When the heat blisters, no one wants to cook. Instead we rely on cold foods especially refreshing soups that require no cooking at all.  None is more so than Ajo Blanco, a soup of Spanish origins made from almonds, bread and olive oil.

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Most Spaniards probably know how to make this soup without a recipe.  I find that a recipe helps a great deal.

I start by selecting the bread and removing the crust. You can see I use store bought bread. I look for a light yet substantial loaf, one make from a local Italian bakery works well. I weigh the bread when making the recipe because it’s hard for me to judge just how much bread to use.

Then I tear the bread into smaller pieces to make it easier for the the water to be absorbed.

This recipe call for blanched almonds. You can purcahse them blanched, whole or in pieces.  I show you how to blanch almonds here.

Soaking the blanched almonds in water makes them easier to blend into the creamy consistency that makes ajo blanco so popular. And a high speed blender, one that can really pulverize the nuts, garlic and bread into a smooth mixture helps too. A food processor also work well.

Here’s a batch of ajo blanco in my blender after pureeing.

A blender bowl full of ajo blanco

To finish the soup for serving, use your judgement.  First add water to balance the flavor and make the mixture into a cream soup like consistency.  The add more salt and sherry vinegar to suit your taste.  I like a hint of acid but no so much as to cancel the sweet creaminess of the blanched almonds.

Ajo Blanco

Yield: Approximately 3 cups, six 4-ounce servings

Ajo Blanco


8 ounces whole blanched almonds

6 ounces crustless fresh white bread

2 cups water

2 peeled garlic cloves

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 to 3 fluid ounces Sherry vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

seedless green grapes, for garnish

Olive oil, for garnish


  1. Cover the almonds with boiling water and let sit until completely cool, at least one hour or overnight.
  2. Tear the bread into small pieces and soak it in the 2 cups of water. Let sit for at least 20 - 30 minutes.
  3. Drain the almonds, reserving the water from soaking. Place the drained almonds, the garlic and 1 cup of the soaking liquid in the container of a high-speed blender. Process until a smooth paste forms.
  4. Add the oil, 2 ounces of the vinegar and the salt. Blend for 2 to 3 minutes until smooth, scraping down the container as needed.
  5. Add the bread and any remaining water in which it was soaked. Blend for 1-2 minutes until smooth. Chill the soup well.
  6. To serve, adjust the seasonings with salt and vinegar. Thin with additional water as needed to achieve the desired consistency. Serve in chilled bowls, garnished with green grapes and a drizzle of olive oil.


I developed this recipe for the textbook On Cooking: A Textbook of Culinary Fundamentals 7th edition due out in 2024. I've adapted it for home use.