Fast food is the easiest and most readily available food around in the modern day.
There is no city or town in the world that does not have at least one fast food stand or stall that rapidly fires out food like a paintball gun into the mouths of its customers.
Sometimes, though, we want something a little lighter than the regular fast food affair.
This can be sandwiches or salads, but for a lot of people that will mean a lovely, piping hot bowl of soup.
However, lunch breaks are often only an hour long, and you don’t want to waste time browsing different restaurants to find the perfect soup.
Therefore, we have decided to create a list detailing the 8 best fast food restaurants you can find that also serve a good soup.
We start with the undisputed king of chicken sandwiches and the largest restaurant that specializes in them, Chick-fil-A.
Founded by S. Truett Cathy in 1946 in Hapeville, Georgia, Chick-fil-A has become increasingly popular over the last 20 years due to focusing on good quality food and great customer service.
This in turn has been well received by the general public, who are more aware of what goes into their food than ever, and currently it has the highest sales of any fast food restaurant in the US.
The restaurant is well known for its chicken sandwiches, waffle fries, and nuggets, but it also delves into other more niche areas as well.
One of these is in soups. At this point in time, the company only offers two types of soup: that of the chicken tortilla soup and the chicken noodle soup.
It should be noted that while the chicken noodle soup is offered all year round, the chicken tortilla soup is a seasonal item.
The chicken tortilla soup is filled with shredded chicken, beans, spices, and vegetables that have been mixed into a thick and creamy soup base.
The spice gives the soup a little heat and the entire affair is topped with tortilla chips, adding a distinctive crunch to the smooth, creamy soup.
The chicken noodle soup is lighter, as it uses a broth base instead of a soup base. It has chicken breasts, carrots, egg noodles, and celery in it.
The healthier, filling, and warm nature of the soup means that it is slightly healthier than most other items on the menu.
2. Panera Bread
Of all the restaurants on this list, you would expect to see Panera Bread here somewhere, especially considering it is about soup.
Founded in 1987 by Ken and Linda Rosenthal in Kirkwood, Missouri, Panera Bread has always presented a bakery/café style theme to its restaurant and sells products in line with that.
The cornerstone of Panera Bread’s menu (see also ‘12 Tastiest Panera Salads To Buy‘) is about healthier, more filling options and revolves around bakery items, salads, pasta, sandwiches, specialty drinks, and of course soup.
After, what good is a delicious hunk of artisan bread if you have no soup to dunk it into?
There are an absolute ton of soup options when you are looking at the Panera Bread menu, with customer favorites being the broccoli cheddar soup, home style chicken noodle soup, cream of chicken and wild rice soup, Thai chicken soup, and cream of tomato soup.
However, people will often choose the perfect soup to pair with their sandwich or bread of choice.
For example, if you have a lovely ham sandwich, you might want to match the saltiness of it with a sharp and rich broccoli and cheddar soup.
Speaking of broccoli and cheddar soup, it is by far the most beloved soup on the menu and is ordered routinely by anyone who goes to Panera Bread on the regular (see also ‘7 Best Soups From Panera Bread‘).
It is especially good in their bread bowl option.
A surprising entry on this list as Wendy’s is primarily known as a hamburger restaurant, the third largest in the world in fact.
Founded in 1969 by Dave Thomas in Columbus, Ohio, it is known for its square burgers, sea salt fries, the Frosty ice cream, and of course the red haired pig tailed mascot, Wendy.
Considering that almost all its menu items are either broiled or fried in some capacity, it is surprising that it would be on a list of the best fast food restaurants with soups.
But its chili is actually a kind of soup, since it is not thick enough to be a sauce.
This chili is one of the bestsellers at Wendy’s, competing with the Frosty and the Baconator.
Considering that Wendy’s is from the cold of Ohio, it is not surprising that many people would order a soup that could warm a dead soul.
The chili itself is filled with ground beef, red kidney beans, garlic, onion, celery, tomato, chili powder, cumin, and a mix of other ingredients.
The fact that this burger chain can make a good chili soup is outstanding, if not amazing, and what’s even more amazing is that this chili is not offered everywhere, meaning that those popularity sales are only from a localized area.
If that doesn’t speak to quality, we don’t know what will.
If you are after a fast food joint that has a healthy angle, and you can see the food being prepared in front of you, then Chipotle is the best choice for you.
Founded in 1993 by Steve Ells in Denver, Colorado, this Mexican-themed chain restaurant is – and always has been – about serving fresh, wholesome food that is as close to its natural state as possible.
