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The Best Mulligatawny Soup Recipe

by victor

Mulligatawny soup in a while bowl, soup spoon filled with soup lifting up.

If you like mulligatawny soup, or even if you don’t like it that much, or you’ve never tried it, you have to try this recipe. This is the best mulligatawny soup recipe out there. Period. It’s that good!

Being a Seinfeld fan I’ve known about mulligatawny soup for a long while… Right, I learned about it from ‘The Soup Nazi’ episode, like millions of others I suppose. Remember the dialogue between Kramer and Elaine?

ELAINE: Do you need anything?

KRAMER: Well, a bowl of mulligatawny would hit the spot.

ELAINE: Mulligatawny?

KRAMER: Yeah. It’s an Indian soup. It’s simmered to perfection by one of the great soup artisans in the modern era.

Contrary to what I learned from the show and what stuck with me for years, mulligatawny is not an Indian soup. It’s a purely English soup made after an Indian recipe. The name roughly translates from Tamil as ‘pepper water’. The original Indian recipe is not even a soup, it’s a sauce that is served with rice.

According to Wikipedia, the original version of mulligatawny soup recipe consisted of a broth from lentils, fried onions and curry powder. Today it typically describes a thickened soup that is strongly spiced with curry powder and nutmeg. Often you will also see vegetables, nuts and rice added. Some recipes make use of port wine.

So, this incredibly delicious soup is a Western invention, but it comes with wonderful Indian flavors. This is one of my two most favorite soup recipes.

Curry powder

At the local spice store I can buy freshly prepared mild, medium and hot curry powder. I prefer mild hands down. Just my personal preference. If you like your soup spicier, substitute mild curry powder for medium or hot.

An even better alternative would be to make your own curry powder to suit your own taste.

Close up of a spoonful of mulligatawny soup inside a bowl of soup.


I’ve used chicken breast, chicken thighs and beef meat in this recipe. The winner for me is beef. Followed closely by chicken thighs. Then followed by chicken breast. Chicken breast is good and is an excellent option for calorie conscious people. However, chicken thighs definitely add a lot of flavor and taste juicier. Sous vide chicken breast and slow roasted chicken breast are both great options if you want tender and very juicy white chicken meat in your soup.  Good quality stewing beef or beef chuck is an excellent option as well.

If you are using chicken thighs or beef, you can brown them about 1 minute per side over a fairly high heat. Browning chicken breast is a bad idea as it will become dry and rubbery later on, based on my experiments.

Vegetarian mulligatawny soup version

For the vegetarian option, instead of using meat, try adding sauteed oyster or other mushrooms with some onions toward the end of cooking. Satisfaction guaranteed! Don’t forget to substitute butter for olive oil and use vegetable broth.


Based on my research, it’s customary to add heavy cream to mulligatawny soup when serving, but I think the cream takes away from the depth of flavors in this amazing soup. My family loves it with the cream added though. I personally don’t. You decide for yourself.

This is the best mulligatawny soup recipe. Period. Mildly spicy, with mild curry flavor and beautiful color. Try it with beef and and caramelized mushrooms too. Every variation of this soup is marvelous. I've been getting numerous compliments for this soup. Don't wait, go make it now!

This is the best mulligatawny soup recipe. Period. Mildly spicy, with mild curry flavor and beautiful color. Try it with beef and and caramelized mushrooms too. Every variation of this soup is marvelous. I've been getting numerous compliments for this soup. Don't wait, go make it now!

The Best Mulligatawny Soup Recipe

5 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American, European
Keyword: mulligatawny soup
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 532kcal
Author: Victor


  • 6 chicken thighs (about 1 lb total, skinless, boneless, cut into 1/2-inch cubes; see notes for substitutions)
  • 1/2 cup yellow onions chopped
  • 2 celery stalks chopped
  • 2 small carrots diced
  • 1 leek thinly sliced (white part only)
  • 1/2 stick butter (unsalted)
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp mild curry powder or medium / hot for more burn in your mouth
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 apple cored and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup white rice
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp dried thyme

For serving/garnish

  • 1 cup heavy cream heated (optional)
  • Chopped fresh parsley


  • Saute onions, celery, leek, carrots, and butter in a large pot over medium heat until they start to soften, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Add the flour and the curry, and cook over medium heat for 5 more minutes.
  • Add the chicken broth, mix well, and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
  • Add the apple, rice, chicken, salt, pepper, nutmeg and thyme. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the rice is done.
  • When serving, add heated cream (optionally) and chopped fresh parsley.


