The Icelandic lamb soup, or Kjötsúpa, is known as a cure for all, and of course, it’s a part of our Reykjavik Food Lovers Tour. Cold, the flu, hangover, winter blues that come with dark days and even a broken heart. It warms you from within and tastes delicious, reminding you of the basic joys of life. Seriously, I‘m not exaggerating. It really makes everything better.

So what‘s in this magical soup? Lamb, of course. I mean, we have more of those than people. Then we have mixed winter vegetables, dried herbs and sometimes rice. You can add or skip whatever you like for your own personal taste. Travel around Iceland and have Icelandic Lamb soup or Kjötsúpa at each place. It will never taste exactly the same. It reflects the Icelandic character; people sing to their own tune. Very unruly people, I tell you.

So how do you make this Icelandic wonder soup? Which is actually also eaten in the summertime. Because it‘s never that warm here.

Ingredients for Lamb Soup

  • 1kg soup meat (lamb shoulder), preferably with bones
  • 1,8-litre water
  • 1 tablespoon salt (more or less depends on taste)
  • 1-2 tablespoons dried herbs
  • ½ onion
  • 500gr turnip (rutabaga)
  • 500gr potatoes
  • 250gr carrots
  • 100gr white cabbage
  • Fresh black pepper


You can add more vegetables and rice and boil them with the soup. If you feel like rice, add some; if not, skip them.

You start by trimming the meat of any excess fat, which you can get a frozen bag of in any Icelandic grocery store marked especially for soup. At least the stores that have any self-respect. You then place the meat in a large pot with water and heat slowly to a boil. Skim the broth and add salt, herbs, and onion. Let the soup simmer for about 40 minutes. Peel the turnip, potatoes, and carrots and slice them into beautiful shapes of animals. Just kidding. Slice them into fairly chunky pieces but not too big for a spoonful. Add them to the pot and let simmer for 15 minutes. Then add the cabbage and let it simmer for 5 more minutes. Add salt and pepper as you wish. If you feel the soup has gotten too thick or lacks liquid, just add some water. The soup gets better if you let it simmer for a while to let the ingredients gel together

You can serve the soup with all the ingredients or, like many people, including my mum and me, lift the meat out from the soup and serve it separately. That makes it easier for people to cut the meat and add it to their bowl of soup themselves.

This serves 4-6 people, depending on your appetite. Try not to invite too many people. The soup is even more delicious the day after.


A bowl of wonderful Kjötsúpa - Icelandic lamb soup
Lunch with Kjotsupa, traditional Icelandic Lamb Soup in Reykjavik

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