Chinese

A 10-Minute Egg Drop Soup to Get You Over That Midweek Hump

Silky, satisfying, and super-duper speedy.

February  6, 2019
Photo by Rocky Luten

I love to cook with my friends. Actually, correction: I love to cook for my friends. When I invite people over for dinner, I rarely ask for help, be it for the prep work or cleanup. A small part of this has to do with the fact that my kitchen is small even by New York City standards (leaving little room for extra hands), though the honest reason is that I like to be in charge down to the very last detail (what can I say? I'm a Capricorn).

But just as the temperatures were starting to take a dip a few months ago, my good friend Yih-Jen, who is always game to test whatever I'm cooking up, told me about his grandma's egg drop soup. (You might remember Yih-Jen as an innocent bystander to my Chrissy Teigen breakfast casserole fiasco, a brunch gone awry—for which he has since forgiven me.)

This egg drop soup recipe intrigued me right from the get-go: just five ingredients and 10 minutes for a silky yet hearty soup that he said tastes like it's been simmering all day. I knew that I had to try it for myself, so when Yih-Jen offered to make it for me one December weekend, I surrendered my kitchen immediately. (Spoiler alert: This would prove to be a very good decision.)

As he laid out the ingredients on my narrow kitchen countertop, he explained to me how his grandmother came up with this recipe after she came to America from China in the 1990s. She wanted to recreate the Chinese flavors she grew up with using Western ingredients, like Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup and canned corn. Since then, the recipe has been passed down to his mother and now to him; he makes it whenever he's feeling under the weather or in the mood for something quick and comforting.

Speaking of quick, the soup came together before I barely even had time to notice him opening the cans and pouring everything in the pot. Within minutes, the cream of chicken soup, chicken broth, and corn (along with its juice) were bubbling away on the stovetop as Yih-Jen chopped scallions for the bright, crunchy garnish.

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Top Comment:
“Click on the recipe itself! It says to add 12 oz of water (one can) plus the can of corn including the liquid. ”
— Marcie
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I did make sure to pay attention to the most important step, though: the eggs. In a bowl, he whisked together four large eggs and added a few splashes of ice-cold water, which he said helps give the eggs their signature texture in the soup. After bringing the pot to a low simmer, he poured in the egg mixture with one hand while continuously stirring the soup with the other. In just a few seconds, ribbons of egg began to flower, and after a minute or two more of stirring, the soup was ready to be sprinkled with scallions.

The first bite was rich and perfectly salty; in the next bite, the egg's silky texture and the scallion's mild-sweet onion flavor came through. It was addictive, especially with a bit of chili pepper and sesame oil mixed in. Before I knew it, I had practically drunk the first bowl dry and was already ladling myself seconds. This would be a soup I could make again and again and again—and since that wintry day when Yih-Jen introduced the golden elixir to me, I have: when I'm feeling lazy or tired; when I have a hankering for something savory and slurp-able; when I feel a cold coming on; and especially when there's a Polar Vortex moving through the country, and it's far too cold to dare go outside.

Yih-Jen was totally unsurprised that I was such a fan. How could I not fall in love with a hot and flavorful bowl of soup that comes together in just a few minutes and even fewer ingredients (all of which I keep stocked in my pantry anyway)? If this is what it means to let someone take over my kitchen, I'm all for it.

What's your favorite winter soup recipe? Share it with us in the comments below!
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15 Comments

Ana C. February 17, 2019
Just finished making this recipe and it’s great. <br />I used Pacific brand cream of chicken soup because it has all natural ingredients, no added thickeners or preservatives. <br />The only thing I did different was I sautéed finely chopped onion and garlic in a bit of butter and then added the soup, broth, etc. Seasoned with white pepper and salt. Thanks for the recipe!!
 
MsJoanie February 17, 2019
My mom learned how to make egg drop soup while we were stationed in Japan in the 1970's. She uses a can of creamed corn and no condensed soup. It does add a slightly sweet taste but no MSG or other endless lists of ingredients. She kicks her recipe up with chinese five spice and some mirin, and cooks boneless chicken breast in the broth before adding the eggs. Delicious and still quick and easy without condensed soup. You could skip cooking chicken in the broth for even quicker cook time.
 
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Erin A. February 18, 2019
Ohhh that sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing :)
 
Christina February 17, 2019
Thanks for sharing this recipe. I made it as stated and it was a winner with my family, even the teenagers.
 
Eric K. February 6, 2019
I loved eating this. It was so comforting and familiar, even though I had never had it before. I think that’s the taste of...nostalgia??
 
Snow February 6, 2019
When we need comfort from the cold, feeling physically compromised or have had A Very Bad Day, recipes such as this one give us what we need.<br />There are organic alternatives to the red and white canned soup that yield the same results and are now, twenty years later, more readily available.<br />Many of us have family recipes that include the pantry staples in this recipe....because people used what was available and affordable for them.<br />I applaud Grandmother's ingenuity of using what was perhaps new and unknown to her to create the taste and comfort of home she craved.<br />I had a Greek friend show me her similar comfort recipe using Mrs Grass chicken soup, beaten eggs drizzled into boiling soup and a few drops of lemon juice shaken over the bowl before serving.<br />It's not always the recipe as much as it is the history of the cooks behind it.<br />Thank you for sharing this.<br />
 
Eric K. February 9, 2019
Thanks for sharing, Snow. Couldn't agree more with your sentiment.
 
Mary A. February 6, 2019
Seriously, cream of chicken soup? Have you read the ingredient label? I wouldn't touch that with a 10 ft. pole!
 
Amy K. February 14, 2019
Pacific Organics cream of chicken soup - no pole needed!
 
Ana C. February 17, 2019
I’m also one to stay away from canned, but if I do buy canned I make sure all the ingredients are natural and without preservatives. So I second that suggestion, Pacific brand Cream of Chicken has no preservatives or scary ingredients. All natural.
 
HonGDB February 6, 2019
Please? Is that cream of chicken soup added as is or diluted (I have never in 60 years seen a non-condensed can)?
 
Dom February 6, 2019
FYI, if a recipe doesn't include an ingredient or step to add a liquid to the can then you don't. Kind of self explanatory unless the author is a moron. I'm not saying that about this author, I just know that it is possible as I had a cookbook at one point that called for a can of frozen peas.
 
Merryworld February 6, 2019
I think as is because the chicken broth subs for the water you would normally use with the condensed cream of chicken soup.<br />
 
Marcie February 10, 2019
Click on the recipe itself! It says to add 12 oz of water (one can) plus the can of corn including the liquid.
 
Ana C. February 17, 2019
Click on “see recipe” it gives you all the ingredients. <br />12 oz. condensed soup<br />12 oz. chicken broth <br />12 oz. water<br />15 oz can of corn with juice <br />That’s a lot of other liquid to dilute.