Česnečka (Czech Garlic Soup aka Hangover Soup)

October 17, 2019 (Last Updated: June 29, 2020)
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Czech Garlic Soup, aka Česnečka or Hangover Soup, is regarded as a cure for all ailments, including the common cold and of course hangovers. It boasts garlic, potatoes, and crunchy rye bread croutons!

A bowl of Czech garlic soup topped with rye croutons.

After visiting Prague recently I became very intrigued by Czech cooking. Some Czech recipes have roots in other Central European cuisines, such as German, Austrian, or Hungarian. Others truly have a uniquely Czech spin on them. While a lot of Czech food is rustic, rich, and not very glamorous, the flavors are quite delicious! I’m excited to create some Czech recipes of my own in the coming months.

A bowl of Czech garlic soup topped with rye croutons.

This past weekend I felt myself coming down with a cold. Boo! During my visit to Prague I had heard of a Czech garlic soup called Česnečka aka “hangover soup.” It’s laden with garlic, and is considered a fix for other ailments including the common cold. The timing couldn’t be more perfect! Garlic has proven antibiotic and antiviral properties. Therefore it makes sense that a soup enriched with loads and loads of garlic would be a great cold remedy. And also, it keeps the vampires away (Halloween’s approaching y’all–better safe than sorry!).

Czech garlic soup topped with rye croutons in a blue and white bowl

Basic Ingredients for Czech Garlic Soup

I researched Česnečka and noted it is an extremely straight-forward dish with ingredients that most people may already have in their refrigerator and pantry. The standard ingredients include garlic, potatoes, and broth. I only had to purchase rye bread for the croutons, but had everything else on hand. Most recipes are nearly identical since it’s quite a basic soup, but there are some variances. A couple of ingredients you may need to pick up include dried marjoram (although dried oregano is an ok substitute) and caraway seeds. These seem to be common in Czech cooking. I ate French onion soup in Prague, and even that contained caraway seeds!

Czech garlic soup, a bowl of croutons and head of garlic next to the soup

Should I include the optional ingredients?

From my research I would say that chopped onions are not typical, but some people add them anyway (I didn’t). Czech Garlic Soup often includes some cubed or shredded cheese. The cheese melts and modifies the flavor and texture of the soup. Also, a beaten egg is added in more classic recipes, yielding ribbons of egg similar to a Chinese egg drop soup. Typically, you top the soup with rye bread croutons as the final step.

In my rendition of Česnečka, I stick with much of the classic components. Initially I served a couple bowls of soup sans egg and cheese, but the following day reheated the leftover soup on the stove top and stirred in half a beaten egg, and served it with a bit of cheese in the bowl for comparison (the photos represent the batch with beaten egg added). Honestly, both versions are equally delicious in my opinion. In the recipe below the egg and cheese are both optional. They are not necessary but both add a bit of extra flavor, texture, and protein.

A bowl of Czech garlic soup with a spoon scooping some up

Česnečka itself of quite garlicky and incredibly satisfying and comforting, especially when one is battling a cold or hangover (though the latter is luckily something I haven’t experienced in years!). I really fell in love with this garlic-bomb of a soup, its ease of preparation, and the comfort it provides. I plan to add it to my winter arsenal as I know there will be more sniffles and sneezes in the coming months. It’s so delicious even if you’re not sick, so seriously give it a try!

Other Czech recipes you may like

Read more about my travels through Prague and the Czech Republic. Have you ever visited the Czech Republic or eaten Czech food? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below! And don’t forget to rate the recipe. Thank you!

A spoon scooping Czech garlic soup, with bites of potato and rye bread croutons

Česnečka (Czech Garlic Soup aka Hangover Soup)

Victoria
Czech Garlic Soup is also known as Česnečka in Czech or Hangover Soup. It's regarded as a cure for all ailments, including the common cold and of course hangovers. It is extremely garlicky, and utterly satisfying and comforting on the coldest winter days.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Soup
Cuisine Czech
Servings 4 to 5 servings
Calories 696 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 6 to 8 cloves garlic, crushed (you can use even more, if you’d like!)
  • 6 cups chicken, beef, or vegetable broth or stock
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound (about 2 medium to large) waxy potatoes (white, yellow, or red–not russets), peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 large egg, beaten (optional)
  • 3 ounces (3 to 4 slices) rye bread, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil or olive oil spray
  • 4 ounces cubed cheese, Emmental, Gruyere, or Camembert–rind removed (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Instructions
 

  • Melt the butter in a medium pan over medium heat, and add the garlic. Cook until softened and aromatic, about 4 to 5 minutes (lower the heat if it starts to brown). Add the broth and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • When boiling, season with salt and pepper, then add the diced potatoes, marjoram, and caraway seeds. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 15 to 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Adjust seasoning as needed.
  • If you are adding an egg, pour it in slowly while mixing the soup to create ribbons of cooked egg (similar to Chinese egg drop soup).
  • Meanwhile, heat an oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees F. Add the cubed rye bread to a small sheet pan and either drizzle with olive oil or spray with olive oil spray, and toss with your hands to coat. Toast for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crispy. Set aside until soup is done.
  • Serve the soup topped with croutons and parsley, and if desired stir in some cheese (or put the cheese in the bowl first and then pour the soup on top). Serve immediately.

Notes & Nutrition

Substitute dried oregano if you don’t have dried marjoram. It’s close but not identical.
Servings 4.0 * calories 696 * Total Fat 14 g * Saturated Fat 7 g * Monounsaturated Fat 5 g * Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g * Trans Fat 0 g * Cholesterol 98 mg * Sodium 696 mg * Potassium 110 mg * Total Carbohydrate 117 g * Dietary Fiber 2 g * Sugars 0 g * Protein 21 g
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*

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A bowl of Czech garlic soup with rye bread croutons

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Camille
    January 8, 2020 at 10:26 pm

    5 stars
    Anything with potatoes and gruyere cheese is a 5-star recipe in my book! I can’t wait to make this soup, it looks so good!

  • Reply
    Alexandra
    January 10, 2020 at 10:17 am

    5 stars
    I love how flavoursome this dish is. A bowl of this definitely makes you feel better – whether you are unwell or in perfect health. So delicious!

  • Reply
    Taylor Kiser
    January 10, 2020 at 10:35 am

    5 stars
    This soup looks so comforting and delicious! Perfect for dinner during this cold months!

  • Reply
    Rebecca
    January 10, 2020 at 10:40 am

    5 stars
    This soup looks so good! It’s great on a cold winter day

    • Reply
      Andrea
      January 20, 2020 at 11:29 pm

      5 stars
      This soup sounded delicious and it definitely surpassed my expectations! I didn’t have caraway seeds so I opted for a caraway seeded rye which may have given a slightly lighter flavor. This was my first time making a soup with an egg ribbon. I could not be more impressed by how professional of a recipe this as well as easy! Perfect to impress guests or nurse them back to health, this soup is ideal. Thanks Victoria!!

      • Reply
        Victoria
        January 21, 2020 at 9:45 am

        You’re welcome, Andrea! I’m so glad you enjoyed this soup. It’s so easy to make, right?

  • Reply
    Jenn
    January 10, 2020 at 10:59 am

    5 stars
    This looks like my kind of soup! I can’t wait to dig in to a bowlful – even if I’m not hungover! LOL

  • Reply
    Michelle
    January 10, 2020 at 11:53 am

    5 stars
    Such simple ingredients and big flavor. I can see why it would be great for a hangover

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