Japanese Clear Onion Soup

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An easy Japanese Clear Onion Soup recipe. A simple light, clear soup just like the one on your local Hibachi Steakhouse menu. 9 Simple Ingredients. 30 Minutes. Gluten-Free. Low-Carb. Keto. Paleo. Whole 30.
Close up high side shot Japanese Clear Onion Soup in a white and blue patterned bowl with a spoon scooping a bite.
Gluten FreeLow CarbWhole30PaleoKeto

An easy Japanese Clear Onion Soup recipe. A simple light, clear soup just like the one on your local Hibachi Steakhouse menu. 9 Simple Ingredients. 30 Minutes. Gluten-Free. Low-Carb. Keto. Paleo. Whole 30.

top shot of two bowls with japanese clear onion soup on a blue kitchen towel

What Is Japanese Clear Onion Soup?

Firstly, what does Clear Soup mean?

A clear soup is as the name suggests, a richly flavored clear liquid broth that can be made from any meats, vegetables, herbs, spices and flavorings. It has to be strained at the end, because a strict definition of “clear soup” means that no solid parts can be present in the soup.

Japanese Clear Onion Soup specifically is a very light, clear soup made from a meat or vegetable broth with a strong onion flavor. It is simmered for 30 minutes to unlock the flavors and then strained to achieve a clear and flavorful onion soup.

Authentic Japanese Clear Soup is generally garnished with fresh sliced scallions and thinly sliced mushrooms.

It is a very common and very popular soup served at Japanese Restaurants, and is a staple on any Hibachi Steakhouse menu.

How To Make Japanese Clear Onion Soup:

What Is Japanese Clear Onion Soup Made Of?

Japanese Clear Onion Soup is a light, but delicious soup. The ingredients are simple and easy to find:

  1. Chicken Broth (Can use beef broth as well, or a combination of both. You can also use vegetable broth if you’d like to keep it meat free, although it’ll be just slightly less delicious)
  2. Onion (Duh!)
  3. Carrot, Celery, Garlic and Ginger (for amazing depth of flavor)
  4. Mushrooms and Scallions (for garnish)
  5. Toasted Sesame Oil (for that unmistakable Asian flavor)
  6. Coconut Aminos (or Soy Sauce) and Sriracha (optional- for boosting the clear soup to epic flavor proportions).

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  1. Roughly chop the onions, carrots and celery (no need to peel the carrots).
  2. Slice the ginger and garlic into rounds in order to expose more surface area and unleash the most of its flavor.
  3. I like to start off by slightly caramelizing the onion in a bit of regular oil in order to unlock their full deliciousness. About 10 minutes. (Photo 1)
  4. Then, I add the carrots, celery, garlic, ginger, and toasted sesame oil. (Photo 2)
  5. Pour in the chicken broth. (At this point I like to take a spoonful of the broth and see how salty it is – if it’s not salted enough, I add a little salt now). (Photo 3)
  6. Bring the soup to a boil, and then lower the temperature and allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes. (Photo 4)
  7. Strain all the solid particles out of the soup. (It’s up to you what you’d like to do with all the solids. I don’t like waste so I keep it and throw it in another meal. A little extra fiber never hurt anybody) (Photo 5)
  8. Garnish with fresh sliced scallions, very thinly sliced button mushrooms and serve it up! I personally enjoy a splash of soy sauce (or coconut aminos if you’re on the Whole 30 or Paleo diet), as well as a little squirt of sriracha. (Photo 6)

Is This Popular Hibachi Soup Healthy?

As you can see, it is a very simple clear soup recipe – as is most clear soup variations. This means that it is not extremely nutritionally substantial and is very low in calories, but that’s exactly what makes it perfect as a light starter.

With only 64 calories per serving, it is the epitome of light!

Some people do enjoy adding shredded chicken and have it for a light meal that is very low calories. This is quite delicious and perfect for weight loss, but then not exactly a Japanese Clear Onion Soup anymore.

Looking For More Healthy Soup Recipes?

For other yummy (and healthy) soup recipes, check out any of these options from our archives, as well as some of our personal favorites from other great bloggers.

  1. Instant Pot Paleo Chicken Noodle Soup
  2. Shrimp Boil Soup
  3. Chicken Taco Soup
  4. Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana by BeautyAndTheBenchPress.com
  5. Greek Lemon Chicken Soup by ASpicyPerspective.com

Did You Make This Japanese Clear Onion Soup Recipe?

Close up low top shot of Japanese Clear Onion Soup in a white and blue patterned bowl with a spoon.

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Close up high side shot Japanese Clear Onion Soup in a white and blue patterned bowl with a spoon scooping a bite.

