Hungarian Mushroom Soup is serious comfort eats! Rich, earthy flavors combine with fresh herbs in a velvety cream base to create this deeply satisfying, umami-intense cold-weather soup! Ready to serve in about 40 minutes!
What's the Story Behind this Recipe?
A decade or two ago, there used to be a lovely little tea room in our town that served an absolutely stellar Hungarian Mushroom Soup. On Mushroom Soup days, the whole place filled with its rich, earthy aroma; and try as I might, I could never bring myself order anything else. Their mushroom soup was just that good.
Inspired, I set out to create my own version of this cozy, umami-rich soup. To start, I took my cues from Mollie Katzen's recipe by the same name in her original Moosewood Cookbook. Over the years, I've adjusted and adapted the recipe so many times it now barely resembles the original; however, I still like to give credit where it's due - so thank you, Mollie!
Why You Will Love this Recipe
Hungarian Mushroom Soup utilizes a wonderful combination of ingredients that are common to Hungarian cuisine; including dill, sour cream, and Hungarian paprika. The result is a velvety, robust soup that is elegant enough for company, and easy enough for a weeknight meal.
In fact, one of our favorite things about this mushroom soup recipe is how fast it all comes together and how dependable the results are. The recipe itself is as simple as sautéing the mushrooms and onions, adding a few more ingredients, and then giving everything a little time to simmer. You can easily have a satisfying meal on the table in 40 minutes, with very little effort.
What Goes into this Recipe
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
★ Mushrooms: For a more complex mushroom profile, we recommend using a combination of mushrooms. Crimini, portobello, and white button mushrooms make an excellent combo.
It isn't necessary, however, to have a bunch of different types of mushrooms; use what you can find. We often make this soup with exclusively crimini mushrooms with great results.
★ Onions: We usually use a plain old yellow onion for this soup, but a sweet onion will also work.
★ Butter: We use salted butter. If you use unsalted butter, you will likely need to add additional salt when you season it to taste before serving.
★ Paprika: A good, high-quality paprika is at the heart of this whole mushroom soup recipe. For this soup, we suggest using a sweet, mild Hungarian Paprika. Properly stored, ground paprika will generally retain its full flavor for 3 to 4 years. (See FAQs for more info about paprika)
★ Dill: For this mushroom soup recipe, you want to use the dill leaves, or fronds. You can use dried dill for this recipe, but the dill flavor isn't as fresh or pronounced.
The useable parts of a dill stem can be separated into two distinct parts: the fronds and the heads.
- Fronds refers to the delicate, fern-like leaves of the dill plant.
- Heads refers to the umbrella-shaped, flowering seed heads. (Dill seeds are a product of the flowering dill head.)
★ Wine: Use a light white wine, like Pinot Grigio, Riesling, or Sauvingnon Blanc. If you prefer to avoid wine altogether, substitute light white grape juice.
★ Broth: Use a high-quality chicken or vegetable broth. (Our homemade chicken broth at half-strength works perfectly with this recipe.)
★ Dairy: Cozy comfort food is rarely low-fat. We suggest using real half-and-half and regular sour cream for this soup!
How to Make this Recipe
Sauté the Onions & Mushrooms
In a large heavy saucepan or enameled cast iron Dutch oven, sauté onions in butter over MEDIUM, stirring frequently, until they are translucent and begin taking on a slight golden color; about 8-10 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and sauté 3-4 minutes more.
Cook Down the Mushroom Base
Reduce heat to LOW, and add the paprika, half of the fresh dill, wine, and soy sauce. Stir to mix, cover, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat, and add remaining butter to mushroom mixture. Stir to melt the butter.
Sprinkle flour over mushroom mixture and stir to thicken.
Simmer & Finish
Add half-&-half and stock all at once, stirring until smooth, and then season to taste. I usually add a little more paprika at this time.
Turn the heat back to LOW-LOW, cover and simmer 10 minutes, then remove from heat. (Do not boil!!!)
If you prefer a creamier, more velvety soup, use an immersion blender at this time to smooth things out a bit. If you choose to blend the soup, don't go crazy: leave some larger, meaty pieces of mushroom or texture and bite. (This step is totally optional. If you like a chunky mushroom soup, leave it as is.)
Just before serving, stir in the lemon juice and sour cream.
To serve, garnish with additional sour cream and chopped fresh dill.
Expert Tips & FAQs
For a sweet, mild Hungarian paprika is the classic (and best) choice. Our favorite paprika to use when making this mushroom soup is a Hungarian Különleges paprika; a deep, bright red paprika with a very sweet flavor. (If you prefer your mushroom soup a little spicier, try this amazing Hungarian Sweet & Spicy Paprika!)
When making Hungarian Mushroom soup, it is best to avoid using Spanish paprikas if possible. These are made from a slightly different type of pepper than Hungarian varieties, and in this case, its smoky flavor profile is not the paprika you're looking for.
Paprika, at its core, is simply sweet pepper pods that have been ground into the iconic bright red powder we all know and love. It is believed to have originated in Hungary as early as the 15th century, and is today a defining flavor of Hungarian cuisine.
Paprika comes in colors varying from a flaming orange-red to dark crimson, with the flavors ranging sweet to hot, and mild to bitter.
The best and easiest way to clean mushrooms is brush each one carefully with a mushroom brush or a damp paper towel. If the mushrooms are very dirty, go ahead and quickly rinse them, and then dry them off immediately.
It is best to clean mushrooms right before you plan to use them. Mushrooms get slimy if you wash them with water and allow them to set.
Mushrooms can soak in a lot of water, which will dilute the flavor as you try to cook them down, so you never want to submerge them in water or hold them under running water to clean them. If they are waterlogged, they won't sear they way you want them to.
We usually serve mushroom soup with a warm slice of crusty bread for an easy, satisfying lunch or dinner. It is such a hearty bowl of soup that you really don't need anything else. However, if you want to round out the meal, opt for something crusty with a bite, like a grilled sandwich or a robust salad.
More Hearty Soup Recipes
Soup is one of our specialties! Be sure to check out these other deliciously satisfying cold-weather soup recipes!
Hungarian Mushroom Soup
- 1 large onion chopped
- ¼ cup butter divided
- 1 pound mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika we usually use a little more
- ¼ cup chopped fresh dill divided [or 2 teaspoons dried dill]
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 cup white wine
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup half-&-half
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup vegetable broth or chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- ¼ cup sour cream
- Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
- sour cream or crème fraîche
- shopped fresh dill
- In a large heavy saucepan or enameled cast iron Dutch oven, sauté onions in butter over MEDIUM, stirring frequently, until they are translucent and begin taking on a slight golden color; about 8-10 minutes.Add the mushrooms and sauté 3-4 minutes more.
- Reduce heat to LOW, and add the paprika, half of the fresh dill, wine, and soy sauce. Stir to mix, cover, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat, and add remaining butter to mushroom mixture. Stir to melt the butter. Sprinkle flour over mushroom mixture and stir to thicken.
- Add half-&-half and stock all at once, stirring until smooth, and then season to taste. I usually add a little more paprika at this time.Turn the heat back to LOW-LOW, cover and simmer 10 minutes, then remove from heat.
- (Optional) If you prefer a creamier soup, you can use an immersion blender at this time to smooth things out a bit. If you choose to blend the soup, don't go crazy: leave some larger, meaty pieces of mushroom or texture and bite.
- Just before serving, stir in lemon juice and sour cream.Garnish with additional sour cream and chopped fresh dill.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.
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Recipe Updated September 23, 2021 (Originally published September 18, 2014.)