This Cabbage Egg Drop Soup recipe is super-easy to make in just 20 minutes, and full of the best healthy ingredients and comforting flavors that I couldn’t love more.
Growing up, our family’s favorite neighborhood Chinese restaurant went back and forth between serving two different kinds of egg drop soup on their menu — a classic egg drop soup and their signature cabbage egg drop soup. You never quite knew which version was going to appear in your bowl each time you ordered egg drop soup.
But cabbage soup day was my absolute fave. ♡♡♡
I know, the ingredient combination sounds a bit odd. And various friends of ours who came along for our Saturday Chinese lunch dates over the years definitely eyed their side soup bowls with a touch of suspicion when they arrived full of cabbage. But I’m telling you, every single person we introduced to this cabbage egg drop soup over the years ended up absolutely loving it. So much so that our little neighborhood joint became famous around the city just for this soup. It was legendary!
Unfortunately, this beloved family-owned restaurant was forced to close its doors over a decade ago, after a big bad chain buffet opened up as competition across the street. (Still sad about it over a decade later — it was such a loss for my hometown.) So ever since, I have been working to try and figure out how to recreate that famous cabbage egg drop soup here at home. And while no version in my mind will ever be quite the same as the original, I’ve finally landed on a recipe that I believe captures the magic of this cozy, comforting cabbage soup of my childhood.
So here it is — my favorite cabbage egg drop soup! It’s made with an entire head of good-for-you Napa cabbage, which cooks down until it’s super-soft and tender and blends in perfectly with all of those beautiful egg ribbons. Its cozy broth is lightly seasoned with garlic, ginger and a long drizzle of toasted sesame oil. It’s easy to make on the stovetop in just 20 minutes, and is naturally gluten-free and vegetarian. It works great served as a side dish with fried rice or your favorite stir-fries, or you can do what I do and just enjoy a huge bowl as a healthy main course. And best of all, it is just so, so, so good.
Quite simply, this soup is one of those nostalgic recipes that makes me really happy. So here’s to hoping you love it too!
Cabbage Egg Drop Soup Ingredients:
To make this cabbage egg drop soup recipe, you will need:
Onion and garlic: Which we will sauté until softened, to form the base for our broth.
Veggie stock: Or chicken stock, whichever you prefer.
Napa cabbage: Pictured above (the frilly kind of cabbage!), which you can find at an Asian market if it’s not available at your usual grocery store.
Ground ginger: I typically just reach for ground ginger since it’s quick and easy to use. But you could totally sub in fresh ginger if you prefer.
White pepper: Whose flavor I love in this soup. If you have never cooked with white pepper before, note that it is significantly more potent than black pepper, so I recommend starting with a small amount and then adding more to taste. That said, if you don’t have white pepper on hand, you can also just substitute black pepper instead.
Eggs: Which we will whisk and drizzle into the soup to create beautiful egg ribbons.
Optional toppings: And finally, I recommend some thinly sliced green onions for garnish!
Full ingredient amounts and directions included in the recipe box below.
How To Make Cabbage Egg Drop Soup:
To make this Chinese cabbage egg drop soup recipe, simply…
Sauté onion and garlic. Sauté in a drizzle of oil until softened.
Add the cabbage and broth ingredients. Add in the broth, chopped cabbage, ground ginger, white pepper and continue cooking until the soup reaches a simmer.
Simmer. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the cabbage has softened.
Make the egg ribbons. Now the fun part! While the soup is still simmering, use one hand to continuously stir the soup round and round, creating a “whirlpool”-type motion, while you use your other hand to slowly drizzle in the whisked eggs. The eggs will cook instantly in the hot broth, creating pretty egg ribbons.
Season. Stir in the sesame oil until completely combined, then taste and season as needed.
Serve. Serve warm, sprinkled with green onions if desired.
Want to customize this soup a bit? Feel free to:
Add bok choy: Our favorite restaurant also occasionally used to add in some chopped baby bok choy, which I love to do as well and highly recommend if you have some on hand.
Add meat: This soup would also be delicious with some ground pork or chicken added in, if you would like to add some extra protein.
Make it spicy: If you would like to give this soup more of a kick, you can definitely increase the amount of white pepper. Or feel free to also stir in some chili garlic sauce or sriracha to add some extra chili flavor.
More Cabbage Soup Recipes:
Looking for more delicious cabbage soup recipes to try? Here are a few of my faves:
Sauté onion and garlic. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add garlic and sauté for 1-2 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.