Substitute chicken thighs for about 2 chicken medium size breasts, about 1 lb in total.
If you prefer beef, use about 1 lb beef chuck or stewing beef, stewed to full doneness prior as it takes longer to cook than chicken.
For a meatless version, use 3 cups sauteed mushrooms instead of meat or chicken.


Calories: 532kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Cholesterol: 220mg | Sodium: 1342mg | Potassium: 801mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 6811IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 106mg | Iron: 2mg



If you are looking for more cool Seinfeld recipes, check out The Best SEINFELD Recipes, Crafts, Printables & More! on Bomb Shell Bling.

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Leave a Comment



Barbara December 28, 2019 - 12:29 am

This soup was marvelous! Thank you so much.

victor December 28, 2019 - 6:20 pm

You are very welcome, Barbara.

Mich November 12, 2019 - 9:04 pm

Wanting to make a meatless version but kids aren’t fans of mushrooms… so thinking of other veggies to add. Would potatoes be good in this?

victor November 12, 2019 - 9:44 pm

Potatoes are a good option. Personally, I would add grilled or pan-fried (un-breaded) eggplant. Or zucchini. Else, can’t go wrong with pasta (macaroni, orzo, etc.) Kids love that.

Momo November 5, 2019 - 8:42 am

Is 6 chicken thighs correct? That seems like a lot for 4 servings. I’m planning on doubling the recipe for a soup party, so that would be 12?

victor November 5, 2019 - 10:19 am

I suppose it depends on the size of the thighs. The ones that I normally use aren’t that big. 6 boneless, skinless may be a pound or so. I think 3 oz of meat per person/serving would be a good amount.

Marc September 29, 2019 - 10:03 am

Authentic Mulligatawny soup did not have meat or cream in it. Furthermore, curry powder was not used, while individual spices were.. I am sure that this is a delicious soup, but it is a creamy meat and lentil soup, as opposed to a “Mulligatawny”

victor September 29, 2019 - 3:20 pm

Thanks for chiming in, Marc. So many variations of everything nowadays. My local supermarket sells white cucumbers that look nothing like normal cucumbers. They still call it a cucumber.

Debra Miller September 11, 2019 - 1:12 pm

Absolutely delicious. I have made it several times, and the last time used full fat Coconut cream instead of regular cream. Wow, what a lovely flavor. I saved a small dollop for the top of the soup and then squeezed some fresh lime on the top.
Definitely a keeper in our home. even my picky Husband enjoyed the soup.
Thank you for Sharing,

victor September 12, 2019 - 2:59 pm

You are very welcome, Deb. Thank you for your feedback.

Benni May 9, 2019 - 11:10 pm

My husband & I are huge Indian food fans (even tho’ apparently mulligatawny is English — who knew?) so I made this recipe tonight & it is definitely my fav. mulligatawny soup to date. That includes the Indian restaurants where sometimes it’s too watery or there’s not enough chicken or flavor. I left out the apple, nutmeg & thyme simply because I didn’t have those ingredients & added a skosh of garam masala because of the nutmeg & the soup didn’t seem to lack anything at all.. I did add the heavy cream to smooth it out & I liked it better than without, but I suppose it’s just up to the cook. BTW, years ago, my husband & I were watching Seinfeld & said, “What’s mulligatawny?” Heh-heh… that led us to a whole new world of food — naan, dal, tandoor, tikka masala, chai… yum. Thank you for the great recipe, Victor!

victor May 11, 2019 - 5:14 pm

You are very welcome, Benni. So happy to hear that you found a new recipe that you liked a lot. Thank you for your feedback.

Karen February 28, 2019 - 9:06 pm

Our local specialty Market used to make this soup. It was my favorite!! Sadly, they went out of business. I was still craving the soup so did a google search and found Victor’s recipe. The ingredients looked right, so I gave it a try.

It was perfect! I loved it! I have hungry teens so doubled the recipe. Made it with chicken. Will be searching for a spicier curry, the one in my cupboard was too mild, I’ll add mushrooms next time, oh, and I added lite coconut milk rather than heavy cream.

Can’t wait to make it again!

Thanks for the great recipe and history about the soup!

