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
Watch how to make this recipe. 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.

View All

Cooking Tips
More Recipes and Ideas
4.4 49
Not sure what went wrong with the matzo balls for me, they kind of fell apart. I got some whole ones out of it and lots of floating pieces. I will stick to my own original recipe from now on but this one was worth a shot.  item not reviewed by moderator and published
Is it only me that finds this recipe grossly wasteful? Three whole chickens and only the breast meat of two chickens is used??? I had to re read the recipe three times to see if I was missing something! Since she doesn't mention what is done with the rest of the meat it is assumed that it is tossed out. I'm sorry but I have made delicious soup using only one chicken and I use all the meat. That is where the flavor comes from along with the bones cooking a long time. Yes, it is somewhat time consuming to go through and pick out all the gross little prices of chicken anatomy that fall apart as the chicken cooks, but it is well worth it in the end! As for the rich color you get for the stock...I'm surprised no one commented that the onion skin is what adds the color. No mystery there! Onion skins have been used for dyes in all kinds of things. I hope at least some people will read this and not waste their ingredients in this way! As for the vegetables, you can use them till the end of the recipe if you want. Some people are turned off by overlooked celery etc. so you can adjust that part of the recipe to your own liking. <div><br /></div> item not reviewed by moderator and published
It is the first night of Passover tonight, and this has become my go to chicken soup recipe for the holidays.   It is always a little unsettling for me to put all of those unpeeled vegetables in the pot, especially the onion.  But, it is worth it.  It has so much more flavor than any other chicken soup recipe I have ever tried.  Our seders are small and I don't happen to have a pot big enough to make this recipe as written, so I cut it down by about 1/3.  1 chicken.  2 carrots,  1 parsnip.  I do put the whole head of garlic.  The straining is an extra step, and I am not one to just throw out the remaining vegetables and chicken legs and thighs, so there is always a bit of picking out skin and bones that I have to do.  But, it is also satifying to be able to get the broth simmering really quickly on the front end.  At some point in future I will try her matzo balls, but, for now, I am pairing the broth with the reliable old mix.  Thank you Ina.  <br /> item not reviewed by moderator and published
Excellent and tasty. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I've spent years searching for the perfect chicken soup recipe and this is it! I had my doubts about the dill, but I used small sprigs of dill and it added a nice flavor and aroma to the broth. The finished broth itself is a wonder -- intensely rich and flavorful -- and far superior to any other chicken broth I've ever had. It's no wonder Ina always recommends homemade chicken broth when it tastes this good! It's a wonderful base for any homemade chicken soup. I've made this soup using both raw chickens and store-bought roasted chicken and it's delicious either way. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Excellant item not reviewed by moderator and published
Ina knows the secret to good chicken soup. Hint: parsnips and the eggs in the matzo batter. Love her and this soup.♥ item not reviewed by moderator and published
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! item not reviewed by moderator and published
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!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
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. item not reviewed by moderator and published
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! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Rich, delicious, and without a doubt, the best tasting chicken stock I have ever cooked with. Thank you for the recipe!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
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. item not reviewed by moderator and published
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. item not reviewed by moderator and published
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 &amp; btw it was my first time ever making chicken soup. item not reviewed by moderator and published
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! item not reviewed by moderator and published
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! item not reviewed by moderator and published
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. item not reviewed by moderator and published
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. item not reviewed by moderator and published
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. item not reviewed by moderator and published
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 item not reviewed by moderator and published
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!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I've used a lot of stock recipes and this one was the BEST! I did add the cooked chicken to the soup. item not reviewed by moderator and published
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. item not reviewed by moderator and published
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. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Absolutely the best chicken soup I have ever made. It makes so much, I freeze in smaller containers. So easy and foolproof. item not reviewed by moderator and published
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. item not reviewed by moderator and published
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. item not reviewed by moderator and published
