Hungarian Cream of Green Bean Soup (Teifeles Zoldbab Leves)

Creamy Green Bean Soup

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Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
147 Calories
12g Fat
10g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 147
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 6g 32%
Cholesterol 33mg 11%
Sodium 366mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 10g 4%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 8mg 38%
Calcium 75mg 6%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 168mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This Hungarian cream of green bean soup—called teifeles zoldbab leves—can be eaten hot or cold. Either way, it's a delightful use of the summer's bounty of green beans. You can make it with fresh beans any time of year, but there's something special about the summer's produce. As a light lunch or dinner starter on a hot day, this cream soup is cooling and refreshing.


  • 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet or hot Hungarian paprika

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1 cup sour cream

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large skillet, place the green beans and cover with water; add 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.

  3. Remove green beans to a colander, reserving cooking liquid.

  4. Meanwhile in a medium skillet, make a roux (known as rantas in Hungarian) by melting the butter, adding the flour, and cooking, stirring constantly, until it is a light amber color.

  5. Add pepper, paprika, and 1/4 cup water to the skillet, stirring until smooth.

  6. Temper the sour cream with a few ladles of the hot green bean cooking liquid.

  7. Add the sour cream mixture to the pan along with green beans; whisk the mixture until smooth. Simmer until the broth thickens, 5 to 8 minutes, but do not let it boil.

  8. Serve hot or chilled.

What Is Hungarian Paprika?

Although all paprika is made from the pods of Capsicum annuum peppers, not all paprikas are alike. There is plain paprika, Spanish paprika, and Hungarian paprika. Plain is what we find on the grocery store shelves—it is the mildest tasting and is best used as a garnish. Spanish paprika is what gives paella its signature taste and is available smoked, sweet, and spicy. Hungarian paprika offers the most varieties divided into eight grades ranging from mild to very hot. The most commonly sold grade in the U.S. falls somewhere in the middle, being a bit sweet with a little tinge of spice. 

Recipe Techniques

This recipe calls for making a roux and tempering the sour cream. Don't be turned off by the fancy sounding names—both techniques are simple and require few steps:

  • A roux is a French term and is a mixture of a fat (most often butter) cooked with a small amount of flour. This combination is used to thicken sauces and soups.
  • Tempering is a method used to avoid cooking a cold ingredient when combining it with a hot ingredient; if you add a little bit of the hot liquid to the cold ingredient, it will bring up the temperature enough that it won't curdle.