Sorrel Soup Recipe - How to Make French Sorrel Soup (2024)

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4.88 from 33 votes

By Hank Shaw

April 04, 2012 | Updated June 22, 2020


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Sorrel Soup Recipe - How to Make French Sorrel Soup (2)

One of the first things I did when I moved to California was plant sorrel in my backyard. It is my kind of veggie: Tart, tender, drought-resistant, indestructible. Ignore it and sorrel thrives. Stomp on it and it comes back stronger. And it’s green almost all year long.

Sorrel soup is a classic. It is a harbinger of spring all over Europe, and several versions of it exist from Scotland to France to Russia.

Sorrel, like many early-spring greens, is a tonic after so many months of eating roots and preserved meats. It is very high in Vitamin C and reasonably high in iron. It’s tang — I call it “lemonade in a leaf” — comes from oxalic acid, the same thing that make its cousin rhubarb taste the way it does.

Sorrel is exceptional paired with seafood or chicken, and I often make a simple sorrel sauce whenever I have some trout or salmon or pheasant around.

Everything about sorrel soup sounded wonderful, save one: For whatever reason, sorrel turns olive green almost the second it touches the heat. Sorrel looks like overcooked collard greens even before it’s fully wilted. And I have a thing about overcooked greens, although I am trying to get over it. I want my greens to shine like emeralds, not look like the side of an Army truck.

Sorrel Soup Recipe - How to Make French Sorrel Soup (3)

I stood in my yard, staring at my gigantic sorrel patch. Would another year pass without me making sorrel soup? I got out my scissors. No, I’d suck it up and deal with the drab.

You don’t have to garden to enjoy sorrel. I happen to grow the common garden sorrel that was developed in France centuries ago, but there are several wild sorrel species that live in North America.

Most common are the oxalis family, of which there are scores. Chief among this clan is creepingwood sorrel, Oxalis corniculata, which looks like shamrocks with little yellow flowers. It turns bronze in cold weather and often infiltrates your lawn. There is another sorrel that lives in the West Coast, Oxalis albicans. It too has shamrocks, only they’re larger and the yellow flowers are the color of saffron-and-cream. You see this sorrel a lot in the Bay Area.

In the woods you will find sheep sorrel,Rumex acetosella. It has tiny, arrow-shaped leaves and grows in a little rosette. Sheep sorrel can carpet the forest floor. My garden sorrel is a relative of this one.

Sorrel Soup Recipe - How to Make French Sorrel Soup (4)

Since the French really pioneered the cultivation of sorrel, I decided to make my sorrel soup a French one. There are scores of recipes for this soup, but if you want to make a classic French dish you go to the classic French cookbook: Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. My version of this recipe differs from Julia’s only in that I used wild onions instead of regular onions, and I used more sorrel. Other than that, it is an homage to a master.

As you might expect from a vegetable whose chief attribute is tartness, this soup would be inedible without the cream and eggs to temper it. With them, however, it becomes a bright, smooth wake-up call from a long winter. All it needed for total balance was a good loaf of bread and a crisp white wine. Enjoy!

4.88 from 33 votes

Sorrel Soup, French Style

You will need a fair bit of sorrel to make this recipe, as it cooks down into a puree alarmingly fast. You can buy sorrel at some fancy supermarkets, a lot of farmer's markets in the spring -- or you can garden your own or forage for it. (If you want to plant it in your garden, you can buy sorrel seed online.) If you can't find it, substitute watercress and use sour cream instead of regular cream.

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Course: Main Course, Soup

Cuisine: French

Servings: 4 people

Author: Hank Shaw

Prep Time: 10 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes minutes


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions, ramps or other wild onion
  • 4-6 cups of chopped sorrel, packed
  • Salt
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 quart chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup cream


  • Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the green onions or ramps and turn the heat to medium-low. Cover the pot and cook gently for 10 minutes.

  • While the onions are cooking, pour the stock into another pot and bring to a simmer.

  • Turn the heat up, add the sorrel leaves and a healthy pinch of salt to the pot with the onions and stir well. When the sorrel is mostly wilted, turn the heat back to medium-low, cover and cook 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Mix in the flour and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes.

  • Whisk in the hot stock, stirring constantly. Bring this to a simmer.

  • To finish the soup, whisk together the egg yolks and cream. Temper the mixture by ladling a little soup into it with one hand, while you whisk the egg-cream mix with the other. Repeat this three times. (You are doing this to prevent the eggs from scrambling) Now start whisking the soup. Pour the hot egg-cream-soup mixture into the pot with the soup, whisking all the way. Add the final tablespoon of butter. Let this cook -- below a simmer -- for 5 minutes. Do not let it boil or the soup will break. Serve at once.


Serve this with bread and a nice white wine, or a floral beer like a Belgian.


