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    Sopa de Ajo, Spanish Garlic Soup Recipe Spanish Soups & Stews 5 1 5 0

    Sopa de Ajo

    • Serves 4 people
    • Complexity Easy
    Prep time
    10 mins
    Cook time
    24 mins
    Total time
    34 mins
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    • 8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 8 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
    • 300g stale country bread, cut into small cubes
    • 100g serrano ham, thinly sliced
    • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
    • 750ml hot chicken stock
    • 750ml hot water
    • 4 free-range large eggs
    • Salt


    Sopa de ajo or sopa castellana is a very old Spanish soup, typical of Castilla y Leon.
    The soup has four key ingredients: stale bread, garlic, smoked paprika and water, which clearly signify its peasant origins. It was also an essential source of nourishment after the Spanish civil war when rations were scarce and stale bread was the only thing available. The essence of its humble ingredients, the simplicity of its preparation and the sublime big meaty flavour the dish provides, makes sopa de ajo one of the most iconic dishes in traditional Spanish gastronomy and a serious winter warmer. I can still remember like if it was yesterday, watching my Grandmother cook it on a cold rainy Sunday and trying it for the first time. A true food memory that never leaves you. These days you don’t tend to see sopa de ajo in many restaurant or tapas menus, so if you do see it…please order it! The beauty about sopa de ajo is that you can play with a wide range of other ingredients and toppings, like slowly poached eggs, shredded pork cheek meat, fried botifarra sausage or meaty pieces of salt cod loin. I like to use half chicken stock and half water in my sopa de ajo to give more depth and structure to the soup. I also like to fry some serrano ham before I add the garlic and bread, that way I flavour the oil and sprinkle the crispy ham right at the end to provide some delicious salty texture.


    1. In a medium size casserole pan, heat the oil and fry the serrano ham until crispy. Drain and set aside.
    2. Lower the heat, add the chopped garlic and fry gently without colouring for a couple of minutes. Add the chopped bread and stir well making sure you coat the bread in the flavoured oil.
    3. Remove the pan from the heat and add the smoked paprika so you stop it from burning, stir the mix well until all the bread is coated.
    4. Add the hot chicken stock and water, bring to the boil, season with salt and simmer without boiling for 20 minutes. You will need to keep on beating the soup with a whisk to help the bread thicken the soup.
    5. Just before serving, bring the sopa de ajo to the boil and crack one by one your four eggs into the soup, lower the heat and poach them gently for 3 minutes, be careful not to break them.
    6. Garnish with the crispy serrano ham and serve with some crusty bread a glass of red wine.

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