We investigated whether repeated consumption of a low-energy-dense (LED; 208 kJ/100 g) or high-energy-dense (HED; 645 kJ/100 g) soup modifies expectations relating to the satiating capacity of the food, and its subsequent intake. In study 1, participants consumed either a novel-flavoured LED (n 32; 21 (sd 1·6) years, BMI 21·4 (sd 1·6) kg/m2) or HED soup (n 32; 21 (sd 1·6) years, BMI 21·3 (sd 1·7) kg/m2). Soup was served in a fixed amount on days 1–4 and ad libitum on day 5. ‘Expected satiation’ was measured on days 1, 2 and 5. Expected satiation did not change after repeated consumption of the LED or HED soup. Ad libitum intake did not differ between the LED (461 (sd 213) g) and HED soup (391 (sd 164) g). Only on day 1, expected satiation was higher for the HED soup than for the LED soup (P = 0·03), suggesting a role for sensory attributes in expected satiation. In study 2, thirty participants (21 (sd 1·6) years, BMI 21·3 (sd 1·7) kg/m2) performed a single measurement of expected satiation of the LED and HED soup, and four commercially available types of soup. Ratings on sensory attributes were associated with expected satiation. Results on expected satiation coincided with those of study 1. Thickness and intensity of taste were independently associated with expected satiation. Expectations may initially rely on sensory attributes and previous experiences, and are not easily changed.