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Hungarian Mushroom Soup

Hungarian Mushroom Soup never tasted so good! Earthy, savory wild mushrooms and generous amounts of paprika create a deeply flavorful and satisfying mushroom bisque.

Overhead view of a bowl of Hungarian Mushroom Soup

I’ve been holding out you. I’m sorry, it’s true. Meet my favorite soup in the whole wide world: Hungarian mushroom soup.

We food bloggers profess lots of “favorites” in our posts (and it’s true that I actually do have lots of favorites, which totally goes against the definition of “favorite,” I know), but this is the tippy top recipe, the favorite of favorites of my wide repertoire of soup.

The tippity top.

It’s also the first homemade soup recipe I ever authored all on my own that has survived the years more or less intact, and gets made winter season after winter season. And I’m sharing it with you here today, as we barrel towards the holidays, because this Hungarian Mushroom Bisque is company soup.

This is soup you serve to those in-laws you catch giving you the side-eye all the time. This is soup you make for a friend who is feeling down. This is soup you serve on date night. This is soup for when you want a celebration around the family table for no other reason than it’s Saturday.

This is Thanksgiving soup. As in, “we’re thankful it’s Thanksgiving” soup, and also, “we’re thankful there’s Hungarian Mushroom Bisque on Thanksgiving” soup.

A bowl of Hungarian Mushroom Bisque, with a spoon

Now, before you jump down to the recipe — eyes up here! — I need to talk to you about the wonders and challenges of mushroom soup.

For mushroom lovers, we can eat a bowlful of mushrooms straight up and be happy. Mushroom stroganoff is awesome. Mushroom bolognese is awesome. And mushrooms are awesome when they are supporting actors in a soup (like here, here, and here).

But mushroom soup, where mushrooms’s the star … well, let’s just say, Hungarian mushroom soup can go sideways really quickly if you’re not careful (we’ve all had that bowl of wth, right?). Its deep, earthy flavors can get muddy and/or diluted and/or overpowered by ingredients like rich dairy, leaving behind a rather bland and iffy result.

So, what I do here is tease out certain flavors, and carefully balance the earthy/sweet/salty/acid mix, and control texture without diluting the soup. And this is why you might look at the recipe and keel over {thunk}.

But do note that I’m being extra informative in my instructions. Ingredient quantities are sometimes listed in ranges, because you’ll want to taste the soup often, and bring it up to your liking (giving exact quantities that *I* use in the instructions, with suggestions on how you can alter to suit.)

How to Make the Best Hungarian Mushroom Bisque

There are a few extra touches that make this mushroom soup super special. (Souper special? Lol.)

  • First and foremost, it’s the “Hungarian.” In a loving nod to my direct Hungarian heritage (both maternal grandparents), I use not just one, but two, paprikas: sweet and smoked (although smoked paprika is actually Spanish, not Hungarian). Not only do they add amazing, complementary flavor to mushrooms, but they correct one of the annoying things about mushroom soup: the color. Sometimes, mushroom soup ends up gray. The flavor is fine, but the color is just … disturbing. Food shouldn’t be gray, right? The beautifully deep red paprikas add brick tones to the soup, making it rich-looking, not scary.
  • And then at the end, we stir in some sour cream, for that creamy touch of tang that’s classic in Hungarian cuisine.
  • Porcini mushrooms! Don’t even worry about finding fresh porcinis. If you have them overflowing into the aisles of your local market, well, you are one lucky mushroom lover! Otherwise, your best bet will be dried, which are available year-round. Porcinis have a lovely, earthy, almost salty flavor, making them one of the most prized mushrooms in the world.
  • More dried mushrooms! I use a mix of porcini and dried shiitake mushrooms. Together, these awesome little ‘shrooms will make a delicious mushroom broth.
  • Sugar. Yup, that’s right … shuga. For a long time, there was a missing somethin’ from my Hungarian Mushroom Bisque that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. On a whim one day, I added a sprinkle of sugar over the top of the soup and, voila! Perfection. I know added sugar is considered a bit of a no-no in today’s dietary world, but we’re talking about a tablespoon for a six-serving soup, and the touch of sweet tones down the dominate earthy flavors of the paprikas and mushrooms.

