How to Make Garnishes for Soups

Many a soup looks a great deal better for a garnish. There's no need to make this a difficult additional process; usually it's as simple as a quick grate or chop and the soup has a lovely extra dimension without too much more effort.


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    Use herbs. This is one of the simplest ways to garnish a soup, yet it looks fabulous and it adds an extra element of taste. For example:
    • Use chopped parsley on tomato, vegetable, creamy and seafood style soups.
    • Use snipped chives on many different types of soups. Remember that this will add an onion flavor, so be sure it will enhance the soup.
    • Sprinkle a bit of chopped dill over creamy or seafood soups. Dill is a very strong taste, and it's not to everyone's liking, so be sparing with it.
    • Add some hand-ripped mint to fresh soups and Asian-inspired soups. The refreshing taste of mint will give the soup quite a lift.
    • Fresh sprigs of coriander/cilantro go well with Asian/Central and South American style soups. Coriander has quite a strong taste when it's fresh, so check that it's to everyone's liking.
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    Use cheese. Many a child will be most grateful for some shredded cheese sprinkled over the soup just prior to serving. If you're floating a piece of bread or toast on the soup, sprinkle the cheese over that; you could even grill the cheese on top for added tastiness and a delicious texture.
    • Be careful with blue cheese; not everyone likes the odor or taste of it.
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    Add chopped hard boiled eggs to hearty soups. The chopped egg will bob on the top and adds an extra flavorsome source of protein to the soup.
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    Use cream. There was a time when a drizzle of cream was essential for any classy soup but nowadays it's less popular, so be sure that it matches the flavors of the soup. You can use runny cream and swirl it around the top in a nice spiral pattern, or you could use whipped, salted cream and dollop it in the middle of the soup. If you don't want cream, try sour cream or yogurt instead.
    • Non-dairy cream can be purchased if preferred.
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    Drizzle oil over the top. Choose a high quality extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) or a flavored oil and simply swirl it around the top of the soup. It'll add flavor and it looks good too.
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    Make croutons. This garnish requires a bit of extra effort but it's often the crunchy, oily texture that draws the whole soup experience together and turns it into a taste sensation. To make croutons, see here.
    • Flavored croutons can make an interesting touch; consider frying them with a spice, such as cinnamon or pepper.
    • Other crunchy-style additions to the top of a soup include fried onion pieces, crunched up potato crisps/chips (the crumbs at the bottom of the bag are great), broken up pappadams, corn chips broken into little pieces, popcorn or fried bacon bits.
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    Sprinkle with nuts and seeds. Whether the nuts and seeds are raw or roasted, salted or flavored, they can be a delicious addition to the right soup. Pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, hazelnuts, macadamias, etc. all make tasty choices to garnish a soup.
    • Dukkah makes a nice choice for a mixture of nuts and seeds, with added flavor.


  • If you're having celery soup, try adding diced apple; it marries extremely well with celery and enhances its flavor.
  • Garnishes don't always have to be added prior to serving. In some cases, you might prefer to place garnishes on the table and let diners help themselves. Be sure to provide plenty of spoons to make it easy to add the garnishes.
  • Crusty or old bread floating on top of soup isn't exactly pretty as a garnish but it can be a nice way to make the soup into a hearty meal.
  • Raw vegetable curls or lengths can be a nice addition as a garnish, especially to light, summery and Asian style soups.

Things You'll Need

  • Soup
  • Garnish ingredients

Article Info

Categories: Soups