Mastering the Art of Umami: Japanese Clear Onion Soup Recipe

Japanese Clear Onion Soup is a delicious, versatile side dish or main course. This recipe is often served with sliced mushrooms or chopped green onions. To add a little fun to the table, you can make a simple onion volcano. You can also use this recipe to impress your guests. In this easy to make soup, you can prepare it in advance and heat it just before serving it to guests. Once cooled, it’s perfect for reheating and freezing!

Japanese Clear Onion Soup Recipes

Japanese Clear Onion Soup
A bowl of japanese clear onion soup, a masterpiece of simplicity.
Mastering The Art Of Umami: Japanese Clear Onion Soup Recipe 1

Clear Onion Soup

I fell in love with this clear soup the first time Itried it, as an appetizer in a Japanese restaurant. It looks like a bowl ofbrownish-colored water, and this belies the great taste. After some tasting andtweaking, this is my version of the dish.
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Course: Soup
Cuisine: Japanese
Diet: Vegan
Keyword: onion, onion soup
CookingStyle: Boiling
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 135kcal
Author: James Anderson
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To serve:

  • sriracha sauce


  • Place oil in large sized pot. Saute onion till it browns. Add stock along with salt, garlic, carrots and celery.
  • Bring to boil. Lower heat. Simmer for 30¬45 minutes. Strain broth. Discard solids. Pour the liquid back in pan.
  • Place pan back on burner. Add scallions and mushrooms. Add soy sauce. Taste. Adjust as needed. Serve with a bit of Sriracha.



The Japanese Clear Onion Soup is a light, clear soup that is made with onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and sesame oil. The vegetables are steamed and simmered in the broth until they are tender. The soup is then served with a slice of thinly sliced green onion and a mushroom. When making Japanese Clear Onion Soup, remember to keep the vegetables in their natural state. When reheating, you can also add more vegetables.
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Serving: 1serving | Calories: 135kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 3069mg | Potassium: 234mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 6197IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg

Alternative Preparation Method: Slow Cooker Simplicity

Japanese Clear Onion Soup
Skimming the soup’s surface for the clearest results.


  • 4 large white onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced into rounds
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-inch piece of ginger, sliced
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup sliced button mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Green onions, thinly sliced (for garnish)


  • Place the sliced onions, carrots, garlic, and ginger in the slow cooker.
  • Add the water, ensuring that the vegetables are fully submerged.
  • Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or on high heat for 3-4 hours. Slow cooking allows the flavors to meld and the broth to become clear.
  • About 30 minutes before serving, add the shiitake and button mushrooms to the slow cooker, along with soy sauce and mirin.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Allow the soup to continue cooking until the mushrooms are tender and infused with flavor.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with sliced green onions, and serve hot.

Tips for making Japanese Clear Onion Soup

Japanese Clear Onion Soup
Fresh green onions as the final touch, adding color and flavor.

Cooking Tips

  • Low and Slow: Whether you’re using a stovetop or a slow cooker, maintaining a low and gentle simmer is crucial. This slow cooking process allows impurities to rise to the surface and be easily skimmed off, resulting in a pristine clear broth.
  • Skimming Matters: As your soup simmers, don’t forget to skim off any impurities or foam that collect on the surface. This step ensures that your soup remains clear and visually appealing.
  • Quality Stock: If you prefer a quicker method, using a high-quality, store-bought vegetable or chicken stock as your base can save time without compromising on taste. Look for low-sodium options to have better control over the seasoning.
  • Boiling Vigorously: Avoid boiling the soup vigorously. This can lead to cloudy broth. Keep it at a gentle simmer for the best results.
  • Skipping Skimming: Neglecting to skim the impurities can result in a cloudy soup. Take the time to skim for a clear and elegant final product.
  • Overseasoning: Be cautious with soy sauce and salt. Over-seasoning can quickly turn your soup too salty. It’s easier to add more seasoning later than to correct an overly salty soup.

Serving Suggestions

  • Garnish Gracefully: Garnish with freshly sliced green onions or even a sprinkle of black sesame seeds for added visual appeal.
  • Side Harmony: Serve it with a side of steamed white or brown rice, a common and delightful pairing that complements the clear broth beautifully.
  • Sake or Green Tea: For beverages, consider serving this soup with a cup of hot green tea or a glass of cold sake for a well-rounded Japanese experience.
  • Appetizer Portion: Serve smaller portions in small bowls or cups as an elegant appetizer at a dinner party.
  • Ramen Fusion: Transform it into a unique twist by adding cooked udon or ramen noodles for a heartier meal.
  • Chopstick Noodles: For a fun twist, try serving it with soba noodles and provide chopsticks to slurp up the tasty broth and noodles.

FAQs about Japanese Clear Onion Soup

Japanese Clear Onion Soup
Japanese clear onion soup – a clear bowl of comfort.
  • Can I store leftovers of this soup? Yes, you can. Store any leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave, being careful not to boil it, as this can cloud the broth.
  • Can I make this soup with chicken broth? Absolutely. While traditional recipes use vegetable broth, you can substitute it with chicken broth if you prefer a different flavor profile.
  • Is it possible to make this soup ahead of time for a dinner party? Certainly. Japanese Clear Onion Soup can be made in advance and gently reheated before serving. This makes it an excellent choice for dinner parties.
  • Can I freeze this soup? It’s not recommended to freeze Japanese Clear Onion Soup, as the freezing and thawing process can affect the clarity of the broth.
  • What are the key flavor components of this soup? The primary flavors in this soup are the sweet and savory notes from the onions and the umami-rich essence of the clear broth. It’s a delicate balance of flavors that makes it so enjoyable.
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I'm James F Anderson, a noted sous chef from London and a Le Cordon Bleu alumnus. My career began in a Michelin-starred Parisian eatery, where my blend of classic and contemporary cooking, using seasonal ingredients, earned accolades. Recognized in culinary publications and on cooking shows, I’m committed to mentoring aspiring chefs and delivering memorable dining experiences, marking me as a standout talent in the culinary world.
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