This Chicken Vegetable Soup Recipe is made with shredded chicken and healthy vegetables simmered in a light and delicious broth. Prepare exactly as is or use this easy recipe as a template for your own perfect soup creation!
My favorite thing to cook for myself and my family is soup. It doesn’t matter the time of year or what season we’re in, soup is always delicious.
This chicken and vegetable soup, simple yet so satisfying, is one of my go-to weeknight soup recipes. It’s perfect for clearing out extra veggies leftover in the refrigerator and makes enough for my family of 3 to eat at least 2-3 nights in a row.
Sometimes I’ll make my soup with shredded chicken breasts, but chicken thighs are juicier and make a tastier stock. Sometimes I’ll add in a can of beans and some diced tomatoes for a soup similar to Italian minestrone, but with extra protein and fewer carbs.
If you want to add different vegetables from what you see here, go for it! Although I love kale in my soup, it may not be for you, and that’s completely fine.
How to Make Chicken Vegetable Soup
Start by adding the chicken thighs to a large stockpot filled with cold water. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until the chicken is fully cooked.
Chop the vegetables.
Then start cooking the base vegetables- onions, carrots, and celery. After approximately 15 minutes, stir in the garlic, salt, and black pepper and cook for another minute or so.
Once the chicken is fully cooked, remove the chicken to a clean plate or cutting board and strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer into the same pot as the vegetables.
Return the soup to a simmer and shred the chicken.
Add the shredded chicken, lemon juice, bay leaves, zucchini, and yellow squash to the pot. Simmer, covered, for about 20-30 minutes.
About 5-10 minutes before serving stir in the chopped kale and season with additional salt, if needed.
Add a Variety of Vegetables
Before adding veggies to this chicken and veggie soup, take stock of which ones take the longest to cook compared to those that cook quickly.
In general, vegetables like onions, carrots, celery, parsnips, leeks, and potatoes take longer to cook, so consider adding these first. For the best flavor, I even cook the onions, carrots, and celery in a little olive oil first before simmering.
About 20-30 minutes before your soup has finished cooking, add vegetables like tomatoes, corn, green beans, bell peppers, zucchini, and other squash, and mushrooms. These vegetables cook faster due to their high moisture levels.
Finally, leafy greens like kale, spinach, and chard are left until about 5-10 minutes before serving. These vegetables are the most delicate and most likely to lose their vibrant appearance.
Looking for more delicious soup recipes? Try these reader favorites:
- Instant Pot Minestrone Soup Recipe
- Homemade Tomato Basil Soup Recipe
- Turkey Soup Recipe
- Lemon Chicken Soup Recipe
- Pho Recipe (How to Make Vietnamese Noodle Soup)
- Navy Bean Soup with Ham
- Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe
Have you tried making this Easy Chicken Vegetable 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 Vegetable Soup Recipe
- 8 bone-in skinless chicken thighs
- 3 quarts cold water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 yellow onions - peeled and diced
- 4 large carrots - peeled and chopped
- 4 ribs celery - chopped
- 5 cloves garlic - minced
- 2 teaspoon salt - plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Juice from one lemon
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 zucchini - sliced into quarters and chopped
- 2 yellow squash - sliced into quarters and chopped
- 1 large bunch kale - woody ends removed and chopped
- red chili flakes and fresh parsley - to garnish
- Add the chicken thighs to a large stockpot and fill with approximately 3-4 quarts of cold water. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for approximately 30-40 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked.
- As the chicken cooks, chop and prepare the vegetables and then move on to the next step.
- Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a large pot or Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, approximately 5 minutes. Next, add the carrots and celery and mix well to combine with the onions. Continue to cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the minced garlic, salt, and black pepper. Reduce heat if necessary to prevent the vegetables and/or garlic from burning.
- Check on your chicken and broth. Once the chicken is fully cooked, use kitchen tongs to remove the chicken and set it aside until it is cool enough to shred. Meanwhile, remove the broth from heat. Carefully strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer into the same pot as the vegetables.
- Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, use two forks (or your hands) to shred the chicken.
- Add the shredded chicken, lemon juice, bay leaves, zucchini, and yellow squash to the pot. Return to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Approximately 5-10 minutes before serving, stir in the chopped kale and season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
- For a more robust tasting broth, consider adding 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning or dried oregano.
- Chicken thighs or chicken breasts? You may also make this recipe using boneless chicken breasts or bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. Pretty much any type of chicken will work, but the best chicken is darker, fattier thigh meat that is less likely to dry out.
- Using pre-cooked chicken: If you decide to make this recipe with pre-cooked chicken (like rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken), I use low-sodium chicken broth or chicken stock as the soup broth and wait to add the shredded chicken until the same time that you add the kale, about 5-10 minutes before serving.
- Storing and reheating: Keep this soup stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat on the stovetop until hot, or for smaller amounts, in the microwave at 30-second intervals.
- This recipe is dairy-free and gluten-free
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)