Achoo! 23 Chicken Soup Recipes to Get You Through Cold Season
These chicken soups are just what the doctor ordered. Plus, you’ll want to slurp them up even when you’re healthy!
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Call it the placebo effect if you must, but I’m a firm believer in the curative powers of chicken soup. I challenge you to think of one action you can take that’ll relieve cold and flu symptoms more quickly than downing a bowl of piping hot broth, glistening with chicken fat, laden with silken noodles and tender carrots, exuding chickeny goodness. There’s a reason why it seems like every culture on earth has a medicinal chicken soup on the menu.
Chicken soup is easy to make, especially with a little tactical kitchen strategy. My freezer is always stocked with quart containers of homemade chicken broth. While store-bought will work in a pinch, homemade stock is an instant upgrade that lets you build your own culinary personality into any recipe. Think of stock as another pantry staple like flour, milk, or eggs. With a stash of broth at hand, weeknight chicken noodle soup can be on the table in fifteen minutes flat.
The yummy chicken soup recipes below provide an around-the-world tour of global variations on this ultimate comfort food — from Mexican caldo de pollo to Thai tom kha gai.
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Tips and tricks to soup up your chicken soup
You’ll be a chicken soup-making pro in no time
How to make chicken soup
While there are as many variations on chicken soup as there are stars in the sky, most recipes follow a basic format. Start with good chicken stock. Pour the stock over sautéed aromatics like onion and garlic and simmer over medium heat. Add vegetables and carbs and some cooked chicken meat and flavorings, and cook until all the ingredients marry together into a harmonious whole.
How to make chicken soup broth
Homemade chicken stock is the secret weapon in any soup maker’s arsenal. Whether you simmer all day in a dutch oven or stockpot or take a shortcut with a pressure cooker, the basic formula is always the same: chicken + water + aromatics (garlic cloves, onions, celery, and carrot are common options) + time + heat. Strain out the chunky bits and you’re left with liquid gold. Leave out the salt to stay flexible — you will always be able to adjust the seasoning when you assemble whatever soup you end up making. Don't leave out the black pepper — a teaspoon or so of peppercorns is just right.
What parts of the chicken should go into my stock?
Make sure to include chicken bones as well as meat when you make your own stock. They add richness and silkiness to any broth. If you can get a hold of them, add a few chicken feet, too. Yes, chicken feet. Seriously. They boost your stock to the next level, texturally. There’s no richer source of collagen and gelatin on the bird.
Ugh, do I have to make my own stock?
No, you don’t have to. I can’t make you do anything. I’m just a humble recipe round-up author. If you don’t have the time to simmer your own stock, there are plenty of high-quality packaged broths available in the store. Choose a low-sodium option so you can adjust the seasonings to suit the recipe you’re making.
How long is chicken soup good for?
Most soups will last for at least a few days in the fridge and a few months in the freezer. Many recipes taste even better after a night in the fridge. I often make soup one night with the intention of eating it the next day, knowing that the flavors will blend and improve overnight. Just make sure to keep the noodles on the side if you’re storing soup for later — they’ll fall apart if left in the broth and you’ll end up with chicken porridge.
What to serve with chicken soup
Most of these recipes are a whole meal in a bowl — they need no accompaniment beyond an optional slice of crusty bread to clean up the spills.
Building blocks: Basic chicken stock recipes
If there’s one thing I’d like you to take away from this round-up, it’s this: Make your own chicken stock. You’ll save a ton of money and it tastes better. I save leftover chicken bones and vegetable scraps in a one-gallon zip-top bag in the freezer. We make deposits with almost every meal. When the bag is full, it’s time to make stock. If you prefer a more structured formula, or you're making stock for the first time, choose one of the recipes below and you’ll always have broth on hand.
This basic method can form the foundation for any recipe that calls for broth. Chicken wings lend heartiness but you can sub in chicken thighs if that's what's in the fridge. Fresh parsley, carrot, onion, and celery are the quintessential choices for aromatics — they’re a classic for a reason.
When you’re pressed for time, try this Instant Pot recipe for chicken stock. The electric pressure cooker extracts huge flavor from these ingredients in a fraction of the time it would take to simmer on the stovetop.
Ginger, scallions, and Shaoxing cooking wine give this basic stock a Chinese flair.
If you’re going to make Tom Kha Gai, the classic Thai chicken-coconut-lime soup, try using this lemongrass-infused broth as the base.
