Unless you’ve spent the past couple of years planting and harvesting all your own food, you’ve probably noticed that just about everything at the grocery store has gotten a lot more expensive. Cereal is suddenly $6 a box. Frozen pizzas cost almost as much as pizzas from some of the cheaper delivery chains. And canned soup—what’s going on here, dudes? At risk of having an “Okay, grandma…let’s get you to bed” moment, we could swear all soup used to cost around $1.99 a can (condensed soups were a fraction of that). Now, four or five bucks is more likely. Anyway, there are still some deals to be found on the best soups from our various taste tests. We scoured our rankings and found the best cheap canned soup that costs $2 or less, listed from cheapest to most expensive.
- Maruchan Lime Chili Shrimp Ramen ($.50)
Grocery store instant ramen is one of the iconic cheap foods, so naturally we had to include a couple on our list of the best cheap soups. Packets of Maruchan ramen will only set you back 50 cents a pack, but we love that this Lime Chili Shrimp flavor tastes like it should cost way more. It’s tangy like real lime juice. The shrimp flavor is present without being too fishy. And it actually has some heat. Toss a couple of boiled shrimp in a bowl of this cheap soup, and that’s a gourmet meal for pennies.
Read the full ranking of the best Maruchan ramen flavors
- Top Ramen Beef ($.59)
Pretty much every Top Ramen flavor is good (although shrimp doesn’t make much of an impression), but the beef flavor is the standout. As Sporked’s Jordan Myrick wrote, “It’s the most intense of any of the broths. It doesn’t just taste like salt. It actually tastes rich and meaty compared to the others.” Really, this cheap soup is better than a lot of pricey instant ramen we’ve tried.
Read the full ranking of the best Top Ramen flavors
- Chef’s Cupboard Cream of Mushroom Soup ($.79)
There’s a lot to love about Aldi’s condensed cream of mushroom soup. Yes, it’s a cheap soup (that’s why it’s on this list), but it’s also thick, rich, and bursting with savory flavor. Mix this with a can of milk for a satisfying lunch or use it in a casserole. As one taste tester said, “It’s fatty and decadent…and I mean all of that in a good way.” This is a cheap canned soup we actually liked better than Campbell’s version.
Read the full ranking of the best cream of mushroom soup
- Campbell’s Condensed Split Pea with Ham & Bacon ($1.72)
Few cheap canned soups are as filling or satisfying as Campbell’s Condensed Split Pea with Ham & Bacon. It’s bursting with firm, protein-packed peas, diced carrots, and smoky bacon fat, which gives it major flavor. If the best split pea soup in our ranking (Andersen’s Creamy Split Pea Soup) costs more than you were hoping to spend, we promise this is a great cheap soup to pair with a buttery grilled cheese sandwich. You can even top it with shredded cheddar cheese and diced onion if you want the Andersen’s experience!
Read the full ranking of the best split pea soup
- Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Soup ($1.79)
Campbell’s Tomato Soup is one of those IYKYK products. Does it taste sort of like hot ketchup? Yes, but that’s what you want from tomato soup once in a while, especially if you’re pairing it with an American cheese grilled cheese to create what is a perennially perfect meal. As Sporked editor-in-chief Justine Sterling said in her review, “It’s sweet and a touch tangy and packed with umami flavors.” If you want to cut some of the tang, mix the concentrate with a can of milk for a quick and easy tomato bisque situation.
Read the full ranking of the best tomato soup
- Chef’s Cupboard Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup ($1.95)
Another Aldi soup makes our list of the best cheap soups, which we suppose isn’t a huge surprise given that Aldi is forever bringing the bargains. While a lot of chicken noodle soups are loaded with flavorless white meat chicken, we got dark meat vibes from the chicken in Chef’s Cupboard Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup. That means it’s a little fattier and a lot more flavorful than other chicken noodle soups. That’s a good meal for less than two bucks.
Read the full ranking of the best chicken noodle soup
- Campbell’s Condensed Minestrone ($1.99)
When we first popped open a can of Campbell’s Condensed Minestrone soup, we didn’t expect a lot from the stuff. But then we prepared it according to the instructions and, voila! It’s delicious. It’s tomatoey, salty, and super savory. There are lots of veggies in the mix to make you feel like you’re hitting a few food groups. And the pasta isn’t total mush. It’s a cheap soup that definitely seems more expensive than it is.
Read the full ranking of the best minestrone soup