Add the cabbage and broth ingredients. Add in the stock, chopped cabbage, ground ginger, white pepper and stir to combine. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a simmer.
Simmer. Reduce heat to medium, in order to maintain the simmer. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, until the cabbage has completely softened.
Make the egg ribbons. Remove the lid. Then, while the soup is still simmering, use one hand to continuously stir the soup round and round, creating a “whirlpool”-type motion, while you use your other hand to slowly drizzle in the whisked eggs. The eggs will cook instantly in the hot broth, creating pretty egg ribbons.
Season. Stir in the sesame oil until completely combined. Then give the soup a taste and season with salt, as needed, plus any extra sesame oil, white pepper or ginger that you think it might need.
Serve. Serve warm, garnished with green onions if desired.
This soup looks so good! I’m a huge cabbage fan, so will totally be trying this asap!
This does look good! Making the “egg ribbons” sounds neat. I will try this. My husband and I love cabbage! Thank you for sharing.
I love the sounds of this recipe and cant wait to try it. Can you recommend soup stock that does not contain msg? I know it adds that “I’m scrumptious” effect but I try to avoid it. Also wondering if regular green cabbage can be used if nappa cabbage is not available? does it turn out too differently?
I used regular green cabbage because I cannot find Napa cabbage and it turned out just fine.
Wow, this is scary! This is what I made us for dinner last night! I was out of sesame oil ? but subbed about a Tablespoon of Bragg’s amino acid, though soy sauce would have been another option. I also add strips of carrot I’ve shaved off with a veggie peeler.
Such a lovely satisfying dinner!
Oh my! This soup looks and sounds fabulous. Will definitely be making it soon. It’s a perfect recipe for my vegetarian daughter. For me and her carnivorous husband I will add chicken. Either way, this soup will be delicious!
This looks amazing! I’m a Kansas City girl myself and remember so many wonderful little Chinese restaurants. I can’t help wondering which one you’re speaking of, but it’s been 25 years since I moved away. Your Hot and Sour soup is the best, most authentic to those I grew up eating and my whole family loves it. We are sure to try this very, very soon.
Looks great! Any advice for storing leftovers or is this best day-of?
You nailed it. I live in Galveston Texas and was a friend of Santos Cruz, Inventor of the Margarita (look up the story), and this is it.
This soup was delicious and easy to make.
Napa cabbage isn’t available in the small town where we live. What kind of cabbage could be used as a sub.
Excellent Recipe – we are using it for our lunch all week.
I made the following changes:
Eliminated olive oil and replaced it with 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil to saute the onion
Increased chicken stock to 10 cups
Used large head of Napa and large onion
Replaced ground ginger with 4 tsp fresh grated ginger
Used 5 eggs
Eliminated the sesame oil at end of recipe
Added protein – Imitation crab when served
Would be great with shrimp or Rotisserie chicken also
Weight Watcher Friendly – about 1/2 point per serving – just for sesame oil
I made this soup. The only change was to cut back on 2 cups of the stock. The soup is a good winter soup. I would never order this out at a Chinese restaurant. The green onions and toasted sesame oil are a must. One last comment the Napa doesn’t have the sulphur smell .
This looks amazing! I love the idea of adding cabbage. Any sense of how well this usually keeps? I typically just make enough egg drop soup for however many I’m serving, but would love to try this as written.
Can you substitute regular cabbage for the Napa?
What could I serve with this or add to make this more of a hearty family meal?
Wow! You did it again! My hubby said (and he loves this soup at his fav Chinese restaurant!!) this was his favorite egg drop soup he’s ever had! My goodness! We keep striking gold with your recipes. ?
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This was delicious! I had a massive head of napa cabbage from my CSA. I wanted to use it all in one shot. I came across this recipe and was a little suspicious because it seemed too simple. Also, my husband does not like eggs… but, I do, so I went for it. He ended up loving it – three bowls last night! Rare you can find something so tasty and so quick! The white pepper is key.
Followed the instructions exactly and this came out great! Had the tiny shredded egg bits with no problem, it was also a very quick and easy lunch. Next time I might add whatever vegetables I have in the fridge to pad it out a bit, would also be a good base to add prawns. Might add a swig of fish sauce for added unami.
way too easy to make and it tastes great.Thank you for posting it
This was delicious! My very picky daughter ate 2 bowls!
