How to Make a Delightful Tasty Bowl of Snapper Soup

Written by Luisa Davis on . Posted in food

Turtle soup or snapper soup is basically turtle meat cooked with vegetables, herbs, juices and spices. It doesn’t taste awful and it’s a delightful new dish to introduce into your food menu if it isn’t there already.

Its rich ingredients not only makes turtle soup mouth watery and tasty but also highly nutritious, as it contains a healthy amount of meat, vegetables and tons of minerals.

It is a famous meal in the southeastern part of the US where turtles are easily found and can be eaten with rice or dry crusty bread. What’s more? You can make turtle soup right there in your kitchen. All you need to do is get your ingredients and follow a few pretty steps that’ll be coming up later. You’ll be glad you did!

What is Snapper Soup?

Snapper soup isn’t snapper soup without the snapping turtle. The snapping turtle meat is a basic part of this delicacy. Some may replace it with pork or chicken but truth be told, it’s never really the same. It’s a rare local delicacy. A nice roux, chopped vegetables, spices and all cooked with the snapping turtle gives you the snapper soup.

It might seem a bit tedious to prepare, but trust me the very delicious snapper soup is worth it. The snapper soup recipe below will bring you a step closer to enriching yourself with the richness the snapper soup brings.

The snapping turtle is a common species of turtle, it got its name due to its reaction when caught. This turtle bites with its really strong jaw, which is why it’s advisable to catch or hold a live snapping turtle from the tail edge of the turtle’s shell.

The snapping turtle is a large freshwater turtle and it is commonly found in North America. Alongside its strong jaws, it has a long head and tail with shell colour varying from black to light brown. The snapping turtle meat serves as a great dish, all thanks to the distinct taste of the snapping turtle meat.

How to Prepare Snapper Turtle for Cooking

If you’ve caught a live snapping turtle, you’ll need to prepare it properly before cooking. To prepare a turtle for cooking, start by cutting off its head, let it hang upside down so it will bleed out.

You can place it on a flat surface by attaching it to a nail.

Separate the meat from the shell. Using a knife, carefully separate it around the sides and finally cut through. Carefully scrape off the skin from the neck, legs and tail.

Then cut into the pelvic region, wide enough to remove the intestines, lungs and liver. Exercise caution, so as not to puncture the liver or gallbladder. They both contain bile and this will give the turtle meat a very bitter taste.

Afterwards, make sure to remove all the skin from the neck and legs and then cut them of. Make sure to remove turtle fat as it could also damage the taste of turtle meat even in a small quantity. You don’t want this fat.

Snapper Soup Recipe

And finally, snapping turtle soup recipe you’ve been waiting for. Before we begin this exciting journey of boiling, chopping, dicing and stirring, you best get all your ingredients ready. The snapper soup recipe is loaded with vegetables which contribute to the flavour and richness of the turtle soup.

Here’s what you will need:

  • 2 pounds of turtle meat.
  • 1 ½ cup of unsalted butter.
  • ¾ cup of onions.
  • 6 cloves of garlic.
  • ½ cup of flour.
  • Fresh parsley.
  • 3 green onions.
  • 4 eggs.
  • Dried thyme.
  • ¼ cup lemon juice.
  • 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce.

Instructions to follow:

  1. The first step in cooking snapper turtle is to get your snapper turtle meat. You can get it from an Asian market around or have it shipped to you if you’re not in a place where you can get turtles. Make sure to get turtle meat from a reliable source. Turtle meat that is not rightly sourced could be poisonous. Make sure to get your turtle meat from a place you can trust.
  2. It’s best to get fresh turtle meat but if it’s frozen, bring it to room temperature. Then let it thaw for a while before boiling to enable it cook thoroughly.
  3. Boil your turtle meat in a pot with water and seasoning such as salt and Allow meat to boil thoroughly. If turtle meat isn’t properly cooked, it could transfer harmful bacteria like salmonella.
  4. Reduce the heat and stir as you allow to simmer for about twenty minutes.
  5. Drain the stock when the meat is ready (but do not discard), it’ll be used to make the soup. Place the meat on a flat surface and let it cool before handling.
  6. Once it is cooled, dice the meat into smaller chewable sizes.