Homemade chicken noodle soup recipes
Keto-enthusiasts can skip to the next section, but if you don't mind carbohydrates and you're looking for the most delicious, slurpable chicken noodle soups, look no further than the recipes below.
Spiked with fresh dill and plenty of garlic, with chunks of boneless chicken breast, this is the noodle soup I want when flu season rolls around.
Homemade noodles make the best chicken noodle soup. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can sub in these fresh egg noodles for the dried pasta in the flu-fighter soup above. The whole family will have fun cutting the dough into their favorite shapes.
Though most people may think of Pho as a beef-based broth, this chicken pho is just as delicious. Crystal clear broth bursts with the flavor of poultry. Garnished with bean sprouts and fresh herbs, you’ll want to slurp the rice noodles until the whole bowl is clean.
This is how they serve tortellini in Bologna, the Italian city where this fresh pasta shape was invented. Who am I to say that the Bolognese are wrong? Mamma mia — this bowl hits the spot.
Yes, OK, I know — matzo balls are more dumpling than noodle, but I don’t care! You probably want to fight about whether a hot dog is a sandwich. It is! But whatever. Eat this delicious soup!
Rice-shaped orzo noodles add heft to this egg-thickened chicken soup with lemon juice. You can always swap for rice if that’s what you’ve got handy.
Thick and creamy chicken soup recipes
Thin broth may be the classic curative soup, but when you’re really craving comfort, try these rich, luxurious concoctions, thickened with eggs and cream and more!
In this easy recipe, a little flour and milk transform plain broth into silken creamy gold. Like anything thickened with a roux, make sure to whisk like crazy to avoid lumps.
Fresh chopped rosemary and thyme are beautiful gracenotes for this rich and creamy mushroom soup. We love the addition of cream cheese, which gives the soup body and flavor.
It’s well worth a field trip to a grocery store with Thai ingredients to find gingery galangal and astringent kaffir lime leaves to flavor this classic coconut milk chicken soup. Studded with shreds of skinless chicken breast, it's a satisfying bowl.
I don’t know about you, but egg drop soup is like instant nostalgia for me. Cornstarch and eggs transform plain broth into velvet and transport me right back to my childhood. Eight-year-old me would probably have picked out the sprigs of cilantro, but grownup me loves it.
Talk about silky! Roasting butternut squash with olive oil pulls out sweetness and rich caramelization. I use my immersion blender to puree the soup right in the pot, but a blender works just as well. Plus, bonus — it's gluten-free.
Chunky chicken soup recipes
These chicken soup recipes are chock full of chunky veggies and more. If you’re looking for a one-pot meal, look no further than these satisfying chicken soup recipes with extra heft.
I love the shredded chicken thigh meat in this hearty bowl. If you can find them, speckled Mexican calabacitas are a great squash option to include in this soup recipe instead of (or in addition to) conventional zucchini. My favorite part of eating this soup is fishing the corn out of the bowl with my hands to eat it off the cob — a full-on multi-sensory experience.
With green chile and jalapenos, this south-of-the-border take on corn chowder has real kick. If this doesn’t clear your sinuses, maybe you should make a doctor’s appointment after all.
Black beans and fresh corn make this soup into more of a chunky chicken stew — but I’m not complaining! Best of all, it's made in a slow cooker. Mix it up in the Crock Pot before you head to work and you'll have a delicious soup waiting for you at dinnertime.
I love the combination of tomatoes and chicken stock and oregano that forms the base for this rich soup. Add crunch with tortilla chips and some diced avocado, and you’re in for a real treat.
There’s no more noble application of the humble Costco rotisserie chicken than to transform it into a restorative bowl of chicken soup with rice. A quick simmer with chicken bones, bay leaf, and celery boosts flavor for any store-bought stock.
With both fresh cabbage and sauerkraut, you’ll get a full dose of your brassicas with this hearty Eastern European stew, enriched with pork shoulder and perfumed with allspice.
Ginseng adds a complex herbaceous bitterness to this traditional Korean chicken soup while jujubes (a kind of dried date) give it a surprising sweetness. This recipe suggests using Cornish game hens, and if you do, it’s worth it. Forget a chicken in every pot — you’ll have a whole chicken in every bowl!
More soupy content for all your soupy needs
Check out these additional soup recipes — both hot and cold options!