Garlic Soup

In the realm of garlic soup recipes, this is it. Inspired by a version in Richard Olney's The French Menu Cookbook, it is made by simmering a dozen cloves of garlic in water with a few herbs, then thickening it with a mixture of egg and shredded cheese. So simple and good.

Garlic Soup

I've worked my way through a stack of garlic soup recipes over the years. Some clipped from magazines or torn from newspapers, others scribbled in shorthand on scraps of paper. It is a delicious realm of soups, and there have been plenty of notable bowls amongst them. To that extent, I thought I'd share the one I've turned to most over the past twenty years. It's rooted in a garlic soup published in Richard Olney's classic, The French Menu Cookbook.
garlic soup in a bowl with toasted baguette

Garlic Soup: This Version

Creamy and full-bodied without the use of cream, like the Richard Olney version, this garlic soup is made by simmering a dozen or so cloves of garlic in water with a few herbs, then thickening it with a mixture of egg and shredded cheese. The garlic mellows as it simmers and works itself into something round and mild - not at all harsh or aggressive in flavor or fragrance. It's a restorative soup, one that I make when I want something simple and direct, but with more body than a clear, brothy soup or consommé. I like it on its own. I love it with good bread. Sometimes I pour it over a bowl of hot rice.
half a baguette on a paper bag alongside some torn baguette in a bowl

Garlic Soup Ingredients

  • Garlic: Good garlic is key here. Look for heads that are tight with no discoloration. Press around the outer cloves and move on if you feel any softness or irregularity in the cloves.
  • Herbs: This recipe calls for fresh thyme, rosemary, sage, and a bay leaf. The thyme is arguably the most important of the trio. But feel free to experiment with the herb profile if you like.
  • Water: Yep, water. Not broth. No bouillon is needed. Just go with water.
  • Eggs
  • Cheese: The recipe calls for freshly grated Parmesan cheese. I've also gone the gruyere route if that's what I have on hand. Equally delicious.
  • Salt and Pepper: Take a minute to get your seasoning right here. It's such a simple soup, it's important to get the salt and pepper right. And good, freshly ground black pepper in this soup is a game changer.
  • Extra-virgin Olive Oil: Use a good mild tasting olive oil, one that isn't overly assertive or grassy.


  • Cacio e Pepe Garlic Soup: This one is pretty simple, basically go crazy with the freshly ground black pepper. It combines with the Parmesan cheese in the base recipe in classic fashion.
  • Immunity Garlic Soup: Add a thumb-sized amount of ginger (grated) to the water along with the garlic, plus 1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric, and again, lots of black pepper.
  • Vegan Garlic Soup: Lee made a comment down in the comments about how he successfully veganized this soup. I've since increased the amount of the water in the main recipe (to 6 cups) and would suggest the following based on his note: Follow the garlic soup instructions and add 1/2 cup white rice  and one roughly chopped carrot to the water. Remove the sage and bay after the 30 minute simmer. Transfer remaining solids to blender with half the broth. Add 2 to 4 tablespoons of nutritional yeast while blending. Add back to the remaining broth in the pot, add olive oil to taste, stir, and enjoy.

garlic soup in a bowl with toasted baguette

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Garlic Soup

5 from 3 votes

Before you jump into this recipe I want to call out one step that is extra crucial. When you’re combining the egg mixture with the hot garlic broth, you want to go very slowly. This will prevent the eggs from curdling. It’s not the end of the world if that happens, but that’s more like an egg drop soup or straciattella soup. Both delicious, but here you’re after a creamy uniform texture. Basically, if you've ever made ice cream from scratch, you should have no trouble here. The technique is quite similar.

  • 6 cups / 1.5 quart water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sage leaves
  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • a dozen medium cloves of garlic, smashed peeled, and chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
Binding pommade:
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 ounce freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • to serve: day-old crusty bread & more olive oil to drizzle
  1. Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan and add the bay leaf, sage, thyme, garlic, and salt. Heat to a *very* gentle boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the bay and sage leaves from the pan and remove from heat.
  2. In the meantime, in a medium bowl with a fork, whisk the egg, egg yolks, cheese, and pepper together until creamy. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, beating all the time. Next you’re going to add a bit of broth to the egg mixture. Slowly! Slowly! Trickle a large ladleful of the broth into the egg mixture whisking constantly.
  3. Now stir the contents of the egg mixture bowl into the garlic broth and whisk it continuously over low heat until it thickens slightly. In Olney’s version he states, "just long enough to be no longer watery." I usually let it go a wee-bit beyond that - until it is the consistency of half-and-half or cream. Remove from heat. Place a handful of torn bread chunks into the bottom of each bowl and pour the soup over the bread. Taste, season with more salt and pepper, if needed. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, and serve immediately.


