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Acorn Soup

acorn soup

Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Acorn soup is the first way I ever ate acorns. It was at a fancy restaurant in San Francisco called Incanto, and I was entranced that the chef, Chris Cosentino, could use acorns to make such a lovely soup. I never did get Chris’ recipe, but I came up with this one instead.

It is a smooth soup, deeply earthy and nutty from the combination of acorn “grits” — chopped up pieces that have had the bitter tannins removed — and porcini mushrooms. A dollop of creme fraiche, sour cream or even regular cream rounds everything out.

If you want to make this, you will need to know about collecting and eating acorns. If acorns are just too weird for you but you want to make something similar, use chestnuts — even canned chestnuts make a good substitute.

You can use any dried mushroom if you can’t find porcini.


Serves 4-6

  • 3 cups acorn bits or chopped chestnuts
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 ounces of dried porcini, soaked in 1 cup of hot water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup pear or apple brandy
  • 1 quart chicken, beef, mushroom or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
  • A few parsley leaves


  1. Soak the porcini in the hot water for an hour before starting.
  2. Heat the butter in a soup pot over medium-high heat and saute the carrot, celery and onion for 3-4 minutes. add the mushrooms and acorn bits and stir to combine. Saute another 2 minutes or so.
  3. Add the pear brandy and boil it hard until it is almost gone, then add the bay leaves, mushroom soaking water (make sure there’s no grit in it!) and the stock. Bring to a simmer, taste for salt and add if needed. Simmer gently, uncovered, for 1 hour.
  4. Puree the soup in a blender (or use an immersion blender), then — if you want to get fancy — pass it through a fine-meshed sieve. If the soup is too thin, simmer it until you get a soup the consistency of melted ice cream.
  5. To finish, turn off the heat and mix in the creme fraiche or sour cream. You can add just regular cream if you’d like, but I like the acidic twang of the sour cream. Garnish with the parsley.

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9 responses to “Acorn Soup”

  1. Why Foraging for Food (and Eating Acorns) is So Very Satisfying | Heartlines

    […] wide world of acorn-based food out there: pasta, bread, muffins, grits, honeycakes, flatbread, and SOUPS (oh my!) and I for one am excited to explore […]

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  3. Angelica

    Wow! I made this for my family last night and they loved it. This was my first year harvesting acorns and I’m so happy I found this recipe.
    However, the soup did have a sort of gritty feeling to it. Like almost as if there were little pieces of sand or dirt in it? I’m not sure if that was how it’s supposed to be.. or I didn’t blend it properly?

  4. Brittany Crenshaw

    I can not wait to try this soup. However, I will probably slow cook most of the ingredients in the Crockpot over night, then blend it again the next day to see if that will get rid of the grittiness. I have never thought of using such a native nut in recipes before.

  5. Jill Rafael

    Making this tonight. Does it ever small good!

  6. Leah

    I have a clarifying question. Why do you use the oak nut “grits” in this recipe rather than the flour. Is the difference between the two, that the “grits” have not been ground into the fine flour after being leached and fully dried? What would change if I made the recipe starting with the flour? Quantity of oak nuts? Process?

    Please advise. Many thanks! Maple (Black Oak) Acorn Shortbread Cookies are in the oven. Smelling good.

  7. Leah

    The soup was a success! I simply made it with the flour rather than grits. I still choose to blend the soup (vitamix) for the veggies to be pureed. It did leave the soup with a creamy consistency that I love. I also replaced the porcini for fresh locally grown oyster mushrooms. A nice twist. Will let you know if there are any other great discoveries as I experiment. Gratefully~

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