Caraway seed soup – Köménymagos leves

by | Mar 11, 2016 | Soups

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 leves
Caraway seed soup – Köménymagos leves – photo:


  • 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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  1. How much water? 5 Cups?

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

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

  2. 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!

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

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

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

  4. 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!

    • 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. 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!

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

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

Hungarian cottage cheese

This is what Hungarian túró looks like

You often ask me what kind of cottage cheese (or curd cheese or farmer's cheese - call it what you want) I use in the recipes. In Hungary the store-bought cottage cheese is dry and crumbly as you can see in the picture. So if a recipe calls for túró, I mean this type. If you can't obtain túró, you can try to make your own from whole milk. Click on the link below.

Metric system vs cup

In Hungary metric units are in use, all the recipes on this website are based on this system, so a kitchen scale is necessary. Since I’m not familiar with cup as a measurement unit, I convert grams to cups by using an online converter. The values in brackets, therefore, are only approximate volumes, so, please, double-check them before you start cooking.

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