In all seriousness, book-length recipe aside, I make this soup in under an hour (and that’s even with me taking detailed notes this time around for the blog). But I’m not going to lie: this is not a one-pot soup: things move quickly, and when you’re done, there are going to be dishes to do.

That’s why I say Hungarian Mushroom Soup is company soup, Thanksgiving soup, and NOT it’s-Wednesday-night-and-I’m-dog-tired-let’s-make-some-soup soup. And I hope, that when you put down the spoon after the final tasting, you’re thinking, Mmmhmmhmm.worth.it rather than SoupAddict, you seriously owe me a dish-washing and a foot rub, lol.

Hungarian Mushroom Soup in a bowl

But best of all, it’s make-ahead bisque. Whip up this baby the day or two before Thanksgiving, stash it in the fridge, and reheat for Thanksgiving dinner. Like most soups, it will be even better with a rest in the refrigerator.

To keep your stove free for other dishes on Thanksgiving day, use a slow cooker to bring the soup up to and hold at serving temperature. Hungarian Mushroom Soup is the perfect Thanksgiving first course or side dish!

Karen xo


Hungarian Mushroom Soup
Print Recipe
4.88 from 8 votes

Hungarian Mushroom Bisque

Mushroom soup never tasted so good! Earthy, savory wild mushrooms and generous amounts of paprika create a deeply flavorful and satisfying Hungarian Mushroom Bisque.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: hungarian mushroom bisque, mushroom soup
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 265kcal
Author: Karen Gibson


for the dried mushrooms

  • 1 cup beef broth or water
  • 1 ounce dried mushrooms porcinis and shiitakes are a nice mix

for the roux

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk from a 12 ounce can, reserve the extra
  • 1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
  • extra chicken broth from the 3 cups for the soup

for the soup

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh mushrooms chopped (a mix is nice -- portabello, cremini, shiitake, oyster)
  • dry sherry
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 tablespoon Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika optional
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill optional
  • 2 cups chicken broth total (this will be used in various ways)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream, plus extra for garnish if desired.
  • Fresh or dried dill leaves for garnish (optional)


for the dried mushrooms

  • In a small sauce pot, heat the beef broth on high, just until bubbles start to form on the bottom of the pot. Remove from heat and add the dried mushrooms. Stir, so they're completely submerged in the liquid. Soak for 20 minutes minimum. Pour mushrooms and soaking liquid into a blender and puree until smooth (a bullet blender does a great job here; if you have no blender, remove the mushrooms from the liquid, chop very finely, then remix with the soaking liquid). Set aside.

for the roux

  • Heat butter in a small sauce pot over medium until melted. Stir in the flour to form a paste and cook until the roux begins to darken just slightly. Pour 1/4 cup of the milk into the pot and stir to thoroughly incorporate, then add the remaining milk and soy sauce; stir. The roux should be loose, neither pasty nor thin like milk. If necessary, add chicken broth by the tablespoon until the proper consistency is reached. Set aside.

