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A photo of a spoonful of chicken meat in THE SECRET TO THE BEST CHICKEN SOUP
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5 from 1 vote


A delicious light soup that is perfect for a sick day, a cold winter day or any day!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: best chicken soup
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 256kcal
Author: Loaves and Dishes
Cost: $10


  • Stock Pot
  • knife
  • cutting board
  • kitchen spider
  • Stove


  • 1 3 lb whole hen - remove pieces packed internally
  • 1 whole onion cut into 4 pieces - leave skin on
  • 1 whole head of garlic - cut in half
  • 4 whole large carrots - cut into 4 pieces
  • 4 stalk celery - cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 tsp kosher salt


  • In a large stock pot (about 6 quart size) place the whole hen and cover with good water by 1 inch.
  • Add all of the other ingredients to the stock pot.
  • Cook over medium heat and watch carefully. AS SOON AS the water begins to simmer, cut the heat to low. If this does not keep a simmer, then apply the lid. You can increase the heat until a small simmer is maintained.
  • Cook until the bird is cooked through and beginning to fall apart.
  • Carefully remove the hen and all of the veggies from the stock pot using a large slotted spoon.
  • Set the hen and carrots aside to cool.
  • Once cooled, pick the meat from the bird and cut the carrots into slices and then quarter those.
  • As the liquid in the stock pot cools, skim the fat from the top.
  • Replace the meat and carrots in the pot and heat over medium heat until all is heated through.
  • Serve with green garnish such as parsley or chives.



  • I hope these tips and tricks don’t get too long - because I could probably wax poetic about all of the potential pitfalls.  No worries, I’ll be as brief as possible so you can have all the success.  Lord knows, I have already had all of the fails!
  • The real THE SECRET TO THE BEST CHICKEN SOUP is to end up with a crystal clear broth.  In order to do that, you MUST NOT boil the chicken.  You only want to lightly simmer it.  As soon as the water begins to steam, start watching.  THE MOMENT you see a few bubbles, be on alert.  Once you have achieved a steady stream of bubbles, you will want to cut the stove back to low.  Keep a CLOSE EYE on the pot and don’t allow it to simmer more than a steady stream of bubbles.  You DO NOT want your chicken being all jostled around and knocked about by a boil.  Besides that, the chicken gets tough that way - you want tender tender chicken.
  • Things to Consider
  • Once the chicken is cooked through, you will want to use a large dipper to gently remove the chicken and the veggies from the broth.  You don’t want to disturb the chicken too much.  Remove it to a large platter or bowl to cool.  Toss all of the veggies except the carrots - allow them to cool as well.
  • Make sure you are using good water.  If your kitchen sink water tastes like a swimming pool, you  might want to use water you purchase at the store.
  • Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, you will want to remove the meat from the bone and discard the skin.  
  • Make sure to skim the top of your broth before adding the carrots and chicken back in.  This will remove some of the fat.
  • Garnish with something green.  We like parsley and chives. I also like to add croutons and cheese and anything that gives it a little bite. A dollop of sour cream anyone?  Oh yeah, me too!


Calories: 256kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 695mg | Potassium: 375mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 5338IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg