Spicy Egusi Soup Recipe For Beginners – Your Tasty Homemade Guide

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy.

Transport your senses to the vibrant heart of West Africa with this traditional Egusi Soup Recipe, a rich and hearty melange of flavors that’s sure to delight. Begin by blending melon seeds into a smooth paste, set aside. Sauté onions and garlic, then add your choice of meat, frying until browned. Stir in the egusi paste, allowing it to cook and release its nutty essence. Introduce spinach and a blend of African spices, simmering until the flavors meld beautifully. Serve over pounded yam or rice, and revel in this authentic African feast!

Dive into the culinary richness of Africa with Egusi Soup Recipe – a testament to vibrant tradition and rich flavor. A beloved centerpiece in Nigerian feasts, this delectable potage weaves magic with melon seeds – the ‘Egusi.’ 

Egusi Soup Recipe

Watch as local elements like Spinach, dried fish, and palm oil transform into a symphony of taste. It is savored with fufu or pounded yam.

Each mouthful takes you on a gastronomic journey through time-honored West African households. 

The luscious textures meet an exquisite balance of spices, indulging your senses in a meal you’ll crave. Not just a soup, Egusi is an invitation, a story – evoking memories, conjuring homesickness, or sparking newfound love for African cuisine. 

Join us as we immerse in the Egusi experience – a delectable voyage of discovery that reveals secrets behind each simmer, each stir, and ingredient.

Because when you’re sharing in the Egusi journey, you’re embracing the heart of African dining.

What Is Egusi Soup?

Egusi Soup is a renowned West African dish popular in Nigerian cuisine. This rich, hearty soup gets its name from ‘Egusi,’ or melon seeds, which are ground and used as the main ingredient.

A tantalizing medley of Spinach, dried fish, meat, and palm oil join the seeds, creating a robust flavor profile.

This aromatic soup is often served with traditional sides like fufu or pounded yam, making it a staple comfort food and a gastronomical symbol of African heritage.

Egusi Soup Recipe

Can You Vary The Egusi Soup With Other Ingredients? 

Egusi Soup can be adapted to cater to different dietary preferences:

  • Keto: The basic Egusi Soup recipe is keto-friendly, low in carbs and fats. Just ensure the stock cubes and any added proteins are keto-compliant.
  • Paleo: Replace the traditional starch accompaniment (like fufu) with a paleo-friendly alternative such as cauliflower mash. Also, check that the dried fish and crayfish used are paleo-approved.
  • Gluten-Free: Egusi Soup is naturally gluten-free, but it’s always wise to check all ingredient labels for hidden gluten sources, especially in processed ingredients like stock cubes.
  • Whole30: For a Whole30-compliant version, avoid using any processed ingredients. Opt for homemade stock and fresh meat or fish, and serve it with Whole30-compliant sides.
  • Vegetarian/Vegan: Substitute meat and fish with tofu or mushrooms for protein. Use vegetable stock instead of the traditional fish or meat stock. Palm oil can be used as it’s plant-based, making it perfect for a vegan diet.
ingredients of soup

Recipe Directions

  • Blend pumpkin seeds into a velvety paste, ready to infuse the Egusi Soup with richness.
  • Season and brown tender beef in a hot, oil-filled pot, filling the kitchen with enticing aromas.
  • Blend ripe tomatoes, fresh onions, and fiery peppers, adding vibrant flavors to the beef.
  • Simmer the tantalizing mixture until the ingredients meld into a harmonious delight.
  • Stir in spinach and ground pumpkin seeds, elevating the soup’s creaminess and complexity.
  • Serve the steaming hot Egusi Soup with your preferred side dish and savor the African-inspired indulgence.
Egusi Soup Recipe

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings

  • Variations

Alter the protein in your Egusi Soup. Use chicken, fish, or even a mix for depth of flavor. Vegetarian? Swap the meat with firm tofu or mushrooms.

  • Additional Vegetables

Alongside Spinach, add okra or kale for extra texture and nutrients.

  • Spice It Up

For heat lovers, incorporate more chili pepper or a sprinkle of cayenne.

  • Add-Ons

Enrich the soup with diced bell peppers, eggplant, or African yam for added complexity.

  • Toppings

A dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt on top can provide a remarkable contrast. For vegans, a dash of nutritional yeast adds a cheesy note.

  • Side Variations

Serve with different staples like brown rice, quinoa, or plantain to cater to dietary needs and preferences.

Egusi Soup Recipe

Can I Make Egusi Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?

You can prepare Egusi Soup in a slow cooker and an Instant Pot, simplifying the process and saving time.

