12 International Soup Recipes To Warm Your Soul

They say music is the universal language. They’re wrong. Soup is.

On a frigid winter day, there’s nothing better than a bowl of piping hot soup. Don’t argue; you know it’s true. Whether it’s a creamy chowder, a flavorful broth or a hearty stew, soup comforts you and makes you feel like a newborn swaddled in a blanket.

We often play it safe when ordering soup here in the United States. We’ll stick to what we know: a chicken noodle or a tomato, a clam chowder or a lentil. But there are so many delicious soups that we’ve never had the opportunity to sample. Here are 12 amazing recipes from around the world to get you through the winter (and beyond).

1. Pasta e Fagioli — Italy

Pasta e fagioli
Photo: Memorie di Angelina

This extremely popular Italian soup is primarily made of the ingredients in its name, pasta and beans. Pasta e fagioli is served in various regions across Italy (and internationally), but the recipe differs slightly depending on where you are. This tasty recipe gives you options for adding a personal touch to your soup and for making it vegetarian- or vegan-friendly.


2. Pozole — Mexico

Photo: mylatinatable.com

Although eaten year-round in Mexico, pozole is particularly delightful on a cold winter day. It’s a pork-based soup with chilies, tomato, hominy (dried corn kernels soaked in an alkaline solution) and plenty of spices. Serve it with tortilla chips on top to give it a nice crunch. Here’s an authentic pozole recipe for you to try.


3. Wedang Ronde — Indonesia

Wedang Ronde
Photo: Fauzan Alfi | Flickr

Indonesians often refer to wedang ronde as a beverage, but Westerners would likely classify it as a soup. The base is a ginger broth and inside are balls of rice flour dough filled with fried peanuts. According to this recipe from the Daily Roar, the dish is often eaten at night, when it’s slightly cooler in Indonesia, or when it’s raining.


4. Kartoffelsuppe — Germany

Photo: The Kitchen Maus

Germans tend to be highly skilled at making things out of potatoes. Kartoffelsuppe (classic potato soup) is no exception. The recipes vary between regions, and even families, but this one is a particularly nice version of the hearty German soup. The recipe calls for gold potatoes, thick-cut bacon, leeks, veggies and cream. It’s all combined in a chicken broth and served with sliced sausages.


5. Sancocho Trifásico — Colombia

Photo: mycolombianrecipes.com

Sancocho is a traditional Latin American stew served in many varieties that differ from country to country. What do they all have in common? Meat, starch and vegetables. This particular recipe is for a Colombian sancocho made with three meats (trifásico): chicken, beef and pork. It also contains plantains, yuca (or cassava), potatoes, corn, bell peppers, onions and a lot of spices.


6. Soupe à L’oignon Gratinée — France

French Onion Soup
Photo: Manu Feildel

If you’ve ever dined at a French restaurant, you’ve probably come across soupe à l’oignon gratinée (onion soup with cheese and croutons or bread on top). French Onion Soup is rich and filling but generally served as a starter in France. This elegant recipe calls for gruyere cheese and a sliced baguette to top it off.


7. Borscht — Russia


This traditional Russian soup is somewhat controversial: you either love it or you hate it. The main ingredients are beets, but different versions of this classic contain various other ingredients that make it more flavorful. In addition to beets, this borscht recipe includes beef, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, onion, tomato paste and spices. The chef says even her friend who hates beets loves this version.


8. Maafe — West Africa

Photo: Immaculate Bites

Maafe is a spicy groundnut stew served across West Africa. It primarily comprises ground peanut paste, vegetables and sometimes meat, though the exact recipe varies significantly by country. Maafe originated in Mali and spread across the region during the colonial period. Try this recipe for a scrumptious take on the dish, which includes your choice of beef or chicken and recommends serving the finished product with rice.


9. 冬瓜汤 (Dōngguā Tāng) — China

Winter Melon Soup
Photo: chinasichuanfood.com

Winter melons — also referred to as wax gourds, ash gourds and several other names involving gourds — are very large, mild-flavored cold-weather melons that grow primarily in Asia. The fruit is commonly used in Chinese cuisine, including in winter melon soup, which also contains some sort of meat, ginger and onions or scallions. This recipe calls for ribs and dried shrimp.


10. Canja De Galinha — Brazil

Photo: Cooking Lisbon

Canja de galinha (or just canja, for short) is a clear soup served in Brazil and Portugal. The popular dish is usually made with broth, rice, chicken and vegetables. A defining feature of canja is how long you cook the chicken: approximately two hours or until the chicken is very tender. In addition to the chicken (and giblets), Cooking Lisbon’s recipe uses long-grain rice, carrots, onions and mint to add flavor.


11. Avgolemono Soup — Greece

Photo: The Mediterranean Dish

Want a different spin on chicken soup? Try the Greek version, avgolemono soup. Avgolemono is an egg and lemon sauce used in Mediterranean cooking. Once you add chicken broth and rice or orzo, you have a delicious soup. This classic recipe is made with boneless chicken breasts, chicken broth, short-grain rice, lemon juice, eggs and a variety of veggies.


12. Cocido Madrileño — Spain

Cocido Madrileno
Photo: Devour Madrid

As referenced to in its name, cocido madrileño is very popular in Madrid, Spain. This hearty stew is usually served in two courses. First comes the broth, in which the various meats and vegetables were cooked and then removed. The broth is served with noodles. Then comes a platter with the meats and veggies that were removed. In this traditional recipe, the meats are veal, ham, bacon and chorizo and the vegetables are chickpeas, carrots, onion and potatoes.

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