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Is cream of chicken soup high in sodium?

Cream of chicken soup is a popular canned soup product used in many recipes. However, like many processed and canned foods, it can be high in sodium. In this article, we’ll take a close look at the sodium content of cream of chicken soup and whether it should be limited in a low-sodium diet.

What is cream of chicken soup?

Cream of chicken soup is a thick, creamy soup made with chicken stock and chunks of chicken as the primary ingredients. It typically contains chicken broth, cooked chicken meat, wheat flour or other thickening agents like corn starch, milk or cream, and seasonings.

This style of soup has a velvety, gravy-like texture from being blended or partially blended. The creamy base makes it useful for cooking and as an ingredient in various recipes like casseroles and pot pies.

Cream of chicken soup is sold pre-made in cans and containers at grocery stores for convenience. Popular brands like Campbell’s and Progresso offer several variations, including reduced sodium and organic options.

Nutritional profile of cream of chicken soup

The nutritional content of cream of chicken soup can vary between brands. However, some common attributes include:

  • High in calories and fat due to being cream-based. A 1 cup serving may contain 300-400 calories and 15-25g total fat.
  • High in sodium. A 1 cup serving can range from 600-1200mg sodium.
  • Provides some protein from the chicken, around 8-12g per serving.
  • Contains no fiber and minimal vitamins and minerals.

Here is an overview of the nutrition facts for a 1 cup serving of a typical canned cream of chicken soup (Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup):

Calories 330
Total Fat 16g
Sodium 840mg
Total Carbs 18g
Protein 12g

As you can see, the sodium content per serving is quite high compared to other canned soups. The entire daily recommended limit for sodium is 1500-2300mg, so one cup of cream of chicken soup supplies over one-third of the maximum daily amount.

Why cream of chicken soup is high in sodium

There are a few reasons why cream of chicken soup ends up being so high in sodium:

  • Chicken broth – Chicken broth naturally contains some sodium, which adds to the baseline amount.
  • Added salt – Salt is added liberally during processing to boost flavor.
  • Canned foods – Canned foods tend to be higher in sodium as a preservative and flavor enhancer.
  • Condensed – Condensed cream soups have less water and more sodium concentrated per volume.

Salt enhances the savory umami taste of chicken soup. Manufacturers also rely on sodium for food safety in canning and to increase shelf life. Condensing the soup reduces water content, further elevating the sodium levels.

Variations in sodium content

Not all cream of chicken soups have the same sodium levels. Here is how the sodium can vary:

  • Brand – Sodium ranges from 600-1200mg per serving between brands.
  • Condensed vs ready-to-serve – Condensed soups have higher sodium density.
  • Reduced or low sodium – Some brands offer lower sodium alternatives with 30-50% less sodium.
  • Homemade – Homemade cream soup can have less sodium by adjusting added salt.

For example, Progresso’s ready-to-serve Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup has 700mg sodium per 1 cup serving. Compare this to Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup with 840mg per 1 cup serving. So condensed soup often means more sodium.

Sodium in other cream soups

Cream of chicken isn’t the only condensed cream soup with high sodium levels. Here’s how other popular varieties compare (per 1 cup serving):

Soup Type Sodium (mg)
Cream of mushroom 840mg
Cream of celery 900mg
Cream of potato 610mg

The sodium content ranges from 610-900mg for a 1 cup serving of these cream soups. Cream of celery has the most, while cream of potato has slightly less than cream of chicken.

Is cream of chicken soup part of a low-sodium diet?

For those following low sodium diets, canned cream soups can be tricky. According to dietary guidelines:

  • Low sodium = 140mg or less per serving
  • Reduced sodium = At least 25% less than regular versions

Regular canned cream of chicken soup doesn’t qualify as low sodium. However, some reduced sodium options may fit into a moderately low sodium diet plan allowing around 500-800mg per meal.

Making adjustments when using cream of chicken soup can also help reduce overall sodium levels:

  • Dilute with milk or water to spread sodium over more servings.
  • Substitute part of the soup with Greek yogurt or pureed potatoes for creaminess.
  • Add extra vegetables, chicken, rice or pasta to balance the sodium.
  • Use reduced sodium soup and adjust seasonings to optimize taste.

With creative substitutions and sodium-conscious preparation methods, cream soups can potentially work for those limiting salt intake. But they should be used in moderation.

Low sodium cream soup alternatives

Here are some lower sodium options that can be used instead of canned cream soups:

  • Homemade cream soup with chicken broth, roux, and milk or cream
  • Greek yogurt thinned out with milk or broth
  • Pureed low sodium vegetables like cauliflower or potatoes
  • Beans and starchy vegetables blended smooth
  • Low sodium canned cream soups

These substitutes allow you to control the sodium content by using low or reduced sodium ingredients. They can provide a similar creamy texture and consistency to traditional canned cream soups.


Cream of chicken soup is quite high in sodium, with a 1 cup serving providing over 35% of the daily recommended limit. This is attributed to the sodium naturally present in chicken broth, added salt used in processing, and the condensed nature of the soup.

To reduce sodium intake from cream soups, options include choosing low sodium varieties, diluting and stretching servings, and making substitutions using fresh ingredients. With some adjustments, cream of chicken soup can potentially still be included as part of an overall healthy, low sodium diet.