for the soup

  • Heat the olive oil in a 4-5 quart Dutch oven or soup pot until shimmering. Add the mushrooms, stir, and cover. Cook until the mushrooms have given off their liquids and have reduced and darkened significantly, about 10-12 minutes. Remove the cover, season with a big pinch of salt, and cook 5 minutes more uncovered to reduce the amount of liquid in the pot. There will still be extra liquid in the pot; that's okay.
  • Add a splash of sherry, followed by the onions, celery, and carrots, and sauté until the sherry has cooked off and the vegetables have softened softened (about 5 minutes).
  • Scootch the veggies and mushrooms to one side, and add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, a splash of chicken broth, 1 tablespoon sweet paprika, and 1 teaspoon smoked paprika to the cleared space. Stir these 4 ingredients together to create a fragrant paste, then stir thoroughly into the rest of the mushroom mix. Sprinkle the dried dill onto the mix (if using).
  • Pour in the dried mushroom puree and stir well. Add about half of the roux and mix. The soup should be quite thick. If not, add a little more roux (note that you might not use all of the roux).
  • Add one cup of chicken broth and incorporate thoroughly. Now's the time to judge how thick/thin you want your soup to be. My preference is to add yet another 1/2 cup of broth (for a total here of 1 1/2 cups). Remember that we will, in a later step, blend up some of the mushrooms, which will add to the thickness. Let the soup come to a nice simmer, then reduce to medium-low heat.
  • Now for the first tasting, concentrating on the soup liquid. Taste, to get a baseline idea of where things stand. Then add 1/2 tablespoon sugar and a couple of pinches of salt, stir well, and taste again. Continue adding sugar and salt by the big pinches, tasting after each addition, until the flavors are balanced, and allllmost perfect. Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, stir well, and taste again. The flavors should deep and earthy, but also bright with just a hint of sweetness (be careful not to tip it over into dessert sweetness - be gentle with the sugar).
  • One more decision: if you like a chunky mushroom soup, you're good to go!
  • If, like me, you prefer a thick soup with just a few chunks of mushrooms, remove about one cup of the chopped mushrooms from the soup and set aside. Use an immersion blender (or a regular blender), to smooth out the rest of the soup in the pot, and then return the chopped mushrooms to the pot.
  • If you like a very smooth, velvety soup, puree the soup in a blender, working in batches as necessary. (Take care with the lid -- it will want to blow off!) You can add small amounts of the leftover chicken broth and/or milk to smooth things out. (If you do, make sure you taste again, and rebalance the salt/sugar as necessary.) Reduce heat to low, or, if storing in the fridge, turn off heat completely and let the soup cool. (To reheat, be gentle, bringing the soup up from low to medium-low and back down to low, rather than down from medium-low to low. If using a slow cooker, use low heat only, and plan on about 45 minutes for the soup to come up to temp, then switch to warm as you get closer to serving.)
  • Just before serving, stir 1 tablespoon of sour cream into the soup. Ladle into bowls, and garnish with chopped dill leaves and a dollop of sour cream.


Calories: 265kcal
Nutritional information, if shown, is provided as a courtesy only, and is not to be taken as medical information or advice. The nutritional values of your preparation of this recipe are impacted by several factors, including, but not limited to, the ingredient brands you use, any substitutions or measurement changes you make, and measuring accuracy.

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Hungarian Mushroom Bisque

Recipe Rating


Friday 28th of October 2022

Overall this was good, it could have used more acid to brighten it up, pepper, and more herbs. But the biggest problem is it needs more liquid. I'm not sure how the author got so much liquid out of the process, but I doubled the amount of stock, and it still was too thick. I might play around with this recipe in the future.

Debra Brow

Monday 11th of October 2021

I Love this soup!!! However…. I find the recipe very difficult to follow, and I have made it at least 8 times. There is the ingredient list, which is crucial. One almost HAS to follow the recipe the way it is printed….. roux, dry mushrooms, soup recipe, etc. I do like that it is separated into those components; however, one has to go back and forth between ingredients and roux, soup, dried mushrooms etc. I would rewrite this awesome recipe to include elsewhere in the recipe how MUCH of each ingredient. It would make this delicious soup so much easier to prepare.


Monday 11th of October 2021

Thanks, Debra, that’s great feedback, appreciate it!


Sunday 11th of October 2020

It looks delicious, but I have to tell you, authentic Hungarian kitchen never use soysauce and shitake


Monday 12th of October 2020

So? I do not maintain a Hungarian kitchen. My 100% Hungarian immigrant grandmother altered her family recipes to incorporate delicious ingredients that she was newly able to find in New York. Cuisines evolve. The purpose of the soy sauce isn't to introduce an Asian twist, but rather to add umami to an otherwise bland-leaning, cream-heavy soup.


Monday 17th of December 2018

My Grandfather was Hungarian too. My family makes a Hungarian goulash with sourcream, it our favorite! I made this evening it was a hit! We love our paprika so I did add extra to it. Thanks for the recipe.!!


Saturday 8th of December 2018

I am a hungarian chef.The olive oil and the soy sauce is a joke in this recipe.