My mother-in-law, Antonia, makes the world's best salmorejo. Read on for her traditional Andalusian salmorejo recipe (and learn her secret to the creamiest version of this cold Spanish soup!).
Salmorejo is a cold tomato soup that is famous in the south of Spain. It's similar to gazpacho -- but thicker and creamier.
Salmorejo is something you'll find on menus throughout Spain, but the best salmorejo is always found in the south. On a hot day, there is nothing more refreshing and satisfying than a bowl of cold salmorejo-- it's a must-try if visiting Spain!
The first time I wrote about salmorejo, one of my favorite Spanish foods, was on my very first blog back in 2009. I had just made some for the first time on my own and was very proud that it had turned out almost exactly like my mother-in-law's famous salmorejo recipe.
Antonia makes the best salmorejo I've ever had. I've tried other versions in Cordoba, Sevilla, Cadiz, and Madrid but nothing has ever been quite as delicious.
Salmorejo is one of those things that you eat that leaves you feeling 100% satisfied and is super healthy at the same time. It's a great dish for keeping trim and is loaded with antioxidants.
What is salmorejo?
Most people probably aren't familiar with gazpacho's thicker, creamier cousin. While gazpacho is a cold tomato and vegetable soup (often consumed straight from the glass like a V8 juice), salmorejo is simply fresh tomatoes and perhaps a clove of garlic, blended with stale bread, extra virgin olive oil, and sherry vinegar.
The way the olive oil and tomatoes emulsify gives the soup a creaminess that makes many people think that there is actually cream in the soup! (There is not!).
Most people top the cold soup with hard-boiled egg and cured Spanish ham, which I would definitely recommend!
Why is salmorejo cold?
The first time I tried salmorejo was a complete fluke. I was convinced that cold soups were the enemy after a bad experience with gazpacho years prior.
But one day I came home from work absolutely ravenous and Ale's mom had sent us home with some salmorejo on our weekend visit. No one else was home, so I figured I would just heat it up and no one would be the wiser.
Luckily, the salmorejo never made it to the pot. I took one bite, followed by another, and then another. It was delicious. I couldn't believe I'd been missing out on this fresh explosion of flavors for so long.
Spanish summers (especially in the south) are very hot. It's not uncommon for days to reach 107°F (42°C)! So cold soups evolved in this region to keep people hydrated and healthy during the intense summer heat.
Key Ingredients: Tomatoes, stale bread, olive oil, hard-boiled egg, garlic, salt, vinegar, and cured ham.
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
- Tomatoes: These are the key ingredient, so they must be fresh tomatoes. Ideally they are ripe and juicy, which is why salmorejo is a popular summer food in Spain. The better the tomatoes, the better the soup! Here in Spain we usually use pear (also called teardrop) tomatoes or classic vine ripe tomatoes.
- Olive Oil: This is the other key ingredient. This recipe is an emulsion and uses quite a lot of olive oil. So you want it to be good, for both taste and health reasons. I would only use extra virgin olive oil for this recipe. I love the hojiblanca variety from Spain, but you can experiment to find your favorite. If you want to use less oil than the recipe calls for that is fine -- add it little by little until you get the taste and consistency you like best.
- Garlic: I find that one small clove is best, it packs a punch but isn't overwhelming. If you love garlic, add more. For a variation that won't leave you with as much garlic breath, use roasted garlic instead.
- Bread: The key to salmorejo's thick texture is stale bread. I find that using the "guts" from a baguette works well (just cut it in half and leave it out overnight). But any bread with a dense crumb works well. Some people add only a little bread to their salmorejo, while others add so much that the texture is more like hummus. I prefer somewhere in between.
- Vinegar: Traditional salmorejo uses sherry vinegar, which is from the Cadiz region (Jerez de la Frontera). It has a unique taste that really amplifies the flavor of this cold soup. But if you can't get sherry vinegar, try using red wine vinegar instead. If you're in the US you can find sherry vinegar from La Tienda.
