Best Turtle Soup

Donna Graffagnino


Turtle Soup is almost as synonymous with Nola Cuisine as Gumbo, in fact, it probably outsells the Gumbo in a lot of establishments. Unlike the clear Turtle Soups made in other parts of the world, the Louisiana variety is a dark, robust soup, bordering on a stew. There are also Mock Turtle Soups which are good as well, usually made with Beef and Veal. Turtles are said to contain about 7 different flavors of meat, so it would be very easy to slip a more inexpensive meat in with the Turtle, I’ve even heard of some places slipping in some Alligator. (See Notes Below)

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25 Min


1 Hr 30 Min


Stove Top



1/2 c
unsalted butter
1/2 c
ap flour


4 Tbsp
unsalted butter
1 lb
turtle meat, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/2 c
onion, finely diced
1 c
celery, finely diced
1/4 c
green onions, sliced thin
2 tsp
garlic, minced
fresh bay leaves
1 can(s)
diced tomatoes with juice
1 can(s)
6 oz tomato sauce* (optional)
1 qt
beef stock
1/2 tsp
cayenne pepper or more to taste
1 dash(es)
ground allspice
1 Tbsp
fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp
fresh marjoram, chopped
salt & black pepper to taste
1/4 c
fresh lemon juice
4 Tbsp
worcestershire sauce
3 Tbsp
hard boiled eggs, whites diced, yolks smashed with a fork
lemon slices
5 tsp
italian parsley, finely chopped

Directions Step-By-Step

Melt the half cup of butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan, whisk in the flour, cook to make a peanut butter colored roux. Set aside.
In a large saucepan or dutch oven, melt the 4 Tbsp of unsalted butter over medium-high heat, add the diced turtle meat and saute until nicely browned.
Lower the heat to medium, add both types of onions, the celery, and garlic. Season with salt and black pepper. Saute until the vegetables are tender.
Add the tomatoes, season with a little salt so they will break down, cook for 10 minutes.
Add the tomato sauce, beef stock, worcestershire, cayenne, allspice, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then down to a simmer. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally and skimming off any impurities that may rise to the surface.
Whisk in the roux, simmer until thickened and smooth. Add the thyme, and marjoram, simmer for 15-20 minutes more.
Add the lemon juice, 3 tsp of the parsley, and the smashed egg yolk, heat through
Serve garnished with lemon slices, diced egg whites, and parsley. Add the sherry at the table, about 1-2 tsp per bowl. Enjoy!
*NOTES: As far as finding Turtle Meat in your area, you may have a bit of a challenge. If you have a great Asian Market in your area, it’s probably your best bet, they may even have them live if you would like to butcher them yourself. It’s a messy business though, with a lot of blood and Post Mortem squirming. I buy frozen.

If you can purchase bone-in Turtle Meat, do so! You can Roast the bones and infuse the flavor into your Beef Stock. Roast them in a 400 degree F oven until a nice deep brown, then add them to your Beef Stock and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour.

If you like your turtle soup with a rich brown gravy, leave out the tomato sauce. Adding the tomato sauce will add another layer of flavor and will only change the color of the soup slightly.

About this Recipe

Course/Dish: Beef Soups, Other Soups
Main Ingredient: Wild Game
Regional Style: Cajun/Creole