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! item not reviewed by moderator and published
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. item not reviewed by moderator and published
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. item not reviewed by moderator and published
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. item not reviewed by moderator and published
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. item not reviewed by moderator and published
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. item not reviewed by moderator and published
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!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
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 item not reviewed by moderator and published
Have made this several times and absolutly LOVE it. So do my friends and family. It also freezes well for meal's when i do not want to cook. item not reviewed by moderator and published
The soup was flavorful - I may use rosemary instead of dill in the future. I will probably make this recipe again but not often as it was a production for me. This is the first time I made chicken soup and it looked like a really easy recipe when I watched the show. Overall it was easy but at the same time - I didn't realize how difficult it would be to take the chickens out of the pot, and cut out the breasts - in the process of doing it the boiling stock went into my eye. At the same time I wasn't fully prepared for straining the stock. Next time I may wear protective eyewear. item not reviewed by moderator and published
this soup was great....I added some Dreamfield's pasta to make a low-carb version of chicken noodle soup; whole family really loved it! I agree that the carrots don't cook in the time allotted on the recipe....I also cut down the quantity. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I'd love to make this recipe but I don't have a 16 or 20 quart stock pot!! Did anyone try to reduce the recipe? item not reviewed by moderator and published
I've been making chicken soup for over 30 years, this recipe makes quick work of making soup, putting whole vegetables etc. in then straining at the end and adding more veggies for serving. However, I know of no fresh carrots or celery that fully cooks in 5 minutes (hence only 4 stars). You will end up with raw carrots and celery. I strained etc. after a total of 3 hours-then added the fresh veggies including sauteed onions into the soup and cooked another hour. Perfect. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is a wonderful chicken soup, my go-to recipe. It's time consuming, but worth every bit of effort. As far as the matzo balls... Internet 101: Type "Matzo Balls" without the quotation marks into the search space on the site. Hit enter. Guess who's recipe for Matzo Balls heads the list--Ina's. Shame on anyone who marked this recipe down for being unwilling to do a simple search. This is 5-Star chicken soup, all the way. item not reviewed by moderator and published
this was an easy and delicious recipe. i had 2 huge boned chicken breasts that i used instead, i also added matzo balls to the dish, tried Ina's recipe for the balls but didn't have any luck with the whipped egg whites so i just used the recipe off the can of matzo, this will be my new favorite because of how easy it was item not reviewed by moderator and published
When I saw the show Ina said she uses less matzoh, folds in egg whites, adds dill and parsley, but where is the recipe? I loved that she suggested that after one hour of poaching you reserve the breast of the two chickens and return them to the pot. I used to make Chicken Enchiladas with white meat from soup I made, and the chicken was tasteless. Today I will follow her suggestion, and get my husband to the Rick Bayless Red Chile Chicken Enchiladas from his book, Mexican Everyday. Should work out great. item not reviewed by moderator and published
What happened to the Matzo ball recipe?? I don't see it...? item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is by far the best recipe for soup that I have tried. It reminds me of my grandma's soup. The taste is fantastic!! It is terribly easy &amp; makes a bunch of stock! Everyone here &amp; even my neighbors love it. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I was just thinking that I would like a good recipe for Matzo Ball Soup. I just turned on the TV and there was Ina Garten making Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls!!! I quickly printed out the recipe and now I am going to the grocery store to get the ingredients. Can't wait to try it. Sounds delicious. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have been making chicken soup forever and one day a few years ago decided to try Ina's recipe after buying Barefoot Contessa Parties cookbook! I still use leeks in mine with the onions, but for me the addition of the garlic, parsnip and thyme among the other vegetables we both use made a huge difference...Also, I never measured my water, so this recipe makes a very good rich soup! Ina, we could use more Jewish recipes this good from you! You're the best! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Very easy to prep and make! This soup has a fresh and earthy taste...we couldn't get enough. My 7 year old daughter even loved it, pretty good considering she used to only eat "Chicken &amp; Stars". The only thing I changed was to use more chicken meat and salt. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I will say that after making this stock recipe multiple times now, I completely understand the logic behind discarding all of the chicken. I do keep some for my soup. However, I've made dishes like chicken salad with the salvaged chicken and family commented that the chicken had no taste.  item not reviewed by moderator and published

This recipe is featured in:

Potluck Parties