Simple Japanese Clear Soup Recipe

When you go out to eat at a Japanese restaurant, one of the best things you are likely to eat is often the very first dish served: the so-called Japanese clear soup. We clarify because, of course, the broth here is actually a deep brown, hardly clear at all. But the taste here? That will speak for itself. Chef and recipe developer Angela Latimer of Bake it with Love says: "This is a commonly served soup at Hibachi restaurants [but] if you want a good 'copycat' flavor, follow the instructions to a T" and make it at home. 

Fortunately, following said instructions will only require about five minutes of prep work and then about an hour to let the soup simmer to perfection. During that time, you can hand-roll some sushi, prep a rice dish, cook up steaks or chicken, stir-fry veggies, or do whatever else you'd like to prepare a sumptuous feast, no need for a restaurant reservation required. 

And if you have the luxury of plenty of time to plan ahead, do it! "This soup is amazing, but better if the flavors are given more time to 'marry,'" says Latimer, adding: "I like to refrigerate it and serve a day later for the best flavor."

Gather your ingredients for simple Japanese clear soup

Making a batch of this soup calls for sesame oil, beef broth, chicken broth, water, half of a large sweet onion, peeled and rough chopped, cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed, a large carrot, washed and roughly chopped, a rib celery, washed and rough chopped, a piece of ginger root, peeled and chopped. You'll also want to pick up some white mushrooms and green onions, both and thinly chopped and sliced for serving atop the bowls of soup.

"Vegetable stock can be used," says Latimer, "however, the end result will not be as rich." She adds that "You may need to add soy sauce ... to help add depth."

Prep and cook the clear soup's veggies

If you have not already, go ahead and rinse and rougly chop the carrot and celery, peel and chop the onion and ginger, and peel and smash the garlic cloves. You will be removing these veggies, so the chopping really need not be too fine, but the more surface area you expose, the more flavor you impart.

Now pour the sesame oil into a large saucepan and put it on the stove at medium-high heat. Once the oil has heated, add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and ginger, then sauté the veggies until they beginning to get caramelized. The veggies should be aromatic after two to three minutes and ready for the next step in about five.

Add the broth and boil, then reduce to a simmer

Once the veggies have cooked enough, pour in the chicken broth, beef broth, and the water, stir everything well, and then increase the heat to bring the soup to a boil. Once a good rolling boil has started, reduce the heat to medium-low and keep a strong simmer going.

Let the soup simmer, uncovered, for about an hour, stirring occasionally. If too much liquid is cooking off (you want a lot of broth for serving this soup), reduce the heat and consider adding a bit more of the blend of broths and water to the pot.

Strain then serve the Japanese clear soup

Once the hour of simmering is done, remove the pot from heat and strain the vegetables out with a fine-mesh sieve. You can discard them, use them for compost, or serve them as very well cooked veggies in some other part of your meal.

Now portion out servings and then place a few of the sliced mushrooms and the chopped green onions on top of each bowl. And then you can serve your simple Japanese clear soup to the delight of your diners. It's your call if you want to try all the fancy utensil flipping and the onion volcano trick during the next course of the meal. Either way, you can count on this course being a winner.

Simple Japanese Clear Soup Recipe
5 from 40 ratings
Simple Japanese clear soup is a staple appetizer at Hibachi restaurants, and can easily be made at home with some fresh veggies and chicken and beef broth.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Simple Japanese Clear Soup in a bowl
Total time: 1.25 hours
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ large sweet onion (peeled and rough chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (peeled and smashed)
  • 1 large carrot (washed and rough chopped)
  • 1 rib celery (washed and rough chopped)
  • 1 inch piece of ginger root (peeled and chopped)
  • 2 green onions (thinly chopped)
  • 4 - 5 white mushrooms (thinly sliced)
  1. Start a large saucepan with the sesame oil at medium-high heat, and once heated, add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and ginger and sauté until veggies begin to caramelize.
  2. Pour in the chicken broth, beef broth, and water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a strong simmer.
  3. Simmer uncovered for about an hour, then remove from heat and strain the vegetables out with a fine-mesh sieve.
  4. Portion out servings and place the sliced mushrooms and green onion on top.
Calories per Serving 138
Total Fat 3.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.7 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 3.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 16.9 g
Dietary Fiber 1.6 g
Total Sugars 8.1 g
Sodium 916.7 mg
Protein 11.7 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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