- Toppings: The most popular and classic salmorejo toppings are diced hard-boiled egg and cured Spanish ham. But you can also add other topping combinations. I love avocado and good quality tuna. Another topping is smoked fish, such as smoked sardines. Chopped fruit is also lovely, such as ripe strawberries, cherries, or even green apple.
Vegan & Vegetarian Adaptation
Traditional salmorejo is vegan and vegetarian, although my recipe is not vegan because it incorporates a hard-boiled egg into the actual soup. To make this salmorejo vegan, simply omit the egg and don't top with jamón. Try some of the vegan-friendly toppings listed above instead!
My Salmorejo Recipe: Step by Step
Well, my mother-in-law's, actually 🙂
After such a long time singing its praises I know I owe everyone the recipe. So, here it is, the best Salmorejo recipe you will ever try (in my humble, but experienced opinion!).
Steps 1-2: You need to start by peeling your tomatoes. You can do this with a sharp veggie peeler, or by cutting an X in the bottom of each tomato and placing in boiling water for about 30 seconds, followed by an ice bath (a bowl of ice water). If you do it this way the skins peel right off!
Steps 3-4: Now place all the peeled tomatoes into a blender. Blend until completely pureed. Add the stale bread, mix, and let this sit for five minutes.
Steps 5-7: Now, add the salt, garlic, and vinegar. Start to blend again, this time slowly adding in the olive oil. Add it slowly to make sure it emulsifies.
Step 8: You can stop here, or you can do my mother-in-law's secret trick! She adds one hard-boiled egg to the salmorejo to make it even creamier. Blend until completely smooth and then refrigerate. When you serve the salmorejo top with hard-boiled egg, cured ham, or the toppings of your choice.
Recipe Tips & FAQs
Salmorejo comes from the south of Spain, specifically from Cordoba in Andalusia. It's served as a cold soup and also as a tapa.
Both salmorejo and gazpacho are cold Spanish soups that are popular in the south of Spain (Andalusia). But gazpacho is a mix of vegetables (tomatoes, onions, peppers, cucumber and garlic) while salmorejo only includes tomato and garlic. Salmorejo also incorporates stale bread into the puree, making it a very thick soup which is eaten from a bowl. Gazpacho has a much thinner consistency and is often enjoyed from a glass.
Yes, traditional salmorejo is a vegetarian recipe. It is also easily adapted for vegans by omitting the egg. In both cases the optional ham topping should be omitted. You can say "sin jamón, por favor" if ordering it in Spain.
Salmorejo is usually served as either a first course (instead of a hot soup or a salad) or as a tapa. In Andalusia, you'll often enjoy it with other popular summertime tapas, such as shrimp fritters, croquettes, and eggplant with honey. It's perfect with a cold glass of tinto de verano.
More Cold Soup Recipes
Salmorejo is one of Spain's most famous cold soups, but there are lots more to try!
- Classic Spanish Gazpacho
- Beet Salmorejo
- Green Tomato Gazpacho
- Ajo Blanco (Garlic and Almond Soup)
- Roasted Tomato Gazpacho
- Watermelon Gazpacho
- Melon Gazpacho
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- 8 Medium Tomatoes the quality of the tomatoes is one of the most important factors in the taste
- 1 Medium Baguette
- 1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil again, quality is important
- 1 Clove of Garlic not too big
- A Splash of Sherry Vinegar Vinagre de Jerez, although red wine vinegar can be substituted
- A Pinch of Salt
- 2 Hard Boiled Eggs
- Diced Serrano Ham or any other cured ham, such as Prosciutto
- Scald the tomatoes: Put a large pot of salted water on the stove and bring to a boil. Cut a small cross in the bottom of each tomato. When the water is boiling add the tomatoes for 30-60 seconds. Remove immediately and place in a cold water bath (a bowl filled with ice and cold water). The skin will peel right off of the tomatoes.