Delicious! I tried the recipe directly as listed and added pork for protein. Very very good!
Omg! I just tried making my own egg drop soup and it’s fantastic. I am trying the one with cabbage next but I already know it’s going to be great. I will add this soup to my list of soups to can so it’s on stock in my pantry… thank you.
This was really great!
I used Savoy cabbage and added about a cup of cooked rice that was lying around in the fridge and it really hit the spot. I halved the recipe and still had lunch for several days, which was great. A dash of soy sauce was great in one of the bowls I heated up. Thanks for a great recipe and enjoy the home stretch of your pregnancy!
So tasty and easy to put together. Thank you for this delish recipe. I will definitely make it again. May add tofu. I used Vegetable stock and added a bit more garlic and ginger.
This soup was outstanding. My husband said one of the
Best soups. I added a very small chopped leftover chicken
And I had only regular cabbage. Thanks.
Have been making this for years but adding fresh or frozen shrimp and a splash of rice vinegar for a twist on the above recipe! Delicious!
Great recipe. Reminds me of the egg drop soup at our favorite Chinese restaurant! I used green cabbage (much more affordable) and added a block of tofu cut in small cubes for added protein. Our 1 and 2 year old kids loved it as well!
I used Trader Joe’s Miso Ginger Broth and added sautéed mushrooms. Regular cabbage. Might add peas next time. It is good with a splash of soy sauce
I was skeptical, as egg drop soup has always looked unappetizing to me, but with your raving and the enthusiastic comments I thought I’d give it a try. Oh my gosh!! I can’t wait for leftovers tomorrow and will definitely be making it again. Thank you! I love that it’s super duper simple too. Hooray!
I have done this soup many times and it’s DELICIOUS!
I am a soup lover – making, gifting, eating: all of these. This is THE most delicious and simplest soup I have ever made. I want to go out my front door and yell, “who has anything that ails them?” and deliver this to them. There was a soup that I had at
a Chinese restaurant in my childhood. I think you found the recipe. The only change I made was to increase the white pepper slightly. Thank you so much!!!
This recipe is fantastic! As my daughter said, “It warms your soul.” I used napa cabbage, and afterward for additional flavor to taste a tad of tamari. Thank you. We have made a lot of your recipes, but this one takes the cake!
Tried the soup and loved it …I added chilli for more spice..
Nice basic egg drop n cabbage soup. Delicious. Comforting. Yummy on this cold Christmas Eve night. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe. Planning to use 1tsp sesame oil (recipe was a bit too strong for me. Used blk pepper (don’t have white). Solid recipe not easily ruined by minor adjustments.
We think your hot and sour soup is amazing!!! I go to your site first whenever I’m searching for recipes. We appreciate how often most ingredients are normally found in our pantry.
Wanted to share something I discovered for getting those little egg ribbons in oriental soups. I mix my eggs in a little paper cup then crimp a little spout at the rim. The egg streams from the cup at an easily controlled rate while stirring continually. The ribbons form beautifully and clean up is another great thing. Just toss the paper cup. We love your hot and sour soup recipe!
Since I am a diabetic, this is a good and satisfying meal with some cloud bread, and a nice change. Cabbage also takes fat off the belly, which I need as well. Thanks for the recipe.
My husband and I really liked this soup. Thanks for upping the egg drop.
This look delicious. Will it make a difference in taste, if I only use the egg white? I’d like to cut down on the fat intake😃
Excellent different Asian soup that I will keep in my recipe rotation. I followed the recipe more or lees as written here , the only deviation was using a handful of dry green onions. Possibly will add a light cornstarch surly to the next pot. All in all definitely a keeper!
Can you freeze this soup. I cook for one. How long can it be frozen for , if ok to freeze?
Hi Brenda, I cook for one also. Yes, it would freeze well for two months, but do so before adding the egg. When using it frozen, thaw in fridge, reheat on stove to good simmer, and add egg. It is much better with fresh egg! Then add green onion garnish and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil and enjoy!!
This fantastic soup has become one of my go-to recipes – so easy, foolproof, low-calorie and delicious! Tonight I served it with with steamed bao and vege gyoza from the grocery store (this was a treat night) and the fam loved it!
I love Napa cabbage and egg drop soup so I think this will suit me just fine
Fantastic soup!! Added shitakes when I added garlic,used fresh ginger .Love this soup