Hot, quickly-eaten foods are often a no-no when you live with GERD, but you can still enjoy soups for GERD by keeping some simple guidelines in mind.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic condition where gastric acid, or stomach acid, backflows through a dysfunctional sphincter into your esophagus.

Because stomach acid production is intrinsically related to your diet composition, what you eat can have a positive or negative impact on the symptoms of GERD.

Soup is a popular option when you’re looking for a nutrient-dense meal, but not all soups are appropriate for GERD. When you do have soup, factors like temperature and speed of consumption can also matter.

Soups come in all flavors and styles, and even classics like chicken noodle soup can have a wide array of recipe variations.

You can eat soup when you live with GERD, but keeping some key factors in mind can help ensure your soup choice doesn’t unintentionally aggravate symptoms.

Temperature and speed of eating

The consumption of too-hot foods, as well as eating too quickly, are factors that may aggravate GERD. Soup is typically served hot — and in some cases, can be consumed quickly by drinking.

A 2019 study on GERD in China found soup was associated with GERD flare-ups, but researchers note the finding is likely related to the temperature of the soup and speed of consumption.

Keeping soup warm but not too hot and slowing down how you eat it may lessen the chances your soup choice will result in GERD symptoms.

Caloric value

Another consideration is the caloric value of your soup choice. Soup isn’t always filling, but it can still be high in calories. Adding soup to your meal may be a sneaky cause of weight gain, another factor that can make GERD worse.


The beauty of soup is that you can put whatever you want in it. This control over ingredients can make homemade soup a superior choice when you’re navigating a health condition.

Foods that are sometimes used in soup but are known to aggravate GERD include:

  • tomatoes
  • spices
  • mint
  • high fat foods (e.g., meats and dairy)
  • simple carbohydrates
  • onions and garlic

This suggests a soup that has a vegetable or chicken base may be better than a beef- or tomato-heavy soup, for example.

In 2018, a population-based study found daily consumption of miso soup — soup made from a soybean-based fermented paste — was associated with fewer GERD symptoms regardless of age, sex, body mass index (BMI), and other lifestyle factors.

Is chicken noodle soup OK for GERD?

Chicken noodle soup can be OK for GERD if it’s made using the dietary guidelines for this condition. That means avoiding onions or garlic and substituting traditional noodles with whole-grain noodles or using no noodles at all.

You can also trade cream bases for broth bases or use nonfat dairy substitutes.

Other classic soups that you can modify to your needs for GERD include:

  • mixed vegetable soup
  • lentil soup
  • Italian wedding soup
  • noncreamy potato soup

Remember, there are no rules to making soup. If you love Italian wedding soup, for example, you can substitute the beef and pork meatballs with a ground turkey option.

How soup affects your stomach acid depends on what’s in it.

In general, foods high in protein — like eggs, cheese, and meat — will encourage gastric acid production, while vegetables promote alkalinity, the opposite of acidity.

If you’re having trouble knowing where to start when it comes to making your own soup, certain foods are less reactive in GERD than others.

GERD-friendly foods to consider using in a soup include:

  • high fiber vegetables, like celery
  • egg whites
  • lean meats, like chicken
  • whole grains or brown rice
  • potatoes/root vegetables
  • unsaturated plant- or fish-based fats

Based on the foods known to potentially cause GERD flare-ups, it may be helpful to avoid soups that are:

  • tomato-based
  • contain beef or high fat meat
  • are made with full fat dairy
  • garlic or onion-focused

When made traditionally, examples of soups to avoid include:

  • tomato soup
  • leek soup
  • French onion soup
  • cream of mushroom soup
  • broccoli cheddar soup
  • New England clam chowder

Since soup ingredients can be just about anything, knowing all the food types that trigger GERD may be helpful.

In addition to tomatoes, spices, and high fat items, you might also want to avoid foods that contain:

  • caffeine
  • coffee
  • chocolate
  • peppermint
  • citrus fruits
  • alcohol
  • carbonation

Soups for GERD follow the basic dietary guidelines for this condition, avoiding high fat items, spices, and acidic foods, among others.

In addition to the ingredients, soup temperature may aggravate your symptoms, and drinking soup too quickly or adding it to an already calorie-dense meal can have a negative impact on GERD.

Guidance from your doctor or a registered dietician can help ensure your choice of soup for GERD is helping, not hurting this condition.