Egg drop soup is a very popular Chinese take-out soup along with hot and sour soup and wonton soup. It's made with a lightly seasoned chicken broth, thickened to a velvety consistency, and is known for its iconic yellow color and wispy egg drops (egg flowers). This is the perfect soup to make for a light meal, taking only 10 minutes, or when you're under the weather. Plus, it's also naturally gluten free.
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What to eat with egg drop soup
Egg drop soup is perfect as a light meal or as the start of your homemade Chinese takeout feast! Here are some of our favorite Chinese takeout dishes to pair with it:
- Fried rice - We have a variety of fried rice recipe. All of them are delish!
- Lo mein - Not a rice fan or just not in the mood for rice? We've got chicken lo mein and shrimp lo mein for just that!
- Appetizers - egg rolls and crab rangoons are classics
- Chicken recipes - Black pepper chicken and chicken with mixed veggies are two of our favorite stir fried choices. For fried options, try our sesame chicken and sweet and sour chicken.
- Beef recipes - Mongolian beef and beef and broccoli are both amazing!
- Veggies - You can't go wrong with some Chinese garlic green beens or bok choy with oyster sauce.
Please scroll down to the recipe card for the ingredient quantities!
- Unsalted chicken stock - Any chicken stock will do, as long it is unsalted. This way you can control the amount of salt added. Also, this recipe's seasoning is based on unsalted chicken stock.
- Chicken bouillon powder - Chicken stock may add some base flavor to the soup, but chicken bouillon powder is the magical ingredient! It'll make your egg drop soup taste so much better.
- Salt - For additional seasoning.
- Sugar - Just a little bit will round out the flavor of the egg drop soup.
- Eggs - You have to have eggs to make egg drops/ egg flowers! You can use less or more eggs if you prefer.
- Cornstarch - Some cornstarch slurry is needed to thicken egg drop soup to get that velvety thickness. This will also help the "egg drops" float in the soup rather than sinking to the bottom.
- Toasted sesame oil (optional)- Although sesame oil is optional, egg drop soup just doesn't taste complete with out it. It adds that nice toasted, nuttiness to the soup.
- Yellow food coloring (optional) - If you like that beautiful yellow color of restaurant egg drop soup, you'll want to add a little food coloring. You can use either gel or liquid. We used this buttercup yellow gel food coloring.
- Green onions (optional) - Another optional ingredient, but we highly recommend it! Not only does it add color to the egg drop soup, it also adds flavor. You'll definitely taste the difference.
How to make egg drop soup (just like takeout!)
Please scroll down to the recipe card for the full recipe and instructions!
1. Make soup base. In a medium saucepan, add the chicken stock, chicken bouillon powder, salt, sugar, and the yellow food coloring. Bring it to a boil over medium high heat.
2. Prepare cornstarch slurry. While the chicken stock is heating up, make the cornstarch slurry. Mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of cold or room temperature water.
3. Thicken soup. Once the chicken stock comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium. Give the cornstarch slurry a good mix, then while stirring the chicken stock, slowly drizzle in the slurry. Let the stock simmer for about 15 to 30 seconds, until thickened
🌟 Pro tip: If you feel more comfortable, turn off the heat or take the saucepan off of the heat for a moment when stirring in the slurry. Also don't pour the cornstarch slurry straight into the stock! Make sure to drizzle it in while stirring it constantly. Both will ensure that the slurry properly thickens the stock and not turn into chunks of slurry.
4. Add eggs. Once the stock has thickened, turn the heat to low and drizzle in the beaten eggs around the saucepan/ pot in a circular motion to create egg drops/egg flowers.
🌟 Pro tip: If you want thinner, wispy egg drops, stir the soup immediately after drizzling in the eggs or gently stir the soup while add the eggs. For thick, ribbons of egg drop, let the soup sit for a few seconds before stirring. This gives the eggs time to cook and form ribbons.
5. Finish. Stir the soup and turn the heat back to medium. Add the sesame oil and green onions. Let the soup simmer for a few seconds and serve!
6. Garnish. If you wish, garnish the top of the soup with more green onion. Make sure to the let the soup cool for a few moments! It'll be super hot!
- To properly incorporate cornstarch slurry, make sure to stir the slurry before use, reduce the heat to medium (or take it off the heat), stir the soup while adding the slurry, and slowly drizzle in the slurry. This will prevent the cornstarch for turning into clumps.
- Don't cook the soup for too long after adding cornstarch. High heat or prolong cooking can cause the soup to become thin and not retain its thick, velvety consistency.
- The size of the egg drop/egg flowers are determined by how soon and how much you stir the soup when the eggs are added. The more you stir and the sooner you stir the soup after adding the eggs, the thinner the egg drops will be.
- If you prefer your egg drop soup thinner or thicker, you can use more or less cornstarch to your preference.
Once the egg drop soup has completely cooled, transfer it to an airtight container. It can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days.
The easiest way to reheat egg drop soup is in the microwave. Just heat it until completely hot to enjoy. You can also reheat the egg drop soup on the stovetop. Just add the soup to a saucepan/pot over medium heat. Once the soup is hot, it should become the same thickness as before.
Yes and no. Not all egg drop soups are gluten free become sometimes they use soy sauce. Our gluten free egg drop soup does not call for soy sauce and all the other ingredients are gluten free as well.
Chinese restaurants add a small amount of yellow food color to their egg drop soup to achieve that beautiful, iconic yellow color. You can omit if you prefer. It will not change the taste. Some people also like to use turmeric for the color, but the flavor will be different.
Xanthan gum is a suitable substitute for thickening egg drop soup. After seasoning the chicken stock, add the xanthan gum to the soup while blending it with a hand blender. It will almost instantly thicken the stock. The amount of xanthan gum used depends on your desired thickness.
Egg Drop Soup (Gluten Free)
- 4 cups unsalted chicken stock or water
- 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 3-5 drops yellow food coloring optional for coloring (you can also use gel food coloring or ground turmeric)* see notes
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch mix every 3 TBSPs with 2 TBSPs water to make slurry
- 3 large egg beaten
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil (optional)
- 1 stalk green onion sliced (plus more for garnish)
- In a medium saucepan, add chicken stock, chicken bouillon powder, salt, sugar, and food coloring. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium.
- Give the cornstarch slurry a mix. Then, while stirring the stock, slowly drizzle in the slurry. Let the stock simmer until thickened, about 15 to 30 seconds.
- Once the soup has thickened, slowly drizzle in the beaten eggs around the saucepan in a circular motion. Stir up the soup and add sesame oil and sliced green onions.For thin egg drops: Stir the soup while pouring in the eggs or wait for a second or two before stirring the soup. The sooner and more you stir the soup, the thinner and wispier the egg drops will be.For thick egg drops: After drizzling in the egg, let the soup sit for a few seconds before stirring. The longer you wait, the thicker the egg ribbons will be.
- Top the soup with more sliced green onions if you wish, and serve! The soup will be super hot, so be careful and wait a few moments before enjoying!
- Food coloring - The iconic yellow color can be achieved by either using food coloring or some turmeric powder. Both liquid or gel food color are great. If you're using turmeric powder, use about ¼ teaspoon per recipe.