12 Soups In Turkey: Discover Tasty Traditional Turkish Soups

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Post author Mehmet

Written by our local expert Mehmet

Mehmet is digital nomad who was born in Istanbul, Türkiye and now calls the Balkans region his home-office.

Turkish cuisine is renowned for its rich flavors and comforting dishes, with soups playing a central role in the everyday diet. Whether you’re warming up on a chilly evening or simply looking for a nutritious start to your meal, the variety of soups found in Turkey could be your perfect culinary companion.

This guide will take you through some of my favorite soups in Türkiye.

Turkey Travel Blog_Traditional Turkish Soups

From the tangy and fermented taste of Tarhana Çorbası to the smooth and spicy palate of Ezogelin Çorbası, popular Turkish soups offer a window into Turkey’s diverse regional flavors and traditions.

Exploring these soups, you’ll notice they often incorporate ingredients like lentils, rice, yogurt, and different meats, all seasoned with an array of spices that are essential to Turkish cooking.

Each soup recipe carries its heritage, telling a story of the region it comes from. Take, for instance, the protein-packed İşkembe Çorbası often enjoyed as a restorative meal after a night out or the comforting and simple red lentil soup known as Mercimek Çorbası, a staple in Turkish households, especially cherished during the colder months for its ease of preparation and nourishing nature.

No trip to Turkey, or dip into its culinary culture, would be complete without sampling these traditional soups. They are more than a mere appetizer; they are a daily staple, a necessity for family dinners, and a symbol of hospitality when you’re offered a bowl in someone’s home.

You’ll find them everywhere from street-side vendors to fine dining establishments, each type of soup ready to warm your soul and offer you a genuine taste of Turkish gastronomy.

Popular Turkish Soups

Every region of Turkey offers a unique soup, embodying its history and ingredients found in local kitchens. These are not just dishes but are pieces of cultural heritage passed down through generations.

1. Tavuk Suyu Çorbası – Chicken Soup

A bowl of Tavuk Suyu Çorbas soup with a spoon on a woven mat, popular in Turkey.

Tavuk Suyu Çorbası is a clear chicken broth, rich in flavor and often made by simmering chicken bones for hours. It’s believed to have reviving properties and is commonly served to people who are feeling under the weather.

2. Balık Çorbası

Balık Çorbası, a sophisticated fish soup, brings the flavors of the Aegean Sea to your kitchen. It’s typically made with a variety of fresh fish and seasoned with lemon and herbs.

3. Yayla Çorbası

Yayla Çorbası, translating to “highland soup,” is a refreshing combination of yogurt, rice, and mint. Originating from the mountainous Black Sea region, it reflects the simplicity and freshness of the highlands, ideal for both hot summers and cold winters.

4. Tarhana Soup

A bowl of Turkish Traditional Tarhana Soup served on a wooden plate is a popular dish in Turkey.

Tarhana soup, a fermented mix of grain and yogurt, is Turkey’s answer to instant soup with a history. Its origins lie in the nomadic Turks, who needed sustainable food options while on the move. Today, it remains a beloved comfort food.

5. Mercimek Çorbası

A bowl of Mercimek Çorbası soup next to a basket of bread on a table in Turkey.

Mercimek Çorbası, or lentil soup, is a cornerstone in Turkish cuisine. Made from green or red lentils and a blend of aromatic spices, this delicious soup is a common first course, loved for its simplicity and satisfying nature.

6. Tarhana Çorbası

Experience a piece of history with Tarhana Çorbası, an age-old recipe blending fermented grains and yogurt. Often made in large batches and dried for longevity, it’s a comforting staple in Turkish households.

7. Ezogelin Çorbası

Ezogelin Çorbası combines red lentils, bulgur, and rice, seasoned with pepper paste and mint for an intriguing mix of textures and flavors. It tells a culinary tale from the heart of Turkish folklore.

8. İşkembe Çorbası

A bowl of iskembe corbasi soup with bread from Turkey.

