In my parents’ Chinese restaurant, we used to make three soups every day without fail, and it was always the first thing we would do when we opened the restaurant. Wonton soup, hot and sour soup, and egg drop soup––the classic trio offered on every Chinese menu.
Making these soups during the winter months would help warm up the kitchen as we started our day, and, oftentimes, I would have a small cup of wonton soup broth or egg drop soup to start the day.
Of the three classics, everyone has their favorite, and a nice cup of soup before your favorite Chinese lunch special is always a welcome starter. My personal favorite is classic wonton soup, but I do like a good egg drop soup! We also added the newly popular Chicken Corn Egg Drop Soup to the takeout menu, which is also another favorite of mine.
Note: This recipe was originally published in November 2015. We’ve taken new photos, re-tested and improved the recipe (reduced the amount of cornstarch slightly and added an extra 1/4 teaspoon salt), and added nutrition info and a recipe video!
What Is Egg Drop Soup?
The name “Egg Drop” comes from how the soup is made—dropping raw egg into hot soup. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out.
But actually, the direct translation in Chinese is egg flower soup, because the egg creates large and small swirls in the soup in a flower-like pattern (scroll down to the recipe video below to see that in action).
There are many variations of egg drop soup, but this recipe is a classic restaurant-style egg drop soup that you can make at home.
Why Make Egg Drop At Home?
So the 300-pound gorilla in the room is why make it at home when you can buy a small order for a buck fifty?
Well, since this recipe only takes 15 minutes, it’s actually faster than ordering it and picking it up!
Also, monosodium glutamate is used liberally to make these soups in most restaurants. (Though some restaurants these days do limit their use of MSG.)
We don’t have a problem with MSG, but if you want to be sure to skip it, you’re safest bet is to make your own. Use homemade chicken broth, store-bought organic chicken broth, or even vegetable broth. You can also season your egg drop soup to taste and even use organic eggs!
This restaurant-style egg drop soup recipe is so quick and easy to make that you probably could have made a bowl for yourself in the time it took me to write this post! (Although I have to admit, I am a very slow typist.)
Hope you enjoy this one!
Egg Drop Soup Recipe Instructions
Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a medium-sized soup pot.
Stir in the sesame oil, salt, sugar, and white pepper.
Add in the turmeric or yellow food coloring, if using. Using turmeric or yellow food coloring gives the soup that rich restaurant-style yellow color but this is optional.
Taste the soup, and adjust the seasoning if needed.
Next add the cornstarch slurry.
Make sure to mix the cornstarch and water well, as the cornstarch settles very quickly. Stir the soup continuously as you drizzle in the slurry. Otherwise, you’ll get unpleasant clumps of cooked starch in your soup.
Use more or less starch if you like a thicker or thinner soup. You can also add the starch in a couple small batches. Let the soup simmer for a couple of minutes, then check to see if the consistency is to your liking.
For more detailed information on the many ways to use cornstarch to get authentic results at home with our recipes, see our post on How to Use Cornstarch in Chinese Cooking.
Now we’re ready for the most exciting part: the egg.
This recipe calls for the egg to be slightly beaten, which results in both white and yellow egg swirls. The speed at which you stir the soup when adding the egg also determines whether you get large “egg flowers” or small egg flowers (i.e. swirly bits of egg).
This is more a matter of personal preference than correctness. If you vary the speed at which you stir the soup, you’ll get both.
Some people even prefer chunks of egg in their soup, so do whatever suits your preferences!
Once the soup’s consistency is to your liking, use a ladle to stir the soup in a circular motion, and slowly drizzle in the egg until you have added it all.
Ladle the soup in a bowl, top with scallions, and serve!
We served ours with a few fried wonton noodles:
Egg Drop Soup
- 4 cups chicken stock (about 1 liter, organic or homemade preferred!)
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (Or 5 drops yellow food coloring. Optional, but if you want "the look…")
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch (mixed with 1/3 cup water)
- 3 eggs (lightly beaten)
- 1 scallion (chopped)
- 1/4 teaspoon MSG (increase amount to personal preference)
- Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a medium soup pot. Stir in the sesame oil, salt, sugar, white pepper, and MSG (if using). Add in the turmeric or 5 drops of yellow food coloring, if using. This will give the soup that rich restaurant-style yellow color, but it is optional. Taste the soup, and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- Next add the cornstarch and water mixture. Make sure the cornstarch and water is mixed well, as the cornstarch settles very quickly. Stir the soup continuously as you drizzle in the slurry, or you'll get clumps of cooked starch in your soup. Use more or less starch if you like a thicker or thinner soup. You can also add the starch in a couple small batches, let the soup simmer for a couple of minutes, then check to see if the consistency is to your liking.
- Now we're ready for the most exciting part: the egg. This recipe calls for the egg to be lightly beaten, which results in both white and yellow egg swirls. The speed at which you stir the soup when adding the egg also determines whether you get large “egg flowers” or small egg flowers (i.e. swirly bits of egg). Use a ladle to stir the soup in a circular motion, and slowly drizzle in the egg until you have added it all.
- Ladle the soup into bowls, top with scallions, and serve!