Egg Drop Soup

Please welcome guest author Garrett McCord as he shares his favorite Chinese egg drop soup. ~Elise

In college one of the dishes I relied on was my own version of egg drop soup. It was simple, tasty, comforting and (most importantly) budget friendly. As I started to make it more and more I began to notice that friends started to drop by for dinner with increasing frequency. This was fine as all I had to do was add a bit more chicken stock and soy sauce and toss in another beaten egg. I could feed my guests cheaply and enjoy their company.

For years I ate what I thought had been faux egg drop soup cobbled together by a hungry student, however it was only recently I discovered that my recipe was actually quite accurate. With the addition of some cornstarch and the use of white pepper the soup is dead ringer for the one at your favorite Chinese-American restaurant.

Now that the spring rains have arrived I find myself making this again to confront the sound of the water striking the many surfaces outside. It’s a soup that, for me, evokes fond memories that seem to make the bad weather a little more tolerable. Plus, just like in college, whenever I make it company just suddenly happens to drop by for dinner.

Egg Drop Soup Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 4.

Homemade chicken stock is the best for this. Also, if you can't locate any of the mushroom types indicated in the recipe, crimini (aka: baby bellas) will do just fine. Or, you can just leave them out all together.

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 cups of chicken stock*
  • 1 tablespoon of corn starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce*
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper
  • 3/4 cup of straw, enoki, or sliced shitaki mushrooms

*If cooking gluten-free, use gluten-free stock and gluten-free soy sauce.

Method

1 Reserve 1/2 cup of the stock and mix with the cornstarch until dissolved.

2 Place the chicken stock, ginger, soy sauce, green onions, mushrooms and white pepper in a pot and bring to a boil. Add the cornstarch and stock mixture and stir. Reduce heat to a simmer.

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3 Slowly pour in the beaten eggs while stirring the soup. The egg will spread out into ribbons. Turn off the heat and garnish with a few more chopped green onions. Serve immediately.

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40 Comments

  1. Agnes

    Oh, I also make this quite often, I love it! I always thought that egg drop soup is actually a faux sharkfin soup … In Indonesia, we eat this with a very hot sauce made from chopped chili pepper (preferably the green ones) and salty soy sauce.

  2. Lilly

    Hi – I’ve never made egg drop soup. Does it keep well in the fridge for a few days?

    It has never lasted that long with me since I slurp the whole bowl down in usually a few minutes, but I would say eat it in the next 24 hours otherwise the egg ribbons start to kinda just fall apart and make the soup cloudy and unappealing. ~Garrett

  3. Suzanne

    Yum, this looks amazing. I’m not fond of mushrooms though, is there anything you think would be a good substitute? Maybe tomatoes or lotus root?

    Tomaotes might be too acidic, maybe bamboo shoots? ~Garrett

  4. Kristi

    Delicious! Egg drop soup Italian-style (stracciatella) is one of my ultimate comfort foods, and though I love it Chinese-style as well, I’ve never tried making it at home. Looking forward to giving it a whirl! (No pun intended.)

  5. CJ McD

    I too, am a fan of egg drop soups– all of them. They are fast, flexible and delicious. (Oh yes, as you said- budget friendly!)

    We often add those odd bits of leftover meats, noodles and vegetables to them too. Or some fresh greens- spinach, shredded cabbage, etc.

    Thanks for the recipe. We’re going to make it tonight.

  6. sb

    Looks good, but ixnay on the corn starch. That will give it a gluey consistency. Authentic to the stuff found in Chinese American restaurants, perhaps, but not particularly authentic.

    Chopped tomato adds a lovely color contrast and texture. If you find it too acidic, then add a pinch of sugar.

    Some recipes call for a small amount ground pork or beef to be browned in the pot with a chopped onion prior to the addition of the broth. The addition of meat rounds out the flavor nicely.

    For a Southeast Asian flavor, add fish sauce in lieu of soy sauce.

    You can also finish the soup with a drizzle of sesame oil just before serving, garnished with a bit of chopped cilantro, in addition to the scallions.

    It is authentic in relation to a Chinese-American restaurant which is what this recipe tries to do. Cornstarch gives this soup a heavier body and a silkier consistency that pairs nicely with the egg. For the right taste, keep the cornstarch. =) ~Garrett

  7. caroline

    What do you think would be a good vegetarian substitute for the chicken stock?

    A good veggie stock would be just fine. ~Garrett

  8. Ophelia

    What could I use instead of white pepper? Some black cracked pepper? I’ve never heard of this ingredient and am going to try to find it, but who knows!

    White pepper is the same as black pepper but with the skin removed off of the berry and seed. It’s a little more astringent and has less heat. You can use some finely ground black pepper if needed. ~Garrett

  9. Patrick

    Adding cornstarch is “authentic” but if it’s become gluey, that’s too much cornstarch. Just a little is needed to add body and mouthfeel. Since we’re on the subject, adding tomatoes is definitely *not* authentic.