Makes 4-5 cups of soup.

This recipe was adapted from The French Menu Cookbook by Richard Olney. Originally published in 1970, this edition was republished by Ten Speed Press in 2002.

Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Total Time
37 mins
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5 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating


the cooling weather and this beautiful recipe finally turned inspiration into action in my kitchen. i added an extra dimension of garlic with garlic-flavored olive oil (thanx to eric gower, i always have some garlic confit in my fridge!). i highly recommend making extra–my husband devoured it and was highly disappointed that the pot was empty! thanx for sharing this delightful soup. i’m looking forward to many more!!!


I enjoyed reading this, but I’m vegan, so I veganized it and made it tonight. It was great! Thank you for being an inspiration to so many.
Here is my veganized version:
increase liquid to 4-1/2 c water
spices, salt and garlic as above
add 1/3 c white rice
add 1 carrot, roughly chopped
Ignore the egg & cheese binder and do this instead:
When the rice and carrot are tender, remove bay and sage, and transfer remaining solids to a blender with about half the broth. Puree. Add 2 to 4 Tbsp of nutritional yeast while blending. Add back to the remaining broth in the pot, add olive oil to taste, stir, and eat.
(The carrot adds cheesy color and fiber to help thicken, the rice thickens it when pureed.)
Thanks again!


Made this for dinner last night..fantastic! If you are having problems with your eggs “cooking” I think you may be adding the hot broth to the eggs too fast. Very slowly drizzle it in, whisking constantly. Also, I added about 2 cups of broth before adding it to the pot to make sure the eggs mixture is warm enough. Hope that helps.


This sounds like an amazing dish- simple, hearty- just perfect for these fall evenings. I am putting this on my tapas menu since it sounds like something that will really wow our friend David!

Deborah Dowd

Taste was good for sure, but I think I had the same problem as Matt. The eggs ended up cooking in the soup leaving me with steamed, scrambled eggs. An albeit tasty, steamed, scrambled eggs, but still not soup. I’m not sure if the reason for this is because I should have slowly brought the eggs to a higher heat (i.e. slowly ladled more soup to the mixture) or what Matt said, left it in the heat too long b/c even though I whisked the mixture the whole time, the eggs were still cooking on the inside edges where the whisk could not get to all the time.
It is a very good and easy recipe and hopefully I’ll try again another time. 😀


I made this tonight because the cold is finally setting in!
However, I didn’t have any Parmesan so to maintain the salty and creaminess, I combined 1 part chicken broth with 3 parts water for the broth, and then added a splash of milk to the finished soup to cool it down as well as make it richer.
It turned out well! Perfect cold day soup.


Dear Heidi,
I’ve been following your blog for the past year and just wanted to say how much your recipes have opened my eyes to natural, vegetarian cooking. As a fellow photo guy and foodie, you’re site’s far and above the rest.
I just finished this recipe, and it tastes fantastic, the texture is great, but the soup came out looking a little curdled. My best guess is that I left it on the heat too long. Does that sound plausible? All the best, Matt
HS: Hi Matt. It sounds like your eggs cooked all the way. Yeah, you have to be almost overly careful. Next time go more slowly, trickle the broth into the egg mixture and then back into the main pot. Hope you give it another try!


Hi Heidi,
I just stumbled across your blog recently and I have to say, it’s really inspiring.
Your photos are gorgeous, and I love this recipe for garlic soup. I ate something similar once, but it was a cool soup, a gazpacho of sorts. I love that this recipe doesn’t use cream. Will definitely try it out this week!


This recipe is so easy and I can smell the nutty garlic just from reading it! I’m going to have to try this!

Kitchen Kitten

Looks delicious, I have actually never heard of garlic soup before, but I know I would love this soup.

Southern Grace Gourmet

I am not a kind of garlic fan, but it sure sounds delightful, guess i’ll try it once. Thanks for the quiet enthusiastic recipe.


I have a faint memory of making garlic soup when I was younger. It took my whole family gathering in the kitchen to slice up the forty-some cloves of garlic…the soup came out delicious enough that I still remember it, but I don’t think my mom ever found the motivation to make it again. Maybe I’ll recruit some friends for a soup dinner because this sounds absolutely wonderful!


