Chicken Soup

Total Time:
4 hr 30 min
30 min
4 hr

10 servings

  • 3 (5-pound) roasting chickens
  • 3 large yellow onions, unpeeled and quartered
  • 6 carrots, unpeeled and halved
  • 4 stalks celery with leaves, cut into thirds
  • 4 parsnips, unpeeled and cut in half (optional)
  • 20 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 15 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 20 sprigs fresh dill
  • 1 head garlic, unpeeled and cut in half crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
  • To serve:
  • 4 cups 1/4-inch-diced carrots
  • 4 cups 1/4-inch-diced celery
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • Matzo Balls, (see recipe)
  • Matzo Balls:
  • 4 extra-large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup good chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup rendered chicken fat, melted
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for egg whites
  • 1 cup matzo meal
To serve:

Place the chickens, onions, carrots, celery, parsnips, parsley, thyme, dill, garlic, and seasonings in a 16- to 20-quart stockpot. Add 7 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour. Remove 2 of the chickens and allow to cool slightly. Remove the breast meat from both chickens and set aside. Return the remaining chicken and carcasses to the pot and continue simmering, uncovered, for 3 more hours. Strain the entire contents of the pot through a colander and chill. Remove the surface fat, then reheat the stock as follows, or pack in containers and freeze.

To serve the soup, return the stock to the pot and reheat, adding the diced carrots, celery, dill, and parsley. Shred the reserved chicken breast meat into large pieces and add to the stock. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes to cook the vegetables and reheat the chicken. Season, to taste, and serve as is, or ladle each serving over 2 warm Matzo Balls.

Matzo Balls:

Whisk together the egg yolks, chicken stock, chicken fat, parsley, and salt. Stir in the matzo meal. In the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they are stiff. Whisk them into the matzo mixture until it is smooth. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes, or until the mixture is thick.

Form balls the size of golf balls by shaping them with 2 spoons, rolling them with your hands, or scooping them with a small ice cream scoop. Drop them into simmering chicken stock and cook for 30 minutes, or until fully cooked and puffed, turning once. Remove and serve hot in chicken soup.

