Turtle soup or snapper soup is basically turtle meat cooked with vegetables, herbs, juices and spices. It doesn’t taste awful and it’s actually a delightful new dish you can introduce to your menu.

The rich ingredients not only make turtle soup mouth-wateringly tasty but also ensure that it’s highly nutritious—it contains a healthy amount of meat and vegetables, as well as tons of minerals.

It is a famous meal in the southeastern part of the US where turtles are easily found, and it 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 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. 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, and spices—all cooked with the snapping turtle—give 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 one step closer to enriching yourself with the richness that snapper soup brings.

The snapping turtle is a common species of turtle that got its name from its reaction to being caught. This turtle bites with really strong jaws, 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 that is commonly found in North America. Alongside its strong jaws, it has a long head and tail, with shell color varying from black to light brown. The meat of a snapping turtle serves as a great dish, all thanks to the distinct taste of 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 and letting 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 before finally cutting through. Carefully scrape off the skin from the neck, legs, and tail.

Make a wide 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, so rupturing these will give the turtle meat a very bitter taste.

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

Snapper Soup Recipe

Finally, the snapping turtle soup recipe you’ve been waiting for. This snapper soup recipe is loaded with vegetables that contribute to the flavor 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 of lemon juice.
  • 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce.

Instructions to follow:

  1. The first step in cooking snapper turtle is to prepare your snapper turtle meat. You can get it from an Asian market 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. 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. Let it thaw for a while before boiling to enable it to cook thoroughly.
  3. Boil your turtle meat in a pot of water and seasoning such as salt, then allow the 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 the turtle to simmer for about twenty minutes.
  5. Drain the stock when the meat is ready, but do not discard it, as it’ll be used to make the soup. Place the meat on a flat surface and let it cool before handling it.
  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 while 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 them in a saucepan or pot with water and allow that to cook for about 10 minutes. Place the 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 it aside.
  5. Make a roux—this forms the thick part of the soup. Melt butter over medium heat. Add flour, then stir this slowly with a wooden spoon until it thickens and turns golden brown.
  6. Add the chopped vegetables. Stir until the vegetables soften for about five minutes.
  7. Add spices, garlic, and thyme. Keep stirring for 2-3 minutes more.
  8. Add the tomatoes and turtle meat. Cook for about three minutes more.
  9. Add spicy liquids and stock reserved for soup.
  10. Add your lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Adjust the heat so the soup comes to a low simmer. Allow it all to cook for another 10 minutes.
  11. Garnish your soup to serve. Scoop some turtle soup into a bowl and serve with chopped eggs, parsley, and green onions on the side.


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

If you’re going with this method of cooking the turtle meat, 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 it to cool for about 20 minutes before adding the beef stock.

At the point where the roux is made in the recipe above, 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.

To make this, you’ll need a half cup of vinegar, water, 1 ½ cups of flour, ½ a 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 this boil. Add the turtle meat, reduce the heat, and let it simmer. Let the meat simmer for about an hour under a closed lid. Remove the meat from the pot and allow it to cool.
  • Separate meat from the bone, heating oil to 350 degrees in a thick pot. While the oil heats, mix your flour, cornmeal, and cajun seasoning together. Separately whisk the egg with a few tablespoons of water. This will form the egg wash.
  • Dip the turtle meat into the egg wash, placing it into the flour mix. Allow meat pieces to rest here for a few minutes, then fry them in oil once it comes to temperature. Fry for 5 minutes, until the crust turns brown and the turtle meat floats to the top. Serve and enjoy.

Snapping turtle is definitely a blessing to our kitchen. 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!


Peter's path through the culinary world has taken a number of unexpected turns. After starting out as a waiter at the age of 16, he was inspired to go to culinary school and learn the tricks of the trade. As he delved deeper, however, his career took a sudden turn when a family friend needed someone to help manage his business. Peter now scratches his culinary itch on the internet by blogging, sharing recipes, and socializing with food enthusiasts worldwide.

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