This Homemade Chicken Soup recipe is one that my kids beg for almost on a daily basis. It’s fresh and warm and comforting, and made almost completely from scratch!
Easy Homemade Chicken Soup Recipe
Chicken soup is often the “prescription” most people offer when you’re not feeling well. It’s comforting and soothing and sentimental. There are plenty of canned options out there when you need a quick chicken soup fix, but my preferred method is this from scratch chicken soup recipe you can make at home in under an hour.
My grandma’s chicken soup was almost always accompanied by Matzo Balls, and was always made from scratch. These days, when I make her recipe, I take a few liberties with the “from scratch” purely to save a little time, but the results are just as delicious.
My secret shortcut when making chicken soup from scratch is to cook boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs in store-bought chicken stock. This helps to flavor the chicken without taking as much time. You could definitely make your own chicken stock if you have the time, but I never think that far ahead. I do however always have chicken stock or chicken broth on hand.
How to Make Chicken Soup (Almost) from Scratch
When I say almost from scratch, I use fresh ingredients but I use a store-bought chicken stock to save a little time. There aren’t a ton of preservatives in the store-bought box stuff so I don’t worry about feeding it to my family. Let’s talk about the steps to making the best chicken soup!
- Cook the chicken. Cook the chicken in equal parts chicken stock and salted water, then shred the chicken into large chunks. Strain any chicken pieces or fat out of the the leftover stock so I just have the liquid, then set it aside. Note – you can use bone-in chicken if you like, it will just need to be cooked longer, and then the meat picked off the bones.
- Saute the vegetables. I always cook the veggies and herbs in a little olive oil before for a few minutes to soften them and bring out their flavor before adding the leftover stock.
- Simmer. The veggies, chicken and herbs simmer together in the chicken stock for about 20 minutes (or longer for an even richer flavor), and then you’re ready to serve! You can add some cooked pasta or rice but I don’t think it’s always necessary. If you do, be sure to cook the pasta or rice first and don’t just dump it all uncooked into the soup. If you have leftovers, store the soup and the pasta or rice separately or it will get mushy as it soaks up broth as it sits. As the pasta or rice releases starch, it will also thicken the soup which you probably don’t want.
All in all it takes about an hour and you’ve got fresh, hearty, homemade chicken soup that will cure whatever ails you.
Flavoring Your Soup
The herbs that you use are what is going to really impart the most flavor to your chicken soup. I used fresh thyme and parsley, dried oregano, bay leaves, garlic and black pepper. Salt is also an important component to the flavor profile, as it will heighten the flavor. I tend to not add much salt until the soup is finished to avoid over-salting it.
Why is Soup So Good for You?
There really is nothing more comforting than homemade chicken soup. It cures the common cold – the warm broth soothes a sore throat and the anti-inflammatory properties in the broth have been known to reduce congestion. Plus it just makes you feel GOOD.
Chicken broth is naturally low in calories and easy to digest, plus it’s nutritious and the added chicken provides a good dose of protein.
Top Tips and Storage
Leftover chicken soup should be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator and eaten within 3-4 days. In the freezer, chicken soup will remain fresh for 4-6 months. Reheat on the stovetop. If you add rice or pasta to your soup, store it separately if possible to avoid mushy soup.
And for more delicious soup recipes, try these:
- Split Pea Soup with Bacon
- Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage & Spinach
- Easy Broccoli Cheese Soup
- Creamy Chicken Tortellini Soup
- Chicken Bacon White Chili
- Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Homemade Chicken Soup
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts/thighs
- 64 ounces chicken stock divided
- 4 cups water
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2-3 large carrots peeled and sliced into bite sized pieces
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- cooked egg noodles or rice if desired
- First, cook the chicken. In a large soup pot, bring 32 ounces of chicken stock and 4 cups of water to a boil. Add a couple teaspoons of salt and the chicken. You can cut the breasts in half if you want them to cook a little faster. Cover slightly (leave pot lid open so steam can escape) and turn heat to medium (or a little lower depending on your stove - you want it bubbling a little, but not so much that it overflows).
- Continue to cook until chicken is tender and cooked through and shreds easily; 20-30 minutes, or up to one hour.
- Remove chicken from the pot and shred or cut into large, bite sized pieces with two forks. Pour the leftover stock through a strainer into a large bowl. Set both aside.
- Return the empty pot to the stove over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil or butter and the chopped onion and carrots. You can also add some diced celery if desired. Season with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently until they start to become tender; about 4 minutes.
- Stir in minced garlic, thyme, oregano and bay leaves and cook for about a minute. Pour in leftover chicken stock and the chicken, adding additional stock as needed. Bring to a boil. over, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Carefully taste (it will be very hot!) and add salt as desired.
- Stir in fresh chopped parsley and serve hot.
- *Optional: while the soup is simmering, cook 1-2 cups small pasta or rice to add to the soup when you serve it.
Updated March 2020