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How To Make Egg Drop Soup

    How To Make Egg Drop Soup

    Around the World in 30 Soups: We teamed with chefs, cookbook authors, and our own Kitchen staff to bring you a global tour of soups from different countries and cultures. This location: China

    China is a vast country with a vast array of soups and stews. Together with one of our editors, Christine Gallary, we chose the one that may be the most well-known to many Americans but also holds significant value for Christine due to her Chinese ancestry.

    You may be familiar with egg drop soup from the bowl that comes with lunch plates at Chinese-American restaurants, where egg strands float in a light and delicious broth. This soup was cooked by my Chinese grandmother, who was also well-known for her slow-simmered broths and soups, but who was also known for making this quick and easy soup. Egg drop soup reminds me of her whenever I see it, and I turn to it when I’m in need of something light, soothing, and warm. Here are the steps to create it at home.

    The Perfect Soup If You’re in a Pinch

    How To Make Egg Drop Soup

    Even though egg drop soup is provided at many Chinese restaurants, my family did not order it when dining out. This soup, often known as egg “flower” soup because the egg strands resemble flower petals, was produced and consumed primarily at home. My grandma and mother turned to this soup in an emergency because it required only three primary ingredients and was simple to prepare.

    Our version typically had corn kernels and occasionally ground pork, but I’ve also had it with soft tofu and read variations that include winter melon or tomato.

    Only Three Simple Ingredients

    The beauty of egg drop soup lies in the fact that it contains only three core ingredients, and they’re all kitchen staples:

    • The most frequent type of broth is chicken broth. I recall with fondness the sound of the can opener working on cans of Swanson’s chicken broth signaling the arrival of egg drop soup.
    • Next, the eggs are carefully beaten so that the whites and yolks are thoroughly combined.
    • Before the eggs are added, a little amount of cornflour is cooked in the broth as a thickening.

    One Bonus from Adding Cornstarch

    How To Make Egg Drop Soup

    This recipe borrows a technique from the egg drop soup recipe from Serious Eats, in which cornflour is added and swirled into the eggs to prevent the formation of protein bonds that cause eggs to become rubbery, leaving them smooth and tender when cooked in broth.

    One of my favorite moments in the kitchen is when I stir the beaten eggs into the simmering soup and they miraculously solidify before my eyes.

    Make It a Meal

    The soup lends itself well to the addition of vegetables, meats, and other seasonings. Experiment with flavorings such as ginger or star anise, which only need around five minutes to infuse flavor into the broth.

    Add cooked proteins or seafood, or even greens or vegetables, to make it a meal. It’s the ideal light supper that comes together in a jiffy, which is great because this soup doesn’t keep well because the eggs lose their consistency when reheated.

    This soup qualifies as an appetizer. Despite its simplicity, I can assure you that your visitors will be ecstatic to see this as you exit the kitchen. This recipe yields four small cups of soup but can be readily adjusted to accommodate a larger number of diners. I typically serve one egg and one to two cups of broth per person.

    I also consume it frequently for dinner. As I indicated previously, adding tofu or cooked vegetables transforms it into a quick, fulfilling supper; the ultimate in comfort food.

    Last but not least, this is not a soup that keeps well. It should be poured directly from the saucepan into the serving dishes and consumed as soon as it has cooled enough to be swallowed.


    • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock or low-sodium broth (32 ounces)
    • Flavoring extras (optional, see below)
    • Salt, tamari, or soy sauce
    • Soup extras (optional, see below)
    • 2 to 4 large eggs
    • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch, divided

    Warm the stock or broth

    How To Make Egg Drop Soup

    In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a boil over medium-high heat. If adding additional flavorings, add them to the saucepan (put the smaller flavoring extras like peppercorns in a tea ball or cheesecloth sachet first). Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the ingredients for 15 minutes. Remove and discard any other flavorings. As necessary, season with salt, tamari, or soy sauce. Add any soup extras (save some scallions for topping the soup at the end if using) and boil for 5 minutes. In the meantime, mix together the eggs and 1 teaspoon of the cornflour in a small bowl using a fork.

    • Add any extra ingredients and whisk the eggs and cornstarch together.
    • Add any soup extras (save some scallions for topping the soup at the end if using) and boil for 5 minutes. In the meantime, mix together the eggs and 1 teaspoon of the cornflour in a small bowl using a fork.

    Whisk more cornstarch into the broth

    Place the one tablespoon of remaining cornflour in a small bowl. Remove approximately 1/4 cup of the broth and whisk until the cornflour is dissolved. Pour this mixture back into the stock and simmer for one or two minutes, or until the broth no longer tastes starchy.

    Drizzle the eggs into the hot broth

    Holding the whisking fork over the bowl, slowly pour the eggs through the prongs while swirling the broth with a wooden spoon in the other hand. Allow the soup to simmer for a few seconds without stirring to finish cooking the eggs. If preferred, garnish with thinly sliced scallions and serve immediately.


    Flavoring extras (use one or all):

    • 1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into rounds
    • 1 stem lemongrass, bruised
    • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
    • 2-star anise
    • 6 to 8 whole cloves
    • 1 cinnamon stick

    Soup extras (use one or all):

    • 1/2 block (7 to 8 ounces) extra-firm tofu, cut into bite-sized pieces
    • 8 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced
    • 1 bunch of baby bok choy, thinly sliced
    • 4 medium scallions, thinly sliced
    • 4 ounces of cooked ground pork
    • 1 (15.25-ounce) can of whole corn kernels, drained
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