This is the best Chicken Soup Recipe to make when you’re craving simple comfort food or feeling under the weather. Made with bone-in chicken thighs simmered into a flavorful broth and filled with tender onions, carrots, celery, and juicy shredded chicken.
This classic chicken soup is my all-time favorite soup recipe. Much like my homemade chicken noodle soup recipe, this noodle-free version is wholesome, delicious, and filled with zero processed carbohydrates. Whether you make your own broth or purchase pre-made, this wintertime staple is perfect for chilly nights, sore throats, good days, and bad days.
It’s also my family’s favorite.
Filled with onions, carrots, and celery, feel free to add all your favorite vegetables including leeks, cucumber, parsnips, potatoes, and kale.
Chicken Soup Ingredients
1. Chicken: I have prepared this soup using chicken breasts, bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, boneless skinless chicken thighs, a combination of each, and every other combination you can imagine. While there is no “wrong” chicken for chicken soup, if you plan to prepare your own “quick” broth as I explain in this recipe (different from chicken stock or bone broth), I find that skinless bone-in chicken thighs are the best. The broth is flavorful, but not overly fatty and the chicken remains juicy – unlike chicken breasts which are prone to drying out from prolonged boiling.
2. Broth: Prepare your own or use your favorite store-bought broth. For this recipe, I simply simmered chicken thighs in water to make the broth base. For heartier broth recipes, check out my chicken stock or beef bone broth recipe.
3. Vegetables: Nearly every country has its own version of chicken soup. As such, each version will look and taste a little different from the next. The most common vegetables, however, include a mixture of onion, celery, and carrots (also known as the mirepoix).
4. Herbs: Keep it simple or go wild, the herbs you choose to flavor your soup are entirely up to you. In this version, I left things super simple and only added a touch of fresh chopped parsley after the soup was finished cooking. Other popular herbs, dried or fresh, include oregano, rosemary, and thyme.
5. Optional: Try adding some anti-inflammatory ingredients including garlic, ginger, and turmeric. If you’re new to cooking with any of these ingredients, start with a small amount and add more as needed.
How to Make Chicken Soup
1. Make your broth: Since we’re not making chicken stock, this should only take about 30-45 minutes at the most. Simply add the raw chicken thighs to a large stockpot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium-low heat and simmer until the chicken is fully cooked. If you’re short on time, skip this step and use your favorite store-bought chicken stock and add shredded rotisserie chicken.
2. Cook the vegetables (mirepoix): While you wait for your chicken to finish cooking, cook the vegetables in a separate pot or Dutch oven set over medium heat. Cook the vegetables for 10-15 minutes or until they start to soften. Toward the end, add the salt, black pepper, bay leaves, and garlic (if using).
3. Strain the broth: Once the chicken is fully cooked, carefully remove the chicken from the pot and strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer into the same pot containing the vegetables.
4. Shred the chicken once it is cool enough to handle. Do not return the chicken to the pot.
5. Simmer & serve: Simmer for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are fully cooked and tender. In the last 10 minutes, add the shredded chicken and lemon juice and season to taste.
How to Freeze Leftover Chicken Soup
To freeze, allow your soup to cool at room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator to cool completely. Next, transfer to freezer-friendly containers or double-bag in freezer-friendly zip-lock bags. Remove most of the air, leaving just a small amount of space to allow the liquid to expand as it freezes.
- To reheat, allow the soup to thaw in the fridge overnight, then transfer to a pot and cook until heated through.
- Keep frozen for up to 6-8 months.
But what about if you don’t plan to freeze the leftovers? Enjoy within 5 days, thoroughly reheating each time.
How do You Add Flavor to Chicken Soup?
For the best possible flavor, make your own stock or chicken broth using fresh ingredients – ditch the bouillon cubes (most contain MSG). Brown your chicken pieces and add chicken bones, vegetable scraps, a few garlic cloves, and toss in some fresh herbs (fresh dill, fresh thyme, fresh parsley) to the simmering broth.
More Chicken Soup Recipes to Try,
- Aguadito de Pollo (Peruvian Chicken Soup)
- Greek Lemon Chicken Soup Recipe
- Chicken Enchilada Soup Recipe (Instant Pot)
- Easy Chicken Avocado Soup Recipe
- Matzo Ball Soup
- Easy Chicken and Rice Soup Recipe
- Creamy Chicken Tortellini Soup Recipe
- Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe
- Chicken Vegetable Soup Recipe
Have you tried making this easy chicken soup recipe?
Tell me about it in the comments below! I always love to hear your thoughts. And tag me #theforkedspoon on Instagram if you’ve made any of my recipes, I always love to see what you’re cooking in the kitchen.
Chicken Soup Recipe
- 10-12 bone-in skinless chicken thighs
- 3 quarts cold water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 yellow onions (peeled and diced)
- 8 large carrots (peeled and chopped)
- 6 ribs celery (chopped)
- 5 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- Juice from one lemon
- 2 bay leaves
- fresh chopped parsley (to garnish)
- Make your broth. Add the chicken thighs to a large stockpot. Add approximately 3-4 quarts of cold water to the pot and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for approximately 30-45 minutes.
- Cook the vegetables (mirepoix). As the broth simmers, chop and prepare your vegetables. Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for 4-5 minutes or until the onions turn translucent. Add the carrots and celery to the onions and mix well to combine. Continue to cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring often. In the last two minutes stir in the minced garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix well to combine and add the bay leaves. If the mirepoix starts to brown or burn, reduce heat to medium-low.
- Strain the broth. After the broth has finished simmering and the chicken is cooked, remove the broth from heat. Use tongs to remove the chicken from the pot and transfer to a clean cutting board to cool. Carefully strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer into the same pot as the vegetables.
- Shred the chicken. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, use two forks (or your hands) to shred the chicken. Set aside.
- Simmer. Add the lemon juice to the pot and return the soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are fully cooked. In the last 5-10 minutes, return the shredded chicken back to the pot.
- Serve. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste and garnish with fresh chopped parsley if desired.
- The best type of chicken for chicken soup includes anything that is considered dark meat (thighs, legs, wings). You may use chicken breasts, just take extra care not to overcook them when making the broth.
- Do you have to cook the stock separately? No. You may cook the chicken and the vegetables at the same time if you prefer. I take this extra step because I prefer a nice clear broth. This requires straining the broth through a cheesecloth or mesh strainer.
- If you’re in a hurry cut back on cook time and use store-bought chicken stock with shredded rotisserie chicken. Adjust seasoning as needed.
- Add other veggies including parsnips, potatoes, leeks, cabbage, or even kale.
- Can you put raw chicken in soup to cook? Yes. As long as you allow enough time for the chicken to cook completely.
- How long does it take for raw chicken to cook in soup? It will take 30-45 minutes for raw chicken pieces to fully cook (or poach) in a pot of simmering broth (although the total time will vary depending on the size of each piece).
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)