İşkembe Çorbası, or tripe soup, may be an acquired taste, but its rich, garlicky broth epitomizes traditional Turkish late-night cuisine. It’s famous for its rumored hangover-curing abilities.

9. Domates Çorbası

Savor the simplicity of Domates Çorbası, a smooth and vibrant tomato soup that captures the essence of Turkish summers. This classic dish often finds its place at the family dinner table as a beloved starter.

10. Yoğurtlu Çorba

Yoğurtlu Çorba is a tangy yogurt-based soup that combines grains like rice or bulgur with a touch of mint. It’s light, nutritious, and reflective of Turkey’s love for yogurt in its culinary tradition.

11. Kelle Paça Çorbası

A bowl of Kelle Paça Çorbası soup with a wooden spoon on a tiled floor, inspired by Turkey.

Dive into the bold taste of Kelle Paça Çorbası, a soup made from sheep’s feet and head that’s rich in collagen. It’s traditionally been a source of strength for hardworking Turks, often eaten late into the night.

12. Sebze Çorbası

Sebze Çorbası is a vegetable soup that gathers the freshest produce in a pot to create a light but nourishing meal. Each spoonful is a testament to the fertile lands and the cultivation diversity of Turkey.

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Ingredients And Preparation

When diving into Turkish soups, you’ll notice a pattern in ingredients and how these comforting bowls are brought to life. Each soup contains a culinary story that begins with its main ingredient and is enriched by traditional cooking methods.

Common Ingredients Used In Turkish Soups

Celebrated for its rich flavors and comforting warmth. At the core of these soups are key ingredients that define their essence and are a testament to Turkey’s culinary diversity.

Spices & Seasonings

A display of Turkish spices at the Izmir Spice Market

The addition of spices like cumin and paprika, along with garlic and lemon, introduces that distinctive Turkish flair. Dried mint is also a common seasoning, especially in yoghurt-based soups, offering a refreshing note.


Red Lentils

The foundation of the beloved ‘Mercimek Çorbası,’ red lentils transform this popular dish into a creamy, wholesome delight. This Turkish red lentil soup is not just a favorite; it’s a staple in Turkish homes, embodying the spirit of traditional cooking with its simple yet profound flavors.


A prime ingredient in ‘Tarhana Çorbası,’ bulgur lends a unique, rustic thickness to this popular soup. Tarhana soup is one of the oldest Anatolian soups, its history tracing back to Ottoman times, cherished for its hearty texture and ease of preparation.

Egg Yolk

In ‘Yayla Çorbası,’ or Turkish highland soup, egg yolk is a crucial thickening agent. This yoghurt soup, made from yoghurt and seasoned with dried mint, is a refreshing favorite, easy to digest and perfect for any season.

Chicken Stock & Beef Bone Broth

These rich bases elevate the soups’ depth, making dishes like the comforting chicken noodle soup. A Turkish twist on an international classic—deeply flavorful and nourishing.


zucchini green summer vegetable

Soup is made with onions and black cabbage along with carrots and potatoes to adding sweetness, aroma, and a hearty texture to soups.

Regional Varieties

Turkey’s landscape is as varied as its soup menu, offering a taste of the country’s regional specialties that promise to warm the soul. From the hearty, grain-filled broths of the interior to the light, seafood-rich bowls along the coast, Turkish soups are a culinary journey worth taking.

Hearty Heartland Soups

In Turkey’s heartland, soups are a staple, rich with grains and stories.

Take the ‘Ezo Gelin Çorbası,’ a southeastern specialty named after Ezo, a bride who crafted this mix of red lentils, bulgur, and rice to impress her mother-in-law.

Then there’s ‘Yayla Çorbası,’ or highland soup, a creamy concoction of rice, mint, and yogurt that’s as comforting as it gets. These aren’t just dishes; they’re a warm embrace during chilly times, deeply rooted in the country’s traditions.

Coastal Delights

Head to the coast, and the soups get a fresh twist, thanks to the bounty of the sea.

