What Is Gouda Soup?

C. Mitchell

Gouda soup is a general term that can apply to any sort of soup made with Gouda cheese. Usually, only a small amount of shredded cheese is required. As the soup is heating, the cheese will melt, adding a unique creamy consistency to the finished product. It is possible to make a Gouda-only soup, but the result is often too rich. Most recipes incorporate other ingredients, particularly potatoes and peppers.

Wedge of Gouda cheese.
Wedge of Gouda cheese.

In most all iterations, Gouda soup is cream-based, which is to say that is lacks a clear broth: its texture is usually thick and rich. Gouda is a naturally creamy cheese and often takes the place of additional cream or butter in a recipe. When added to a boiling soup, the cheese will melt, lending both richness and taste. Cooking with Gouda is normally simple, as the cheese melts consistently and easily in most cases.

Wheel of Gouda.
Wheel of Gouda.

Gouda is a cheese with a very distinctive flavor. The original recipe traces its origins to the city of Gouda in what is now the Netherlands. Dutch cheese makers are among the most famous Gouda producers, though the cheese is manufactured in many markets around the world. There exist several types of Gouda, but all varieties carry similar characteristics.

The cheese is always made with cow’s milk, for instance, and is almost always pressed into a round mold. It rarely contains any additions, but the flavor is often enhanced during aging through smoking or brining. The result is a range of related flavors, all with a comparable texture that shreds and melts well.

It is likely that the Dutch pioneered the first Gouda soup by adding cheese to existing potato and vegetable broths. Early Dutch people ate a lot of vegetable-based soups, and adding homemade cheese was a way to liven the dishes and make them more flavorful without incurring additional expense. Meals with Gouda have long been popular in the Netherlands. As the cheese grew in global popularity, so did its addition to soup. Cooks all over the world frequently add their own twists and innovations.

An Oktoberfest-style Gouda soup, made with beer, Gouda, and other types of cheese — particularly cheddar — is popular in Germany. Cooks throughout North America also add Gouda to roasted red pepper soups, squash soups, and even sweet potato soups. There really are no limits to what a Gouda soup must look like. The cheese must normally be added as a main ingredient — a simple garnish is not normally enough — but when it comes down to how much cheese must be added and what complementary flavors must be present, much is left up to the individual cook.

The cheese market in Gouda is one of the last commercial cheese markets in the Netherlands.
The cheese market in Gouda is one of the last commercial cheese markets in the Netherlands.

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