- First Blend: Cut out the cores of the tomatoes and add all the rest to your blender. Blend at high-speed for about 30 seconds until the tomatoes are broken down.
- Add bread: Take all of the "guts" out of your baguette and add them to the blended tomatoes. The baguette should have given about 2-3 cups of guts and you can experiment with how much you add, as this is how you change the texture. I use about 2 cups of the bread guts. Let the bread soak in the tomato juice for about 5 minutes.
- Second Blend: Add the splash of vinegar, salt, and garlic and blend until the soup is an even texture and the bread is completely broken down.
- Add Oil: If your blender has it, open the small hole in the top. Slowly add the olive oil as you are blending at a moderate speed. If it doesn't have the hole, stop and go adding little by little.
- Add Egg and Adjust: Add 1 hardboiled egg and blend until incorporated. Taste and adjust levels of salt, vinegar, garlic, and bread.
- Serve in small bowls with diced hardboiled egg and sliced ham as condiments. Serve cold! Enjoy!
- Since this is a cold soup, use fresh ripe tomatoes for the best results. Plum tomatoes or vine ripe tomatoes work well.
- Make sure to use the best olive oil you can. Extra virgin is highly recommended. If you want to use less olive oil than the recipe calls for you may. Just add it slowly until you like the texture.
- You can also experiment with the amount of bread you use. You can omit for a gluten-free version, or add more to make the texture similar to hummus.
- Toppings: The most popular and classic salmorejo toppings are diced hard-boiled egg and cured Spanish ham. But you can also add other topping combinations. I love avocado and good quality tuna. Another topping is smoked fish, such as smoked sardines. Chopped fruit is also lovely, such as ripe strawberries, cherries, or even green apples.
Update Notice: This post was originally published on September 22, 2011 and was republished with new text and photos on March 25, 2021.
Watch me make salmorejo at home in my web story!
After trying many, this is by far the best salmorejo recipe I've made, but if you have one that you love please leave me a comment!
This is so refreshing! An amazing alternative to gazpacho for when I want something more filling. The bread and egg really give this a smooth and rich texture and all the flavours are well balanced!
Definitely a keeper for hot summer months, thanks Lauren!
I'm not good with sticking to a recipe, but I followed this one. This is a definite keeper!! It is so simple but the flavors are so good and balanced. I did end up adding some fresh ground pepper and loved it! This is an easy dish to make and so worth the little time it takes to prepare it!!
Jeneva Canlas Takasawa
I prepared a tapas bar for my hubby and stepson who just became a Seattle Firefighter. The Salmorejo was a hit and so were the chorizo al vino tinto, pinchos morunos and pan con tomate. I was anxious to hear their comments. All I heard were praises. Thank you, Lauren.
I just got back from San Sebastian two days ago, and missed out on the Salmorejo at Borda Berri (they had run out by the time we got seated), so decided to make my own.
Your recipe is excellent, although I will admit I added a couple of my own touches (as I do with gazpacho) which, in my opinion, really takes it over the top!
Now, you will probably call me a blaspheme and excommunicate me from this comment board for adding these two things, but trust me, it really works!
The first additional ingredient I add is 2 tsps (or thereabouts) of Gochujang (Korean fermented chili paste). That small amount is subtle, but it is delicious.
The second additional ingredient I add is 1 tbsp (or so) of Red Boat fish sauce. The first time I did this just added a warmth and deliciousness that was not there before. Note: if you do add fish sauce, cut back the amount of salt you use!
I am a private cook and made this as the first course for a summer dinner party. Although I had frizzled some ham for garnish, it was vegan without that, which several guests appreciated. EVERYONE LOVED IT!
It is rich and creamy - no one could believe that there was no dairy!
We so enjoyed Salmorejo when we traveled in Andalusia. Since then, I've tried several different recipes for Salmorejo and have come across yours which sounds delicious. All of the recipes I have say to soak the stale bread in varying amounts of water (some say just to cover, some say as much as two cups!) but also, after the soaking, to squeeze the water out before adding to the tomato mixture. Do you feel this soaking is necessary, and why or why not?
