Caraway seed soup – Köménymagos leves

Caraway seed soup belongs to the group of those dishes that every Hungarian knows, but cracks in its reputation can’t be hidden. Caraway seed soup is very divisive, it gives most of my countrymen nightmares to think of the dreaded soup, but a minority of people loves it since it stirs up pleasant memories in them. Caraway seed soup was one of the poverty meals that were eaten when there was nothing else to put on the table, during and after the World Wars.

Caraway seed soup is often called as the roux soup because it fundamentally consists of golden brown roux, water and salt. Croutons and paprika weren’t added in famine times, it was the sign of the coming of better times when these ingredients were available and weren’t considered luxurious for adding to the soup. Later the soup was improved by stirring in beaten eggs, and nowadays it’s the widespread practice to make caraway seed soup this way. (Despite the beaten egg content caraway seed soup should not be confused with egg drop soup.)

Caraway seed soup / Köménymagos levesphoto:


  • 2 tbsp lard
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1,2 l (~5 cups) water
  • 2 eggs
  • croutons for serving

Heat lard in a pot, add caraway seeds and, a few seconds later, flour, and over medium heat cook until the roux reaches the golden brown stage. Remove from the heat, stir in paprika, and immediately pour in water to prevent paprika from burning. Stir until roux is well blended with water. Season with salt and pepper, bring it to a boil while stirring constantly, and over medium heat cook for 10 minutes. Beat the eggs and pour into the soup in a fine stream while stirring constantly. Continue to cook for further 2-3 minutes. Serve hot with croutons.

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12 Responses

  1. Carol says:

    How much water? 5 Cups?

    • Eszter says:

      Hi Carol,
      1,2 liters = 5 cups of water

      • Margaret Napalo says:

        My Grandmother made this soup without Egg we enjoyed it. Some times she added cubed potatoes and smoked KolbAsz.

  2. Melissa says:

    My father was from Hungary and taught us to make this (minus the egg). It is so easy and delicious and will always remind me of him!

    • Eszter says:

      Hi Melissa, You are one of the minority who has pleasant memories of this soup.

  3. Judy says:

    Oh I remember this delicious soup. I don’t think my mum used eggs though

    • Eszter says:

      Hello Judy, Eggs are optional, caraway seed soup can be cooked without them.

  4. Levi says:

    This soup and lettuce soup are 2 of my favourites! Nagymama sometimes added a touch of cream, and hot paprika! Growing up on the farm, we would eat a first course of soup at every meal, even if it was 115° in the shade! Koszonom szepen, as nagyon jo!

    • Eszter says:

      Hi Levi, I know many people add cream or milk to this soup, but I have never tried it. Eating a hot soup with hot paprika in the summer heat – that’s the real challenge.

  5. Christine Meleg says:

    I happen to love this soup, nothing better on a cold day! My Mom made it without the egg in it, so do I. Using lard is not on the menu for me, neither is shortening so I use a little butter. Great with a piece of fresh bread!

    • Eszter says:

      Hi Christine, Your words prove what a versatile dish this simple soup is. Thanks for your comment.

  6. Christine Meleg says:

    Looking forward to cooking more Hungarian favorites, All the Best!

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