Simple Czech Garlic Soup Recipe

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garlic soup czech

What’s Up, Hungry People?

The view outside my window is pretty much a live broadcast from the Ice Age, and all my frozen self craves is the warmth of a soup that hugs you from the inside. Enter the hero of our tale: česnečka, a Czech garlic soup that’s famed not just for its bold taste but also for its mystical hangover-curing properties. Trust me, it’s like a flavor bomb went off in a bowl – with a head of garlic and a whole onion thrown in for good measure.

Now, before you go thinking I partook in some wild partying – nope, I was just captivated by the idea of a soup that’s a flavor powerhouse. Chopping garlic and onions was almost a therapeutic session, a prelude to the magic that this soup would bring, and let me tell you, my sinuses were thanking me.

The History of Česnečka

Let’s take a quick dive into the backstory of the soup that’s been the talk of the town – česnečka. This humble soup comes from the Czech Republic, a country that knows a thing or two about making the most out of simple, hearty ingredients. Garlic, the star of this show, isn’t just for warding off vampires or unwanted suitors; in Czech cuisine, it’s a foundation for creating depth and character in dishes.

The love affair between the Czech people and garlic has been going strong for centuries. Garlic was not only valued for its flavor but also for its medicinal properties, being a trusty folk remedy for common colds and, as lore has it, for those mornings after overindulging in local brews.

Česnečka itself is a rustic soup, originally a peasant dish, which speaks volumes about its affordability and the practicality of its ingredients. Every ingredient in česnečka serves a purpose, from the garlic for its punch and health benefits to the potatoes and onions that fill you up and round out the meal.

Historically, česnečka has been a go-to for Czech families looking for something to brace against the cold European winters. It’s filling, warming, and uses ingredients that can be found in any season, which is probably why it became a household staple.

It’s also common to find this garlic powerhouse served up in pubs and at home, particularly on New Year’s Day, to deal with the aftermath of New Year’s Eve celebrations. Yes, česnečka has nursed many a Czech soul back to health and heartiness with its garlicky goodness.

ingredients for garlic soup

Here’s What You Need

  • Garlic: Offers a strong, aromatic flavor base and potential health benefits.
  • Onion: Adds sweetness and depth when cooked down with other ingredients.
  • Potato: Thickens the soup and provides a comforting texture and taste.
  • Butter: Used for sautéing; imparts richness and helps brown the potatoes.
  • Beef or Chicken Broth: The liquid base of the soup; adds flavor complexity.
  • Marjoram: Aromatic herb that complements the garlic with a woodsy flavor.
  • Bay Leaves: Impart a subtle depth and fragrance to soups and broths.
  • Salt: Enhances and balances the overall flavors of the dish.
  • Croutons: Offer a crunchy texture contrast to the smooth soup.
  • Gruyere or Mozzarella Cheese: Adds a gooey texture and savory taste; optional for topping.
sauting potatoes and onions

Let’s Cook!

The adventure began with some potatoes taking a golden bath in butter. Once they started to look like little nuggets of joy, I welcomed onions to the party. Let those onions get a bit soft and golden before it’s garlic’s time to shine.

best garlic amount for soup

And by shine, I mean go all out – mince an entire head of garlic, or if you’re like me and keep a stash of pre-minced garlic (because sometimes we just can’t be bothered), throw in about four or five generous tablespoons. Garlic lovers, this is our time.

marjoram leaves

I also tossed in a good handful of marjoram – it’s like a secret handshake of flavor. And yes, I did a little ‘oops’ and forgot to snap it with the other ingredients, but hey, we’re all human, right?

sauting fragrant ingredients

Once the potatoes turned into tender little clouds and the garlic became a golden nugget of fragrance, I bathed them in beef broth and threw in a couple of bay leaves. I let the stove do its simmering magic, covered the pot, and gave it some time to let the flavors throw a little party.

bay leaves in soup

Before you’re ready to serve, here’s a tip for those who like their soup on the smoother side: take all but a cup of the soup, and show it the whirling dance of the food processor or blender. You might need to do the blending boogie in batches, but once it’s done, reunite it with the chunky cup you set aside, and bring it back to a bubbling mingle on the stove.

blending soup

Final Touches

I crowned my česnečka with a generous sprinkle of gruyere cheese, because cheese makes everything better, and threw in a handful of croutons for that satisfying crunch. Folks, this soup isn’t just for the mornings after; it’s for the soul-chilling evenings when you need a bowlful of cozy comfort.

Česnečka Soup Tips

  • Choosing the right potatoes: Starchy potatoes like Russets thicken soup better than waxy types.
  • On garlic and potency: Fresh garlic varies in intensity. Adjust to taste after the first batch.
  • The blend dilemma: Blending hot soup can be risky; let it cool slightly, or use an immersion blender.
  • Cheese matters: Gruyere melts well and adds a nutty flavor, while mozzarella offers mildness and stretch.
  • Broth as a base: Beef broth gives a robust flavor; chicken broth is lighter but still savory.
  • Seasoning to perfection: Salt soup after adding broth to prevent over-seasoning, as broths vary in salt content.
  • Marjoram’s role: If marjoram is unavailable, thyme is a common substitute, but start with half the amount and adjust.
serving soup

Alright, Hungry People, let’s wrap up our Czech garlic soup adventure. Whether you’re trying to ward off a hangover, clear the sinuses, or simply cozy up with a bowl of homey goodness, this soup is your ticket to flavor town.

Remember, go wild with the garlic—your heart will thank you later. Toss in that cheese if you’re feeling fancy or keep it humble with just the rustic croutons. And hey, if you’re up against a bit of a sniffle or the weather outside is frightful, this soup’s got you covered.

Stay warm, stay sated, and as always, enjoy every garlic-packed spoonful!

garlic soup czech

Hearty Garlic and Potato Czech Soup

The Starving Chef
Hearty Czech garlic soup with a robust garlic and onion flavor, softened by potatoes and enriched with marjoram.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine International
Servings 4


  • 1 head garlic minced
  • 1 cup onion diced
  • 2 cups potato chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups beef broth or chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons marjoram
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • croutons for serving
  • mozzarella or grueyere for topping, optional


  • Wash and chop the potatoes into inch-sized pieces. In a large soup pan, melt two tablespoons of butter and cook the potatoes until they are beginning to brown, about ten minutes.
  • Dice the onions and add them to the pot with the potatoes. Stir and cook until the onions are translucent, about five minutes.
  • When the potatoes are fork-tender, stir in the minced garlic. Sprinkle marjoram and salt over the potatoes, onions, and garlic, and mix well. Add the bay leaves. Pour in the broth and bring the soup to a boil.
  • Once the soup has reached a rolling boil, cover and reduce the heat to simmer. Cook for an additional twenty to forty minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked to your liking.
  • Optional: For a smooth garlic soup, you can blend all but one cup of the soup in batches in a food processor or blender.
  • When ready to serve, optionally top with a handful of gruyere or mozzarella cheese and croutons. Serve hot.
Keyword garlic, soup
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