Did you know that the first soup recipe, made in 6000 BC, was hippopotamus soup? Just imagine the pot they needed to cook it in! Luckily, this recipe for hippopotamus soup requires no real hippos. All you need is bread dough, creative juices and a dash of fun. Oh, and your favorite soup. I used tomato bisque. But it doesn’t matter what kind, because these bread hippos will swim in any flavor.


My daughter especially enjoyed helping me in the kitchen with this project. It’s a lot like cooking with Playdoh – except you can eat it when you’re done. She made the cutest baby bread hippos. The trick is to not overwork the dough. Just roll the different pieces, align them on your baking sheet, and let them rise together. You’ll be surprised when you see how big they bake up.


These would be a fun winter cooking craft. You could even bake them and freeze a bunch to use later at a special dinner party or for family soup night. Now that I think about it, one of these bread hippos would look pretty funny wading in a bowl of chili.


Makes 8 bread hippos.

  • 16 frozen bread rolls (I used Rhodes dinner rolls)
  • Butter
  • Black eyed peas
  • Black beans
  • Your favorite soup or chili



Step 1
Place the frozen rolls on a baking sheet. Spray a piece of plastic food wrap with non-stick cooking spray and cover the rolls. Allow the dough to thaw and rise according to directions on the package.


Step 2
Take one of the thawed dough rolls, and roll it into an elongated oval for the hippo’s body. If needed, use a dusting of flour on your hands to keep it from sticking. Place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Next, take another thawed dough roll and break off two small balls for the hippo’s snout. Roll the larger ball for the head. Place it on the baking sheet at the front of the body. Pinch the top sides of the head to make the hippo’s ears.

Then, roll the two smaller balls of dough and place them in the front of the head to form the snout. Continue this process with the remaining thawed dough balls until you’ve made 8 large hippos. The sizes can vary, but typically I used 2 dough balls per hippo.

Cover the hippos on the baking sheet with a lightweight cloth or deep pan. Set the baking sheet in a warm area of your kitchen and let the dough rise again for 20-30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cook the hippos for 15-20 minutes.


Step 3
Allow them to cool slightly, then brush them with butter.


Step 4
To add the eyes and nostrils, cut small slits with a knife and insert the black eyed peas and black beans.


Step 5
Place the bread hippo in your bowl.


Step 6
Pour in your favorite soup or chili and enjoy!




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