Japanese Clear Onion Soup

An easy Japanese Clear Onion Soup recipe. A simple light, clear soup just like the one on your local Hibachi Steakhouse menu. 9 Simple Ingredients. 30 Minutes. Gluten-Free. Low-Carb. Keto. Paleo. Whole 30.
4.73 from 55 votes
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Course: Soup
Cuisine: Japanese
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 24kcal


  • 6 cups vegetable broth (can use chicken or beef broth as well, or a combination of both if you have it. be sure to use a low sodium variety)
  • 2 onions (diced)
  • 1 celery stalks (diced)
  • 1 carrots (peeled and diced)
  • 1 tbsp garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp ginger (minced)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 cup button mushrooms (very thinly sliced)
  • 1/2 cup scallions (sliced)
  • to taste salt and pepper
  • to taste soy sauce (optional)
  • to taste Sriracha (optional)


  • Sauté the onions in a pot in a little bit of oil until slightly carmelized. About 10 minutes.
  • Add the carrot, celery, garlic, and ginger, sesame oil, and broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Bring to the boil and then simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Strain the veggies from the broth.
  • Add a handful of scallions and thinly sliced mushrooms to bowls. Ladle the soup on top.
  • Optional: Add a splash of soy sauce and sriracha to taste.
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Tips and Tricks:

  1. A serving = One cup of soup. The nutritional information does not include soy sauce or sriracha.
  2. For Paleo and Whole 30 compliant clear onion soup, use Coconut Aminos instead of Soy Sauce.
  3. I usually don’t throw away the strained vegetables, but toss them in with another meal instead.


Calories: 24kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 862mg | Potassium: 262mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 83IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @LivingChirpy or tag #livingchirpy!

This Japanese Clear Onion Soup Recipe was first published on September 17, 2015 and updated on February 20, 2020 to include detailed step-by-step instructions and faqs.

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    1. Hi Vanessa! The broth should last up to a week in the fridge and months in the freezer. I would add the mushrooms and scallions fresh each time though 🙂

  1. Matsutake Suimono is clear Japanese soup, which is made with dashi—not water or broth. You never find sriracha in Japanese cooking.
    What exactly is Japanese about this recipe?

    1. Hey Kuko! This is just a recreation of the clear soup found in Japanese Steakhouses in the USA. We don’t claim that it is an authentic recipe by any means. We also used easy to find ingredients that your average home cook can find in their neighborhood grocery store that gets relatively close to the flavor. Also, Japanese Steakhouses in the USA normally serves Sriracha when you ask for hot sauce. Thank you for visiting our blog.

  2. Ok made this tonight. It is a little bland compared to the Japanese restaurant down the street!
    I added water and that may be the issue. I’ll try it again with vegetable stock.

    1. Thanks for the feedback. Since I was not in the kitchen with you, it’s hard for me to judge why yours came out bland. In a lot of cases though, blandness is simply a case of too little salt. But, we will throw this recipe into our line-up for retesting to be sure.

    1. We meticulously test our recipes and always revisit old ones for retesting if we see any negative feedback. Since I was not in the kitchen with you while you made this recipe, it’s impossible to troubleshoot why it came out as “onion water” for you. My guess is that you likely didn’t season it enough. Thanks for the feedback.

  3. Just out of curiosity if following this recipe as is where is the amount of protein listed in the nutritional values come from? Making it right now and it smells amazing. I did add a beef bone (daughter just had wisdom teeth extraction and I felt she needed for nutritional value). Thank you.

  4. 5 stars
    I haven’t made this soup yet hence why I’m here. I will make some suggestions though as I will be making some changes to it. Use home made stock without salt so that you can use the soy sauce without being overly salty right out of the gate if you intend on using soy sauce. Always add your salt at the end. Lamb or chicken broth will give you a change in both flavor depth and profiles for changing up the basic soup. Start with a Dashi base if possible for your home made broth for better umami flavors. If you don’t like sriracha then try adding a few (to taste) korean red peppers, red pepper flakes, S&B Japanese Style Shichimi Chili Paste, or Gochujang sauce/paste if you prefer those flavors. These peppers and paste may overwhelm the subtle flavors in the soup so be careful and use sparingly especially if you heat them since peppers will intensify in flavor when heated. Also, our local restaurant uses a chicken broth with bread crumbs and minced onions remaining in the bowl for an awesome flavor without any hot peppers or sauce.

  5. Veggie broth covers a world of options and since it is the primary flavoring, may I ask WHAT vegetable broth is being used? A can? A box? Better than Bouillion? Homemade? Those people who did not care for it may have used plain water.

  6. 5 stars
    My husband is Filapino. We use this broth, minus the srircha, (because it is soooooo tasty) with pancit bihon rice noodles and shrimp or chicken. It is a great broth on its own, but can also be used to make a heartier meal. Thank you for the awesome recipe!

  7. 5 stars
    I used all veggie broth instead of water and added a touch of red pepper flake opting out of sirracha.. this is great to just make and keep on hand.. I eat it for lunch now every day.. FEELING STRONG!

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