French Soups : What is the most popular soup in France?

17 March 2022




Best French Soups

A traditional French soup typically served as a first course is slightly different from what you may be used to. There are no creamy soups in the French repertoire and, basically, no stews either. The most famous of all French soups are onion (soupe à l'oignon), leek and potato (potage parmentier) and garlic (soupe à l'ail).

Soups in France are generally made with broth or stock. They should first be delicate but then robust enough to make an impression in terms of flavor. The texture is vital, too: you want the liquid to be silky smooth and intensely flavored, so if using a blender, don't overdo it!



What's the difference between Soup and Broth?

The broth is simply the liquid that results from cooking meat or vegetables. It can be seasoned with salt and pepper, but not much else like stock. The broth is generally eaten with meat or vegetables added at the end to make it more substantial.

A soup is a broth with liquid added (water, milk, or cream), usually pureed and garnished before serving.



Types of French Soup

Soups in France are divided into two types: 

French soups can be divided into two main groups: 

  • Clear soups and thick soups. The former is made by cooking meat, fish, or vegetables in water and serving the clear broth (consommé). 
  • Thick soups may be purées of vegetables, meat or fish, served with or without the addition of cream, or they may be thickened with egg yolks, rice, or flour.

French soups are often served as a first course but can also be the main course. Sometimes a soup is followed by a salad.

Thin Soups: These can be served hot or cold and are made from the broth that has been clarified by straining out all of the solid particles. They are generally eaten at a meal as an accompaniment to other dishes.



Potage Parmentier

Potage Parmentier is a traditional French soup made with leeks and potatoes. It is an effortless soup that should be cooked in two separate stages to keep all the flavors distinct.

  • The first stage, the cooking of the vegetables, should be done slowly to allow the vegetables to become soft but not browned. The vegetables are then passed through a sieve or Mouli-Legumes (food mill) to make them into a smooth purée.
  • The second stage is the addition of cream or crème Fraiche and flavoring such as herbs, salt, and pepper.




Garbure is a French soup or stew with a long history and many variants? It is particularly prevalent in southwestern France, especially the Béarn. It may be of Basque origin.

Traditional garbage includes 

  • Meat (usually ham), sausage, cabbage, potatoes, turnips, and other seasonal vegetables. Traditional recipes often include cabbage, beans, salted pork, and duck confit. 
  • The recipe varies according to the seasonal products available in the region of its origin.

In French cuisine, Garbure refers to a thick vegetable soup made with salted meats such as ham, goose, or duck confit and vegetables such as carrots, turnips, and cabbage. The traditional accompaniment for this soup is bread and cheese.



Soupe De Poisson à la Rouille

Soupe de poisson à la rouille is a French fish soup originating from the Mediterranean port city of Marseille. It is traditionally made with at least three types of local white fish and served in a garlicky broth with rouille, a mayonnaise-like sauce made with olive oil, saffron, and cayenne pepper. The soup is often served with dried bread rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil.

The standard sauce for soup de Poisson is rouille — even if you order it in a restaurant, the waiter will ask whether you want rouille or not. Rouille is not served on the side but mixed into the soup.

Saffron is another essential ingredient in soups de Poisson. When used with tomato and garlic, it gives the dish its distinct red color.



Soup au Pistou

Soup au Pistou is a French soup made with vegetables, often with pasta or rice. It can be a vegetarian dish, but chicken stock is often used. It is similar to Italian minestrone, and many think it originated as a variation on that Italian soup. The main ingredient of this French soup is lardons, which are small bits of bacon. The word pistou refers to the puree of garlic, basil, and olive oil traditionally added to soups such as this one at the table before serving. This soup is known throughout France, but it originates from Provence in southern France.

The traditional ingredient includes;

  • Green beans, potatoes, tomatoes, and zucchini. The soup base is onion and garlic sautéed in olive oil, with bouquet garni or dried basil added for flavoring. 
  • Vegetables are typically first sautéed in olive oil before being simmered together in chicken stock and water. 
  • Before serving the soup, pistou — made from fresh basil leaves, grated cheese such as Parmesan or Gruyere, garlic, and extra-virgin olive oil — is added. This mixture gives the soup its distinct flavor and aroma and also.



Soupe à L'ail

Soupe à L'ail is a classic French soup or stew made of potatoes, garlic, onions, and bread. Soupe à L'ail is a thickened garlic soup with potatoes and onions. There's a variety of names for this soup in French. It's called Soupe au Pistou when served with pistou.

The original recipe was simple: 

  • Bread, olive oil, garlic, water, and salt. No onions and no potatoes.
  •  The traditional version is eaten all over Provence, and people add different ingredients: potatoes, onions, beans, tomatoes, or spinach.
  •  In the North of France, to have beans in the recipe. In Burgundy, they add a generous amount of cheese!




Tourism is a traditional garlic soup from the South of France, especially the Languedoc region. The soup has a solid taste and is made with garlic, bread croutons, and olive oil. Tourism is traditionally served in the Auvergne when the weather is cold, often as part of the "soup Auvergne" (Auvergne soup): Tourin followed immediately by truffade.