Ruth January 23, 2019 - 12:46 pm

Delicious recipe! I grated the apple with a cheese grater instead of chopping it up. It melted right into the soup and the soup was exceptionally tasty.

Berniece December 19, 2018 - 3:02 pm

Perfect just what I was searching for!

Karen May 11, 2018 - 11:39 am

I don’t normally comment on recipes, but this is the best mulligatawny we’ve tried so far. We are also big Seinfeld fans. Even our kids liked this soup (they haven’t liked any of the other Mulligatawny recipes so far). I like that it is relatively simple and doesn’t require any far out there kind of ingredients. For the meat, we just used leftover rotisserie chicken. Looking forward to leftovers today!

victor May 11, 2018 - 11:45 am

Thank you for taking time and leaving a comment, Karen. I am glad to hear that you liked the soup. Guess what, just mentioning it made me want it so badly that I will be making it today after work. I have some grilled chicken breasts left over from last night so I will use them in the soup. Can’t wait!

Kathie March 13, 2018 - 2:17 am

I have made your recipe for Mulligatawny soup once and it was excellent! I wasn’t sure if the chicken thighs were supposed to cook in just the 15 minutes that the rice was cooking. So I cooked them separately and added them during the last 15 minutes of cooking. I am making the soup again tomorrow night for company and am still wondering when the raw chicken thighs are supposed to be added? I like your wife’s recipe for boneless skinless chicken thighs cooked in a skillet on the top of the stove. Easy and delicious!

victor March 13, 2018 - 6:48 am

Hi Kathie, glad to hear that you liked the recipe and thanks for writing the detailed feedback. As to the chicken, you don’t need to cook it separately as 15 minutes of simmering is plenty to cook through 1/2-inch pieces of meat. If you do want to pre-cook, then adding the cooked through pieces of meat at the last minute would ensure against overcooking… and I hear you, I love those pan-fried chicken thighs too 😉

Kathie March 13, 2018 - 11:07 pm

Thanks for answering so quickly! I was able to follow your advice for my company dinner tonight and the soup turned out great. Everybody wanted more!

victor March 14, 2018 - 3:18 am

You are very welcome!

The Best Seinfeld Recipes, Crafts, Printables & More! February 6, 2018 - 8:00 am

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Whitney Allison Kerr November 7, 2017 - 7:39 pm

Yum! I don’t usually cook, but had a craving and found your recipe. As a novice, prep took me much longer, but the end result was worth it. Very yummy and I know tomorrow’s leftovers will be even better. Thank you!

victor November 7, 2017 - 7:42 pm

You are very welcome. I find cooking very rewarding, besides you can make just about anything in the kitchen whereas eating out is always limited in general in many ways. I am glad you liked the recipe. Please do come back and try my other recipes.

Boyan Minchev July 25, 2017 - 4:15 am

I’ve tried this mulligatawny soup in the Cheh Republic back in 2015, it was amazing. Thank you for sharing this great soup recipe with us.

Kristyn April 6, 2017 - 9:40 pm

I tried a kind of this soup earlier tonight, but I don’t think it had apples in it. If it did then I couldn’t taste them or find them. Are apples in most recipes and will it be ok if I don’t add them?

victor April 9, 2017 - 2:55 pm

My apologies about the delayed response, your message went into spam folder for some reason. Apples can be omitted, but I find that tart apples add complexity to the flavor. The apples are boiled and softened to the point that you don’t really feel them. I know they are there, but they are very subtle to notice easily.

Garnet April 3, 2017 - 12:04 pm

Sounds delicious but if i use stew beef it will bake longer for the meat to become tender. At what point do you add the chuck or stew meat/

victor April 3, 2017 - 12:29 pm

Good point. I would prepare the beef separately and add it at the end. For softer cuts I would pan-sear, slice about 1/4″ thick and add about the same time as chicken. I have done it with chuck, flank and loin cut offs with excellent results. Honestly, I don’t use stewing beef much simply because it’s hard to cook as it consists of different cuts, some of which are very tough. I would definitely stew it first, separately, until tender then use in the soup.

Lara March 21, 2017 - 9:23 pm

The soup turned out really, really good! Thank you for the recipe.

victor March 21, 2017 - 9:33 pm

You are very welcome.

Brigid December 21, 2016 - 10:44 pm

What kind of Apple do you use?

victor December 22, 2016 - 7:50 am

I prefer green, tart apples.