Why Saute Vegetables Going Into Slow Cooked Soup?

Joined Feb 19, 2003
Why do most recipes call for the sauteing of vegetables prior to adding them to slow cooked soup?

By slow cooked, I mean soup that will be cooked for more than an hour or so. It seems to me that the vegetables are going to get more than well cooked enough in the boiling/simmering stages, and they're going to get quite soft whether they are sauted first or not.

For a soup that cooks fast, or if vegetables are added near the end of the cooking stage so they retain a somewhat crispy tooth, I can see the logic to sauteing them first.
Joined Apr 3, 2008
You're right, many recipes ask you to saute or roast vegetables before adding them to a soup base. It's not necessary but doing so caramelizes them and brings in another dimension of flavor, a more robust flavor. I tend to roast or sautee vegetables when I'm making a vegetable broth because it gives my broth oomph. It all depends on what you need your stock for.
Joined Jan 10, 2010
Also, roasting, and to a lesser extent, sauteing, adds a little color to the soup or stock.

Joined Mar 22, 2008
don't forget flavor as well....a carmelized vegetable adds more flavor to a stock than a raw one. It depends on what you desire in your final product.


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
Depends on the soup. but texture IS part of it.

Take onions for example. You can cook them tender in a soup or saute, but once they are introduced to an ingredient more acid than they are they won't get more tender. So if you've got tomatoes in that long cooking soup, you'll need to tenderize the onions before the tomatoes get added or do it in a sauté pan.

Also as mentioned, color will develop in a saute pan that won't in the soup as the temperature won't get high enough. Also some flavors can be brought out in a sauté but not in a soup, again because of the higher temperature the ingredient can be subjected to.

Flavor is an issue. If you put the ingredients in early in the soup, they'll offer up their flavor to the broth but retain little themselves. So you will see ingredients sautéd and added late in the cooking.
Joined Aug 13, 2006
When i first learned to sautee (it seems hundreds of years ago now) I did it for all soups. Then i realized that i some cases i actually preferred the taste without sauteeing.

In the case of escarole soup, for instance, i think the sauteed onion distracts from the taste of the soup. Even in minestrone, I prefer unsauteed onion, celery, etc.

There is also a tomato sauce made with fresh tomatoes in season, with celery, carrot, onion and garlic, all put in raw in chunks and boiled till tender, then blended and butter added at the last minute. Nothing can beat that fresh flavor.

But for other sauces and soups, sauteeing is essential. Question of taste.
Joined Jan 23, 2010
aside from the cooking process and texture of roasting vegetables for a soup, i find it also makes a difference to what is displayed on the menu or specials board

instead of just having: 'soup of the day is ... butternut squash with sweet potato and coriander' it sounds better to have ... 'roasted butternut squash and sweet potato with coriander'

sometimes you have to check what is displayed on the menu to the customer, if it says 'roast parsnip and chestnut soup' then that's how you should be cooking it, roasting the parsnips before they go into the soup
Joined Sep 10, 2012
If you want the flavour - without the soggy veggies - roast or saute your veggies first, and set aside. Add them to your 'soup' and simmer for about 15-20 minutes before serving.
Joined Sep 5, 2008
It all depends on the flavor profile you're after. Your soup will taste like what you put in it: 

- If you saute your veggies, your soup will taste of sauteed veggies. 

- If you roast your veggies, your soup will taste of roasted veggies. 

- If you sweat your veggies, your soup will taste of sweated veggies (I actually quite like that taste). 

- If you put them raw, your soup will taste of boiled veggies. 

Nothing wrong with either of those techniques, they just yield different flavors. 
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