Calories: 306kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 169mg | Sodium: 92mg | Potassium: 270mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 2242IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

Categorized as:
French, Recipe

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

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Sorrel Soup Recipe - How to Make French Sorrel Soup (2024)


What is sorrel soup made of? ›

Sorrel soup is made from water or broth, sorrel leaves, and salt. Varieties of the same soup include spinach, garden orache, chard, nettle, and occasionally dandelion, goutweed or ramsons, together with or instead of sorrel.

What do you do with French sorrel? ›

Sorrel falls straight between herbs and greens. Use it as a leafy herb, like parsley or basil or mint, chopping it up to use in marinades and dressings, or stirring it into soups or casseroles for a bit of fresh flavor. Or, use it as a green, ripping the tender leaves into salads and stir-fries.

How do you prepare sorrel to eat? ›

Cook sorrel in the same way as spinach, lightly steamed or boiled. Sorrel stalks can be cooked like rhubarb. The acidity of sorrel is tamed by cooking in butter or cream or by topping sorrel with a cream sauce. Sorrel soups are commonly thickened with eggs and cream.

Can you eat French sorrel? ›

Sorrel is a small edible green plant from the Polygonaceae family, which also includes buckwheat and rhubarb. The French translation of sour (“sorrel”) is spot-on: These leaves have an intense lemony tang.

What is the difference between sorrel and French sorrel? ›

The leafy herb is not to be confused with what's sometimes called French sorrel, but is really common sorrel or garden sorrel (Rumex acetosa). There is only one French sorrel — True French sorrel, that is — with leaves that are small and shaped like a shield (scutatus is Latin for “armed with a shield”).

What is the difference between French sorrel and common sorrel? ›

Sorrel sort of looks like spinach; common sorrel has spear-shaped, deep green leaves, while French sorrel's leaves are a bit wavier. Both have reddish-brown flower clusters when allowed to bolt. French sorrel is said to be more mild (i.e., less sour) than common sorrel.

What is the common name for French sorrel? ›

Rumex alpestris) is a plant in the buckwheat family, used as a culinary herb. Its common names include French sorrel, buckler sorrel, shield-leaf sorrel, and sometimes the culinary name "green-sauce". L. Acetosa scutata (L.)

What are the disadvantages of sorrel? ›

Wood sorrel is UNSAFE, especially when used when used in higher doses. Wood sorrel can cause diarrhea, nausea, increased urination, skin reactions, stomach and intestine irritation, eye damage, and kidney damage. Swelling of the mouth, tongue, and throat can make speaking and breathing difficult.

What is the best way to use sorrel? ›

How to Use Sorrel. Most folks use raw sorrel as an accent, but young spring sorrel can be wonderful tossed into salads, making for a nice citrusy bite. You can even drop a handful in the blender before blitzing up your breakfast smoothie.

How much sorrel is safe per day? ›

A. The recommended dosage of sorrel is around ½ cup of sorrel leaves, which provides about half of your daily vitamin C and vitamin A needs. It is also rich in potassium and magnesium.

Can you eat too much sorrel? ›

Sorrel is possibly unsafe when consumed in large amounts. Large amounts might increase the risk of developing kidney stones, or damage the liver or stomach. Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Sorrel is possibly safe when consumed in foods.

Can sorrel upset your stomach? ›

Toddlers and kids might find Common Sorrel's sourness a fun novelty, yet their smaller bodies mean greater sensitivity to oxalic acid. Mild stomach upset isn't uncommon, and it's a sign to dial back on the sorrel.

What is sorrel called in America? ›

Sorrel (Rumex acetosa), also called common sorrel or garden sorrel, is a perennial herbaceous plant in the family Polygonaceae. Other names for sorrel include spinach dock and narrow-leaved dock ('dock' being a common name for the genus Rumex).

Is sorrel a laxative? ›

The fresh or dried leaves are considered astringent, diuretic (increasing urination), laxative (softening the bowel), and cooling. Juice of the leaf has also been applied topically for the treatment of itchy skin and for treatment of ringworm.

Is sorrel an anti inflammatory? ›

Sorrel is commonly used to help reduce inflammation and pain that accompanies sinusitis, more commonly referred to as a sinus infection. As a high-antioxidant herb, especially its high vitamin C content, it's awesome at reducing swelling and providing pain relief, which are both key when it comes to sinus infections.

Is Sorrel Soup good for you? ›

It's rich in antioxidants and nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, and magnesium. It may support heart health and fight cancer, although more human research is needed. It can be used to make herbal tea, taken as a supplement, or enjoyed in dishes like soups, salads, and sauces.

What food is sorrel? ›

What is sorrel? Sorrel is a herb with a sharp, lemony flavour. Highly regarded in France, where the leaves are used in soups and sauces, sorrel can also be served with fish and egg dishes. Only the younger leaves, available in the springtime, should be used in salads.

Where does sorrel soup come from? ›

Sorrel soup is a classic. It is a harbinger of spring all over Europe, and several versions of it exist from Scotland to France to Russia. Sorrel, like many early-spring greens, is a tonic after so many months of eating roots and preserved meats.


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