This recipe for Czech garlic soup is light yet rich in taste. It's often used as a fortifying soup while being sick, and some people call it the best hangover cure! In the Czech Republic, this traditional garlic soup is known as česnečka or česneková polévka.
My husband always asks for homemade garlic soup when he feels sick. And I’m happy to cook it for him because I know this wholesome garlic soup will ever get him back on his feet.
Try it too: If you feel you’re getting ill, try this clear garlic soup. Nothing beats a steaming soup in those cases!
MY TIP: Don’t miss white cauliflower soup, Czech květáková polévka (it tastes so good!)
➜ What Is Czech garlic soup?
Czech garlic soup, called česnečka, is a clear soup without cream made from chicken broth and potatoes, loaded with fresh garlic. Dried marjoram and some bay leaves give the soup the real Czech flavor. Threw a handful of toasted bread croutons into your plate as the last step!
I recorded a short audio clip on how to pronounce the Czech word česnečka. The first word in the audio is "česnečka", the last is "česneková polévka", which means garlic soup.
To make Czech česnečka garlic soup, you will need:
- Fresh garlic; peeled cloves, sliced
- Brown potatoes; peeled and diced
- Chicken stock; for more flavor and rich taste. Optionally, use plain water.
- Dried marjoram
- Black pepper; ideally fresh ground
- Bay leaves
- Pork lard; or vegetable oil such as sunflower or Canola
For bread croutons, you’ll need one or two slices of stale rye bread. If you don’t have rye bread, white bread will work as well. Czechs make bread croutons for soup from their typical white breads: veka, braided housky, or rohlíky rolls.
✅ You’ll find the exact amount of ingredients below in the recipe card, which you can also print out.
➜ Making garlic soup from scratch
I've heard many people calling the Czech česnečka one of the best garlic soups globally gastronomy.
I have to say that it is true, but you need to know how to make it right. If you just boiled the garlic and potatoes in water, the soup wouldn’t taste as rich as it tastes when well prepared.
The secret of a hearty and rich česnečka soup? You have to sauté diced potatoes and sliced garlic before adding the chicken stock.
STEP 1: Peel the garlic cloves and cut them into thin slices. Peel the potatoes, dice them into cubes about ½ inch (1-1.5 cm) thick.
STEP 2: In a soup pot, melt the lard over medium heat. Add the potato cubes and sauté them until lightly golden brown. It takes about 5 minutes. Stir frequently.
STEP 3: Add the slices of garlic, bay leaves, and sauté for 1 minute (no longer!).
STEP 4: Pour in chicken stock, bring to a boil.
SETP 5: Reduce the heat, add salt, pepper, and marjoram, cook covered with a lid for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are soft.
Serve Czech garlic soup hot with rye bread croutons. Optionally, garnish with chopped parsley leaves. For an even more intensive taste, add some freshly crushed raw garlic into the soup at the very end!
➜ Useful Tips
- Sauté the garlic for 1 minute at most in the beginning. If garlic slices went brown, the soup would be bitter.
- Before you add the dried marjoram, slightly rub it between your fingers, it will smell better it the soup.
- If you don’t have any chicken stock, you can prepare the garlic soup from water. The soup will acquire the taste of potatoes and garlic while cooking.
More traditional Czech soups:
- Zelňačka – sauerkraut soup with klobasa sausage
- Bramboračka – potato soup with mushrooms
- Gulášová polévka – goulash soup with beef
Still hungry? Browse the category with all soup recipes!
➜ Rye bread croutons
Crunchy toasted bread croutons belong to the Czech garlic soup. Add them right before you eat the soup, not earlier.
After you throw the croutons into the soup, they soak up some water and stop being crispy. Thus, the croutons are usually made of rye bread, which is harder, and it remains crispy for longer.
If you only have white bread, you can use it, but the croutons made out of white bread soak up the soup faster.
How to make bread croutons in a few simple steps:
- Grab 1-2 slices of stale bread. Cut it in cubes about ½ inch (1-1.5 cm) in size.
- Grease a baking dish with a little bit of butter.
- Add bread cubes and place the dish into an oven preheated to 340°F (170°C)
- Bake for 10 minutes. Halfway through, mix the bread cubes to get crispy from all sides.
Place the bread croutons into the soup just before you eat it.
➜ Optional ingredients / garnishes
There are several Czech česnečka soup recipe variants. My recipe describes the traditional one, but if you visit Prague and order the soup in a restaurant, it can come to the table with extra ingredients.
Here are some of the more common extra adds or garnishes:
- Hard cheese; grated or cubed, usually served separately in a small bowl
- Diced ham; similar to cheese, served separately in a bowl
- Whisked Egg; drizzled in a soup
- Onion; some recipes call for onion; however, the basic recipe for česnečka doesn’t contain any
- Caraway seeds; typical Czech spice goes into many soups
Czech Garlic Soup – Česnečka
- 4 brown potatoes
- 8 cloves garlic
- 5 cups chicken broth (1.2 l)
- 1 Tablespoon lard or vegetable oil such as sunflower or Canola
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper ground
- salt the exact amount depends on the saltiness of the chicken broth - salt the soup to your liking
Rye bread croutons:
- 2 slices bread stale
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- Peel cloves of garlic and cut them into thin slices.
- Peel potatoes, dice them into cubes about ½ inch (1-1.5 cm) thick.
- In a soup pot, melt the lard over medium heat.
- Add potato cubes and sauté them until lightly golden brown. It takes about 5 minutes. Stir frequently.
- Add slices of garlic, bay leaves, and sauté for 1 minute (no longer!).
- Pour in chicken broth. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat, add salt, ground black pepper, and dried marjoram. Cook for 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
- Serve with bread croutons.
Rye bread croutons:
- Grab 1-2 slices of stale bread. Cut it in cubes in size of about ½ inch (1-1.5 cm).