Slow Cooker

  • Blend the pumpkin seeds and set aside.
  • Brown the beef in a pan with oil and transfer it to the slow cooker.
  • Blend tomatoes, onions, and pepper, and add this mixture to the slow cooker.
  • Add tomato sauce, water, and shrimp. Stir well.
  • Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
  • 30 minutes before serving, stir in the Spinach and the blended pumpkin seeds. Allow it to cook further.
  • Once cooked, adjust the seasoning if required and serve.

Instant Pot

  • Blend the pumpkin seeds and set aside.
  • Use the ‘Sauté’ function to heat oil and brown the beef.
  • Blend tomatoes, onions, and pepper, and add this mixture to the pot.
  • Add tomato sauce, water, and shrimp. Stir well.
  • Close the lid and set the Instant Pot to ‘Manual’ or ‘Pressure Cook’ mode. Cook on high pressure for about 15-20 minutes.
  • Allow natural pressure to release, open the lid, and switch back to the ‘Sauté’ function.
  • Stir in the Spinach and the blended pumpkin seeds. Let the soup simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Once cooked, adjust the seasoning if required and serve.
Healthy soup

Can I Use Store-Bought Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?

You can certainly use store-bought broth for convenience, but making it has advantages.

Store-Bought Broth

  • It’s a quick and easy alternative, saving you preparation time. When choosing a store-bought broth, look for a low-sodium version, and ensure it doesn’t contain any additives or preservatives that might conflict with your dietary restrictions or preferences.

Homemade Broth

  • It allows you to have full control over the ingredients and flavors. Homemade broth often has a fresher and richer taste. You can make it in large batches and freeze it for future use.
Egusi Soup Recipe

How To Serve ?

Egusi Soup is best served hot and is traditionally accompanied by a variety of starches, allowing it to be enjoyed as a hearty meal:

  • Fufu: This is a common side made from cassava, yams, or plantains that have been boiled, pounded, and rolled into balls. It has a mild flavor that pairs well with the rich taste of Egusi Soup.
  • Pounded Yam: Another popular side, pounded yam is smooth and stretchy, and its subtle flavor allows the soup to shine.
  • Garri (Eba): Made from grated, dried, and fried cassava, garri is formed into a dough-like consistency and serves as a perfect dip for the soup.
  • Rice: Plain steamed rice can also be a good companion for Egusi Soup, providing a neutral base to appreciate the soup’s complex flavors fully.
  • Amala (Yam Flour): Another dough-like side made from yam flour. Its smooth texture and unique taste complement the soup well.
Egusi Soup Recipe

Perfect Side Dishes

  • Fufu: This smooth, dough-like dish made from cassava, plantains, or yams is a classic companion to Egusi Soup.
  • Pounded Yam: Soft, stretchy, and slightly sticky, pounded yam is another beloved side that pairs well with the soup.
  • Garri (Eba): Made from grated and fried cassava, Garri is formed into dough-like balls and serves as a wonderful side for Egusi Soup.
  • Amala: Made from yam flour, Amala’s unique taste and smooth texture make it a suitable side dish for Egusi Soup.
  • Tuwo Shinkafa: A northern Nigerian dish made from rice, it’s molded into balls and pairs beautifully with the soup.
  • Rice: Plain boiled rice can also be paired with Egusi Soup, especially for those who prefer less traditional sides.
Healthy soup

Storage And Make Ahead

  • Refrigeration: Store leftover Egusi Soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • Freezing: Egusi Soup can be frozen for longer storage. Cool the soup completely, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Thawing: To thaw frozen Egusi Soup, transfer it to the refrigerator overnight. Reheat gently on the stovetop, stirring occasionally.
  • Make Ahead: Egusi Soup can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Prepare the soup according to the recipe, cool it completely, then follow the storage instructions above.
  • Reheating: Reheat Egusi Soup gently on the stovetop over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Add a splash of water or broth if needed to adjust the consistency.
Egusi Soup Recipe

What Can We Do With Leftovers? 

If you have leftover Egusi Soup, don’t fret! There are plenty of ways to repurpose this versatile dish:

  • New Side Dish: Serve the soup with a different starch like rice, couscous, or quinoa for a unique experience.
  • Filling: Use the soup for savory pies or puff pastries.
  • Stir-fry Base: Add the leftover soup to stir-fried vegetables or noodles for a flavor boost.
  • Omelet Addition: Incorporate the soup into an omelet or scrambled eggs for a rich, savory breakfast.
  • Topping: Use it as a topping for baked potatoes or roasted yams.
  • Pasta Sauce: Consider it as a sauce over pasta. Thin it if needed with a bit of broth or water.
  • Freeze: Remember, you can also freeze leftovers for later use!


