15 Common Nigerian Soups You Should Try

Deborah Olayiwola
Deborah Olayiwola
Deborah is a content marketing specialist, with a passion for the food niche, she writes engaging content that celebrates the joy of food and its power to bring people together. Having worked on different projects. Her curiosity and creativity shines through in her writing.
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Nigeria is a country blessed with a rich culinary heritage, and Nigerian soups are one of the highlights. Can we take a moment to appreciate the scrumptiousness of Nigerian soups? I don’t know about you, but just the thought of rich, aromatic egusi stew or sweet, nutty ogbono soup makes my mouth water.

Whenever I cook up these Nigerian favorites, the incredible flavors literally transport me back to the lively food markets and cozy kitchens of Lagos or Abuja. Nigerian can easily be paired with staples like Eba (garri), Fufu, pounded yam and other Nigerian swallows.

And if you still haven’t tried proper Nigerian soups, my friend, you are seriously missing out! I completely understand, though – not everyone has grown up with a Nigerian mother or grandmother to pass down the secrets of ultimate soul food…Lucky for you, I’m here to give you a little taste!

15 Nigerian Soups You’d Fall in Love With

Egusi Soup

Arguably Nigeria’s most popular soup, egusi soup is a staple in most Nigerian homes. Egusi refers to the ground melon seeds which act as the base for this hearty, flavorsome stew. Egusi seeds are excellent sources of protein and essential fatty acids.

In egusi soup, the ground melon seeds are cooked in palm oil along with leafy greens like spinach or bitterleaf, chilies, and either beef, goat, fish or chicken. Some versions also include tomatoes. The result is a thick, richly colored stew that is an absolute pleasure to eat with eba (garri) or pounded yam.

Uziza Egusi Soup
Uziza Egusi Soup

Ogbono Soup

Ogbono soup, also known as draw soup, derives its name from the ogbono seed which comes from the African bush mango fruit. When cooked in soup, ogbono seeds produce a thick gelatinous texture which is where the name “draw soup” comes from.

Beyond its unique mucilaginous texture, ogbono soup has a subtle nutty taste that combines deliciously with assorted meats, dried fish, leafy greens, and spices. It also delivers a healthy dose of nutrients like vitamin E, calcium and magnesium. Ogbono soup is usually served with eba or agidi.

ogbono soup

Edikaikong Soup

A specialty of Nigeria’s Akwa Ibom and Cross River States, edikaikong soup is a nutritious veggie delight. It contains protein-rich periwinkles along with ugu (fluted pumpkin leaves) and waterleaves which provide vitamins and minerals.

This soup has a thick consistency and a tasty broth that comes from the blending of crayfish, palm oil, peppers, and seasoning cubes. Besides periwinkles, it can also contain beef or fish. Enjoy it with eba, fufu or just rice.

Vitamin A Edikaikong Soup
Image Credit : Dream Africa

Afang Soup

Afang soup originated from the Efik and Ibibio people of Nigeria’s southern Cross River State. It derives its name from the afang leaves, the soup’s main ingredient. Afang leaves supply protein, iron, calcium, zinc, vitamins A and C.

Along with the afang leaves, this soup features fish or meat, okazi leaves, waterleaves, palm oil, crayfish and spices. It has a thick consistency reminiscent of edikaikong soup but with a unique taste imparted by the afang leaves. Eba and fufu are great accompaniments.

how to make afang soup
Afang Soup

Efo Riro

A Yoruba specialty, efo riro is a green lovers’ delight. “Efo” refers to leafy greens and “riro” means stirred or tossed, which indicates how the soup is prepared. The star ingredient here is either spinach, amaranth or a blend of both, providing vitamins A, C and K.

Besides greens, efo riro contains ingredients like tomatoes, onions, ginger, crayfish, dried fish or chicken, locust beans and palm oil. The end result is a rich stew with an aromatic peppery flavor and vibrant green color. Eat with amala, ewedu or white rice.

efo riro e1466588730366 scaled

Okro Soup

Okro soup is another popular Nigerian soup made using okra. Okra is rich in fiber, vitamins C and K, folate, magnesium and even calcium. Beyond its nutritional virtues, it also imparts a unique viscosity to soups.

This soup sees okra cooked with assorted meats like beef and goat, as well as typical Nigerian soup ingredients such as palm oil, crayfish, chili pepper, onions and spices. The slick texture and sweet grassy flavor of the okra combines with hearty meats and robust seasonings to create a very tasty soup. Enjoy with eba or semo.

okro soup recipe

Ofe Nsala

Ofe nsala originates from the Igbo people of Nigeria’s eastern region. Also known as white soup, ofe nsala is a Yam Porridge enriched with nutritious greens and protein. It contains yams, ugu leaves, utazi leaves, and a choice of beef, fish, fish, chicken or goat meat.

The soup bases its flavor on utazi leaves which offer a unique spicy taste and scent. Ofe nsala has a smooth yet substantial texture thanks to the softened yam cubes. It represents wholesome comfort food at its best and goes nicely with fufu dishes.

Ofe Nsala Soup Recipe

Pepper Soup

Nigerian pepper soup is an aromatic and spice-laden delight that delivers quite the flavor punch. It is packed with ginger and chili pepper then seasoned with spices like anise, clove, thyme and nutmeg along with onions, garlic and herbs. Goat meat and cat fish give it protein power.

This soup derives its name from the copious amounts of heat-inducing African bird’s eye chili added to it. Surprisingly though, the pepperiness is well-balanced leaving your palate tingling but not overwhelmed.

