This Is The Most Useful Thing You Can Keep In Your Pantry


A few years back, my friend and neighbor Debbie stopped by with a gift for me, and it ended up being one of the most useful food gifts I’ve ever received! It was a powdery mixture of something she called “SOS Mix,” and while I wasn’t exactly sure what it was at first, I knew that it had to be good. (After all, Debbie had worked for the Utah State University Extension Service with an expertise in Food, Nutrition & Health for over three decades!)

Once she explained the concept of SOS Mix to me and told me how to use it, I could tell it was destined to become a staple in my kitchen. Now I always keep a stash of it in my pantry, and I still consider it one of the most useful things I’ve ever learned how to make!

Related: 10 Surprising Ingredients You Can Make To Save A Trip To The Store

And today I’ll be passing along the magic of SOS Mix to all of you! Once you learn just how useful it is to have on hand, I’m sure you’ll feel as indebted to Debbie as I do! ;-)

So let’s start with the obvious question—what exactly is SOS Mix?


What Is SOS Mix?

“SOS” is an acronym that stands for “soup or sauce,” which is an aptly broad title for an extremely versatile mixture! It’s a dry mix that can be used as a base when making soups and sauces, or it works great as a substitute for cream soup in almost any recipe.

So if you have any recipes that call for a can of cream of mushroom soup or cream of chicken soup, you could “prepare” some SOS Mix by adding water and use that instead. A single batch of SOS Mix can be used to make up to nine cans of cream soup substitute, and with the added benefit of being lighter and taking up less space.

Just in case you need further convincing, I’ve outlined a few of my favorite things about SOS Mix below!


5 Things I Love About About SOS Mix

1. It’s Gluten-Free

One frustrating aspect of cooking for my son with Celiac is that so many store-bought foods (including canned soups) contain some form of gluten! It’s nice to have a cream soup base that’s both naturally gluten-free and easy to make at home.

2. It Contains Simple Ingredients

SOS Mix contains just four simple ingredients (five if you count the optional one) and has no mystery fillers or preservatives. In fact, it’s entirely possible that you already have all the ingredients you need to make it in your kitchen as we speak!

3. It’s Easy To Make

It only takes about three minutes to measure out the ingredients, and then you just have to whisk them together! It literally couldn’t be any easier.

4. It’s Inexpensive

As I mentioned earlier, each batch of SOS Mix contains the equivalent of nine cans of cream soup. Considering that a can of store-bought cream soup costs about $1 on the low end, I did some math to figure out how the cost of a batch of SOS Mix compares.

If you can get a good price on the ingredients by buying them in bulk, you can make a batch of SOS Mix for around $6 in materials. That works out to about $0.70 per “can” of SOS Mix, so you can definitely save yourself some money by making it yourself (especially if it saves you a few trips to the store too!)

5. It’s Versatile

There are so many ways to use this versatile dry mix. In fact, Debbie and a fellow USU Extension Agent put together a FREE recipe booklet that features over 30 recipes you can make using SOS Mix!

How do Macaroni and Cheese, Easy Beef Teriyaki Stir-Fry, and Chicken Pot Pie sound to you? Those are just a few of the mouthwatering offerings you’ll find in their free SOS Mix recipe booklet.


How To Make SOS Mix (AKA Soup Or Sauce Mix)


  1. Add the powdered milk, cornstarch, bouillon, onion flakes, and Italian seasoning (if using) to a mixing bowl.
  2. Whisk until the ingredients are well combined.
  3. Store the finished mixture in an airtight container.

How To Use SOS Mix As A Substitute For A Can Of Cream Soup


  1. Add 1/3 cup of SOS Mix and 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) of water to a saucepan and whisk to combine.
  2. Place the pan on your stovetop and heat until thickened.
  3. Add the thickened cream soup mixture to your recipe.

So there you have it! Now that know everything you need to know about this magical little mixture, I hope you’ll give it a try and let me know what you think!

Do you have a favorite recipe that calls for a can of cream soup?



Jill Nystul
SOS Mix, which stands for "soup or sauce," is a cream soup base that you can use to replace a can of cream soup in all your favorite recipes. It also makes a great base for sauces!
4.58 from 7 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 9 servings
Calories 166 kcal


  • 2 cups dry milk non-fat
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup instant chicken bouillon
  • 2 tbsp dried onion flakes
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning optional


  • Stir all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.


Calories: 166kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 11gFat: 1gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 1722mgPotassium: 553mgSugar: 16gVitamin A: 625IUVitamin C: 2.8mgCalcium: 379mgIron: 0.4mg

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Food & Recipes

  • My father was in the Air Force and called this S,O,S. but it did not mean Soup Or Sauce. It meant S(censored)t on a Shingle. I prefere Soup Or Sauce so thank you for a better name.

    Regardless, I’ve been making this for years and years due to my food allergies. I swap out potato or rice starch for the cornstarch since I’m allergic to corn.

  • Oh wow! Winner winner!! I have often made my own substitute for cream of whatever soup, but it is on a batch to batch basis (as in single use, as needed). This is brilliant! Thank you!