  • Toast the Egusi Seeds: Toasting the Egusi seeds before grinding can enhance their flavor and bring out a nutty aroma.
  • Use Smoked Fish: Adding smoked fish to the soup can add a rich, smoky flavor that complements the Egusi and other ingredients.
  • Blend in Fresh Herbs: Adding a blend of fresh herbs like parsley, basil, and cilantro at the end of cooking can elevate the flavors and add a fresh, vibrant taste to the soup.
  • Incorporate Ground Crayfish: Ground crayfish is a common ingredient in Nigerian cuisine that can add depth and umami to the soup. It’s worth seeking out for an authentic flavor.
  • Simmer Slowly: Allowing the soup to simmer slowly over low heat can help meld the flavors together and create a more flavorful dish.
Spicy Egusi Soup Recipe For Beginners - Your Tasty Homemade Guide

Spicy Egusi Soup Recipe For Beginners – Your Tasty Homemade Guide

0 from 0 votes
Course: Soup Recipes


Prep time


Cooking time







Savor the authentic African delight of Egusi Soup! Its rich, flavorful essence comes from creamy pumpkin seed paste, tender beef, succulent shrimp, and vibrant Spinach, offering a truly wholesome and unforgettable culinary journey.


  • 3/4 Cup 3/4 Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas)

  • 1 1/2 Pounds 1 1/2 Beef Stew Meat (Cubed)

  • 1/2 Cup 1/2 Peanut Oil

  • 2 2 Tomatoes (Large, Chopped)

  • 1 1 Onion (Small, Chopped)

  • 2 2 Habanero Peppers (Seeded And Minced)

  • 18 Ounces 18 Tomato Sauce

  • 3 Tablespoons 3 Tomato Paste

  • 1 1/2 Cups 1 1/2 Water

  • 2 Pounds 2 Fresh Shrimp (Peeled And Deveined)

  • 1 Pound 1 Fresh Spinach (washed And Chopped)

Step-By-Step Direction

  • Start with the pumpkin seeds. Please place them in a blender and process them for 30 to 40 seconds until they are consistent with powdery paste. Set this mixture aside for later use.
  • Rinse the beef well and cut it into bite-size cubes. Season these cubes with a generous pinch of salt.
  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Once the oil is hot enough, add the beef cubes and saute them for 3 to 5 minutes. You want them to brown, but they don’t need to be cooked through.
  • In the blender, place tomatoes, onions, and pepper. Blend these ingredients for about 30 seconds or until the mixture is smooth. Pour this blended mixture into the pot with the beef.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot. Allow the beef to cook with the tomato mixture for about 40 to 50 minutes or until the meat becomes tender.
  • Add the tomato sauce, water, and shrimp to the pot. Let this mixture simmer for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Finally, add the Spinach and the ground pumpkin seeds set aside earlier. Simmer the soup for 10 more minutes to fully incorporate all the ingredients.
  • After cooking, do a final taste test. Adjust the seasoning if needed, then serve your delicious Egusi Soup hot. You can pair it with a side of your choice, like fufu or pounded yam, for an authentic African dining experience.
  • Blender Or Food Processor
  • Pot Or Dutch Oven
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Sharp Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Ladle


  • Pumpkin Seed Paste: Blending the pumpkin seeds into a smooth paste is crucial for the soup’s creamy texture and nutty flavor. Take care not to over-blend; it may become a nut butter consistency.
  • Beef Browning: When browning the beef, ensure the pot is hot enough to sear the meat properly. This step locks in the flavors and adds depth to the soup.
  • Adjusting Spice Level: Control the heat by adjusting the amount of habanero peppers used. For milder palates, reduce the quantity, or omit the seeds for a milder flavor.
  • Shrimp Timing: Add shrimp toward the end of simmering to prevent overcooking. They should turn pink and opaque, indicating they are perfectly cooked.
  • Spinach and Pumpkin Seed Paste: Stir in the spinach and pumpkin seed paste towards the end to preserve their vibrant color and nutrients.
  • Nutritional Values: Remember that the nutritional values are approximate and vary based on ingredient brands and measurements.
  • Serving: Egusi Soup pairs well with steamed rice, fufu, or your preferred side dish. Garnish with fresh herbs for an extra touch of freshness.
  • Storage: Refrigerate any leftovers promptly and consume them within a few days for the best taste and quality. Reheat gently over low heat to maintain the soup’s creamy consistency.

Nutrition Table 

nutrition table

Leave a Comment

Author picture

soup chick!

You've entered a realm where each bowl isn't just a meal; it's an expedition to the core of comfort, well-being, and the sheer delight of feeding both body and soul. My name is Julia, and I'm here to navigate you through the flavorful worlds of Soup Chick. Together, we'll uncover the artistry behind each recipe, share stories that warm the heart, and celebrate the simple pleasures of making and enjoying soup.

More About Me