I don't! I have heard of that method, but never tried it. Comes out great every time.
Here I thought I was making gazpacho for 50 years, when it was salmorejo all along! My recipe omits the hard boiled egg, and the toppings are chopped cucumber, onion, red bell pepper and tomatoes. We love the combination of creamy texture and crunchy veggies. Buen provecho!
I love salmorejo, but I'm just wondering about the calorie count listed. It says this soup makes 4 servings and each serving is 369 calories. I am wondering how that can be, when a cup of olive oil contains 1,900 calories, not to mention the bread and the rest of the ingredients. 1,900/4 = 450 calories per person for just the required olive oil.
I'll take a look at it Kathy, not quite sure why it would calculate an error. It is done automatically and meant to be a reference. I'll email them for support if I can't figure it out!
I will try both the salmorejo and the ajp blanco this
Out of all the salmorejo recipes I looked at, this was my favorite! I adjusted it to my taste and single portion here: https://monthsanddays.wordpress.com/2021/02/21/slightly-cheating-at-salmorejo/
Keep up the great work!
Would good quality canned tomatoes, such as Muir Glen or San Marzano, work if fresh tomatoes are out of season?
For this recipe they must be fresh, as you are eating them raw. Think of it like a tomato salad, you simply couldn't use canned for that.
this is a wonderful recipe! i was craving salmorejo yesterday, having just returned from barcelona and missing its food. i ended up using organic san marzano tomatoes (canned) as the vine tomatoes i had at home weren't all that flavorful and it came out tasting amazing! so don't assume canned just doesn't work 🙂
I love making gazpacho so I will definitely try the salmorejo. The problem is I live in south Florida and the tomatoes are not good. Would plum tomatoes be an option. (Even the vine tomatoes are not good).
Yes! Plum tomatoes work really well.
This was excellent. I had Salmorejo Cordobés while studying abroad in Spain. This recipe was delicious, and tasted exactly like what I had in Spain. ¡Muchísimas gracias y mis felicitaciones a la chef!
Eugenio Palomino García
Gazpacho is not a cold soup!
A soup is a cooked dish. Gazpacho is never cooked, it has common things used in a salad. The quantities and the components depends on the family and the availability of those items. My village, Mollina, in Málaga, from June to September, "enjoys" mostly 40C every noon. We need to replenish water, so we prepare our salads with water!
¡Hasta la vista!
Hi, thanks for the recipe. I much prefer Salmorejo over Gazpacho but both are nice. I followed your recipe to the letter and although the flavour and texture is perfect it has a little bitter aftertaste...any idea why? Thanks
Hmm that is odd! I can think of a few possible issues - possibly too much vinegar or a harsh vinegar? I would definitely use the best quality sherry vinegar you can, and add less next time and then adjust. Another possibility is that the tomatoes have some bitterness, especially if you used the skin and seeds (which I generally do as I can't be bothered to blanch and peel/deseed usually). Another possiblility is from the garlic - especially if they weren't too new and the green inner stalk has time to become thick and bitter. You can try removing that middle garlic stalk next time. I hope it comes out better next time!
The bitterness is from your olive oil - nothing wrong with it but some olive oils have a stronger bitterness than others. Try switching up your oil!
I ate this soup while travelling in Spain and found it delicious. I make this recipe all summer. It's delicious. Be sure to use tasty tomatoes.
Excellent tips—though one 'must' ingredient for me when in season is a roasted red pepper to blend in and dice atop. And this year we also grew an heirloom hybrid green tomato (w/ yellow stripes on the skin—I think called Chef's Choice). Using about 20% of the tomatoes with these, and the rest our vine-ripened reds, added a touch of tang that complemented the Jerez vinegar so nicely without changing the base color of the soup.