Homemade Chicken Soup Recipe

Homemade Chicken Soup is full of chicken, veggies and herbs in a flavorful semi-homemade broth. My grandma’s Chicken Soup Recipe is nostalgic comfort food that’s warm and soothing and ready in about an hour.

We are huge fans of soup in our house. I have 4 or 5 that I make on at least a monthly basis, like my Turkey, Kale and Rice SoupHamburger Soup Easy Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup and my grandma’s Homemade Chicken Soup recipe.

A pot of chicken and carrots in broth with minced parsley

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 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 recipe 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 purely to save a little time, but the results are just as delicious.

My secret shortcut when I make my grandma’s recipe 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 or effort. No hours of simmering, no deboning! 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.

Ingredients for the Best Chicken Soup

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts/thighs – 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.
  • Chicken stock/broth – I cook the chicken in a mixture of 4 cups broth and 4 cups of water, then use this broth for the base of the soup, adding more boxed broth as needed.
  • Salt – Normally I don’t add salt to the ingredients list since it’s such a common ingredient, but it’s so important for the flavor of your soup.
  • Veggies – Onions and carrots, both peeled and chopped. Sometimes I add celery and you can add other veggies like peas or mushrooms.
  • Garlic
  • Herbs – Fresh thyme sprigs (dried also works; about 1-2 teaspoons), dried oregano, bay leaves and fresh parsley for the finishing touch.
Chicken soup in a large white pot

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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! Simmer on high heat to bring it to a boil, then cover and reduce to low.
an overhead image of a large pot of chicken soup

Flavoring Your Soup

The herbs that you use are what is going to really impart the most flavor to your soup. That, and salt. 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.

If you have access to fresh herbs, use them! You can leave them whole and pick them out before serving.

How to Store Your Chicken Soup

Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator and eaten within 3-4 days. In the freezer, it will remain fresh for 4-6 months.

Reheat soup on the stovetop. If you add rice or pasta to your soup, store it separately if possible to avoid mushy soup.

Expert Tips and Storage

  • I always use low sodium chicken broth so I can control the saltiness of the soup. While I often choose what’s on sale, I avoid the generic brands. Swanson is an all-around great stand by.
  • For the ultimate shortcut, use leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken, shredded or chopped, for a super simple soup that only takes 20 minutes.
  • For a burst of freshness, try adding a squeeze of lemon juice to the finished soup.
  • Chicken Noodle Soup or Chicken Rice Soup: 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 and soak up the broth as it sits. As the pasta or rice releases starch, it will also thicken the soup which you probably don’t want.
What chicken is best for soup?

Chicken thighs offer the best flavor, but chicken breasts cook quicker and are better for you. Bone-in chicken will add a little more flavor wile boneless is a lot faster, and cooked in broth will still have great flavor.

What can I serve with Chicken Soup?

I love serving bread with soup because it’s perfect for dipping! Try my simple Garlic Cheese Biscuits, Sour Cream Cornbread, Beer Bread, or Homemade Parker House Rolls. Or for something more hearty, serve with a Club Sandwich or Oven Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.

chicken broth in a large pot filled with chicken and vegetables with thyme leaves on top

More Chicken Soup Recipes You’ll Love

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A bowl of Chicken Soup

Homemade Chicken Soup

This Homemade Chicken Soup is fresh and hearty and flavorful – it’s the cure for the common cold and will heal whatever ails you.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Cuisine American Classic
Servings 6 servings
Calories 254kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts/thighs
  • 64 ounces chicken stock divided
  • 4 cups water
  • Salt
  • 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

Optional:

  • cooked egg noodles or rice if desired

Instructions
 

  • 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; about 20 minutes.
  • 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. Store rice or pasta separate from the soup.

Notes

I like my chicken soup with LOTS of chicken. If you prefer, you can use less.
If you want to skip cooking the chicken altogether, use a rotisserie chicken. Simmer the chicken and veggies in stock for at least 15-20 minutes. 
The ingredients list 64 ounces of broth. The additional broth in step 5 is optional and based on personal preference. You can add more broth until you feel like you have enough. 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 254kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 34gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 148mgSodium: 375mgPotassium: 634mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 3569IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 46mgIron: 2mg
Keyword chicken soup

Updated March 2020

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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Comments

  1. EXCELLENT recipe. If I am reading the recipe correctly you need 2 32 oz Containers of Chicken stock, one listed as step 1, when you cook the breasts/Legs and another when you put everything together, step 5. Can I suggest that in the ingredient list you list 2-32 OZ containers?

    This my new favorite Chicken Soup recipe and I have been making Chicken Soup for almost 40 years!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. I adjusted the recipe because the additional stock at the end is really optional and based on personal preference for how much broth you want to end up with. But I did note 64 ounces in the ingredients.

  2. Just made this last night and had it with a French baguette from Panera. It was delicious and is a new weapon in my dinner

  3. I made this for my boyfriend when he was sick and he and his daughter loved it! I’m making more… they’re sick again. Also, I use golden potatoes in place of pasta. I didn’t add salt as they do not like salt. I am a vegetarian so lucky for me this is a great recipe! Thank You!

    1. Sure! If you cook the potatoes with the broth keep in mind the starch is released and will thicken the soup a bit.

  4. I have made this twice for my family & can’t wait to make it again. It’s sooo amazingly good. It’s an easy recipe to follow & cook.

  5. How many servings does this recipe make? I was thinking of cutting it in half as it sounds like too much for two people.

  6. I made this Chicken Soup and yes, it IS SO GOOD! I used cooked rotisserie chicken, barbeque flavored, from the local grocery store, instead of cooking a raw chicken. It is MUCH faster and you are assured that the chicken is cooked. I just took the chicken off the bones and put in the cooked vegs. with chicken broth and water mixture. I also used Orzo pasta, a whole 1 lb. box, and put it dry, right in with the broth and chicken to cook that way. It softened up just fine and delicious! I also used small baby carrots packaged instead of slicing up large whole carrots. That was delicious too because by the time the little carrots were soft, the pasta was cooked. It is so delicious and is my FIRST TIME EVER making homemade chicken soup. Yummy! And Thank You so much for this recipe! 5 Stars

  7. Yumm, Chicken soup is my husband’s favorite. I added a little fresh lemon juice, it perks up the soup a little and sneaks in a little Vitamin C!

    1. I go the cooked rotisserie route, too. One added game changer, add 1/4th cup of fresh dill weed chopped at the end when you add lemon zest and juice. Sometimes I add a handful of fresh kale or other greens at the end, too. I don’t add in wide egg noodles anymore. I found this freezes better without pasta and it does freeze very well. I cook this for my two adult children and they love it. One question: if you don’t have fresh thyme sprigs, would you use the ground thyme and if so, how much? Thanks.