    When I make this, I like to add 1/2″ cubed silken tofu in the last few seconds of cooking.

    Don’t worry, it’s not gluey. We are Simply Recipes have very high standards. The cornstarch is just enough to give it a nice mouthfeel as you so noted. =) ~Garrett

  10. Leah

    Does the soup work if you use only egg whites?

    Never tried it that way. If you give it a shot I hope you’ll comment on your results. Would love to hear your input. ~Garrett

  11. Annie

    So nice but isn’t this a typical Chinese soup recipe? I think it’s a very common soup recipe in majority of Chinese families for a quick one.

    I actually cook egg drop soup everyday but with different variations such as tomato egg drop, green pea egg drop, mushroom and woodear egg drop….

    It’s such a lovely and hearty thing to eat.

  12. Hana

    I love soup, especially in cold weather and I’d really like to try this. Plus, being a student and on a budget? I can totally relate to this. :) But is there a substitute for corn starch (corn flour?)? Would it work as well without it? Or how about with normal self-raising flour?

    You can just leave it out, but try to use corn starch otherwise. ~Garrett

  13. Ares Vista

    My fiance loves egg drop soup! Do you know how many points I can score because of your generous sharing of this recipe? Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  14. Alecia

    Just want to say thanks for the gluten free nod. I live in a GF household and although I think I’m pretty good at making substitutions, its nice to see a site makes an effort to be conscious of gluten. Thanks and keep ‘em coming. :-)

  15. Nate

    I don’t add soy sauce in the initial cooking. Let the diner choose if some is needed. Good addition is some scotch mixed in before eating.

  16. Irene

    Oooh thank you! I’ve always wanted to know how to make this soup but was afraid to do it because I thought it would be very complicated. I’m glad to know that it’s something I could make at home! This is one of my favorite soups.

  17. jeanology

    Thank you Garrett, I made this for lunch. I omitted the cornstarch since I didn’t have any but otherwise followed your recipe exactly. It was so tasty.

  18. Stacy

    It turned cold today, so I made this soup… Wow! My husband took one bite and asked if there were seconds. It was super-fast, cheap and delicious. Thanks!

  19. fg

    Looks yummy! I cook mine pretty much the same way, but sometimes I add frozen corn kernels or peas and carrots.

  20. Kristine

    This is fantastic! Surprisingly I had all the ingredients on hand (I keep dried shittake mushrooms on hand for steak). Growing up, my mom’s version of egg drop soup was a can of cream of chicken, water, and egg. This is like a more grown up version :) Thanks for sharing!

  21. wendy

    I’m originally from Taiwan and my mom usually makes egg drop soup with seaweed, I think that’s a pretty common way to make egg drop soup in East Asia. Chicken stock (from the can should be fine) is a must, and we don’t add cornstarch to the soup. White pepper is also a nice addition. Interestingly, this soup is not served in restaurants where I grew up because it’s very simple to make.

  22. Helana Brigman

    I just tried this recipe (by using Chicken Broth instead of Stock, I’m not exactly sure what the difference is?) and it was soo YUMMY! I was surprised by how flavorful it was given the few number of ingredients, and definitely impressed with how turned out.

    Thanks for sharing!

  23. Steph Bond @ Bondville

    Great recipe Garrett! I was craving this the day before you posted and made a version with a can of corn kernels and a can of creamed corn added. So delicous! I think your recipe is simpler and looks great (amazing photo Elise). Also, I added very thin rice vermicelli noodles for some bulk, and found that the egg drop didn’t work – it seemed to stick to the noodles. Lesson learned. Next time I’ll pop the noodles in the bowl first, make the soup with egg drop, then pour on top of the noodles. Can’t wait to make it again.

  24. Jessica from Dallas

    Made this tonight. Soooo good!!!! Fast, easy, for sure going on rotation :)

  25. Jacquie

    Brilliant, simply brilliant! This recipe captures the essence of the whole website. Simple, fast and oh, so very tasty!

    I’ve been playing around with soba noodles trying to find interesting (and simple) flavors to blend with this wonderful noodle.

    The egg drop soup is so flexible….soba, udon, leftovers…or even nothing but the eggs.

    This recipe is a life long keeper!

  26. Kelly

    I am loving all your recipes! recently, I made the egg drop soup. SO yummy! I didn’t have white pepper, so I used black, I forgot the green onion so I put in some massive shakes of dried onions and I used white mushrooms, because I can’t stand straw, enoki, or sliced shitaki mushrooms. and you know what. It still came out fantastic. I don’t know that I would compare it closely to my favorite Chinese place, but it was really good…I ate the whole pot myself. :) Thanks! Love this blog/site!!

