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Best Homemade Chicken Soup Recipe With Vegetables

There’s something special about a good homemade chicken soup recipe with vegetables – food for the soul. It’s the ultimate comfort food – like a warm hug.

My mother swears that it also cures colds (she calls it Jewish penicillin). I’m not sure about that, but I do know that it’s always worth the effort. So much deliciousness in one bowl.

I’ve been making it forever as did my mother and my grandmother. And probably her mother and grandmother before that.  

chicken soup with orzo, carrots and dill in bowl.

Chicken soup is a given on Jewish holidays. It’s practically inconceivable not to have it. But I love it any time of the year. One of my favorite things is to tuck into a bowl of this chicken vegetable soup on a chilly day.

My daughter Shannon and my two older grandkids request it regularly. It’s become a ‘must have’ on family vacations.

What to expect

To be honest, there are a few steps involved so it does take some time. It’s best to make the soup a day or more ahead to easily remove the grease.

I love homemade chicken broth flavored with lots of dill because that’s how my mother and grandmother made it. I also like the broth to be rich and flavorful which means using a good ratio of chicken to water.

Make a complete meal from the soup by serving it with the chicken from the soup and noodles.

There is no need to be exact with the ingredient quantities!

The basic steps are:

  1. Peel and cut up your vegetables
  2. Simmer the chicken, vegetables, herbs and water.
  3. Strain the soup and skim off the grease (or chill it overnight so the fat floats to the top making it easy to discard)
  4. Serve the soup with the cooked veggies as well as noodles, matzo balls and chicken if you like.

Ingredients – tailored to your taste

Chicken pieces and/or chicken bones.
carrots, parsnip, celery, onion, and dill.

Chicken: I like to use chicken bones (with a bit of meat on them) as well as several pieces of bone-in chicken with skin on for maximum flavor. My preference is kosher chicken which is brined and more flavorful. If you do use kosher chicken, use less or no salt initially. You can always add salt at the end.

Vegetables: Carrots, celery, and onion are classic. In the last 10 years, I started including parsnips which add a wonderful earthy sweetness. I also add a clove or two of garlic.

Fresh herbs: Dill is a ‘for sure’ for me as is parsley. Add them while cooking and save a few sprigs of dill when freezing and reheating the soup. If you prefer bay leaves to dill, go for it.

Step by step instructions

This is a visual guide and overview. Full instructions are in the recipe card.

cut up carrots, parsnip, celery, onion and dill on cutting board.
Cut vegetables into bite-sized pieces.
chicken pieces, vegetables and herbs with water in pot.
Add chicken, veggies and herbs to water in a large soup pot.
finished chicken soup with chicken and veggies in pot.
Simmer the soup for an hour.
cold chicken soup in container with fat congealed on top.
Skim fat off broth once chilled overnight (or strain and skim grease off the top)
chicken soup with orzo, carrots and dill in bowl.
Serve with noodles (and add chopped chicken if you like)
chicken soup with matzo balls, carrots and dill in bowl.
Or serve with matzo balls for Passover and Rosh Hashanah.

Great homemade chicken vegetable soup has a rich flavorful broth. It’s difficult to provide exact measurements for chicken soup, but fairly easy to adjust once the basic broth is made. Here are a few ways to increase the depth:

  1. Use more chicken and less water. And lots of veggies and fresh herbs.
  2. Replace the water with broth or add some good quality bouillon at the end. Better Than Bouillon roast chicken base is excellent.
  3. Concentrate the broth: Once cooked and strained, place the broth back in the pot and continue to simmer it down, uncovered, until it’s reduced in the pot by an inch or so. This will concentrate the broth and increase the depth of flavor.
  4. Use dark meat like chicken legs if you want tender chicken for the soup. Chicken breasts tend to get dry.

Make Ahead

Detailed instructions for making this healthy chicken soup recipe a day or more ahead, freezing it and reheating are in the recipe card below.

How to serve chicken soup

This, of course, is based on personal preferences. Serve it:

With vegetables: I love serving the soup with the sweet soft carrots and celery from the soup. The purists won’t agree, but you can, of course, add other vegetables toward the end of cooking. Fresh baby spinach will wilt in a minute.

With chicken: You can add chicken chunks from from the soup although I find the chicken from the soup pretty flavorless. All the flavor is now in the soup. If you want to serve the soup with chicken, I suggest adding a couple of pieces of raw chicken about 20 minutes before the end of the simmering process.

With noodles: My favorite filler in chicken soup is fine egg noodles or orzo. And during Jewish holidays – matzo balls. Yum!!

Re-purpose it: Needless to say, the soup or broth is the basis for many other soups and dishes. Here are a few to try: Thai Style Chicken Lemon Orzo Soup, Egg Drop Soup, Wonton Vegetable Soup and Wedding Soup.