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    43 Reviews
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    Ina knows the secret to good chicken soup. Hint: parsnips and the eggs in the matzo batter. Love her and this soup.?
    WOW! This was the best chicken soup I have ever made! It was very easy, and smelled wonderful as it cooked on a cold wintery afternoon. This will be my go to recipe for chicken stock and soup! Thanks Ina!
    Well, it was my first time making chicken stalk, soup or matzoh balls from scratch?so it did take me pretty much all day. But, it was worth it!! And next time, it won't take as long because I'll have a better idea of timing and what I need to do. And everything tastes wonderful!! Can never go wrong with Ina's recipes!!
    I've made lots of chicken soup in my life and, I confess, I have often added some chicken bouillon to intensify the chicken flavor. This recipe achieves wonderful, intense, flavorful, taste without any "outside" help. It is well worth the time and effort - I loved it!! Re: the dill issue - if you read the entire recipe you will note that the dill is used at two different times in the soup and in the matzo balls. Therefore, it is not intended for the entire amount of dill to go in the soup. Best to use your judgement re: how much to add. Always can add more later.
    Oh, the expectation was so great. It had way too much dill; I Googled what a "sprig of dill" should look like - the recipe said 20 sprigs, and my package only contained 10 [.66 0z] It was all I could smell while it was cooking, and the taste was mainly dill, although the broth was rich and dark. I will try again with a more modest amount of dill!
    Rich, delicious, and without a doubt, the best tasting chicken stock I have ever cooked with. Thank you for the recipe!!
    I spent an entire afternoon preparing and cooking and a good dollar portion of my grocery list making this soup for a few friends who were under the weather. I followed the directions to a "T" but my husband and I had it for dinner and both decided it was a bust. We threw it out and are scrambling to make another soup for our friends.
    I have made this now three times and is now a favorite. Since there are only two of us I only make one chicken at a time and is enough for two meals. The soup broth is so savory and I add fine egg noodles to broth along with diced carrots and celery everything cooks for about five minutes. I have also added brown rice instead of egg noodles for a healthier choice, just put cooked rice in bowl and add soup. 
    This is a great winter soup.
    Tasty??? Ab-so-lute-ly!!! My friends and family are raving about my chicken soup. Thanks Ina your the best!!! 
    I did a little adding and taking away, I added parsley to the 1st part of the recipe in the chicken broth boil (1st hour of boiling once i strained and skimmed I added potatoes and corn. Truly wonderful. Hop you all enjoy. Oh & btw it was my first time ever making chicken soup.
    I love this stock and soup! I couldn't find roasting chickens (mature to make this so I used young fryers. You need a big stock pot for this. I used a 16 quart and it still wasn't big enough. Next time I'll buy a 21 quart. I made the same amount, just added the rest of the water after the hour when you remove the breast meat from two of the chickens. That caused the level to go down enough to add the rest of the water. Still to the top, though. I also didn't discard any of the meat, white or dark, when finished. I froze the rest to use in various recipes. Actually, this wasn't much more expensive than the boxed stock I usually purchase in the stores, but oh so much better!
    Delicious! Ina has never failed me yet. I halved the recipe and used chicken breasts and legs, added leeks to the carrots and celery for serving, and also added egg noodles at the end. Wow. Great flavor. It's a keeper!
    Unbelievable! Best chicken soup my Jewish family ever had. I think the trick in this recipe was leaving the soup uncovered. The water evaporate and left the yummiest rich broth.
    Very good soup. Tastes like chicken! After trying many, many chicken soup recipes, I've seen that you just can't make good chicken soup quickly. It takes many hours of simmering to get that flavor out of the chicken. If you see a recipe that claims to make good soup in an hour, that person has just given you a recipe for terrible chicken soup! (I'm looking at your Emeril. Ina seems to know her stuff -- I've tried quite a few of her recipes and they always come out great. This is no exception. You do need a very large pot to make the soup as specified, but notice you could make this using only 1 chicken and remove the breast meat (after the hour specified from just that 1 chicken. Reduce all other ingredients to 1/3. 
    Also note, if you want a clear broth for the soup try to move the chicken as little as possible in the pot (do not stir the soup and do not let the soup come to a full-rolling boil.
    The best chicken soup I have ever made! I will never go back to store bought broth or stock again. Just the aroma of the soup cooking is enough to make my whole house smell warm and inviting. I agree that it is a waste to have to throw out the veggies but they really are just mush by the time the stock is done simmering. I cannot stand to waste the chicken meat, however, so I let it all simmer for four hours and then I remove the chickens. I take off all of the meat, dark and white, shred or slice it, and return most of it to the stock along with the fresh veggies. The rest of the meat I freeze and use for enchiladas or risotto.
    The smell of this alone will put a smile on your face. Nothing can replace fresh thyme, dill, whole peppercorns, yumm. I love the earthy flavor of the parnsnips too, they are a must. 
    To those who think it's wasteful, I 1 Freeze the ends of celery, carrots, onion peels, garlic skins, etc from every day cooking to use for stock. 2 I sometimes mash the boiled veggies through a strainer right back into the soup! Not great for presentation purposes, but it's extra veg for a heartier stock, yum. 3 I've heard of people mixing the leftover stock vegetables in with rice for dog food. 
    I always keep my noodle, dumpling, rice etc., separate from the broth so it doesn't get soggy. Great recipe! Thanks Ina
    Another Ina recipe IMPRESSES EVERYONE!!!! Don't believe the review where SHE burned the soup, she OBVIOUSLY needed to follow the recipe closer cause for the rest of us THIS WAS GREAT!!! 
    Thanks Ina!!!
    I've used a lot of stock recipes and this one was the BEST! I did add the cooked chicken to the soup.
    This was really bad. First of all, be sure you have the correct size pot. 3 whole chickens is ALOT! THe chicken sunk to the bottom and burnt, making the entire pot of broth taste like smoke - it was unedible. I would suggest, instead of using whole chickens, which even if they don't burn are a MESS, buy skin-on-bone-in chicken thighs. Much easier and less mess. Also I think leaving the skins on the onions also created an undesireable taste.
    I was so impressed with how this came really was one of the most flavorful, complex tasting chicken soups I've ever tasted. Deep golden in color and delicious. When reheating, I simmered the chicken breast meat and new veggies for about 45-50 min, and they cam out perfect.
    Absolutely the best chicken soup I have ever made. It makes so much, I freeze in smaller containers. So easy and foolproof.
    This recipe is terrific! In Ina's defense chicken really does give up all of it's flavor, texture and nutrients after a 3-4 hour simmer. I remove all of the larger muscle meat after the one hour of simmer. The rest I place back into the pot for the rest of the time stated. I also use 8 qt./2 gal. otherwise the ingredients are not covered. Five minutes is not long enough to cook the additional vegetables. Cook until tender. I add al dente cooked noodles just before serving. So they are not mushy. 
    I suppose you could use the discarded vegetables and meat for dog/cat food. Make sure all the small bones are removed.
    I, too, think this is a wonderful soup. I do find it very wasteful however to toss all the cooking and flavoring veggies away. There must be a way to use them. I know the peels, stems, etc. are flavor and color, but I still think they could be used somehow.
    I love this was so easy and simple to do! It came out great and everyone loved it! I will definitely make this again. Thanks Ina!
    The recipe was very good but I did find it wasteful to disgard so much of the meat. I cut up the chickens before putting them into the broth which saved some space. I also used all of the meat when reintroduced, not just the breast meat. Other than that this was a very good recipe.
    I made this for my mother when she was sick. she said it was the best chicken soup she'd ever had. It was my first time making chicken soup and though time consuming it was a blast to make it! Mom loved the taste of the thyme and dill in the soup.
    This was one of the best and richest chicken stocks I have made in years. Yes, it does take a little longer for the carrots to cook, but at the same time, when trying it over again, the splitting and cutting helped a lot Cooking for 3 hours was just perfect and added to the richness. I did use organic and did wash, but didn't peel. Yum and delicious. I kept with the amount of salt because depending on what I was going to use the left over stock for would judge the amount of salt and pepper I would use. Wonderful and easy.
    Yum. Another winner from Ina, as usual. The carrots and celery (for serving took much longer than suggested. I also added a bit more salt.
    This is the first time that I tried to make chicken soup from scratch. The cooking time was a little long, but I think that it was worth it.  
    "Wow! Just like my grandma used to make it" said my fastidious husband. Thanks.
    I've been making chicken soup for many years and have been wanted to try this one ever since I saw Ina make it on her show. I had to do it in two pot as my 12 qt just didnt cut was the best chicken soup I ever made. However, it was messy and a bit time consuming with removing the chicken - returning it -- straining everything, etc. All and all, it was worth it. I will purchase a larger stock pot to avoid double work. The next day I added some sliced carrots, cooked escarole and little meatballs and make the best Italian Wedding Soup ever!!
    Let me get this right. Three roasting chickens go into the pot, after an hour of simmering, two come out to remove the breast meat, you put the remainder of both chickens back into the pot, to finish making the stock; and then you strain all that chicken, with veggies, and toss it, only to put fresh veggies, and the breast meat of two chickens back into the pot to finish this. Whereas, I'm sure, this might be a very delicious soup; it's also very wasteful. Sorry Ina, but if I do venture to make this soup, I'm not throwing all that meat away. It will be stripped off the carcass, after the first hour, with the breast meat; and reintroduced, with the fresh veggies, with enough time for the veggies to cook, as others have suggested. I would have rated this 5 stars, since I haven't made it yet, and don't like when others destroy a rating without making the dish, but throwing that much meat away is wasteful, inspite of the taste of the finished product. JMHO
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