  27. Gourmet Mama

    I’m a huge fan of egg drop soup! I make it on days where I’m yearning for something just light to eat. I love the photos you put up of it too.

  28. Alexander Kolozvary JR

    This recipe was awesome! First soup meal I made from scratch. I added some Chow Mein Noodles to it (I know, they’re bad for you…but I couldn’t resist!). I loved this meal so much, I ended up having two servings.

  29. ~M

    This was fabulous, with leftover chicken feet stock (based on your recipe). I had removed the feet but left the cooked onion, carrot, parsnip, and celery bits in the gelatinous stock and then followed the rest of the recipe pretty much as written. Between all the soup veges, mushrooms, and eggs, it was a true one-pot meal and so easy. I loved the velvety texture! Since I’m gluten-free, and not able to eat Chinese food in restaurants any longer, this was a huge treat that will be repeated often and recommended!

    I hope to try a version of this with arrowroot starch for my corn-allergic friend.

    For the commenter that avoids mushrooms, I think that frozen corn could actually work quite well as a sub. I’ve seen restaurants serve egg drop soup with those baby corns, but regular frozen corn seems much tastier and more nutritious.

  30. Tracey

    Egg Drop Soup is such a comfort food. When I’m making a quick ramen soup for lunch, I remove the cooked noodles from the pan when they are done, and then stir a beaten egg into the simmering broth. I then pour it over the cooked ramen. It’s different take on the egg drop soup, but it does add some protein to the meal.
    Also, for those who are reluctant to add corn starch, try to find potato starch (katakuriko) in an Asian store. I lived in Japan for three years and noticed that katakuriko was more commonly used as a thickening agent than corn starch.

  31. Chef Mo

    I made this soup tonight for the family, paired with Chinese Chicken Salad. Very yummy and not too heavy. I made a mexican soup last week and my “mexican” husband said he enjoyed this one better… :)

  32. Viki

    Loved this soup! I had a craving for egg drop soup and yours looked easy. Didn’t have the onions, used chives and home dried mushrooms. Saved the recipe to make again. Thank you!

  33. gracehatter

    Just outstanding…I used what I had on hand, ground ginger, chives and garlic and dried onions and our own farm fresh eggs…just what I needed today on this cool spring day!

  34. Dankster

    Probably the fifth time I’ve made this recipe. Always outstanding, though I’ve never added the fungi.

    Thanks, great site and recipes, as usual.

  35. andeskins

    Delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

  36. Shannon

    I just made this tonight for me and my boyfriend. He went gaga over it. We finished the entire pot. Paired with the fresh spring rolls we made it was a great meal.

    I can’t wait to make it again. I’m going to try adding tofu and bamboo. Yum!

  37. Tim

    Easy Egg Drop Soup

    Boil 2 cups of water with soy sauce, ginger, garlic and corn starch mixure added. Stir in eggs first then dump in the Cambell’s chicken soup and vegetables. Done.

    -teaspoon of sesame seed oil
    -2 eggs
    -1 or two garlic cloves minced
    -can of Cambell’s chicken and rice soup
    -.5 teaspoon of grated ginger
    -1 tablspn of soy sauce
    -2 or 3 green onions if you got ‘em
    -two big handfulls of fresh spinach leaves sliced up
    -.25 teaspoon of crushed red peppers

    Maybe:
    -garnish with cilantro!!
    -Diced bell pepper (specially red)
    -3/4 cup of straw, enoki, or sliced shitaki mushrooms
    -bok choy instead of spinach
    -leftover chicken meat
    -.5 or one whole tablespoon of corn starch (warning!! Mix with cold water first before adding to soup).
    -celery
    -seaweed

    Good to know another quick and easy method. However, the recipe for the egg drop soup is pretty much this but healthier. Canned chicken soup is loaded with sodium and you can’t control the flavor of your soup as well. ~Garrett

  38. Brenda

    Question: I am on a low carb diet and everything but the cornstarch works, can I substitute xanthan gum for the cornstarch to be low carb friendly without compromising the taste?

    Thanks!

    I have never worked with xanthan gum so I can’t say. If it works with other soups I imagine it should work with this. Or you could just cut the cornstarch out entirely as it is there for texture and not flavor. ~Garrett

  39. johanna

    This brings back so many childhood memories… my grandma (in austria) used to make this for us as a quick snack which she always had the ingredients for… it had nothing Chinese, though, just plain stock and some egg dropped into it!
    It used to be the perfect remedy after illness as well.

  40. Barbi

    Growing up we used to make egg drop soup by stirring a beaten egg into Lipton Chicken noodle soup, the dry packaged kind that you just add water to. It’s super salty and not authentic, except authentically cheap to make. My mother approved because adding the egg in her opinion made this a healthy lunch along with a grilled cheese sandwich. I always seem to crave salty foods so this satifies my salt cravings on the cheap and healthy (hey remember the addtion of the egg?).

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