Hungarian Beef Soup

Here is how to make the yummiest Hungarian beef soup. And this is no joke. In this recipe I’ll show you the essential trick to make this otherwise simple soup extremely flavorful and yummy.

Beef soup is not difficult to make at all. You can definitely make it even if you are a beginner in the kitchen. Following my instructions, you are guaranteed to succeed.

It takes a lot of time though, but fortunately you can just leave it cook for most of the time. Let the bones and the meat cook for at least 5 hours, even more if you can. If you don’t have that much time, leave the preparation of this Hungarian beef soup for another occasion. Believe me, the long cooking time will be very much worth it!

What Makes This Beef Soup Hungarian

There are 2 ingredients very characteristic to the Middle European region, and also essential to every Hungarian meat soup.

  • Parsley root. This is different than parsnip, with a characteristic sweet taste. You can substitute parsnip for this if parsley root is difficult to get in your area.
  • Celery root. Celery stalks are not even used in classic Hungarian cuisine, but celery root is added to almost every meat soup. Use celery stalks if roots are unavailable.
Hungarian beef soup ingredients

Beef Bones And Meat

Two key ingredients to making a good beef soup is to use meat and also bones.

For the meat, select a cheaper, tougher cut. It’ll have plenty of time to cook and it will be super tender. I usually use neck, but you can definitely use any cheap cut here. The more collagen and connective tissues the better. Cuts around the neck and the legs, like chuck, brisket, shanks, are best for this soup.

The other tip is to always use bones for your beef soup. First, this is much cheaper than the meat. Second, without having a lot of cooked meat to deal with, bones give flavor and aroma to the soup, and also make it extremely healthy by the dissolved collagen and other nutritious ingredients.

Beef meat and bones in pot

The Trick To Making The Yummiest Beef Soup

There is really one trick to make a yummy beef soup. And that is to make it “thick” enough. In other words, don’t dilute it with too much water.

The exact quantity of water of course can differ according to your taste. The shape of the bones and the pot can also affect how much water you’ll need.

Hungarian beef soup recipe 1

In this recipe, I started cooking the soup in about 12 cups (2.7 liters) of water. Then I added around 4 more cups or 1 liter to make up for the evaporated liquids.

This will yield a beef soup with a lot of meat and vegetables, but also with plenty of flavors.

Hungarian beef soup in pot

How To Serve Hungarian Beef Soup

  • Hungarian beef soup should always be served hot.
  • Take out the meat and the veggies from the pot and strain the soup before serving.
  • It’s a nice way to serve the soup in a bowl, and the veggies and the meat on separate plates.
  • You can even serve the bones as they have a lot of nutritious and edible parts.
  • Never discard the meat or the veggies, these are essential parts of serving this soup.
  • Eating the onions and the parsley leaves is optional, but these are fantastic too!
  • You can eat the meat in the soup or eat it separately.
  • When the meat is served separately, it goes very well with grated horseradish, mustard or even horseradish mayo.
Serving Hungarian beef soup

How To Store Beef Soup

Beef soup is easy to store and it has quite a long shelf life.

In fact I recommend you to make a larger pot and store it for later use. Even in my recipe, I give you quantities for 8 portions.

What I find can ruin the taste though is the constant reheating. So if you store it, just take out the quantity you plan to eat at once and reheat that.

Hungarian beef soup

Hungarian Beef Soup

Yummy, delicious, and nutritious soup made from beef bones, meat, and vegetables
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Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 30 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine Hungarian
Servings 8 people


  • 1 pound beef meat tougher cuts like neck, chuck, brisket, about 450-500 grams
  • 4 ½ lbs beef bones 2 kg
  • 1 pound carrots 450-500 g
  • ½ pound parsley root 225-250 g, substitute with parsnips
  • ½ celery root substitute with 3 stalks of celery
  • 1 buquet parsley leaves optional though it gives a lot of flavor to the soup
  • 30 g salt
  • 10 g peppercorns


  • To make Hungarian beef soup, first prepare the meat and the bones. Cut the bones into larger cubes, rinse the bones.
  • Put the meat and the bones into a larger pot. Add as much water as covers the meat. I used 12 cups or 2.7 liters. Add salt.
    Hungarian beef soup recipe 1
  • Over high heat, start heating up the water. Turn it to low right before it starts to boil. Remove the foam with a spoon or a smaller sieve.
  • Add the peppercorns and continue cooking covered over low heat for 4 hours. Add back the evaporated water, around 4 cups or 1 liter.
  • Clean and cut the veggies in the meantime. Cut carrots, parsley roots and celery roots into 1 inch or 2-2.5 cm pieces. Peel and cut the onions in half.
  • Add all the veggies to the soup and continue cooking covered over low heat. Taste it 10 minutes after you've added the veggies and add more salt or peppercorns if necessary.
  • Cook with the veggies for another hour. Serve it hot.
    Hungarian beef soup in pot


Hungarian name for beef soup: Marhahúsleves.


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