The Black Sea region is famous for its ‘Balık Çorbası,’ a fish soup that’s light yet satisfying, flavored with lemon and herbs to highlight the seafood’s freshness.

Over in the Aegean area, olive oil and garden-fresh veggies play leading roles in soups that celebrate the region’s harvest, mixing greens, lentils, and beans into bowls bursting with flavor.

Whether you’re after the robust flavors of the interior or the refreshing tastes of the coast, Turkish soups offer a delicious glimpse into the nation’s diverse culinary landscape. Each region brings its own flair to the table, making Turkish soups a must-try for anyone looking to dive into the country’s rich food culture. So, grab a spoon and explore the comforting, delicious world of Turkish soups – each bowl tells a story, and trust me, you’ll want to listen.

Cultural Significance

In Turkey, soups are not just about taste; they hold a mirror to the country’s history and are integral to its many customs and traditions. They are a central part of everyday life and festivities, weaving into the cultural fabric.

Soup In Turkish Culture

Soup in Turkey is a staple for both family meals and grand feasts in Ottoman palaces. In fact, your visit to Turkey is incomplete without savoring these warm delights that are often the first course in a meal. It’s said that there’s a Turkish saying, “soup is one,” illustrating its unity and foundation in the cuisine. Beyond nourishment, soups like tripe soup are sought for their restorative properties, especially after a night out.

From the homes to the high tables, soups vary in complexity. In humble kitchens, you’ll find lentil or bean soups prepared daily, whereas the kitchens of Ottoman palaces once created more luxurious broths adorned with elaborate spices and ingredients.

Festivals And Traditions

During religious observances such as the Sacrifice Feast or Eid al-Adha, soup takes on a ceremonious role. It’s common for Turks to prepare and share rich, meaty soups using the meat from the sacrifice. These soups embody the spirit of community and giving, essential aspects of the festival.

Festivals might also showcase regional specialties, each soup telling a story of the local soil and season. Whether it’s a chilly evening during Ramazan or a bustling family gathering, a pot of soup is invariably at the heart of the table, bringing everyone together for a moment of shared warmth and conversation.

Serving And Enjoyment

Turkish spice - Egyptian Bazaar and the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. Turkey. Egyptian spice market

When diving into the world of Turkish soups, how they’re served and their role in Turkish cuisine are as varied and rich as their flavors. Whether adorned with a squirt of lemon juice or placed at the forefront of a meal as a warm welcome, each soup holds its unique tradition.

Your experience with Turkish soups is often enhanced by their accompaniments. A squeeze of lemon juice added to soups like Mercimek Çorbası (lentil soup) can elevate the flavor profile, giving it a refreshing zest. Here’s what typically complements these aromatic bowls:

  • Bread: warm, crusty bread is served on the side for dipping into the soup
  • Spices: a variety of spices, like a sprinkle of cumin or paprika, are often available to tailor the taste to your liking
  • Lemon Wedges: often on the table for you to add that bright, citrusy note

Turkish Soups In Everyday Life

A bowl of Mercimek Yellow soup on a table in Turkey.

In Turkey, soups are more than just a dish; they’re a staple of life, intertwined with wellness and daily routines.

You’ve likely heard that soup can be a healing food, and in Turkey, this belief holds a special place. Nourishing broths are valued not just for their comforting qualities but for their health benefits as well.

It’s common to see a wide range of homemade soups on the menu, each with its blend of ingredients thought to promote good health. For instance, after a night out, a bowl of İşkembe Çorbası—a tripe soup—is often sought as a hangover remedy. In terms of comfort food, whether you’re sick, cold, or just in need of a little warmth, a Turkish soup like Mercimek Çorbası—a rich lentil soup—serves as a soothing embrace in a bowl.

Final Word On Turkey Soup

In exploring the vibrant world of Turkish soups, you’ve encountered a diverse and flavorful collection. These soups offer a taste of Turkey’s rich culinary heritage, with each recipe telling its own story.


  1. We have tried some of these, but mot all. Thanks for sharing new ones for us to look for on our trip.

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