Stone Soup – A Beginner’s Recipe

Stone Soup Recipe

Stone Soup is like magic in a pot! Imagine a hungry traveler arriving in a village with just an empty pot. The villagers are curious and gather around. The traveler explains that they’re making Stone Soup, starting with a humble stone. Stay tuned as we explore the recipe and turn that stone into a hearty, heartwarming soup!

History and Origins of the Stone Soup recipe

Madame de Noyer (1720)

The story of Stone Soup first appeared in written form around 1720 by a French woman named Madame de Noyer. In her version, a clever traveler arrives in a village carrying an empty pot. The villagers are curious and gather around.

The traveler announces that they’re making Stone Soup, starting with a humble stone as the base. The villagers, intrigued yet skeptical, ask, “How can you make soup from a stone?”

The traveler’s response is the heart of the tale: “Ah, that’s the secret! We’ll add whatever ingredients we have – vegetables, herbs, and spices – and soon we’ll have a delicious soup to share.”

And so, the villagers contribute what they can: a carrot here, a potato there, some onions, and a handful of herbs. As the pot simmers over an open fire, the air fills with tantalizing aromas. The simple stone becomes a catalyst for connection and community.

Variations Across Cultures

The Stone Soup story has variations across different cultures:

  • In Eastern Europe, it’s known as “axe soup”, where an axe plays a similar role.
  • Hungarian and Russian versions involve returning soldiers who use their wits to create a communal meal.
  • German writer Johann Peter Hebel added his twist with Der schlaue Pilgrim (The Cunning Pilgrim), where a clever pilgrim tricks a hostess into adding rich soup ingredients to pebble stones.

Stone Soup Recipe


  • 4 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) chicken broth
  • 4 medium red potatoes, cut into eighths
  • 1 yellow summer squash, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 1 cup frozen cut green beans
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking barley
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 4 cups salad croutons
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese


  1. In a Dutch oven, combine the first 8 ingredients (broth, potatoes, squash, carrots, onion, celery, thyme, and pepper).
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are crisp-tender (about 10-15 minutes).
  3. Stir in the cooked chicken, green beans, and barley.
  4. Bring the soup back to a boil, then reduce the heat again. Cover and simmer until the vegetables and barley are tender (about 10-12 minutes).
  5. Add the diced tomatoes (with their juices) and heat through.
  6. Serve your hearty Stone Soup with croutons and a sprinkle of shredded Parmesan cheese.

Tips for Making Stone Soup Recipe

Let’s explore some helpful tips for making Stone Soup. Whether you’re recreating the storybook version or simply whipping up a hearty soup, these tips will guide you:

Adding a Real Stone

  • While the storybook version involves a magical stone, it’s best to skip the actual stone in your soup.
  • Instead, ask each guest to bring an (edible) ingredient. Leave the “magical” stone out – it’s more fun that way!

Versatility of Ingredients

Stone Soup is flexible! Use what you have on hand.

  • Swap veggies: If you’re missing an ingredient, no worries! Add more of another vegetable or swap in zucchini, frozen peas, or lima beans.
  • Be resourceful: Like most chicken soup recipes, Stone Soup adapts well to what’s available.

Storage and Reheating

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.
  • For longer storage, freeze it for up to 6 months.
  • When serving, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in a saucepan. Add a bit more broth if needed.

Nutritional Information

Here’s the nutritional information for the Stone Soup recipe:

Per 1 cup serving:

  • Calories: 260
  • Total Fat: 8g (Saturated Fat: 3g)
  • Cholesterol: 47mg
  • Sodium: 868mg
  • Carbohydrates: 26g (Sugars: 4g, Fiber: 4g)
  • Protein: 21g

Variations of Stone Soup Recipe

Stone Soup is a versatile dish, and there are various ways to create it based on what ingredients you have. Here are some interesting variations:

Classic Stone Soup

This whimsical version involves using an actual stone (cleaned, of course) as the secret ingredient.

  • Fill a large pot with water, add the stone, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Simmer the soup while stirring occasionally. The stone doesn’t add flavor but adds to the story!

Vegetarian Stone Soup in the Slow Cooker

A hearty vegetarian version that’s easy to make

  • Combine water, diced tomatoes, vegetable bouillon cubes, green lentils, barley, onion, garlic, celery, carrots, summer squash, new potatoes, mushrooms, and various herbs and spices.
  • Let it cook in the slow cooker until all the flavors meld together.
  • Perfect for using up odds and ends from your pantry and freezer!

Stone Soup with Chicken

A classic version with chicken

  • Simmer chicken stock, potatoes, carrots, onion, celery, thyme, pepper, and garlic powder.
  • Add cooked chicken, green beans, zucchini, lemon, and barley or rice.
  • Let it simmer until all the flavors meld together.

Feel free to get creative and adapt these recipes to your taste!

Freezer Odds and Ends Stone Soup:

Get creative with what’s in your freezer

  • Combine chicken stock, mashed potatoes, corn kernels, and leftover salmon.
  • Or use beef stock, a small container of beef stew, and various vegetables.
  • Adapt based on what you have!

Final Words

Stone Soup is a heartwarming dish that brings people together, turning simple ingredients into something magical. Try the recipe and share the warmth!


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