How to Make the Benihana Onion Soup Recipe at Home

Making a rich, nutritious, flavor-filled soup that pleases an entire family or group of guests is tough. Yet there seems to be a universal adoration for the Benihana onion soup. If you dream about a rich broth loaded with tender, thin mushrooms and then topped with scallions and fried onion, this recipe is for you.

Can You Use Any Kind of Onion in the Recipe?

Aside from the color differences, most people believe all onions taste the same. The belief is that every time an onion is called for in a recipe, you can just use what’s convenient or on hand. But, according to Onions-USA.org, this isn’t true.

Did you know that yellow onions make up about 87% of all onion crops in the US? If your recipe calls for yellow onion, that’s probably because it caramelizes better than any other type of onion. If this is why a recipe calls for it, that particular onion should be used!

Red onions comprise about 8% of crops, while white onions only 5%. Red onions are commonly used to enhance the look of a dish with the pop of its red coloring. White onions are often reserved to be used in recipes where they blend in nicely, like white sauces or pasta salads.

The bottom line here is that you can switch out onions in a pinch, but you may be altering the flavor profile of your dish. When it comes to making your own Benihana onion soup recipe, you’ll definitely want to stick with the proper colored onions in the recipe.

Here Is the Benihana Onion Soup Recipe for You to Make at Home

Even if you’re not familiar with the name of this soup, you may have had a version of it if you’ve ever gone to a hibachi restaurant. No matter what you call it, you can make your own pot of this popular soup at home!


  • 1 to 2 ribs of celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 large carrot, roughly chopped
  • ½ white onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed (may use prepared minced garlic or ½ tbsp minced garlic)
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups of chicken broth (may substitute for vegetable if vegetarian or vegan)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms, scrubbed clean and thinly sliced
  • 4 scallions, sliced (green parts only)
  • ¼ cup of fried onions
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place the celery, carrot, onion, and garlic into a large saucepan. Add a tablespoon or two of water or broth. Set the heat to medium-high heat until aromatic.
  2. Next, add the water, chicken broth, and soy sauce to the pot with the veggie. Bring the liquid to a boil before reducing the heat. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Carefully use a sieve and drain the broth from the mixture into a bowl. Discard or compost the strained veggies.
  4. Pour the broth back into the empty pots, salt and pepper to taste, and set the heat on low throughout serving time.
  5. Serve the broth in large bowls, adding 6 to 8 sliced mushrooms and garnishing with scallions and fried onions.

This simple soup seems like a lot of work to essentially make a broth, but the simmering of the vegetables in the broth creates something unique. If you’d rather have the soup with the veggies in it, simply skip the step where you strain out the broth. You’ll have some added texture to the soup, but it won’t be far from the original recipe.

What if My Soup Doesn’t Taste the Same Each Time I Make It?

As the soup in restaurants sits on warm burners throughout the day, the flavor profiles will likely differ depending on how long it’s been on consistent heat. The same can happen at home. If you need to keep the soup on low heat while you take care of something else for a while, the flavor may seem richer or more flavorful.

When you feel like you’re having the perfect bowl of soup, note the timing for how long you cooked each part of the soup. The time it spends on low heat is critical since it can allow the broth to continue cooking, sometimes altering the flavor.

Alternative Additions for the Benihana Onion Soup

While many recipes for this soup are available online, some always claim that they’ve cracked the code for making a pot identical to the one in the restaurant. That might be true, but it might not matter.

When you follow a recipe, see it as more of a guideline as you go. You can remove or add any ingredients that bring the flavor profile closer to the original recipe or take this opportunity to make the soup uniquely your own.

Here are some suggestions to try in your soup:

  • Add ½ tbsp of beef bouillon granules or the equivalent in a cube of bouillon
  • Spring in ⅛ tsp of powdered ginger or more to taste
  • Puree your veggies before returning them to the soup
  • Add potatoes along with the veggies
  • Batter and fry the mushrooms
  • Add cooked chicken to the soup as it warms on low heat
  • Switch out the chicken broth for beef broth
  • If using beef broth, add cooked, thin slices of beef
  • Use different kinds of mushrooms
  • Add some of your favorite spices (thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley, Italian seasoning, etc.)
  • Top the soup with a pungent cheese
  • Add cooked noodles (ramen, elbows, rotini, or any other noodle you can scoop with a spoon!)
  • If you use ramen noodles that are prepackaged with a seasoning packet, use those seasonings in the soup
  • Add a can of any white beans (Cannellini, Great Northern, or other white beans)

Shortcuts to Help Make This Easy Soup Recipe Even Easier

Even the most straightforward recipes can seem like too much work after a long day. Here are some shortcuts you can use to make things easier:

  • Buy vegetable and chicken broth. Swap out the water with the veggie broth and skip the carrot and celery. (You’ll want the onion, or it will make a completely different soup! You can skip the draining if you chop those onions into small pieces.)
  • Buy pre-cut vegetables at your grocery store. They’re usually in the produce section and may cost a little more than buying the unprepared vegetables themselves, but they save you from any chopping.
  • If you want to add protein and make the soup into a full meal, use canned chicken or take the meat off of your local store’s rotisserie chicken.

The tips here are just to help you get your creative juices flowing. But, of course, your soup should be made specifically for you, your needs, and your enjoyment.

Make Sure You Get Your Ingredients to Make the Benihana Soup Recipe at Home

Make sure you add any ingredients you don’t have on hand to your grocery list before starting to prep. You might want to buy enough to double the soup recipe. Making this soup at home will be a fast favorite, and your eaters will surely want seconds.

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