Hungarian Beef and Mushroom Soup

Light enough to lead into a meal, filling enough to be the main attraction at lunch, this soup showcases the classic Hungarian trio of flavours — onions, sour cream and paprika. Mushrooms add umami, beef brings protein and a trio of dried peppers keeps things interesting.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Charmian from The Messy Baker.

Prep Time: 15 mins. | Cook Time: 30 mins.


3 tablespoon butter
2 large onions, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound lean ground beef
12 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 2 tsp dried dill
1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 cups low-sodium or homemade beef or chicken stock
1 cup sour cream (plus more for garnish)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
sour cream
fresh ground black pepper


  1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, melt the butter gently over medium-low heat. Add the onions and salt, and cook for 10 minutes or until the onions are very soft.
  2. Increase the heat to medium and add the beef. Cook 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the mushrooms, dill, thyme, paprika(s) and cayenne, mixing to incorporate well. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes on medium-low or until the mushrooms have softened and the spices have infused their flavours.
  4. Stir in the stock, then increase heat to bring the soup to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer another 5 minutes.
  5. Swirl in the sour cream and lemon juice. Taste, adding more salt if necessary.
  6. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a grinding of fresh black pepper. Serve immediately.