Our best cold soup recipes will keep you cool all summer. We’ve got everything from a traditional chilled gazpacho recipe from Southern Spain and a mango gazpacho we first sampled on Mallorca to cold Russian soups such as okroshka, made with kefir, to a Cambodian ‘outside the pot’ soup, prepared in the bowl.
Chilled soups are the absolute best in summer, especially when teamed with a light summer salad. Cold soups are usually a cinch to make, too, and who doesn’t love easy meals on hot evenings. A chilled summer soup is also brilliant on a scorching day.
Our best cold soup recipes will make you a fab starter to a long languorous lunch in the sun on a sultry summer’s afternoon or the perfect takeaway meal packed in a picnic basket for lunch under a beach umbrella on the sand.
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Now let me tell you about our best chilled summer soup recipes.
Our Best Cold Soup Recipes to Keep You Cool All Summer Long
Our best cold summer soup recipes…
Russian Okroshka Soup Recipe
Russians love their soups and there are soups for every season and occasion. You probably know borscht, the hearty beetroot-based vegetable and meat broth that’s one of Russia’s best-known soups, although its provenance is thought to be in Ukraine. You may also know shchi, the Russian cabbage soup that’s one of my favourites that’s beloved by Russians. But you probably haven’t heard of this Russian okroshka soup made with kefir (Окрошка с кефиром) yet it’s one of my best cold soup recipes. Seasonable vegetables such as cucumber and radish can be substituted with whatever’s available that is crisp and crunchy. With a base of fermented kefir it’s also one of the healthiest soups you’ll make, not to mention one of the easiest, coming together in half an hour. There are countless recipes for okroshka. If they’re not made with kefir, they’re prepared with kvass or sour cream, however, they all share some key ingredients and that’s potato, cucumber and radish, and maybe boiled eggs. Fresh fragrant dill is essential. Scallions and mint make this soup for me. Serve with some savoury pirozhki (hand pies) or my petite stuffed cabbage rolls.
Traditional Andalusian Style Gazpacho from Southern Spain
This is the best gazpacho recipe for a traditional Andalusian style gazpacho from southern Spain of the kind that you’ll find in cities such as Seville and it’s another of my best cold soup recipes. This recipe results in a vibrant orange gazpacho that tastes even better the next day. Gazpacho has a long history dating to the Ancient Greek and Roman Empires, when it’s said that soldiers carried stale bread, garlic and olive oil on expeditions, where they used a mortar and pestle to prepare a paste, from which they made a soup. The term ‘gazpacho’ is thought to have derived from the Arabic word for ‘soaked bread’, which makes sense, although some Spanish cookbooks sometimes categorise gazpacho as a salad. If you’re wondering why this gazpacho isn’t more red-coloured, that’s the more tomato-driven, northern-style gazpacho. I’ve seen a dizzying array of ingredients being added to gazpacho recipes that really didn’t need adjusting in the first place, particularly centuries-old gazpacho recipes such as this one that have stood the test of time.
Cambodian Outside of the Pot Soup Recipe for Chrouk Krao Chhnang
This Cambodian outside of the pot soup recipe makes Chrouk Krao Chhnang in Khmer, another of our best cold soup recipes. Typically eaten cool or at room temperature, it’s made for the hot Northern Southeast Asian summer, when the region experiences some of its highest temperatures. Super easy to pull together, it’s made by preparing the ingredients, placing them in bowls, then pouring hot water into the bowls, allowing the soup to cool, then adding seasoning and fresh aromatic herbs. It’s a very versatile soup and is perhaps one of the most reinterpreted, deconstructed and reconstructed of all Cambodian dishes that (pre-pandemic) you’d find on gourmet tasting menus at Siem Reap’s finest Cambodian restaurants, such as chef Sothea Seng’s Lum Orng Farm to Table restaurant, the Kimsan ‘twins’ restaurant Embassy, and Joannès Rivière’s Cuisine Wat Damnak. Expect to be served anything from a full-flavoured soup featuring fillets of fresh local fish instead of small torn pieces of smoked dried fish to a delicate mound of julienned cucumbers topped with crispy fried fish, sprinkled with edible flowers, and the clearest of consommés poured by the waiter at the table.
Russian Cold Beetroot Soup Recipe for Holodnik
Another of my best cold soup recipes, this Russian chilled beetroot soup recipe makes holodnik (Холодник), which translates to ‘cold soup’, It’s sometimes called ‘summer borscht’ – although that would actually be svekolnik (Свекольник) – however, it does share a key ingredient in beetroot. If you’re a beetroot lover as I am and you enjoy Russian or Ukrainian borscht (the hot kind) and Russian beetroot and potato salad, then you are going to love this chilled pink beetroot-based soup, brimming with cooling cucumbers and aromatic dill. Roast the beetroots and when they’re cool, remove the skins by rubbing them with a paper towel or use a vegetable peeler or paring knife. I julienne or grate them with a box grater as the soup should have texture and not taste like a smoothie. Dice your cucumbers as small as you can, using a good chef’s knife or a multi-function, mandolin. (You can also use that to make my Russian eggplant caviar recipe for ikra.) Do as the Russians do and add a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle on even more fresh fragrant dill. And if it’s not sweltering, turn up the air-con and make some kotleti chicken meat patties and a crisp Russian garden salad.
Mango Gazpacho Recipe for Gazpacho de Mango
This mango gazpacho recipe, called gazpacho de mango in Spain where it originates, is another of my best cold soup recipes. Coming from a family of chilled soups that are typically consumed on sizzling summer days. In fact, for most Spaniards and Catalans, gazpacho is a cold drink not a soup and has historically been served in a cup or glass rather than a bowl. At a fine dining restaurant in Barcelona or Madrid, it will probably come in a shot glass as an amuse-bouche. While gazpacho de mango is found mostly on menus at creative restaurants in Catalunya and on Mallorca, this cold summer soup may have originated in Spain’s mango growing region in Andalusia, home also to the classic tomato-based gazpacho Andaluz, above. We first tried it many years ago at Restaurant Marc Fosh in Palma de Mallorca, where we interviewed the chef and did a cooking class with him. He did a delicious mango gazpacho with shrimp, and a wonderful watermelon gazpacho with seared tuna, prosciutto and crispy pancetta.
Chilled Pea and Mint Soup Recipe
This chilled pea and mint soup recipe makes an easy no-cook cold summer soup. Fresh, fragrant and cooling thanks to the cucumber, mint and basil, this healthy vegetarian soup can be transformed into a vegan soup if you skip the sour cream. If you loved the gazpacho recipe from southern Spain above, then you’re also going to enjoy this gorgeous green summer soup that contains more than just peas and mint: crunchy cucumber, zingy onion and garlic, and aromatic basil. One of the things I love about this cold summer soup recipe is that it’s versatile. You could certainly make this with green peas and mint, and while those greens still dominate, I also love this chilled soup with cucumber, onion, garlic, and basil, which makes it taste more like green gazpacho. Dilute the soup with water, puree it and you can drink it out of a glass. Peel the cucumbers and strain for a lighter, more refined soup and add coriander and dill. Ladle the soup into big bowls for a light yet filling meal, distribute it across smaller bowls for appetisers or pour it into shot glasses as an amuse bouche for a dinner party.
Please do let us know in the comments below if you make one of our best cold summer soup recipes as we’d love to know how they turn out for you.