Shortcut

For a semi-homemade version with lots of shortcuts (when you’re in a rush), dice the fresh veggies quite small and cook them for 20 minutes, or until tender, in a good quality store-bought chicken broth (I like Better Than Bouillon base). Then add chopped leftover or rotisserie chicken and cooked noodles like orzo pasta or egg noodles. Done!

You can also make a delicious chicken soup in the instant pot in 30 minutes. Use our instant pot turkey soup recipe and replace the turkey with chicken.

chicken soup with matzo balls, carrots and dill in bowl.

Other Jewish recipes you might like

Or how about an Italian chicken soupeasy pastina soup? Or Chinese chicken soupwonton vegetable soup?

If you like this recipe, please leave a 5 star rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟in the recipe card below. And if you REALLY like it, consider a review in the comments. Thanks very much!

chicken soup with orzo, carrots and dill in bowl.
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4.91 from 11 votes

Homemade Chicken Soup Recipe With Vegetables

There's something special about a good homemade chicken soup recipe with vegetables – food for the soul. It's the ultimate comfort food – like a warm hug. And definitely worth the effort.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 45 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Jewish
Servings: 16

Ingredients

  • 3 -4 pounds of bone-in chicken pieces and/or bones, Note 1 (I use at least some chicken thighs or legs.)
  • water (about 16 cups/3.8 liters)

Vegetables

  • 4 -5 large carrots, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 4 -5 celery ribs, cut into chunks
  • 3 parsnips, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 1 large onion (I use a sweet onion)
  • 2 cloves, garlic, peeled
  • 2 Optional: white turnips, peeled and cut into small chunks (add later)

Seasoning and herbs

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt or to taste (Use less or none if using kosher chicken)
  • 8 peppercorns (whole)
  • handful fresh parsley
  • handful fresh dill

Instructions

  • PREPARE SOUP FOR COOKING: Trim chicken. I leave on some skin to add flavor to the soup. Place chicken pieces in a large pot. Add vegetables (except turnips if using), garlic, salt and pepper. Fill pot with water to 1 inch/2.5 cm above the level of the chicken and vegetables (about 16 cups/3.8 liters). Place the parsley and dill on top.
  • SIMMER SOUP: Heat soup to medium-high heat and bring to a gentle boil. Skim off the residue that floats to the surface with a ladle a few times. Lower the heat to simmer. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Uncover slightly (tilt lid to create a 3-4 inch gap). Add turnips if using. Continue to simmer, partially covered, for another 15-30 minutes.
  • STRAIN SOUP: Remove chicken and vegetables into a large bowl and set aside. I separate them in two separate bowls and discard the onion, parsnips (they get mushy), herbs and garlic. Strain the broth through a sieve and put it back into the pot.
  • TASTE AND ADJUST TO ADD DEPTH OF FLAVOR: Taste the soup. If it needs more depth of flavor, check out the options in Note 2. Add salt and black pepper as needed.
  • SKIM GREASE AND SERVE THE SOUP: If you are serving it right away, skim off the grease with a spoon and discard. Note 3. Ladle hot broth into bowls along with cooked fine noodles or orzo or matzo balls. Add chunks of the chicken and/or vegetables used when making the broth. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  1. Chicken options: Use chicken bones if available as well as several pieces of bone-in chicken with skin on for maximum flavor. Kosher chicken is brined and more flavorful. If you do use kosher chicken, use less or no salt initially. You can always add salt at the end.
  2. To make a richer broth, here are a few choices:
    • 1) add cooking time: continue cooking the broth uncovered until reduced a bit (about 20-30 more minutes) – this will concentrate the broth more.
    • 2) add bouillon: add a teaspoon or more of chicken bouillon such as Better Than Bouillon or
    • 3) add undiluted chicken broth: add one can of full undiluted concentrated chicken broth (with no water) such as Campbell’s Chicken Broth.
  3. To de-grease the soup: The fat from the chicken and chicken skin will add a layer of grease to the soup. The easiest way to get rid of it is to chill the soup for a day in the fridge or freeze it. The layer of grease rises to the top and hardens. Then just scrape or spoon in off.Β 
  4. BIG shortcut – not quite homemade: Dice the fresh vegetables quite small and cook them for 20 minutes, or until tender, in a good quality broth (Better Than Bouillon is a great base). Then add chopped leftover or rotisserie chicken and cooked noodles.
  5. To make ahead:
    • It’s a good idea to make the soup a day or more ahead, allowing the grease to congeal on top of the broth, making it easy to skim off and discard. Cool the soup to room temperature and put it in the fridge in an airtight container along with some fresh dill floating on top.
    • The leftover soup can stay in the fridge for 3-4 days.
    • The soup may also be frozen for 4-6 months.
    • Reheat the soup in a pot on the stove or in the microwave.Β 
Β 
Nutrition values are estimates and do not include optional extras, matzo balls or noodles.Β 

Nutrition

Calories: 157kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 347mg | Potassium: 297mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2826IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1mg
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2 Comments

    1. My mother says it cures everything. Not sure about that but definitely comfort food. Thanks for leaving a comment.