Brown Windsor Soup Recipe

Janette Fuschi | Culinary Ginger

Brown Windsor Soup comes from Windsor Castle, and has all the flavors of beef stew. We know you’ll love this British classic!

Brown Windsor soup is a simple British beef soup with vegetables and fresh herbs that tastes like beef stew. It is a rich, hearty and nourishing soup that is sometimes finished with a little drop of Sherry, which is often used in English cooking.

A brown soup that was once very popular throughout the British Empire, but has since become more rare to see at family meals, it is a warm comforting stew best served with a nice wedge of bread on the side. 

Brown Windsor Soup Photo

The History of Brown Windsor Soup

Derived from the Victorian era and Edwardian eras, this hearty soup was served at Windsor Castle (hence the name brown Windsor soup), featured on royal menus, and was enjoyed by Queen Victoria in the 1800s.

Myself, I had only ever heard mention of Brown Windsor Soup but never tried or seen it on menus and my mum never cooked it for us.

I first heard it referenced in the British comedy TV series from the 1970s Fawlty Towers. A John Cleese (of Monty Python) series about a not-so-well run hotel by its nightmare owner in the south of England. The traditional soup had become the brunt of comedic jokes and puns.

Brown Windsor Soup Picture

After my research, I have read that it was served for many years by British Railways in their dining cars that was a particularly unappetizing version, which could have led to its demise.

I can see how the color may put people off, but it’s not difficult to make this soup taste delicious and apparently, it’s just as easy to make it taste… not so delicious.

The good news is that Victorian times and the 19th Century are long gone, and you have more tools at your disposal to succeed (like the internet!). So whether you're having a watch party for The Crown or are looking for something to eat while watching Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, this may be the very soup for you!

Despite its sometimes terrible reputation, I actually think there's a very good reason this was a popular dish in a previous era, and I wish British restaurants would aid its modern revival!

I've heard that the Downton Abbey cookbook and an unofficial Harry Potter cookbook include the infamous English food, but this recipe is our own.

Brown Windsor Soup Image

Brown Windsor Soup Recipe

Brown Windsor soup is a long cooking dish. This is to make sure the stewed beef is tender, just like beef stew.

What is a bit unsual about this soup is the blending of it. It’s not usual to blend a soup with chunks of beef but it does help to thicken.

To make brown Windsor soup, you will need:

  • Butter - Unsalted butter is used to brown the beef to create the base of this soup
  • Beef - Choose beef chuck or bottom round, cut into cubes
  • Onions - Finely chopped onions add so much flavor to this brown Windsor soup
  • Carrots - Peel the carrots and then dice before adding to the beef along with the onions
  • Celery - The celery is also finely chopped before cooking with the carrots and onions
  • Flour - All purpose flour helps to thicken the soup
  • Beef stock - Choose your favorite beef stock to create the foundation of the soup
  • Thyme - Fresh thyme, as possible, will add so much fresh flavor to this comfort food dish
  • Tarragon - Finely chopped fresh tarragon is a must for this British soup recipe
  • Bay leaf - Fresh bay leaf can be a little trickier to find, so dried is a great substitute
  • Salt - Season brown Windsor to taste, using more or less salt to suit your palate
  • Black pepper - A big pinch of black pepper, to taste, add so much richness to the seasoning of this soup

Some people also choose to add a rosemary sprig and serve this with some crusty bread, but both are entirely optional. The real key to this hearty brown stew is the inclusion of the root vegetables that form its base — besides the beef, of course.

Brown Windsor Soup Pic

Hown to Make Brown Windsor Soup

Queen Victoria's favorite Brown Windsor Soup is really easy to make. It involves a little bit of chopping and dicing, then allowing everything to simmer on the stove so the beef gets super tender and delicious.

While it's cooking, the house will smell so good, making this the perfect dish for your Sunday suppers all fall and winter long.

  1. Add butter to a heavy saucepan and let it melt over medium heat.
  2. Add beef and cook until it's beginning to brown, using a spatula to coat it in the butter and as you brown.
  3. Slice and dice onions, carrots and onion and add them to the saucepan. Cook until with the beef until soft.
  4. Sprinkle the flour over top and stir the beef and veggies around until coated in the flour.
  5. Pour in the beef stock and stir.
  6. Add thyme, tarragon, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Stir and simmer.
  7. Cover the soup and simmer for at least 2 hours, until the beef is tender.
  8. Remove 1/3 of the soup and carefully blend in a blender, keeping some of the beef and veggies chunky.
  9. Return blended soup to the saucepan, stir and simmer. 
  10. Taste for seasoning, add additional salt and black pepper as necessary, then serve.
File 1 Brown Windsor Soup

After making this brown Windsor soup recipe, I am such a fan and I hope it makes a comeback. If you love beef stew, I promise you will love this soup!

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Brown Windsor Soup Recipe Photo

Brown Windsor Soup Recipe

    8 Servings


  • 2 ounces Unsalted Butter
  • 1 pound Beef Chuck, or bottom round, cut into cubes
  • 2 medium Onions, finely chopped
  • 3 Carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 4 stalks Celery, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
  • 10 cups Beef Stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon Fresh Thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon Fresh Tarragon, chopped
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper


  1. To a heavy saucepan add the butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the meat and cook until it starts to brown. Add the vegetables and cook until the vegetables soften.
  3. Sprinkle in the flour and mix well to cook the flour a little.
  4. Slowly pour in the stock while stirring and add the thyme, tarragon, bay leaf, salt and pepper.
  5. Cover and simmer for 2 hours until the meat is tender.
  6. Blend 1/3 of the soup, keeping some of the beef chunks and carrots for texture.
  7. Return the soup to the pan and taste for seasoning. Serve warm.



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Related Recipes:
British Recipes, Soup Recipes, Stew Recipes, Beef Recipes, Onion Recipes, Carrot Recipes, Simmered Recipes, Dinner Recipes, Easy Dinner Recipes, Family Meals and Snack Recipes
Recipe Yields:
8 servings
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:
Related Post:
Author: Janette Fuschi
Recipe Yields: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 120 minutes
Total Time: 130 minutes

Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe 8

Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 135
Calories 243

% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g
  Saturated Fat 8g
Sodium 1666mg
Total Carbohydrate 8g
  Dietary Fiber 1g
  Sugars 2g
Protein 10g

* Percent Daily Value are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
** Nutrition Facts are estimated based on ingredients and data provided by Fat Secret. Please consult a doctor if you have special dietary needs.
Janette Fuschi

About Janette

Janette is a British ex-pat living in Southern California. On her blog, Culinary Ginger, you'll learn all about it. On Food Fanatic, you'll see her favorite British classics, and ours too!

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