Acorn Soup

4.80 from 10 votes
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Acorn soup recipe
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 flour and 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, and a few drops of really nice oil, such as squash seed oil, adds a lot, too.

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 to this soup, use chestnuts — even canned chestnuts make a good substitute.

But I urge you to consider the humble acorn. Most of you reading this have easy access to acorns, and while it takes time to make the flour, it is not difficult. The link above and in below the headnotes of this recipe will give you all the information you need to get started on what will likely become an annual rite of autumn for you.


A bowl of acorn soup with slices of grouse.
4.80 from 10 votes

Acorn Soup

This is an easy recipe to make -- if you already have acorn flour. If you don't have your own acorn flour, you can substitute chestnuts. If you can't find dried porcini mushrooms, any dried mushrooms will work. Don't skip the garnishes, however. They add a lot. I especially like the slices of grouse breast. I simply sear skinless grouse breast in butter until it's just barely done, then salt and slice thin. One tip: If you do skip all the garnishes, you can actually use this soup as a gravy for meats if you let it get thick. I prefer it thinner, however, with a consistency like melted ice cream.
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 people
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes


  • 2 to 3 cups acorn bits
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ounce dried porcini, soaked in 2 cups of hot water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/3 cup brandy or bourbon
  • 1 quart chicken, beef, mushroom or vegetable stock
  • Salt


  • Creme fraiche or sour cream
  • Chopped parsley
  • Sliced, seared grouse, pheasant or chicken breast
  • Roasted squash seed, sunflower or other nice oil


  • Soak the dried mushrooms in the hot water for an hour before starting. Squeeze the moisture from the mushrooms and chop coarsely. Save the water, straining it if there is a lot of debris.
  • Heat the butter in a soup pot over medium-high heat and saute the carrot, celery and onion until they are soft, but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped mushrooms and acorn bits and stir to combine. Saute another 2 minutes or so.
  • Add the brandy and boil it hard until it is almost gone, then add the bay leaves, 2 cups of mushroom soaking water and the stock. Bring to a simmer, taste for salt and add if needed. Cover and simmer gently for 1 hour.
  • 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. if it's too thick, add water or stock.
  • Serve with a drizzle of creme fraiche or sour cream. Add some chopped parsley, a few drops of nice oil (I prefer roasted squash seed oil) and, if you want it to be a main course, a few slices of grouse, partridge, pheasant or chicken breast.


The soup will hold for several days in the fridge if you want to make it ahead of time.


Calories: 273kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 122mg | Potassium: 310mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2039IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!


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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

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  1. According to the instructions, the bay leaves are added before the soup is run in a blender.

    Should the leaves be removed, or should they be in the puree as well?


    1. Artur: Yes, remove the bay leaves. It’s no harm dome if you puree them, but they are pretty fibrous and you’d need to strain it out through a sieve.

  2. What a wonderful soup! There are many layers of flavor, and they combine beautifully. I felt a real sense of accomplishment making this from homemade acorn grits and chicken stock. Well worth the effort and time it takes to get this soup right. Thank you, Hank, for introducing me to the incredible edible acorn.

  3. This was my first recipe I ever made with acorns. (Or any foraged food for that matter). This is the best, it is my go to recipe and it is what broke me into foraging. Yes, your soup recipe was made first foraging endeavor! Now I’m crazy about it!! Thank you!

  4. How many cups of acorn flour should I use for this recipe? Is it the same as acorn bits measurements?

  5. Hi, you call for acorn bits but also refer to it as flour. I have fine acorn flour that I made using your technique. Will fine flour work or do you need the chunks? Thanks.

  6. Great way to teach children to appreciate what’s in our backyard. They found and peeled the nuts from our red oak tree Now for the soup

  7. My acorn flour recipe is a lot different, and since it includes toasting the nuts I’m not sure it would work here.

    Gather, pick over, and shell the acorns. Bring a huge pot of water to the boil, and ad the acorns. Reduce the heat and simmer until the water is very discolored; during this first simmering, skim off the acorn skins asthey separate from the nuts and rise to the top. Drain off the water, fill the pot back up with fresh water, and repeat 3 or 4 times until the water stays clear for 10 minutes.

    Spread the acorns on a cookie sheet and allow to cool while you preheat the oven to 250°F. Break the acorns apart at the natural separations and spread them uniformly. Bake several hours or until they are chocolate brown. Let them cool completely before either grinding them for use or storing — refrigerated or frozen — for later use. Bring to room temperature before grinding.

  8. Thanks. For Christmas meal, with bone-in caul fat wrapped whole venison ham + Cumberland sauce spin-off (w/blueberries).

    1. Sid: I’ve never measured, I only do it 1:1 by volume. So it’s not an exact science. But keep in mind when I say acorn bits I mean tiny bits, like the size of a grain of rice.

  9. Ladyhawkke, the simplest way is very simple. Gather good clear acorns. If you can get them, Black Oak or Oregon Oak are very good. Hull them and get rid of the “paper” layer, the thin paper like brown skin around the nut. Pop the hulled acorns into a food processor or even a blender and pulse them to a coarse corn-meal consistency. Put the processed meal in a fine mesh strainer – some California Indians used the green cedar “needles” as a bed for the meal. Trickle cold, fresh water over the meal. I’ve done this in the kitchen sink and I know both Miwok and Maidu who do the same. Taste the water coming out of the strainer periodically, and stop when it tastes sweet or nearly so. Many native people will tell you they stop leaching to preserve some flavor. Traditionally, they were also interested in acorn blends with a mix of acorns from different species. The meal is then ready to use. I and my daughter would simply microwave it and have it with butter and brown sugar for breakfast. If properly leached, the flavor is reminiscent of walnuts.

  10. I don’t know how to leach the bitter tannins out. I went shopping today and there were tons of acorns on the ground and I gathered them for the squirrels. And then I decided to break one apart and taste it. It really wasn’t bad. I am interested in making the soup. Thank you.

  11. We have two different types of oak here. American with the “longer” nuts and the European with the rounder nuts. Can use them both? And can I use them straight from the tree? Do I have to soak them first?
    greetings, Heidi

    1. Heidi: Yes, you need to leach out the bitter tannins first. And I would not mix the acorns, as one variety will likely take less time to leach than the other.