Now that the meat is ready, it’s time to make the soup. To save time when next you’re making the soup, you can prepare your meat beforehand. So let’s continue with our recipe…

  1. Chop your vegetables. Peel and chop your onions, shallots, bell pepper, celery and garlic.
  2. Slice your parsley and green onions and set them aside. They will be used to garnish the soup.
  3. Boil your eggs. Place in a saucepan or pot with water and allow to cook for about 10 minutes. Place eggs in cold water. Peel them, chop and set aside. Eggs will also serve as a garnish for the soup.
  4. Prepare the lemon juice. Slice a fresh lemon, squeeze out the juice and set aside.
  5. Make a roux, this forms the thick part of the soup. Melt butter under medium heat. Add flour, then stir with a wooden spoon until it thickens and turns golden brown.
  6. Add the chopped vegetables. Stir until vegetables soften for about five minutes.
  7. Add spices, garlic, thyme. Keep stirring for 2-3 minutes more.
  8. Add tomatoes and turtle meat. Cook a bit for about three minutes more.
  9. Add spicy liquids and stock reserved for soup.
  10. Add lemon juice and worcestershire sauce. Adjust the heat so the soup comes to a low simmer. Allow to cook for another 10 minutes.
  11. Garnish soup to serve. Scoop some turtle soup into bowl and serve with chopped eggs, parsley and green onions on the side.


Instead of boiling your turtle meat as described above, you can cook the meat in butter. Melt about half a cup of butter in a pot and add your turtle meat. Allow to cook till the meat turns brown. Then season with salt and pepper and let it cook.

If you’re going with this method of cooking the turtle meat, then you will need beef stock to replace the turtle stock in the recipe above. Also, seasonings such as paprika and oregano will aid the flavor profile of your dish. After cooking the meat just add the vegetables and seasoning and leave to cool for about 20 minutes before adding the beef stock.

Using the recipe above at the point where the roux is made, you can then finish making your snapper soup without boiling the turtle meat.   

What to Do with Leftover Snapping Turtle

Do you have some leftover snapping turtle with no idea what to do with it? Worry not, deep fried snapping turtle tastes great. It’s spicy and crunchy and can serve as an appetizer.

To make, you’ll need half cup of vinegar, water, 1 ½ cups of flour, ½ cup of cornmeal, 2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning, 1 egg and peanut oil for deep frying.

  • For starters, add your vinegar and water to a pot and let it boil. Add the turtle meat, reduce the heat and let it simmer. Let meat simmer for about an hour under closed lids. Remove the meat from pot, allow to cool.
  • Separate meat from the bone, heat oil to 350 degrees in a thick pot. While the oil heats, mix your flour, corn meal, cajun seasoning together. Whisk eggs separately with a few tablespoons of water. This will form the egg wash.
  • Dip turtle meat into egg wash, place in flour mix. Allow meat pieces to rest for a few minutes then fry in oil when it comes to temperature. Fry for 5 minutes until crust is brown and turtle floats to the top. Serve and enjoy.

Snapping turtle is definitely a blessing to our kitchen. Not only is it perfect for soup, it can also make for a good fried snack. Snapper soup is a tasty and extremely nutritious dish that can be enjoyed with a bowl of steamed rice or dry crusty bread. Want to have a taste of the very delicious snapper soup? You totally can, this snapper soup recipe will make your dream come true. Get right to it!

Tags: , , ,

Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis is a frelance writer and foodie based in Portland, California. Though raised on her mother's homestyle Italian cooking, she has spent most of the last five years traveling and immersing herself in other countries' cuisines. Her work have been published in various publications, both online and offline.

Leave a comment