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Mock Turtle Soup

I tried this mock turtle soup recipe when I realized the Louisiana-style version had ground meat instead. It’s one of the best soups, and I know you’ll love it!

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Mock turtle soup recipe

With an incredible flavor and a full-body, filling texture, this mock turtle soup is one of the best and most comforting dishes I’ve ever made.

It’s so easy to prepare and will be ready in less than an hour! Therefore, it’s the perfect option when I want to make something delicious to warm up on a cold day or share with my loved ones!

I know the name of this recipe may be a bit odd to many, but it’s a popular dish in Louisiana.

Also, we don’t need strange or hard-to-find ingredients. Actually, this old-timey soup doesn’t necessarily contain turtle meat, which is what most people think when they hear about it.

Cooking beef in pan

What Is Mock Turtle Soup?

It’s a Louisiana-style soup often served over rice and hard-boiled eggs on top. Although it’s originally from England, this dish became an important element of this US state’s culture.

The traditional recipe that most Louisianans make calls for turtle meat. However, whether we can’t find this ingredient or don’t want to use it, ground beef may be the perfect substitute.

In other words, we added the word “mock” (imitation) to this recipe’s name because the turtle soup we’re going to make doesn’t have turtles!

This recipe was created to mock green turtle soup but people gave it a twist. Initially, this soup had a calf’s head, but it was replaced by ground beef.

Tips to the Best Make Mock Turtle Soup

As you can see, you have to follow several steps and need some ingredients, but this recipe is so easy to make.

Do you want to prepare this delicious, hearty mock turtle soup to surprise your family or friends? Here are some tips to help you get the best results:

  • If the ginger snaps make the soup too sweet, add one or two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar. Lemon juice might help, too!
  • You can add a teaspoon of hot sauce to give this recipe a little heat!
  • Serving this mouth-watering mock turtle soup with chopped fresh parsley on top will make it much more flavorful.
  • I’ve also used fresh thyme and bay leaves to make this turtle soup even more delicious.
  • You can also use beef stock instead of water to give the soup more flavor.
  • If you use beef broth instead of water, choose a low-sodium version or homemade broth to control saltiness.
  • I think it’s better to use extra lean ground beef to avoid making the soup too greasy. You can also use ground turkey to make another low-fat but delicious version!
Lemon slices on table

Common Ingredient Substitutions

If you don’t have all the ingredients to make mock turtle soup but are craving it, don’t worry! Some substitutes are perfect for this recipe. These are my favorite ones:

Beef Broth

As I mentioned, I’ve also used beef broth instead of water to give my mock turtle soup more flavor. It’s a great option if we have some leftover beef stock or like to make some and store it in the fridge.

However, I don’t like to use store-bought versions because they tend to have too much sodium. In those cases, I always try to use water unless I need to save time and find a low-sodium version at my favorite grocery store.

Lemon Juice

I didn’t list lemon juice in this recipe’s ingredients list because I think it isn’t essential. If it’s a little sweet, this soup is perfect for me!

However, many people add lemon juice because it gives the soup an extra sour note or tangy flavor, especially if it’s freshly squeezed.

When you want to get this result but don’t have lemon juice, you can use a little apple cider or white vinegar. You’ll have the same tangy and sour touch.

Worcestershire Sauce

While Worcestershire sauce is one of my favorite ingredients in this recipe, you can use soy sauce and a bit more ketchup for a similar result.

I’ve also used miso paste with a little water to replace this ingredient when I don’t have it at home.

If you want to use soy sauce, you can also add a bit of lemon juice, hot sauce, and granulated sugar to give the soup that sweet yet tangy and spicy touch that Worcestershire sauce often gives.

Ground Beef

As I mentioned, I always use very lean ground beef, specifically 90/10, if possible. However, I know we don’t always have this option at home.

If you have 80/20 ground beef, it may be perfect for this recipe, but you may need to skim some fat from the pot after cooking it.

Moreover, when I don’t want to use ground beef, I use ground turkey or ground chicken. Both options are great if you want to make a low-fat dish.

If you want to make a traditional version, remember you can also use turtle meat, but cooking times may vary.


A few additional ingredients can make this dish even better, including fresh thyme and other herbs.

If I use fresh thyme, I often add it right after cooking the ground beef on medium heat. The same is true if I use bay leaves.

However, you can just add chopped fresh parsley when serving this turtle soup. It’s great that way!

Hard boiled eggs on board

Final Thoughts

I’ll be honest. The first time I heard about this recipe, I panicked. I wasn’t used to eating turtle meat.

However, I couldn’t resist trying it when I realized the Louisiana-style version had ground meat instead. It’s definitely one of the best soups I’ve ever had, and I know you’ll also love it!

Ketchup in dish

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Chicken Broth Instead of Beef Broth to Make This Mock Turtle Soup?

Yes, of course! Chicken broth can be a great substitute to make this delicious turtle soup if you don’t have beef stock at home.

Can I Use a Flour Mixture to Make This Turtle Soup Thicker?

Yes, sure! While I think the traditional recipe doesn’t call for a flour mixture, you can make a roux and add it to the soup to make it thicker.

How Much Hot Sauce Should I Add If I Use It?

If you want to give your mock turtle soup more heat, you only have to add a teaspoon of hot sauce, but it’s up to you! Do you like spicy meals? Feel free to add more!

How Much Lemon Juice Should I Add?

If you add lemon juice, you must taste the turtle soup until it’s perfect according to your tastes.

Personally, I think we don’t need to add lemon juice if we add lemon slices.

However, whether you don’t add lemon slices or just want your soup to have a tangy flavor, a tablespoon of lemon juice is fine.

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Yield: 4 servings

Mock Turtle Soup

Mock Turtle Soup

I tried this mock turtle soup recipe when I realized the Louisiana-style version had ground meat instead. It's one of the best soups, and I know you'll love it!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes


  • 1 ½ lb. ground beef
  • 6 c. water (additional may be needed)
  • 1 c. ketchup
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 3 oz. ginger snaps
  • ¼ c. Worcestershire sauce
  • 5 lemon slices, thinly sliced and deseeded
  • 1 tbsp. sherry wine
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt (or more)
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs to serve


  1. Without adding oil, put a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the beef to the pot and break up larger chunks. Cook until perfectly brown. Drain off fat.
  2. In a separate heat-proof bowl, place the ginger snaps. Pour two cups of hot water into the bowl and let them soak.
  3. Add the finely chopped onions to the pot and stir well to mix with the meat along with the salt.
  4. Pour in the Worcestershire sauce and ketchup, stirring well so that all the ingredients are perfectly mixed.
  5. Add some of the ginger snaps with the liquids, stirring well until you get a thick mixture (I know it's ready when it looks like Sloppy Joe sauce).
  6. Pour in more water, adding a cup at a time until the mixture is thin (You'll need about 4 cups of water. It has to be soup-like, not watery).
  7. Bring the pot to a gentle bowl.
  8. Reduce the heat to low-medium and let it simmer for about 1 hour. Stir occasionally.
  9. Add the lemon slices and sherry wine. Mix well.
  10. Put the chopped hard-boiled eggs on top.
  11. Taste and adjust salt if necessary. Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 697Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 291mgSodium: 1251mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 1gSugar: 21gProtein: 53g

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