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5 easy chilled-soup recipes for hot summer days

By Tanya Lara Published Apr 06, 2021 7:04 pm

You want to eat soup—but holy crap it’s 34 degrees outside! Soup doesn’t always have to be hot. In fact, in many countries soup goes from hot and heavy in the winter to warm you up to chilled during summer to cool you down.

Spain’s gazpacho is probably the most famous chilled soup. The tomato-based soup originated from Andalusia, one of the hottest regions in Spain. Sevilla, for instance, is called “the frying pan of Spain,” where temperature reaches the mid-40s in summer.

Also called gazpacho Andaluz or Andalusian gazpacho, the soup was considered peasant food until it became as well loved in cities too.

There are many versions of gazpacho (thick, light, creamy or not), all of them refreshing.

Spanish chef Gabriela Llamas said in a column special to the Washington Post, “In Spain, there are as many gazpachos as there are Spaniards. Every family here has its own recipe with its own little changes.”

Below are some easy cold-soup recipes you can make during summer—and that means all year round in the Philippines. All of them are served chilled. 

Recipe by chef Gabriela Llamas,

Photo by Dixie D. Vereen/Washington Post


(The vegetables need to marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours and preferably overnight.)

2½ lbs. tomatoes and their juices, hulled and chopped, plus diced tomatoes for garnish

1 small seeded, chopped red bell pepper, plus diced red bell pepper for garnish

2⁄3 cup peeled, chopped cucumber (seedless or seeded), plus diced cucumber for garnish

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 slice day-old bread (crusts removed), torn into small pieces, plus small croutons for garnish (optional)

1½ teaspoons kosher or sea salt, or more as needed

1½ tablespoons sherry vinegar, or more as needed

Small pinch ground cumin (optional)

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for optional drizzling (see headnote)

Diced white onion, for garnish

Diced green bell pepper, for garnish

Combine the chopped tomatoes, red bell pepper, cucumber, garlic and bread, if using, in an earthenware or glass bowl. Add the salt, vinegar and cumin, if using, tossing to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least a few hours and preferably overnight.

To make the soup the traditional way, mash all the ingredients in the bowl. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a separate bowl, then, working in batches, use a flexible spatula to push the mashed mixture, including its liquid, through the strainer. After you have extracted as much moisture as possible from the solids, discard them.

Faster ways: Process the marinated mixture through a hand-cranked food mill (using its smallest-holed screen); or place the marinated vegetables and their liquid in a high-powered blender and puree on the highest speed for about 1½ minutes, then strain through a fine-mesh strainer. (Discard the solids afterward for both of those methods, too.)

Stir the oil into the strained gazpacho. Taste; add salt and/or vinegar, as needed. Transfer to an airtight container; refrigerate until ready to use.

Serve chilled, with the garnishes on the side—diced tomato, cucumber, onion, and red and green pepper; and croutons, if using—for everyone to help themselves. Drizzle with a little oil, if desired.

Cucumber-tomatillo gazpacho
Recipe by Christina Chaey,

Photo by Alex Lau/Bon Appetit


1 lb. English hothouse cucumbers (about 1), halved, seeds removed

1 lb. tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed

½ medium onion, thinly sliced, rinsed under cold water

½ poblano chile, seeds removed

1 garlic clove

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, plus leaves for serving

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Blend cucumbers, tomatillos, onion, chile, garlic, oil, vinegar, parsley, and chopped cilantro in a blender until very smooth; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to an airtight container, cover, and chill at least 2 hours.

Serve topped with cilantro leaves.

Do ahead: Gazpacho can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.

Coconut corn soup
Recipe by the editors of

Photo by Chelsea Kyle, food styling by Anna Stockwell/Epicurious


2 tbsp virgin coconut oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 (1/2") piece ginger, peeled, finely chopped (about 1 ½ teaspoons)

¼ tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste

6 ears of corn, kernels cut off (about 5 ½ cups), cobs reserved

1 Yukon Gold potato peeled, cut into ½” cubes

1 can coconut milk

2 (2”) strips lime zest

½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes

2 tbsp fresh lime juice

Diced avocado, cilantro leaves with tender stems, and lime wedges (for serving)

Melt coconut oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add onion, ginger, tumeric, and ½ tsp salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, 8–10 minutes.

Break corncobs in half and add to pot along with corn kernels, potato, coconut milk, lime zest, and 1½ cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook until potato is tender, 20–25 minutes.

Discard corncobs and lime zest, then transfer soup to a blender. Add ½ tsp. salt and purée until smooth. Let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a large bowl and chill, covered, at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread coconut flakes on a small rimmed baking sheet and toast, tossing occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes; transfer to a plate.

Stir lime juice into soup and adjust seasonings, thinning with water, if needed. Divide soup among bowls, then top with toasted coconut, avocado, and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges alongside.

Do ahead: Soup can be made 4 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Beet soup
Recipe by Ren Behan,

Photo from


600 g 5-6 medium sized fresh beets, with stalks

750 ml cold water (or enough to cover the beets)

500 ml chicken or vegetable stock

1 tbsp sugar

300 ml buttermilk

150 ml full-fat natural yogurt

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp sugar

Sea salt and black pepper

To serve:

Fresh dill, or chives, finely chopped

½ an English cucumber, peeled, very finely sliced

4 radishes, very finely sliced

2 hard-boiled eggs, cooled, peeled

Wash the beetroot (including the stalks and leaves) very thoroughly. Chop the stalks into small pieces and peel the beetroot. Grate the beetroot (you may want to wear gloves!) and put the beetroot and stalks in a large pan. Cover with 750ml cold water. Bring to the boil slowly, then turn down the heat and very gently simmer for 20 minutes. It’s important that the soup doesn’t boil too rapidly.

Once the beetroot has softened, pour in the chicken or vegetable stock, add the sugar, stir well and leave to cool until completely cold. Refrigerate if necessary.

You can, if you like, slightly blend the soup at this stage with a stick blender. You’ll get a richer colour if you do.

To the cold soup, add the buttermilk and yoghurt and stir. Taste; if the soup has quite a sweet flavour, add the lemon juice. Season with sea salt and a little black pepper.

To serve the soup, stir through some finely chopped fresh dill and garnish the soup with cucumber and radish. Traditionally this cold beetroot soup is also served with cooled, boiled eggs. 

Avocado and crab soup
By chefs Rico Torres and Diego Galicia,

Photo by Bobby Fisher/Food and Wine


3 large Hass avocados—halved, pitted and peeled

2 cups cold vegetable stock, preferably homemade

¼ cup plus 1 tbsp fresh lime juice

½ cup heavy cream

Kosher salt

Canola oil, for frying

4 medium serrano chiles, thinly sliced crosswise with seeds

1/2 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over

Mexican crema and micro cilantro, for garnish

In a food processor, combine the avocados, stock, 1 cup of water and ¼ cup lime juice and puree until very smooth. With the machine on, gradually add the heavy cream. Strain through a fine sieve into a large bowl, then season with salt. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour. 

In a medium saucepan, heat ¼ inch of canola oil until shimmering. Add the serranos and fry over moderately high heat, stirring, until lightly browned and crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.

In a medium bowl, gently toss the crab with the remaining 1 tablespoon of lime juice. Ladle the chilled soup into bowls and top with the crab and crispy serranos. Garnish with crema and cilantro and serve. 

Do ahead: The avocado soup can be refrigerated overnight.