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 2 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
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

Post Your Comment


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, Michaela

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 kiss fra


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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