Canned Soup Challenge

Canned soup may be viewed as a quick and easy meal, albeit boring, generic, and bland. However, who says that canned soup has to be eaten as is?  With a bit of creativity and a few extra ingredients, possibilities are endless when it comes to kicking up a little ‘ole can of soup.  Why not show your students how to do this by assigning them the Canned Soup Challenge and then let them loose in the kitchen? To round it out, bring in judges to taste and evaluate their final products.


  • Introduce this lesson by having students research the history of canned soup in the “History of Canned Soup Flash Slide” assignment.
  • Students use the internet to research the below questions to create a single flash slide that includes answers.
    • When was canned soup invented?
    • Who invented canned soup?
    • Why was canned soup invented?
    • Provide two ways canned soup benefited families.
    • Include an image of the logo of the company who invented canned soup.
    • Include an image of your favorite canned soup by brand name and flavor.
  • When the assignment is finished, first have students share their flash slide with a randomly assigned partner (tell them to listen carefully) and then as a class.
  • Finally, after students have shared their flash slides with the class, go around the room and ask them to share the favorite canned soup brand name and flavor that their partner liked. Keep a tally to see similarities and differences among the group.


  • iPads or Laptops
  • Projector & Screen


  • Ask students to brainstorm reasons why people like canned soup. Possible answers may include:
    • Quick & Easy to prepare
    • Convenient (little prep/clean-up)
    • Filling
    • Semi-Nutritious (not all soups created equal)
    • Affordable
    • Long Shelf-Life
  • Focus on the “nutrition” part of the list. As stated, not all soups are created equal; meaning some are more or less nutritious than others. While canned soup can be nutritious, it does undergo cooking processes that can account for flavor loss. With that being said, how can we make canned soups not only taste better, but be more nutritious? Let’s find out!
  • Ask students to read the web-article “5 Ways to Make Canned Soup Taste Better” or the video version and complete the notes (see attachments)
  • Now for the fun…assign students the Lab Challenge! Let students choose a canned soup base to shake-up as a cooking challenge and apply what they’ve learned. This can be done as an individual or lab group assignment. If doing individually, students must share with lab group and vote on which will be prepared for the actual challenge. Soup bases to choose from include: butternut squash soup, mushroom soup, pumpkin soup, vegetable soup, tomato soup, or black bean soup. Students must use the article/video notes information to shake up their original can of soup.
  • Using the templates, students plan and create their “new” soup. They must also write a recipe for their new soup and provide a shopping list of supplies with amounts needed for the lab.
  • To illustrate and explain ingredient selections, students will create a #soupbentobox for their new soup using provided directions and template.
  • In the lab, students prepare the soup, dish it up as a “cup of soup”, garnish it and present it to the judges. Students must also create a new name for their soup and provide an ingredient list to present to the judges. If you don’t have judges, students can taste-test each others’ soup and evaluate to find the class favorite.


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