A super delicious homemade version of your favorite takeout Egg Drop Soup. Also known as “egg flower soup”, it’s served piping hot in just about every Chinese-American restaurant from NYC to LA, but it’s also actually eaten in most homes in mainland China (and even Hong Kong too). Thin, silky ribbons of whispy eggs swirled into a slightly thickened chicken broth make for an excellent main meal or starter for your next Chinese-inspired meal. Get crazy with add-ins like corn or shrimp and top it off with homemade crispy fried wontons for added crunch and flavor.
What is Egg Drop Soup?
Egg drop soup is a typical soup eaten in most Chinese households in Mainland China, but it’s also served at just about every Chinese-American restaurant anywhere in the world. It’s usually served as a starter before the rest of the meal. The soup base is made of chicken stock and it’s typically thickened with cornstarch. However, it may also be thickened using arrowroot, tapioca, or mung bean starch (even xantham gum is a thickener option for those eating a Keto low-carb diet).
For the soup base, many restaurants use what’s called “chicken powder” or chicken bullion added to water, instead of actual chicken stock. I personally prefer to use homemade chicken stock because it’s healthier and way better tasting. But if you’re short on time, use any of these options.
In Southern China, egg drop soup usually has a thicker consistency, whereas, in the Northern areas, it tends to be a little thinner and more “souplike”. As with any dish, it really just depends from region to region and cook to cook. But no matter which part of the country you’re in, the seasonings used to flavor egg drop soup are pretty similar. White or black pepper, salt, scallions, ginger, and toasted sesame oil are most often used and complement those wispy ribbons of egg. Turmeric can also be added to help intensify the yellow color.
Is Egg Drop Soup Healthy?
Yes, egg drop soup is healthy especially if you make it at home. Not only is it low in calories (about 65 calories per cup and only about 1.5 grams of fat), but it’s also packed with protein making it a filling and nutritious option for a low-calorie meal. Plus, it has quite a bit of vitamin C. However, when you eat this soup at your favorite takeout joint, it’s most likely loaded with sodium and msg which can be an issue for those with blood pressure, heart, or water retention issues. Making it at home allows you to control the sodium content and know exactly what you’re eating. Keep reading for how to make a low-sodium healthy egg drop soup at home.
Ingredients in Egg Drop Soup
The ingredients used to make Chinese Egg Drop Soup can be found in just about any kitchen without a special trip to the grocery store. Skip takeout and make your own. Get creative by adding extra ingredients and garnishes like crispy wonton strips, chicken, pork, shrimp, corn, tofu, peas, mushrooms, and even sliced tomatoes to turn this simple soup into a main meal.
- 4 cups homemade chicken stock (or unsalted store-bought)
- 5 large eggs, beaten
- 1 slice of fresh ginger
- 3 green onions (whites and greens separated and sliced thinly)
- 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper, or to taste
- a pinch or up to 1/8 teaspoon turmeric (optional, but helps intensify the color)*see photos below for comparison
- 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil or more to taste
- one recipe homemade crispy wontons, fried to golden brown (optional)
How to Make Egg Drop Soup — Measure, Whisk, Pour, and Swirl.
Making homemade egg drop soup is almost as easy as boiling water making it a great recipe for kids to help out with.
- Make the cornstarch slurry. In a small bowl whisk together cornstarch, pepper, salt, and turmeric (if using) and add in 2 tablespoons cold chicken stock (or water) and mix until the cornstarch has dissolved. Set aside.
- Prepare the broth. Heat chicken broth, ginger slice, and scallions (white part only) to a boil. Reduce to a simmer.
- Add the slurry. Add the cornstarch slurry to the simmering broth and mix well to combine. Allow the mixture to slightly thicken.
- Add the eggs. Using a fork placed at the tip of the container, slowly pour the eggs into the simmering soup through the tines of the fork (which slows them down and creates better ribbons). Allow the eggs to cook for about 30 seconds without disturbing them. Then using chopsticks or a fork, gently stir the soup until the egg ribbons are the size you want. Garnish the soup with sliced scallions, crispy wonton strips, a drop or two of sesame oil, and cilantro, and Enjoy!
Easy Delicious Egg Drop Soup step-by-step recipe photos
Customize Homemade Chinese Egg Drop Soup
In China, I ate a lot of egg drop soup from little shops all around the city, and one of my favorites included fresh tomatoes. It had never occurred to me to add fresh tomatoes to egg drop soup, but it’s really tasty. And while I’m pretty sure most of them had MSG (or a little “chicken powder” which also has MSG in it), it was always fast and delicious. Here’s a list of some of our favorite add-ins for egg drop soup.