The menu normally specializes in making fresh tacos, mission burritos, bowls, quesadillas, and salads for their customers, however in recent years they have begun to expand the menu to include other more niche items as well.
These can be company-wide or be localized to a certain area, for example, some restaurants sell beer.
Over the years, Chipotle has tried to roll out a number of different soup options and other foods, including the Pozole soup.
However, almost all of these have been discontinued, except for one. In 2021, Chipotle released the cilantro soup in the Chicago area to test whether it was popular. It sold out within the first day.
This soup is absolutely delicious – for those that like cilantro – but it is only available from select stores, and most of them are in the Chicago area.
Therefore, if you want to try this soup, then you are going to have to travel to Chicago or another select store to do so.
5. Long John Silver’s
The king of seafood restaurants, Long John Silver’s is a favorite among lovers of fish and seafood alike.
Founded in 1969 by Jim Patterson in Lexington, Kentucky, they are famous for serving delicious, highly affordable seafood without a person having to break the bank to get it.
They have gone up and down over the years with pricing, management changes, and different menu items, especially as the availability of seafood has risen and fallen as well.
But one thing that has remained on the menu and never changed has been that of their Chowder.
Considering the chain gets its theme and inspiration from Cape Cod style restaurants, you would expect it to serve a mean clam chowder.
A clam chowder is a soup originally hailing from New England that is made with potatoes, clam broth, onion, celery, and clams that have been shucked from their shell.
It is a thick, creamy soup that gives a rich taste of the Atlantic Ocean without being too overpowering in fishy flavor.
If it is a cold winter’s day, and you need to warm your soul or body, then clam chowder from Long John Silver’s is the way to go.
It might not be the king of the sandwich fast food restaurants, but it is certainly one of the best. Blimpie is a great chain restaurant for lovers of submarine sandwiches and good service.
They were founded in 1964 by three friends in Hoboken, New Jersey, who loved sandwiches and thought that a sandwich shop would do well in Hoboken.
This turned out to be correct, and now Blimpie has over 150 stores across the country.
The selection of sandwich options is very wide and people love the creativity that is put into the sandwiches, however they also offer a rotating range of soups that act kind of like a soup of the day.
The soup that is on offer depends on the day and the location of the Blimpie, but generally they are all classic soup varieties, like broccoli and cheese, minestrone, and chicken noodle.
The rotating soups mean that each one is prepared well and with perfection, while having them on offer with sandwiches presents the perfect lunchtime combo.
Considering the variety of sandwiches and the rotating soups, you can match a new sandwich to a new soup every day, keeping you on your toes, refreshed from the food, and having a little fun as well.
Culver’s might be the most Wisconsin chain restaurant to ever exist. Founded in Sauk City, Wisconsin in 1984 by the Culver family, the food that they sell is distinctly from the Northern United States.
Its most popular and famous foods are butter burgers, cheese curds, and frozen custard, all of which could be found in any Wisconsinite home.
However, this doesn’t mean that they don’t include other menu items. In fact, they have incorporated a ton of new products, like chicken sandwiches, fish, and salads, onto the menu with some old favorites as well.
They have a huge range of soup selection, with each soup being as hearty as possible.
The ten soups include: chili, chili supreme, clam chowder, broccoli cheese, chicken noodle, tomato Florentine, potato and bacon, vegetable beef, wild and brown rice with chicken, and stuffed green pepper soup.
The fact that Culvers offers so many soups, when their forte leans more towards hamburger fast food, is amazing and each of the soups deserve being tried by anyone who is looking for something a little lighter on the menu.
8. Taco Bell
Our final entrant on the list is another surprising one, on par with Wendy’s. Taco Bell (see also ‘11 Taco Bell Gluten Free Menu Items‘) is one of the most famous fast food chains in the world, having over 7000 locations worldwide.
Founded in 1962 by Glen Bell, the chain sells Mexican-themed foods, revolving mostly around hard shelled tacos.
Standard meals from Taco Bell generally consist of hard shelled tacos with fillings, fries, and a drink, with some other items regularly seen as well.
As such, you would be forgiven for wondering when and what kind of soup do they actually sell?
In actuality, they don’t sell soup, but you can convert a chicken taco into a soup if you want, which is called a Rolled Chicken Taco Bisque. Within this soup is cilantro, tomatoes, oregano, onion, and garlic.
Technically, this request is normally only done on Thanksgiving, but no one will mind or care that you are making it at other points of the year as long as they are still serving rolled chicken tacos at that Taco Bell.
As you can see, there are many fast food places that serve plentiful options for soup that are good and cheap at the same time.
While many other fast food places will offer soups, they won’t do it quite as well as the places we have down on this list.