balance it out with low carb foods like non-starchy veggies
– Avoid eating cream soups two days in a row
– Make sure to get plenty of good fats from foods like avocado, nuts and olive oil
– Increase fiber intake from leafy greens, chia seeds, flaxseed, etc.
– Read labels carefully and look for lower carb cream soup alternatives
– Make your own homemade version instead of canned
With a little bit of planning and moderation, many people following reduced carb diets can still enjoy the occasional cream soup. Stick to controlled portion sizes and account for the carbs to keep your daily totals on track.
What About Low Carb Cream of Chicken Soups?
There are some reduced carb and keto-friendly pre-made cream of chicken soup options available:
Low Sodium Creams of Chicken Soup: These contain around 5g net carbs per serving. They cut back on starches/thickeners slightly to reduce sodium.
Keto Cream of Chicken Soup: Specialty brands like Kettle & Fire make canned keto cream soups with just 2g net carbs per serving by using bone broth and heavy cream.
Homemade Low Carb Cream of Chicken Soup: Making your own with chicken broth, spices, heavy cream or cream cheese results in a keto-friendly cream soup.
So while traditional canned cream of chicken soups are higher in carbs, there are some lower carb alternatives available for keto and low carb diets. Checking labels for nutrition info is always important when selecting canned cream soups.
Should You Avoid Cream of Chicken Soup on a Low Carb Diet?
Cream of chicken soup is higher in carbs than ideal for a true low carb diet. But it doesn’t necessarily need to be avoided altogether.
Here are some factors to consider:
– Your individual carb tolerance – some people can handle 50g net carbs, some need to stay under 20g
– Your portion size – a smaller serving as a sauce may work better than a large bowl
– How often you eat it – the carbs can add up fast if you have it regularly
– Your willingness to make modifications – diluting or swapping ingredients reduces carbs
If you only have an occasional 1/2 cup serving, balance it out with low carb foods and stay within your daily carb limits, cream soup may be fine even for a keto diet.
But if you tend to overconsume creamy comfort foods or find it triggers cravings for more carbs, avoiding cream soups or only having them on rare “treat days” might be best for keeping your low carb diet on track.
Like most foods, cream of chicken soup can be fine for some in moderation but problematic for others due to personal tolerances. Finding the right balance for your body and lifestyle is key.
Cream of chicken soup is relatively high in carbs compared to clear broth-based soups due to its thick, creamy texture. A 1 cup serving has 15g net carbs, which can be challenging to fit into a daily low carb or keto diet.
However, consumed occasionally in controlled portions along with low carb foods, cream soup can be enjoyed by some carb conscious eaters. To make it fit better into a low carb lifestyle, focus on smaller portion sizes, reduced frequency, and modifications like diluting or swapping ingredients.
With some adjustments and awareness of the carb content, the creamy flavors of cream of chicken soup don’t have to be completely avoided on a low carb or keto diet. But it’s important to account for the higher carbs and carefully balance intake alongside other low carb foods.