This soup is a great favourite in the spring when the nettles are young. Nettles are full of minerals and vitamins, and make a vibrant soup. 






Skill level

Average: 4 (10 votes)

Nettle soup is still served in some hotels in Ireland; this recipe is from Declan Ryan, who was chef-proprietor of the much-starred Arbutus Lodge, Cork, sadly no longer in existence.

Use gloves and a scissors when cutting the nettles. Do not gather them from sprayed verges or after the end of spring as they will be too tough.


  • 110 g (4 oz) butter
  • 1 large leek or 2 medium-sized leeks, washed and chopped
  • 4 cups nettle tops, chopped
  • 450 g (1 lb) potatoes, sliced
  • 1 L (1¾ pints) chicken stock
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 150 ml (¼ pint) cream
  • chive flowers to garnish, optional

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


1.Heat the butter until foaming. Add the chopped leek and the nettle tops and cook until they look glossy.

2. Stir in the potatoes, then add the stock. Simmer gently for 30–35 minutes.

3. Sieve or liquidise the soup, return to the heat, season to taste and add most of the cream, reserving a little for serving. Serve hot, garnished with cream, chive flowers, if using, or a drizzle of olive oil and some cracked black pepper. 


Recipe from The Pleasures of the Table: Rediscovering Theodora Fitzgibbon.