Fish soup - Soups in Turkey

Soups in Turkey: 7 must try Turkish soups

I don’t know about you but soups always seem so comforting to me. Obviously when you’re sick you eat chicken noodle soup and saltine crackers with sprite if you grew up in my generation. Soups in Turkey hold similar sentiments.

As you will see from this list below, there is a variety of soups available in Turkey. This list is by no means exhaustive. Truly they are just my 5 favorites and two extras that everyone loves that I have yet to try.

When you come visit Turkey, make sure that you savor the flavors of these delicious soups and soak up all their health benefits.

Not to mention, Turks will love you even more if you boast about how good their soups are as they are very proud to be Turks and proud of their food.

Let’s take a look at some Turkish soups I think you shouldn’t miss out on.

1. Tarhana Çorbası

Tarhana Soup Woman
I bought my Tarhana soup from this woman in a village.

Tarhana is a special soup as it is made from a powder that has previously been handmade. It doesn’t translate to anything in English.

It is made from taking vegetables, herbs, spices and yogurt and mixing them together. They they are spread out and allowed to dry out. Once they are dried out they will crush them into a powder. It is typically made at the end of summer or beginning of fall in preparation for the cold winter where the vegetables won’t be available.

Because it was made from fresh veggies and herbs, this soup is very rich in vitamins and minerals.

Like most things in Turkey, the exact flavor will vary according to the region it is coming from. The vegetables available as well as local influence will be added. It is also known to be one of the first foods that Turks will introduce their babies to.

Finally, because the powder is ready to go, the beautiful thing about this soup is that you can make it lickity split! In a mere 10 minutes you can have delicious soup as a side or your main dish for dinner. Check out this simple recipe

2. Ezogelİn Çorbası

Ezogelin is one of the most traditional soups as well as being one of my go to soups in here in Turkey. This soup is often confused with red lentil soup because they look quite similar. While they both have lentils that is about where the similarities end.

The literal translation of ezogelin is Ezo the bride (gelin). There is quite the incredible story to go along with the name actually. The story goes something like this. In 1909 there was a girl named Zohre who was born in Gaziantep. She grew to be a beautiful young woman and was given the nickname Ezo because of her beauty. She married but her beauty caused many problems for her and she was eventually divorced and back with her family. Her father was quick to push her to remarry and ended up marrying a man on the southeastern border of Turkey. She longed to be home. She was sad and lonely. During the war she began to channel her sadness into cooking desperately trying to win her mother-in-law’s heart. She created this soup from what she could find in the kitchen at the time. While she passed away in 1956, her recipe was well known as it made appearances in folk songs and to this day has been the subject of Turkish movies.

Ezogelin is made from onion, tomatoes, bulgur, rice, mint and lentils. Of course, it too can change a bit by region. Some will add butter, others extra spices. It quite popular and is typically a staple on menus along with Mercimek Çorbası (or lentil soup) though most often the lentil soup is the yellow colored one. When you have the chance to try Ezogelin, take it!

3. Domates Çorbası

Tomato soup and salad

Or otherwise known as Tomato Soup. Who doesn’t love some fresh tomato basil soup?! It was always one of my favorites as an adult. Especially when accompanied by a grilled cheese, or as Turks call it, tost.

When you come to Turkey you will notice one particular thing about the vegetables here…the flavor is so incredibly rich! In the States, I stopped eating cucumbers and tomatoes because they had become so bland. But here, the are rich in flavor which means the tomato soup is unreal.

For those of you who are gluten free, be careful because they will often add a touch of flour to the soup to thicken it up. To most soup they will. Make sure you ask if it is “glutensiz” or not.

Typically Turkish tomato soup is made with tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and some basil. Yuuuummm.

4. Beyran Çorbası

Beyran Soup

This soup holds a special place in my heart. When I first came to Turkey I was told I had to try this and soon after I was in love with this place.