  • Thank you, Jillee! My husband was just diagnosed with congestive heart failure and has been put on a low sodium diet. Cream soups are not an option for us anymore. And although this recipe is high in sodium, if you switch out the bouillon to Herb Ox no sodium bouillon this recipe is doable for us. Thank you so much!

    • Switch out the regular bouillon for Herb Ox No Sodium Bouillon and it takes the sodium to 26 mg a serving. I calculated that with the verywellfit nutrition calculator and used Bob’s Red Mill Non Fat Dry Milk Powder as the brand (you have to pick a brand. It might vary a bit using a different brand but not much.

  • After reading your article, I checked out your website, and i really like your post. It looks massive and pretty cool. It offers a lot of awesome things to do.

    • Years! Check the expiration dates on the various ingredients as you add them. Whichever expiration date is soonest will be the expiration date for your SOS mix :-)

  • This sounds amazing however my granddaughter can have no milk products. If I mix all but the milk, how much would I use along with regular silk milk to equal a can of soup?

    • That is absolutely amazing! I never knew it existed. I have to be lactose free and gluten free, so things are always a problem, one way or another. I believe there is dried coconut milk powder, and I was going to look for that. Cans of cream soups are out for me, unless I make them myself. This recipe is so clever! Thank you so much!!

  • How clever! And thanks for the recipe Jillee, did your neighbour dream it up herself? There have been times when I haven’t had a can of soup needed for a recipe, and it frustrated me!

  • I am going to make this up tonight and give it a try. Also, this would make a great gift idea for the holidays. I usually make one kind of food type gift and one kind of craft type gift for our communal shared holiday gift basket at work; it would be easy to mix up a few of these in a pretty container with the recipe handout–thank you kindly!

  • Jillee,
    You always find the best items for your readers to use and experiment with.
    This is an Awesome recipe and versatile to boot. I will be enjoying all the different ways to use it as well. I will , however, not put the bouillon directly into it because of the sodium content I use Better than Broth and since I found it, I won’t use anything else. But this recipe is so versatile, that I have to at least taste each recipe.

  • I think there’s a typo in the usage instructions. It says to mix some of the SOS sauce with 1/4 cup water or 10 oz. 1/4 cup is 2 ounces.

  • I found this recipe years ago in a cookbook given to me at work. I mix up all but the bullion. (besides I couldn’t find loose granular bullion) If I want the chicken flavor I will use broth to mix the SOS. Since the high sodium comes from the bullion, dropping it from the recipe would make a big difference. I do like using this to using the canned stuff. The dish has a creamyer flavor/texture rather than greasy. This also comes out with the consistency of the canned with water added. so if the recipe calls for no extra water/liquid, to thin the soup, you may have to adjust your recipe to get the consistency you want.

    • I am vegetarian and sometimes I am able to find NO SALT vegetable broth in cubes. I have seen more often chicken and beef “reduced sodium” broth powder . For this mix, I would either smash the 3or 4 cubes or put them together with the other ingredients for a short ride in the mini food processor.

  • Compared to the Campbell’s soup Healthy Request, not loving it. Over double the calories, as well as everything else. Sodium compare is off the board, wow. This is the nutrition on Healthy Request.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size
    1/2 Cup (120mL) Condensed Soup
    About 2.5 Servings Per Container
    Amount per serving
    Calories 60 Calories from Fat 20
    % Daily Value*
    Total Fat2g3%
    Saturated Fat0.5g3%
    Trans Fat0g
    Polyunsaturated Fat1g
    Monounsaturated Fat0.5g
    Total Carbohydrate10g3%
    Dietary Fiber1g4%
    Total Sugars2g

    • Don’t forget to multiply those numbers by 2.5! As noted at the start of the label, those numbers are “per serving” and there are about 2.5 servings per can. So, for instance, the sodium here is 1,025mg. And you could always substitute a lower sodium chicken bouillon, since that’s the source of the high sodium in this recipe. And the beauty of making anything from scratch is that you can adjust it to your preferences!

      • Your list above states that the amounts are “Per Serving”. So why is there a need to multiply the “Per Serving” totals on the can by 2.5?

      • The single serving in the list above makes up an entire ‘can’ worth of soup. You would be using the entire 2.5 servings of the Campbells soup in comparison to one serving of the mix. It’s a little bit confusing unless you think of it in terms of the total amount you would be putting in a recipe.

    • @Maggie Giordano, do the added ingredients in the canned product bother you? I don’t have dietary concerns, but if I did, I’d reduce or substitute to make my own rather than using the mass-produced store-bought product.

  • I saw this a few years ago.,Thanks for posting this with morr info..I’ve been trying to:convince my mom we meed this .My sister in law is totally g free and it’s such a headache when making certain recipes – with their family.

  • This is definitely a recipe I will try! Jillee, thank you for all the tips. I have made everything from skin moisturizers to cleaning the bathroom and MORE, all thanks to you. I just clicked a link about felt tips on the bottom of the chairs, light bulb! My dining room, kitchen, washroom, and little bathroom flooring is being replaced. (Water leak) I have a chair thumper. He pulls out the chair, and thumps it on the floor. Noise reduction and my new floor will stay intact. Thank you!

  • This is a super great idea, I’ll always be grateful to you for it. I can have a meal of leftover meat and vegetables in a creamy sauce in minutes. Magic!
    Thank you!!

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