I made this last night and it was amazing. My guests could not stop eating it. I served it with bread on the side rather than putting the bread in the bottom of the bowl, and we essentially used the soup as a dipping sauce. We ended up scrapping the entree because all we wanted was garlic soup and bread!
I’m a huge fan of your blog. Your recipes have inspired me to become a semi-vegetarian (with the occasional fish or chicken dish thrown in).


gotta say, I made this and was not convinced. Until I had it a again a day later.
As with all soups, it needs a day for all the flavors to fuse together and strengthen, proving soups should always be made a day in advance.


I made this soup for a get-together tonight and it was great, except that I read “four cups” as “four servings.” I added a bunch of white beans, a little spinach, and, um, sausage (sorry). Everyone loved it. Thanks so much for the great recipe.


Awesome – just made it for lunch, and the few ingredients made it so I didn’t need to buy anything = key! I’ll have a pic on my blog soon. Thank you!


Talk about timing! I printed out this recipe yesterday afternoon & later that evening my daughter called to ask some questions about “doctoring” herself. She has picked up a nasty cold and is feeling very under the weather. I’m going to run a batch of this up to campus today…I think it will help to perk her up. Thanks Heidi!!


I made the soup last night for my family and they loved it! Such a great recipe and so much fun to cook. I will definitely make it again!


Oooohhh, this sounds beautiful. I love your photos Heidi. They have so much warmth and interest to them.

emma. our kitchen

I made this tonight, and it is just perfect. Will be making it again and again this winter. It’s easy to tell this is a well-worn and well-loved recipe.
That beautiful photo at the top made me laugh remembering your comment about “shooting a lot of brown” during your BlogHer presentation. You really do brown justice, Heidi.


I just got back from a trip to Greece and all I could think about on the plane back was how I was looking forward to fall and comforting soups. I made your rustic cabbage soup last night, which was perfect, and will be making this tonight!


I recently got a big bag of garlic from my CSA and had garlic soup in mind. I was going to wing it, but decided to try your recipe instead. I just finished licking my spoon clean- delicious!


Comment to self recently while cooking: “I think I’ve turned into a french cook in spite of myself” (I was born in Costa Rica to Nicaraguan and Swiss parents!)—this soup certainly proves the point… Can’t wait to try a new technique with now familiar and beloved flavors. Heidi: YOU ROCK!

Karen Schaub

Delicious! I cooked it up with Ginormous Elephant Garlic from the Pt. Reyes Station Farmer’s Market and threw it over some crusty whole wheat levain. It hit the spot! Thanks for the recipe!

Diana Louise

Whooop! So happy to hear that so many of you are enjoying this soup as much as I do! -h


As my daughter said while finishing her bowl of soup tonight, “Who ever thought of making soup entirely from garlic was a genius!”
The whole family just loved this. I served it with olive bread instead of walnut bread.


This sounds so wonderful. Creamy and flavorful, and good to sop up with a hearty bread. I love, also, that this is an excuse to use tons of garlic and really highlight it. Thanks for sharing.

Kylie of Thin Crust, Deep Dish

I went to your site after going to the dentist. I have to have my wisdom teeth pulled on in two weeks. I am making this soup to get me through the painful days.
I also recently discovered I am gluten sensitive, so in lieu of bread, I will pour a big ladle over mashed golden potatoes

Brenda @ Healthy Butterfly

I made this last night and it was DELICIOUS. I wish I’d doubled the recipe. In the interest of full disclosure I must admit that I added some shredded jamon iberico at the end and it truly put it over the top (I thought bacon might overpower) but I tried it before and it was equally addictive. Even my boyfriend–who normally hates it when I make soup for dinner because it doesn’t fill him up–couldn’t get enough of this. Thanks, Heidi!

baguette about it

I made this last night and it was so good. But it only made two bowls and was pretty salty, so I may have let it simmer too long or too high. On the stove now is a version with potatoes and spinach.

Margaret in Pittsburgh

I love garlic!!! This soup sounds fantastic….My vegetarian husband would love this dish : ) Thanks for the recipe.


I made this last night for my extended family of six with a side of roasted acorn squash. It was absolute perfection. I’m eating it again for lunch as we speak and just had to thank you for such a great recipe. This is going in my flu-season repetoire for sure!


Looks excellent – I love, love, love garlic and plan to try this recipe out on friends this weekend. Thanks for the recipe!


Just found your blog and I LOVE it. This soup lokos amazing. I love garlic so much.