- Grease a baking dish with a little bit of butter.
- Add bread cubes and place the dish into the oven preheated to 340°F (170°C)
- Bake for 10 minutes, halfway through mix the bread cubes to get crispy from all sides.
- Makes 4 portions.
- For even more intensive taste, add some freshly crushed raw garlic into the soup at the end.
- Place the toasted bread croutons into the soup just before you eat it.
- The garlic soup keeps up for three days when stored in a fridge.
DISCLAIMER: Because I come from Central Europe, my recipes are based on metric units such as grams or milliliters. Check out how I convert metric units to the U.S. system:Conversion chart
This sounds very nourishing and perfect for the cold winter months.
I love how you used dried marjoram in this soup! I bet the flavor is so good and comforting!
I cant believe how easy this soup is to make going to try it tonight since I am allergic to onion and garlic is all we eat!
I've had garlic soup before! This looks as good as the one I had at the restaurant.
I have been looking for a good recipe for a long time, and tried a few. This one tastes the best and just like I remember it in Moravia. Thank you. How long can I keep in the fridge? Without the croutons obviously.
Thank you for your nice comment, and I'm glad you like this Czech "česnečka" garlic soup. It's actually straightforward to prepare and quick to make, with no special ingredients needed. The finished soup will keep in the fridge, I would say, for up to three days. Of course, you need to put it in the fridge completely cooled, and if it is stored in a pot, cover it with a lid. You are right about the croutons; they are added to the plate/bowl with the soup just before serving (otherwise, they will quickly soak up the soup and soften).
Hi Petra , I tried your recipe and it was just like the soup I tried when visiting Prague years ago. I tried re-creating it myself before, but your tip of frying the potatoes and garlic first I think made all the difference! So delicious ,thankyou, I will definitely try some of your other recipes .
Ahoj Jen, thank you very much for your comment and I am happy the little trick with frying potatoes helped!
Loved this! Very tasty and unique taste for us here in Idaho. Will be making again and again. Thank youl.
Ahoj Babs, thanks a lot for your lovely comment! I'm glad the garlic soup was a success. You only need a few ingredients to make this cesnecka soup, and it still tastes great 🙂 Greetings from Bohemia, Petra
Good evening Petra,
I made this soup on Monday and had the last bowl today for lunch.
Three days later tastes absolutely delicious.
Its a simple recipe yet so tasty and flavoursome.
Im new to your page but lm intending to cook many more dishes.The page is delightful abd informative so thank you.
My boyfriend is Czech and im English.
Thank you for your comment 🙂 Czech garlic soup is one of the most famous soups. You are right, its preparation is simple, yet the soup is full of flavor. If you try other recipes, definitely let me know how they turned out! And if you need any advice, don't hesitate to contact me, I'll be happy to help. Greetings to you and your Czech boyfriend! Petra 🙂
Thanks for this recipe. We visited Prague some months a go and this soup became our favorite. My husband says this soup taste even better. I have made it several times already. It also fits great with my diet and fitness program😁 Greetings from Sweden
Oh, thank you very much for your lovely comment! I'm glad your family likes this Czech-style garlic soup. And I agree, the prep is fairly simple and the soup isn't fatty, yet still tastes great 😉
My sweet grandma was from Czech (I don't know exactly where), but she was a wonderful grandma. She taught me how to knead dough, and how to make knidliky. I cannot wait to make this soup. Thank you for the little pronunciation clips on your website. I wish I knew how to speak the language. I'll report back after I make the soup.
Ahoj Kathleen, thank you for contacting me! I would love your feedback; this garlic soup is one of the favorite soups in the Czech Republic. Plus, it's quite easy to prepare.
Fell in love with this after having it in Prague. Simple ingredients and technique produce an amazing soup. I've made it several times, I think this is the best recipe I've used to this point. In Prague they had a slab of cheese, maybe a blue, at the bottom. It stayed together until the soup was gone, wish I knew what it was.
Thanks again for your comment. You're right; the magic of Czech garlic soup lies in the simple ingredients. You just need to know the correct preparation procedure. In Prague, you can often find this soup on the menu of local restaurants. Cheese is usually added to the soup grated, served in a separate bowl. Medium-hard cheese, such as Dutch Gouda or Edam, is used. The cheese should contain around 30% fat. If the fat content is higher, for example, around 45%, then the cheese will melt in the soup and be more challenging to eat as it stretches from the bowl to the mouth 🙂 I don't think blue cheese would be a common accompaniment to garlic soup, but of course, it can be a specialty of one of Prague's restaurants.
Cooked last night, in particular for my wife who has been suffering from Covid 19. Today she is cured 😃
It's a delicious miracle.
Oh, I firmly believe your wife is doing better! And if the garlic soup contributed at least a little to a faster recovery, I am even more pleased 🙂 Thanks a lot for your comment!
Cures all ails. Turned my chesty cough around in it's tracks overnight.
Oh, so glad the garlic soup helped 😊 In our house we always have this soup with garlic when it is cold outside or we are sick.
Thanks Petra! I'm very sick today and not much of a cook, but even I was able to make this for my lunch. It went down a treat! Hit the spot so well that I'm going to have a second helping for dinner later.
Hi Matt, you are very welcome. Glad to hear that the garlic soup helped you, and I firmly believe that you are doing better now!
I made this for friends the other night. Very easy recipe
and everyone loved it! The flavor is delightful and it was the perfect soup for a winter evening. It has a light taste but was satisfyingly filling, everyone was satisfied with one bowl. I had enough for one leftover bowl the next day, equally as good! Thank you Petra, it was wonderful and I'm going to try your other soups recipes soon!
Thank you very much for your kind words and I am glad to hear that the garlic soup was a success with your friends!