Last Updated October 3rd, 2018 at 11:02 pm by Lisa
Cheese Soup is love at first sip. Truly. And I share the love of this famous soup with a large group of food fans.
Easy classic Famous Cheese Soup from The Driskill Hotel, Austin, TX. has simple ingredients and extraordinary deep flavors. Serve with Parmesan Croutons!
Two stories came out of this recipe for Cheese Soup.
While on a culinary tour at the BlogHer Food Conference, a large group of fun and friendly food bloggers had lunch at The Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas.
The Cheese Soup came highly recommended, so several of us ordered a bowl along with salads and sandwiches.
It really was love at first sip, and we all just couldn’t believe how good it tasted!
Of course, I jokingly yet boldly asked our waitress for the recipe. The giggles and laughter bounced down the table, and then our waitress said, “Of course we can share the cheese soup recipe with you!” We all looked at one another in pure delight.
And so here is the Famous Cheese Soup from The Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas.
But that isn’t the whole story, the recipe below is the Cheese Soup recipe from the 1886 Cafe and Bakery inside The Driskill Hotel.
However, the original recipe comes from Helen Corbitt.
Who is Helen you ask?
Well, Helen Corbitt served as the Culinary Director of the Driskill Hotel in the late 1950’s and later as the Head of Culinary Operations at Neiman Marcus. She is an American chef, cookbook author, and award-winning pioneer of classic Texan Cuisine and is known as the “Julia Child” of Texas. For over 40 years, Helen shared her gourmet cuisine in Texas finding new and unusual flavor combinations, and ingredients.
An early advocate of using the finest, freshest ingredients and in the years b.c. (before Corbitt), Texans had no artichokes, no fresh raspberries, no herbs except decorative parsley, only beef (chicken-fried, barbecued, or well-done), potatoes (fried or mashed and topped with cream gravy), and wedges of iceberg with sweet orange dressing.
President and Lady Bird Johnson were served at The Driskill Hotel, and adored Helen’s cuisine and took her recipes all the way to the White House. Today, Helen Corbitt’s Cheese Soup recipe is still on the 1886 Cafe and Bakery Menu for $4 per cup or $6 a bowl.
In her cookbook titled, Helen Corbitt’s Cookbook, Helen states, “By far the most asked-for soup everywhere I have been is Canadian Cheese Soup. My men, customers are made about it. Where it comes from I do not know; it has been a part of my life so long it could have come with the stork.”
The Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas, was built-in 1886 as the showplace of cattle baron Jesse Driskill. Today, the hotel remains a legendary landmark in Texas hospitality offering its guests an elite level of luxury accommodations and services for more than a century.
Who Wrote the Cheese Soup Recipe served at the 1886 Cafe and Bakery of the Driskill Hotel in Austin Tx?
The cheese soup recipe comes from Helen Corbitt in her 1957 edition, Helen Corbitt’s Cookbook
Canadian Cheese Soup
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1/2 cup finely diced carrots
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1-quart chicken stock (4 cups)
1-quart milk (4 cups)
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup processed Cheddar type cheese (Velvetta)
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons chopped parsley, chopped fine
Melt butter in the pot you are going to make the soup in; add onions, carrots, celery and saute’ over low heat until soft. Add flour and cornstarch and cook until bubbly. Add stock and milk and make a smooth sauce. Add soda and the cheese, grated. Season with salt and pepper. Add parsley a few minutes before you serve.”
How to make Famous Cheese Soup, inspired by Helen’s Corbitt’s Canadian Cheese Soup recipe:
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup diced medium onion
- 1/2 cup diced carrot
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 cups chicken stock 32 oz. box or a quart
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 pound cubed Velveeta or 4 cups finely grated cheddar cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley or fresh chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/4 paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
In a heavy pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter, salt, and pepper. Next, add the onions, carrots, and celery and cook until tender 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cornstarch, cook another 3 minutes.
Add chicken stock and heavy whipping cream gradually, blending until smooth about 3-5 minutes.
Turn heat down to medium-low, don’t allow soup to boil at any point.
Add cubed cheese and stir until melted, about 5 minutes.
Add parsley, cayenne, paprika.
Using an emersion blender stick, mix soup until smooth and creamy.
Simmer on medium low for 20 minutes until it thickens.
Serve in bowls or mugs with croutons.
Driskill Hotel's variation: Use 1 pound grated Velveeta cheese in place of cheddar, and add white pepper, cayenne pepper and paprika to taste. Using Velveeta makes the soup thicker and the cheese easier to melt. Finely grate the cheddar cheese to melt properly for the soup. Source: This recipe is inspired by the Driskill Hotel, Austin, Texas. Driskill Hotel Recipe was adapted from the original recipe in "Helen Corbitt's Cookbook” (Hougton Mifflin, 1957).
Helen Corbitt’s’ impact on Texas cuisine is extraordinary, and while I wrote this post I became so inspired by her love of food, cooking, and her story. In fact, I got so excited I ordered one of her original print well-loved cookbooks called Helen Corbitt’s Cookbook. Austin is known as a food town, and this recipe became a favorite souvenir from my trip.
All The Best Dishes,
Parmesan Crouton Shards go so well with Cheese Soup!