Skip to Content

Icelandic Kjötsúpa Recipe

Icelandic Kjötsúpa Recipe

Kjötsúpa, also known as Icelandic meat soup, is a dish prepared using Icelandic sheep, lamb or mutton and a wide range of root vegetables. Ingredients like cabbage, rutabagas and carrots are also added to enhance the flavor.

Additional ingredients include cauliflower and potatoes. Kjötsúpa is typically has quite a thin broth as its base but is thickened somewhat with a grain, traditionally rolled oats or rice.

The dish typically uses winter root vegetables, and the authentic recipe includes very little seasoning except for salt and pepper. However, the modern recipes also include ingredients like thyme and oregano that help enhance the earthiness of the soup.

Origin & Cultural Significance

Kjötsúpa has been on the menu of the people of Iceland since the original settlement of the country, in about the year 900. The Norse settlers brought with them cattle, including sheep, which soon became essential for existence.

Despite changes to Icelandic cuisine over the centures, kjötsúpa is still found on the menus of many restaurants and even gas stations throughout the country.

It is also one of the most commonly consumed dishes at celebrations and special occasions.


Icelandic Kjötsúpa Recipe

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Kjötsúpa, also known as Icelandic meat soup, is a dish prepared using Icelandic sheep, lamb or mutton and a wide range of root vegetables.


  • Water – 3L
  • Lamb shanks or shoulders, with the bone (soupmeat) - 4 lb
  • Salt - 2 tsp
  • White pepper - 1 tsp
  • Carrots - 6
  • Potatoes - 8
  • Rutabagas - 2
  • Cabbage head - ¼
  • Yellow onion (large) - 1
  • Soup herbs - ½ cup


  1. Begin by taking the meat and rinsing it with water. Once done, put it in a pot with 3 litres of water.
  2. After some time, you will observe a brown froth that starts to appear on the surface. Remove it using a spoon.
  3. Now, boil the soup for at least an hour. Make sure to let it cook until the meat is tender and the stock is good.
  4. In the meantime, start preparing all the vegetables. It is important to note that all the pieces must fit into a tablespoon. Hence, you need to chop your vegetables very small.
  5. Next, after an hour of boiling the meat, add the herbs and your vegetables into the pot. Make sure you also add a little bit of pepper and salt.
  6. Allow the soup to boil for around 20 minutes more.
  7. Remember that the soup is known to be best served the day after it is prepared. You can, therefore, store it for 5 days in a closed container and put it in the refrigerator.
  8. Remember to only warm up the amount of soup that will be served each time, not the entire soup.
  9. You will find several people taking the meat and potatoes out of the pot and serving them on a plate, not together with the soup. And if you prefer to serve the dish this way, make sure you chop the potatoes into larger, 1-inch pieces.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 760Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 242mgSodium: 909mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 7gSugar: 6gProtein: 70g

Share on Social:

Skip to Recipe