Vichyssoise is a thick, creamy soup made from leeks and potatoes, and what makes it different from other potato soups is the addition of chives, cream, and a little butter. It's essentially a pureed vegetable soup, then chilled and served cold.

Garnish with chopped chives and serve very cold in chilled bowls or mugs.



French Soups French food London


Soupe à l'oignon

Soupe à l'oignon is an onion soup made with beef stock, wine, and slowly cooked onions. The dish is often served Gratinée – with a slice of baguette covered with Gruyère cheese on top. The recipe below is based on the traditional French recipe of Soupe à l'oignon, but I have modified it to make it slightly healthier and easier to prepare.

  • Some people like their onions very soft and almost caramelized, and some like them crunchy – play around with the cooking time to find the texture you prefer.
  • The base of this recipe is caramelized onions, slow-cooked in butter and white wine, and then simmered with beef broth and herbs.
  •  A slice of crusty baguette, topped with Gruyère cheese, offers the perfect crunch and gooey finish.




Consommé is a clear soup made from richly flavored stock or bouillon that has been clarified, which uses egg whites to remove fat and sediment.

Consommé is a French word meaning "concentrated," It was initially made by boiling down meat stock until it was reduced by half, resulting in an intense flavor. Today's consommés are made differently from those made in the past, using egg whites to clarify the broth.

The French have perfected this art, so it should be no surprise that there are many variations on the basic theme, including borscht, fruit consommés, garlic consommés (garlic soup), mushroom consommés, onion consommés, sorrel consommés, and tomato consommés.

The flavor can be varied using different ingredients for the soup by using;

  • Beef or chicken are most common - along with various vegetables and seasonings. 
  • Consommé can also be served with purees or garnishes added just before serving.
  •  A garnish of steamed vegetables like carrots and zucchini is a Rémoulade garnish.




Bisque is a smooth, creamy, highly seasoned soup of French origin, classically based on a strained broth (coulis) of crustaceans. It can be made from lobster, crab, shrimp, or crayfish. Also, creamy soups made from roasted and puréed fruits or vegetables are sometimes called bisques. Bisque is a method of extracting flavor from imperfect crustaceans not good enough to send to market. In authentic bisque, the shells are ground to a fine paste and added to thicken the soup.

Bisques are thickened with rice, which can either be strained out, leaving behind the starch or be pureed along with the other ingredients.

Crabmeat may be added to some recipes.

  • To make crab bisque, crabs are used while fresh and meat removed from the shell; this is later cooked in boiling water for about 20 minutes and then sieved through a cloth into another pan. 
  • The liquid that remains is stirred after adding butter and diced truffles. Then the cream is added, and the mixture is further boiled until it thickens to the required consistency.



French Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin soup is made from a pureed mixture of pumpkin (such as the white "Cinderella" pumpkin/squash) and either chicken or vegetable stock. It is usually seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and black pepper. Cream or half-and-half is often added at the end of cooking, but milk and other dairy products may also be used.

Pumpkin soup dates back to 1885 when its recipe appeared in the Boston Cooking-School Cook Book.

In France, Potiron is a variety of winter squash that resembles a giant orange pumpkin and is commonly used to make potage Parmentier (French: [pɔtaʒ paʁmɑ̃tje], potato soup). It is also called soupe à la citrouille (French: [sup a la sitʁuj], pumpkin soup). Potiron differs from American pumpkins in that it has orange skin and bright orange flesh, not yellow like most pumpkins grown in the United States.



French Lentil Soup

French lentil soup is a hearty and delicious meal that's also good for you. To make French lentil soup, start by soaking some lentils in water for at least 3 hours. Then, sauté onions and garlic in a pot until they're translucent. Next, add chicken stock, lentils, and seasonings to the pot and let it simmer for around 45 minutes. Finally, when the lentils are tender, add diced carrots and spinach to the pot and cook it for another 10 minutes. Enjoy your warm, healthy French lentil soup!



French Garlic Soup

This is another French recipe for a soup that is made using garlic. It is a straightforward recipe, but some people have issues making it because of the overpowering taste of garlic. If you do

not like too much garlic, you may reduce the amount or omit it altogether and instead use other herbs to flavor the soup. It is important to note that this soup tastes better when you use homemade chicken stock because there are more flavors. You can also use beef stock if you want.

You can use any root vegetables you like, but don't omit the potatoes, which help thicken the soup. You can also use less garlic in your aioli if you're not such a fan, or add more if you are.

So we can say that like French cuisine these French soups have always occupied an esteemed place in the country's culinary history. They can be as straightforward or as elaborate as you'd like. We're presenting recipes from both ends of the soup spectrum.

For a relatively low amount of effort, you can make a pot of French onion soup that will feed a crowd or a simple but elegant vichyssoise that will impress your guests. For the more adventurous, there's a vibrant French lentil soup and French garlic soup that is surprisingly easy to prepare, despite its delicate flavor and beautiful presentation.

Start with these recipes, and then experiment with your creations!

More articles