This soup is often served in copper dishes and is known for being a soup you eat when you’re not feeling so great. Because it made from lamb neck, you get all the collagen and richness of the bone broth as well as the delicious flavor of spices.

This soup isn’t as easily found so if you see it, make sure you try it. It is typically made of lamb neck, a touch of rice, butter, chili past, garlic, salt and pepper. While it may seem quite simple and boring, the flavors that come together are quite delicious. So much so that it is even often eaten for breakfast especially in the Antep region.

5. İşkembe Çorbası

If you’re into chitlins and love tripe, this is the soup for you. İşkembe is Turkish for “tripe” and is often known as a great hangover cure here.

Beyond hangover cure, it is a popular soup especially during Kurban Bayrami which is the Sacrifice Feast. They will slaughter the animals and then use ever portion of the animal. But make sure that if you’re eating it, you’re eating it somewhere reputable. Because it is tripe, you really want to make sure that the tripe is completely cleaned before you eat it.

It generally consists of egg yolks, butter, flour, milk, water and, of course, tripe. It is typically seasoned with red pepper, vinegar and garlic to taste.

This is one I have not yet tried, nor do I plan on trying. I simply can’t get past the texture. It’s a nonstarter for me. But if chewy doesn’t bother you, give it a whirl. I have dear friends who think this is the best soup ever.

6. Yayla Çorbası

From this list, this is the only other one I haven’t yet tried but mostly because I haven’t seen it anywhere. I so look forward to trying it.

It’s name means High Plateau. It’s typically made from yogurt, rice, dried mint and some oil. While it is a standard in Turkish homes, I haven’t seen it very often in restaurants.

It is another soup that is enjoyed throughout the year because of the lightness of the soup but also enjoyed by children. It is even often given to babies as one of their first foods.

7. Kırmızı mercİmek Çorbası

Lentil Soup
This is regular lentil soup, not the red lentil.

Lastly but definitely not least, Red Lentil Soup. This was the first Turkish dish I made on my own and I was in love. I honestly was quite skeptical because…well in America we don’t really eat lentils all that much. Or at least I didn’t. When I tasted the flavors of this soup and knew how healthy it was, I was so excited. This was the way I could get more fiber and protein in!

Lentil soup is often on the list at restaurants. Sometimes it is green/yellow lentils and other times it is red. They are pretty similar in flavor. Beyond it having a great flavor and being quite satisfying because of the protein and fiber, it is also an incredibly inexpensive soup to make.

If you’re eating the red lentil version, they apparently have high levels of iron which is great for childhood nutrition. You can add other veggies in like onions, carrots and potatoes and blend them together. Some people like to leave the lentils whole and falling apart but I prefer it blended well. Definitely one you can make at home or enjoy out!

BONUS: Balık Çorbası

fish soup

I’d like to add a bonus one. On a trip through the Black Sea region with a dear local friend, she introduced me to fish soup.

I grew up in Florida but unfortunately didn’t appreciate fish until long after I lived there. I missed out on so many opportunities. (insert sad chuckle)

My friend loves soup. Loves soup. Loves soup in the way that she typically doesn’t eat a meal without having at least half a portion of a soup. Thus we ate fish soup. And let me tell you, it was delicious!

Obviously the closer you are to the water, the fresher it will be. So if you’re at a restaurant on the water, make sure you try the fish soup. It is all different, obviously dependent on what is in season but it so tasty.


As you can see, there is quite the variety. Some vegan soups and others more interesting. But they all have rich flavors and most of them have some pretty great healing properties because of the rich nutritional content.

If you haven’t tried any yet, try out this red lentil soup recipe. Then when you come, you can compare to your own dish. Which one will be better?

Looking for more food blog posts? Check out this one on drinks in Turkey, food in Turkey or desserts in Turkey.

Have you had any of the soups in Turkey or Turkish soups in your home country? Which was your favorite?!

Catch you on the next post!

– Kimberly

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