Jessica @ How Sweet It Is

Wow! This looks great. I’m planning a diiner party for my husband’s birthday and think this will make a great soup course and will go well with the braised beef braciole stuffed with basil and fresh mozzarella I’m making for the main course.

Faithful Foodie

A comment for MaryB above: I think the garlic soup you’re thinking of is ‘sopa castellana’. I make it a lot in winter, as it’s very easy and quick.


Oh, someone above asked if you could taste the eggs in this. No, you cannot. And the garlic flavor is very mild and mellow. It does have a rich, almost “French” flavor. Almost like onion soup.


I made this soup last night. It was delicious and very rich. I used a can of vegetable broth and water because I thought plain water would be too dull. The cheese did not incorporate into the soup and it did not become creamy like half-and-half, but it was still fantastic. Thank you for a wonderful fall meal!


This was one of the most delicious easy things I’ve made in awhile. I’ve been feeling a little under the weather so this was perfect. This might be my sick-person soup of this fall and winter. Thanks!


This one is definitely getting made. I can’t wait to taste it, sounds absolutely yummy.


I have been making a basic, traditional garlic soup – aigo boulido as they say in Provence. I’ve poached eggs in the broth, had it plain, thrown in brown rice or pasta, simmered veggies in it. Anyway I make it, it’s deeply satisfying.
I have read so many comments about the garlic helping to keep them well or helping them heal and the same has been true for me.

Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

I have been making a basic, traditional garlic soup – aigo boulido as they say in Provence. I’ve poached eggs in the broth, had it plain, thrown in brown rice or pasta, simmered veggies in it. Anyway I make it, it’s deeply satisfying.
I have read so many comments about the garlic helping to keep them well or helping them heal and the same has been true for me.

Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

Your garlic soup sounds delicious – my favorite is a potato/garlic combo from Sweet Basil, a little Italian place in Massachusetts. We have the recipe on our site,!
Happy Soup-ing!

Sarah-Two Blue Lemons

I’ve been making the Gourmet (RIP, alas!) Cookbook version of this aquacotta for years and it’s one of my favorites in cool weather or on sick days. Something from almost nothing.


hey heidi….that garlic soup sounds divine…it sounds like comfort food…in our family we have a yearning for “rasam”..a watery soup made from tomatoes and spices like cumin and pepper ..whenever anyone is ill…gives a nice taste and is totally comforting…your soup reminded me of that..:)
Im gonna try that today…wonderful..thanks!

vijayalakshmi sisodia

Garlic soup! I love your comment about the similarity to making ice cream (hmm…I can’t help but wonder!).


Yummy! I was just thinking about Garlic Soup today; how about that? Great minds think alike lol. And btw I have been trying to take pictures of my cooking, but it’s not as good as yours. What do you use? Do you have an SLR? I just have a Kodak Easy Share. Anyway thanks for another great recipe!
HS: Hi Emily, if you click on the photography tab up above, I write a bit about my cameras and whatnot.


This looks delicious!

Jessica @ Demeter Made

Great recipe…
but AMAZING bowl. Where did you find that antique beauty?!
HS: Hi Michelle, most of the mis-matched bowls I use (day-to-day and in my pictures) I’ve found at flea markets, garage sales, and that sort of thing.


This soup should be renamed yummy fragrant coziness in a bowl!
I am new to your site and loving it! Your pictures really communicate your relationship to food. Simple and pure and with so much appreciation.

Nora Lisman

I’ve never made anything with a binding pomade but mmmmm boy does this look good! I heart thyme and garlic together.

Michelle @ Find Your Balance

question – is this an eggy soup? can you taste the eggs?


Yum; this recipe looks delicious; thank you for this wonderful idea…this is the perfect soup to make on a chilly evening!

The Healthy Apple

Made this tonight and it is just delicious!!! Had everything on hand and it was the perfect remedy for my husband’s flu. Thanks for this and all of your amazing recipes.


This soup looks terrific. I’ve been down with a cold lately and wanted garlic soup so went to my favorite recipe at It has really nice photos and an exceptionally great way to roast the garlic heads that go into the soup. I’ve used the garlic roasting technique for many other things, too, such as for topping crostini.


WONDERFUL use of garlic!


Well, I had no idea what to make for dinner or what I was even hungry for. Now I know the answer to both. Thank you:-).

