Sopa de Ajo (Garlic Soup)

By • March 4, 2014 • 25 Comments

Serves 6

  • 2 generous tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup cubed, stale bread, crusts removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 3 eggs, beaten well
  1. Boil your water with the bay leaves and 2 teaspoons salt. Once it boils, keep it at a simmer.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a pot over low/medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add bread cubes. Cook, stirring frequently so the garlic doesn't burn, 2 to 3 more minutes. Add the paprika and stir to coat everything.
  3. Add boiling water; do not remove bay leaves. Simmer for 20 minutes. Taste the broth, and add salt as needed. Remove bay leaves.
  4. Stir the soup pot in wide circles, and slowly stream the beaten eggs into the pot. You want them to turn into wisps and ribbons, not clumps, so keep stirring for a few extra seconds, after everything is added. Serve immediately.
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Comments (25) Questions (0)


3 days ago Sarah B. Harlow

i cut this recipe in half for an early dinner tonight. i didn't have bread, so i made pearl couscous to spoon into the soup for more heft. i also finished it at the table with some grated parmesan. oh my goodness! delicious, comforting meal in thirty minutes! thank you so much for sharing. i'm excited to make this part of my repertoire.


5 days ago Allison T

Sounds amazing! I love garlic, this soup sounds right up my alley.


7 days ago Kristina Maria Ortiz-Villajos

I grew up with this soup as my father is from Galicia. We do it a bit differently in that, just before serving, we place a slice of stale bread in each individual bowl and crack a whole egg on top (bowls are oven proof) pop the bowls in the oven on a sheet pan. I think oven is about 400 degrees. Let them cook until egg whites turn white and serve. Bread is less soggy this way and you also get to break the lovely yoke with your spoon which gives it an exquisite flavor!


3 months ago Lady Gofre

"Spanish peasant fair"? "Fare"? Sounds a bit insulting to me...
Thank you for the recipe!


3 months ago Ray H Wiser

The fresh leaves of Oregon myrtle, california Bay, or Umbellularia californica are what are more toxic in quantity. they contain umbelline. The flavor is even more intense than the true Bay, Lauris nobilis, available as Mexican laurel.


4 months ago arthurb3



5 months ago Bryan Mays

This was really delicious! I left the crust on a country white loaf, and replaced 2 cups of water with chicken stock....I ate THREE bowls of the soup!


5 months ago charrison

I grew up with simple wonderful soup. My Basque grandmother made it often. Happy to see it being published


5 months ago BethanyO

We made this soup tonight after looking forward to trying it for days. Ummm….. yeeeahhhh. I really, really don't get what the buzz is about. The texture of the bread is just awful in your mouth in combo with the eggs and it tastes like straight up water with garlic boiled in it. We used fresh bay leaf, great quality olive oil and smoked paprika…. and a really good seeded baguette. Maybe I'm just not ripe for Spanish peasant fair? I couldn't even eat it.


5 months ago Marian Bull

Marian is Food52's Associate Editor.

Bummer! Sorry you didn't like it. I suppose soggy bread isn't for everyone!


5 months ago Douglas

My main squeeze had his reservations at first. And then it was all gone and he wanted more. Like all the recipies I have made here another big winner. I did use some chicken stock and some pieces of chicken for added protein. thank you for posting this


5 months ago Marian Bull

Marian is Food52's Associate Editor.

Another convert! Glad you enjoyed it.


5 months ago trvllynn

any caloric count for any of these yummys!!!


6 months ago Esther

I have heard the bay leaves are the only aromatic herb that are toxic when they are fresh. Is not it?


5 months ago Marian Bull

Marian is Food52's Associate Editor.

I've never heard this before! I know that fresh bay leaves are a relatively common ingredient, and I've never had any trouble with them!


5 months ago sel

i have a bay leaf tree of which i harvest when i need them, and of course share with others. Simply,
i make wreaths and give them as gifts.
Cooking with them freshly is incredible....what a difference in the outcome of the meal.
We are still very much alive as with my friends...


5 months ago tyrannyofcake

For what it's worth (I'm not a toxicologist), but I've read that bay leaves aren't actually poisonous, but the leaves of a plant that looks very similar are. At one time, people were mistakenly harvesting and eating that plant and bay leaves took the fall. That said, if you're worried, I'd do more research or ask a specialist.


5 months ago Esther



5 months ago saltybutter

Here's an interesting article recently posted on SeriousEats regarding bay leaves


6 months ago Diane

Much like the Genius cauliflower soup, I had no idea how this could possibly work. At my husband's insistence, I made it... and wow, did it disappear fast. This soup also gave me a new appreciation for bay leaf, I thought of it as an almost unnecessary add-in, handed down through the generations without any real questions, just force of habit. Standing alone without all the other “stuff”, it’s beauty and usefulness finally became clear. My only variations to this recipe were a staled black pepper/parmesan bread, and I roasted the head of garlic instead of sautéing it. I doubled both of these items because I was a ravenous after work and wanted to give it a little more heft. This soup, along with Genius cauliflower soup and the roasted carrot soup on this site, ranks amongst a new favorite. Simply wonderful.


5 months ago Marian Bull

Marian is Food52's Associate Editor.

I'm so happy that you and your husband enjoyed the soup! Your note just made my night.


6 months ago sel

i like the idea of the bay leaf and salted water....broth is very nice
for this wonderfully warm soup...
The garlic, as Raquel explains, needs to be thinly sliced, for fear of over brown. Yes, however, after many years of turning out the garlic soup, it is really a matter of very low flame, and watch the heat of the evoo.....otherwise, yum!
Quite sometime ago i experienced this soup made in a creamy fashion...i must say it was wonderful...i believe the cook was from Mexico. It was his take on the subject.


6 months ago RaquelG

In Spain, we actually slice the garlic. If minced small, it will definitely brown; you want it to retain it's whiteness, but still be tender after the saute. This is a lovely, simple peasant soup. Make sure to use a crusty french-style baguette for the bread, which is what most closely resembles the "pan" we have at home.


6 months ago Mary Cohn

Should the garlic cloves be cut up in any way or left whole?


6 months ago Aimee

I read in the article that they should be minced.