How To Master Perfect Thick Egg Ribbons In Your Soups

While hot and sour and chicken and corn soups contain egg ribbons, egg drop soup is the iconic recipe with a name that describes its methodology. Egg ribbons are created by literally dropping raw eggs into hot soup. But despite the seeming simplicity of this concept, dropping eggs into hot liquid isn't as foolproof as it sounds. If you pour the eggs in all at once, they'll turn into chunks of mushy scrambled eggs. If you stir too much, they'll turn into froth or wispy shards. 

The key to mastering thick egg ribbons in your soups is an amalgamation of temperature, timing, motion, and a thickening agent. First, you want hot soup, but not too hot. So, to prepare your broth for eggs, turn the heat off on your stove so that the simmering liquid comes to a steamy yet placid surface. Adding a cornstarch slurry to your eggs as you scramble them will fortify their thickness and help them maintain their form when they're drizzled into the soup. The trickiest part is dropping the egg mixture into the hot broth. 

While this recipe for 15-minute homemade egg drop soup from Tasting Table instructs you to stir the broth in a clockwise swirl before adding a thin drizzle of egg, other techniques have you drizzle a thin stream of egg mixture in circles over the soup and wait for it to set before stirring to break up the ribbons. Whichever method you choose, ensure that you pour a thin stream of egg from a considerable height above the pot.

Alternative methods for making egg ribbons

Both the stir and stream and circular pour methods are tried and true techniques to create thick, velvety egg ribbons, but there are also alternative ways and additional tips to try. While you can pour the eggs directly from the mixing bowl you used to scramble them, you might run the risk of a thicker stream. You can thus pour the eggs over chopsticks or the back of a fork to create a thin stream. 

Pouring eggs slowly into the soup will give you more control and prevent the dreaded chunks that will result if the stream is too heavy. Another method is to ladle the egg mixture into the soup, using a quick flip of the wrist to spread the eggs in a half-moon over the broth. You'll then need to wait a minute or two for the eggs to set before stirring or serving. If you whisk the soup too vigorously, the ribbons will turn into tiny, paper-thin nubs.

While adding a cornstarch slurry to the eggs is one way to help them maintain their form, some recipes opt for adding a cornstarch slurry to the soup instead. This will thicken the soup, making it less likely that the egg ribbons will sink to the bottom of the pot. You can also add a slurry to both the mixture and the broth for a thick soup with well-structured egg ribbons.