- 1/2 cup corn (add corn at the beginning and feel free to purée some of it to make an intense corn flavored egg drop soup)
- 1/2 to 1 cup chicken breast (if adding breast meat, add slices toward the end so it stays tender)
- 1/2 to 1 cup thinly sliced pork (add slices towards the end so the pork stays nice and tender)
- 1/2 to 1 cup shrimp (add shrimp towards the end and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes, or until just opaque and still tender)
- 1/2 to 1 cup cubed tofu (soft or firm tofu works well and you can even fry firm tofu to add a different texture)
- 1/2 cup fresh shitake, button, or wood ear mushrooms (add thinly sliced mushrooms towards the end)
- sliced or diced tomatoes (sauté sliced tomatoes in 1/2 teaspoon olive oil in the soup pot before adding the chicken stock. Cook the tomatoes for about 5 minutes over medium heat allowing them to break down before adding the broth and continuing with the recipe)
- To make wispier, shorter strands of egg, whisk the chicken stock/broth as you pour a steady slow stream of eggs into the simmering broth.
- To make a thicker egg drop soup, add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
- To make Keto egg drop soup omit the cornstarch slurry and add ¼ tsp of xanthan gum to thicken the soup.
- To Make a Paleo/Whole30 egg drop soup substitute arrowroot or tapioca starch for the cornstarch.
Light Vs. Dark Egg Drop Soup
Top row↓: (Made with a light homemade chicken stock + a pinch of turmeric)
Second row↓: (Made with a dark chicken stock + 1/8 teaspoon turmeric)
How to Make Low-Sodium Egg Drop Soup
For anyone on a low sodium diet, you can still enjoy your favorite Chinese egg drop soup by making a couple of easy adjustments. And it tastes way better! Start by making or buying your own organic unsalted chicken stock. And if you want to add crispy wonton strips, make your own from scratch and either reduce the salt called for in the recipe or leave it out altogether. Then adjust the seasoning to your specific dietary needs with any of these low-sodium heart-healthy options and suggestions below:
- Make it 100% salt-free
- Reduce the 1/4 teaspoon of Himalayan salt called for in the recipe to 1/8 teaspoon
- Do not use regular table salt (it contains a slightly higher % of sodium than other salts including Himalayan, Celtic, or other sea salts, and Kosher salt)
- 1/4 teaspoon Morton’s table salt = 590mg
- 1/4 teaspoon Maldon sea salt = 580mg
- 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt = 575mg
- 1/4 teaspoon Celtic sea salt = 460mg
- Replace the salt altogether and instead use soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos which adds a slight umami flavor and contains much less sodium per serving (see below). I’ve provided the sodium content per teaspoon since you may need to use a little more of these ingredients.
- 1 teaspoon coconut aminos = 90mg sodium
- 1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce = 190mg sodium
- 1 teaspoon regular soy sauce = 291mg sodium
- 1 teaspoon salt = 2,325mg sodium (for comparison)
On average, Americans consume about 3,400 mg of sodium per day. However, the recommended daily allowance for adults is less than 2,300 mg per day—that’s equal to just less than 1 teaspoon of table salt. And for kiddos under age 14, the RDI is even less.
Looking for a Few Delicious Ways to Use Homemade Dumpling Wrappers or a Few More Dim Sum Dishes?
If you’re looking for a few other dishes to round out your takeout night in, below are a few of our favorites we think you may also enjoy.
- Lucky Lunar New Year Fried Cherry Pie “Wontons”
- Homemade Chinese Soup Dumplings Xiaolongbao (小笼包) (100% From Scratch)
- Fluffy-Soft Homemade Pork Buns (Momofuku & Ippudo-Style)
- Easy Japanese Braised Pork Belly (for Momofuku & Ippudo Style Pork Buns)
- Easy Homemade 2-Ingredient Chinese Dumpling Dough
- Easy Pork and Chive Potstickers w/Sautéed Napa Cabbage & Carrots (Jiaozi)
- Crispy Pork and Chive Spring Rolls w/Glass Noodles & Vegetables
- 20-Minute Singapore Mei Fun Noodles (Shrimp Mei Fun)
- Best Ever Chicken Dumplings Recipe (Plump & Juicy Jiaozi)
- Easy Shrimp and Vegetable Stir Fry (w/Cantonese Style White Sauce)
- Easy and Delicious Pork Potsticker Recipe (Cantonese Style Jiaozi)
- Easy Chashu Pork チャーシュー(Marinated Braised Pork Belly Recipe For Ramen )
- Steamed Pork & Chive Money Bag Dumplings (Beggar’s Purse Dumplings)
- Hoisin Garlic-Ginger Oven-Braised Pork Ribs
- Chinese Takeout Chicken & Vegetable Stir-Fry w/Glass Noodles (a Family Favorite)
- Takeout Style Pork and Green Bean Stir-Fry w/Glass Noodles
Let’s get started!Print