The most important etiquette rules on how to eat soup with grace. Tips to be the perfect guest at the dining table.

potato soup

What soup etiquette is

Soup etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat asparagus. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect your hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow soup etiquette to serve it to your guests appropriately.

If you are a guest, respect soup etiquette rules to properly eat and enjoy it.

What you should know about soup

Soup is a mostly liquid food. It is normally served warm. 

There are several types of soup. The two differentiating factors are the amount of water and the ingredients. 

Broth is the most liquid type, with over 98% of water. Chowders and minestrone are the densest, with around 90% of water.

Ingredients can be mixed depending on preference. Meat, fish, vegetables, milk and dairy, and water.

How To Eat Soup: The Top 6 Etiquette Tips.

1) When to eat Soup.
2) What to pair Soup with.
3) Accompaniments for Soup.
4) Utensils to eat Soup.
5) How to eat Soup.
6) Soup don'ts.

Etiquette rules to eat soup

1) When to eat

Soup is usually served as a starter at lunch or dinner. 

Soup is most appropriate for cooler weather. It is best to avoid it in warm weather.

2) What to pair soup with

Wine pairings depend on the type of soup and on its ingredients, saltiness, and texture. 

As a rule of thumb, pair red wine with meat soups. White wine with fish and vegetable soups. 

Pair salty soups with acidic wines. Chablis, Muscadet, and Riesling.

You can pair dense soups such as minestrone with light-bodied red wine. Pinot Noir, Beaujolais.

3) Accompaniments for soup

Eat soup with bread, bread rolls, and biscuits or crackers. 

Use common condiments for seasoning your soup. Salt, crushed pepper, olive oil, or lemon juice.

4) Which utensils to use

Soup must be eaten with a soup spoon or normal size spoon. Do not use a small spoon or a fork. 

5) How to eat soup

Fill your spoon by pushing it into the soup. Use the spoon face up. Push it in the direction opposite to you. 

Push the spoon down just enough to fill it with the soup on the surface. The soup on the surface of the bowl is cooler. 

Bring the spoon to your mouth. Tip the soup in from the large side of the spoon. Do not eat from the tip of the spoon. Avoid putting the spoon into your mouth. Do not suck or slurp the soup. 

Tilt the bowl to get the last spoonfuls. Lift the edge of the bowl that is closer to you. 

On informal occasions, you can put morsels of bread into the soup. Then, pick them up with your spoon. On formal occasions, it is best to avoid it.

Leave the spoon into the bowl once you have finished. Rest it in a 5 o’clock position.

6) Soup don’ts

Do not blow on the soup. If the soup is too hot, wait a few moments. 

Avoid stirring the soup. Do not push the spoon in your direction.

soup etiquette mistakes

Soup etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the worst soup etiquette mistakes. 

  • 8/10. Blowing on soup.
  • 5/10. Stirring the soup.
  • 5/10. Pairing soup with the wrong wine.
  • 3/10. Pushing the spoon toward yourself.

Additional information for properly eating soup

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and to correctly plan a menu.

The calories in soup vary based on the ingredients and the amount of water. Dense soups have more calories.

A single serving is about 250 ml (8 oz). A serving of a light broth contains around 20 calories. A serving of creamy soup or chowder contains around 90 calories.

How to buy the best soup

Season and availability 

Order and eat soup made from ingredients in season.

Alternatives to soup

Try with potage or consommé.