Catfish Peppersoup
Image Credit: Vanniekay Cuisine

Ofe Owerri

Named after the Igbo town of Owerri in Nigeria’s Imo State, ofe owerri is another delicious Igbo specialty. It features the native oha leaf as its starring ingredient. Oha leaves are extraordinarily nutritious, being loaded with vitamins A and C, calcium, potassium and more.

In this soup, oha leaves are combined with condiments like crayfish, palm oil and potash along with meat or fish and thickened with cocoyam paste. Ofe owerri has an appealing herby aroma and rich broth that pairs nicely with boiled white rice or fufu.

Ofe Owerri
Image Credit: All Nigeria Recipes

Miyan Kuka

Bringing northern Nigerian flavor is the Hausa soup called miyan kuka, also referred to as luru soup. As its name suggests, the soup’s base ingredient is powdered baobab leaves known locally as kuka. Baobab is abundant in vitamins A, C, D, E along with calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron.

Miyan kuka sees the nutritious kuka powder paired with your choice of meat or fish along with traditional northern Nigerian spices like chili pepper, ginger, onions, and seasoning cubes. This soup has a unique earthy and slightly tart flavor – perfect for enjoying with tuwo shinkafa or nigerian rice.

Miyan Kuka (Baobab Leaves Soup)
Miyan Kuka (Baobab Leaves Soup)

Banga Soup

Banga soup, also called palm fruit soup, comes from Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta area. Rich red in color, this soup gets its distinct hue and flavor from palm fruit oil and is accented with crayfish and periwinkles.

To make banga soup, palm fruit pulp is boiled to extract juice then mixed with water, palm oil and combined with variations of beef, dried or fresh fish, leafy greens, peppers and herbs. It has a sweet taste and a palate-pleasingly oily mouthfeel. Enjoy with starch like eba, fufu or starch.

how to cook banga soup

Oha Soup

Here we have a tasty combo soup bringing together ogbono and oha which represent western and eastern ingredients in one pot. It blends the thick and slippery texture of ogbono seeds with the aromatic herby quality of oha leaves.

The oha and ogbono pair beautifully with palm oil, crayfish, dried fish and meat with chili pepper providing gentle heat. Think rich, earthy and delicately spicy flavors. Semovita, eba or fufu offer great accompaniments to soak up the decadent broth.

oha soup 1 e1466590918796 scaled

Ofe Akwu (Palm Fruit Soup)

Another Niger Deltan specialty, ofe akwu is made by cooking palm fruit pulp in water to extract a rich red-hued juice to form the deliciously sweet soup base. Ofe akwu contains vegetables like uziza leaves, ugu leaves and okazi leaves to add flavor and nutrients. Beef and dried fish also feature.

Ofe akwu represents a smoother, sweeter variant of the popular banga soup but without the addition of palm oil. Both soups highlight the nutritious properties of palm fruit which supplies vitamins C and E, magnesium, potassium, iron and more. Serve with white rice or fufu dishes.

Ofe Akwu
Ofe Akwu

Vegetable Soup

Nigerian vegetable soup makes sharing the spotlight among ugu leaves, spinach and soko leaves. The blended greens become enriched with crayfish, palm oil, smoked fish and meat along with spices to create a balanced flavor.

Nigerians crave this soup for its many nutritional benefits thanks to the combination of various leaves. It also provides comfort with its simple but delicious flavors. Boiled rice, wheat or semovita make for great accompaniments.

preserving your vegetables
Image from miro.medium

Ofada Sauce

Wrapping up our Nigerian soups list is a sauce rather than soup known as ofada sauce. Named after the ofada rice it typically accompanies, the thick reddish-brown sauce comprises a dynamic blend of indigenous herbs, spices, and condiments like locust beans, chili peppers, ginger, garlic, onions and bell peppers. Beef or chicken add protein.

This sauce can function as a soup on its own with some broth added and served with white rice or beans. It also enhances the flavor of ofada rice which absorbing the mouthwatering sauce. Just a single taste and you’ll crave this unique sauce again and again!

ofada rice
Image Credit: Facebook

What Is the Most Popular Soup in Nigeria?

In Nigeria, one of the most beloved soups that steals the spotlight is Egusi Soup. It’s a flavorful combination is made from ground melon seeds, cooked up with veggies, spices, and often some protein like fish, meat or assorted. The beauty of Egusi lies in its versatility—there are countless regional variations, each with its own unique flavors. Egusi Soup is a staple across Nigeria, cherished for its taste and its role in bringing folks together for a warm, comforting meal.

What’s the Best Soup to Eat with Fufu?

When it comes to pairing Fufu, both Ogbono and Okra soups are excellent choices. Ogbono has a slightly viscous texture that complements Fufu’s consistency. Its often combined with assorted meats or fish to create a delightful blend.

Okra Soup, on the other hand is a combination of chopped okra cooked with a variety of proteins and spices, offering a flavorful and slightly slimy base that contrasts well with Fufu’s starchy neutrality. Both soups bring their unique flavors to the table, making them fantastic companions to the comforting Fufu dish.

The Finest Flavors of Nigeria, these Nigerian soups and sauces shows the different flavors and ingredients indigenous to the country. They represent the soul of true Nigerian cuisine. So head to your kitchen and cook up one of these iconic Nigerian soup recipes for a genuine taste of Nigeria!

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Deborah Olayiwola
Deborah Olayiwola
Deborah is a content marketing specialist, with a passion for the food niche, she writes engaging content that celebrates the joy of food and its power to bring people together. Having worked on different projects. Her curiosity and creativity shines through in her writing.

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