Thy Hand

My mom made “Garlic Soup”. She was a Spaniard. Her soup had vinegar and home made stale bread broken into pieces and cook in the broth. All I can remember is…it was absolutely delicious. There is a spanish name for it but…I do not know how to spell it…


Heidi, Thank you! I love your food philosophy, recipes, and writing style.
Before I could even get the Buttermilk Summer Squash soup to the table last night, the heat and humidity in Houston returned! Fall weather false alarm I suppose. (We happily sweated it out, and the soup was delicious paired with the Big Sur Hide Bread.)
The Garlic Soup goes on the short list once soup weather returns!


my Spanish mother-in-law makes a similar soup, but instead of using the eggs for a “binding pommade” she just drops them in to boil, egg-drop style. it’s a delicious and convenient way to get a similar result. this version looks absolutely lovely!


Okay, I’m going to make the soup. I’d like to mention how lovely the photos are in this post. I love photos of the details and these tell the story beautifully.

Roberta Boyle

Now won’t that just get the immune system pumping out some goodness into this cold and flu season.

Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen)

This looks amazing. Cream based soups don’t always cooperate with me, so my garlic soup options are limited. I’m really excited to try this!


I can’t wait to try this!


I am going to make this soup, perhaps multiple times, instead of getting a flu shot this year!


Is this not a also a way of making Stracciatella soup, which is a classic Italian soup – sometimes called ‘egg drop soup’. I thought any soup where the main contents was an egg/cheese mixture whisked in, would be catagorized as that type of soup. Just curious. Very tasty though!


Hi, Heidi,
Thanks for all the wonderful recipes. Question for this one…we are not fans of thyme or sage…would anything else work well?


Perfect … it’s garlic season., (I always want to plant more, more, more). I also am very fond of the bowl in your photograph.
All the best,

The Gardener's Eden

mmm… looks fantastic! Can’t wait to make it. 🙂

Tabitha (From Single to Married)

…this i will make in the near future as the evenings begin to cool.
few questions: also, interested in your answer to taghag’s inquiry – chopped vs. pressed garlic? fine grain salt – what exactly works here? or, do you mean simply not to use a coarse/rock type? and, are you a fan of celtic salt? thx!
HS: Hi Tav, I chop garlic sometimes, crush it others – depending on what I’m after. Sometimes I crush it with the flat side of my knife, and then work it into a paste with a bit of salt. It really just depends. As far as salt goes – I use fine grain salt quite a lot as I’m cooking or in baked goods or in casseroles and that sort of thing. When I want an even dispersal of the tiniest grains of salt. But, I often use flakier or chunkier salts as finishing salts. I have an entire box of salts, some from places I’ve traveled, others I’ve ordered because they sound interesting.


Thanks Heidi!
I’ll be making this tonight with duck eggs and also make some kale chips! good alternative to soups to have while sick, i’ve been having a lot of broth lately…


This soup sounds simply fabulous. I cannot wait to try the recipe (and it will certainly help me put a dent in the SIX POUNDS of garlic that I was given this week….)


Wowsa. This looks like *the* garlic soup recipe. I was going to make the sweet potato, kale and ginger soup again because I liked it SO much, but this looks too good not to make first.
And what could be better for a cold then a wack of garlic?

Lucy T.

So making this tonight!!! I can wait! Thank you Heidi!!!! Your site is fabulous!


Thanks for the recipe – I’ve never tried garlic soup before but it sounds great!

Simply Life

Just beautiful! Can’t wait to make this for my dad…a true garlic lover!

The Diary of an Epic Failure

Dear Heidi, this sounds delicious, but mostly I am here to thank you, because for the last few days I have been following your blog, but not only that. Actually, I have decided to change the way me and my family eat. I have made some of your recipes and I must say that they are not only delicious, but my mood changed, my energy levels are higher, I feel happy and light. For years now I have a constipation problem, bloathing, feeling heavy. It is gone! I even sleep better!!!! Thank you so much for changing my life. All best!
HS: Thanks for the nice comment doroula! It’s the sort of note that really makes my day.


this soup is very interesting! I like the garlic taste and the idea to use it in this way is really wonderful


This looks delicious and very unique. I have tried the garlic soup recipe over at Epicurious which contains 40+ cloves of garlic but, somehow, in the soup, it doesn’t feel overpowering at all. This sounds a bit more light so I can’t wait to try it!


I made a garlic soup recipe from Julia C.’s cookbook not too long ago and was worried with the results until the egg yolk concoction was added…”binding pommade” as you put it. Then everything came together.
I can’t wait to try this one!


This soup looks so divinely comforting for chilly fall evenings!


This looks so good! I’ve always been intrigued by garlic soup recipes but never tried any, maybe because my boyfriend routinely accuses me of being “obsessed with garlic”. Your description of this being round and mild might convince him, though!


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