With the temps outside dropping, I’m no longer in the mood to meal-prep chilled options like salads or sandwiches for lunch. So when I saw mason jar soup trending on TikTok, it seemed like the perfect way to make my midday meal a little cozier—and easier too.
The hack promises a tasty and transportable soup without having to spend hours laboring over a stove to get it. It’s also a really convenient way to load up on the protein and fiber that I need to power me through my workday. All you have to do, according to the videos, is gather your ingredients, put them in a glass jar, pour boiling water in it, and wait five minutes for everything to cook. But, after digging into the clips, I had loads of questions: Is it too messy for work? Does it actually taste good? And then, maybe most importantly, is it filling enough to actually keep me satisfied until dinner?
When people around me started pulling out their Uggs, I knew it was the perfect time to try out this trendy soup. I gathered the ingredients listed in the TikTok recipe: chicken bouillon seasoning, soy sauce, chili crisp (for added heat), rice noodles, a protein—in my case, a boiled egg—and veggies (for me, carrots and frozen edamame). The prep came easy; assembling the meal in my jar took under 10 minutes.
I used my office’s coffee machine to pour hot water into my glass container. This is where my experiment turned south: TikTok does not tell you that the liquid just isn’t enough to cook heartier vegetables and starches thoroughly. I ended up with really hard carrots and overly al dente noodles.
It wasn’t a complete shit show, though. The broth was savory and delicious, so I knew if I could solve the texture issues, it really could be a solid hack. Before writing the trend off, I decided to chat with a culinary expert on how to fix it.
First, the add-ins you choose matter if you don’t want to be left with crunchy bites, Brandon Lewis, EdD, professor of culinary sustainability at Johson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, tells SELF. Try tossing in quick-cook rice noodles ($5, Amazon) or 60-second pasta ($2, Walmart), microwavable rice packets, or spiralized root vegetables like butternut squash that soften quickly, he says.