Chicken Soup

This simple chicken soup recipe is fast enough to make on a weeknight and easy to customize. Read on for Food Network Kitchen’s secrets to making super flavor, fast homemade chicken soup.

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Simple Chicken Soup
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Level: Easy
Total: 55 min
Prep: 5 min
Cook: 50 min
Yield: 8 cups (4 servings)

Article by Emily Saladino

Old-fashioned chicken soup recipes can take hours—or even days—to make, but this richly flavored homemade soup is ready in less than an hour. Here, Food Network Kitchen shares the secrets to getting long-simmered flavor fast, how to customize your soup and more.

How to Make Chicken Soup Like a Pro

Our recipe developers’ clever shortcuts and expert tips save time without sacrificing the soul-satisfying taste of homemade chicken soup.

Upgrade store-bought broth. Start with store-bought chicken broth and water, then enrich them with leftover chicken bones, carcass and meat plus fresh veggies.

Store leftover chicken bones in the freezer. Any time you cook a chicken, freeze the bones in a zippered bag for up to 3 months for future soups and stocks. No bones in your freezer? Make this soup with rotisserie chicken. Buy and carve a rotisserie bird and use the carcass for this chicken vegetable soup. Save the rest of the meat for sandwiches or make our best chicken salad recipe.

Don't fully cook the veggies for chicken soup right away. The vegetables continue to soften while the rice cooks, so simmer until just fork-tender before adding rice.

Stir the rice and cook until al dente. Stirring helps rice cook evenly and prevents the grains from sticking to the pot. Simmer until the grains are still slightly firm; the rice will finish cooking while you heat the chicken.

Use a fork to shred the chicken. Cool the chicken bones and carcass, then hold the bone steady on a cutting board with your nondominant hand. Use a fork in your dominant hand to pull meat off the bone and shred chicken into bite-sized pieces.

Chicken Soup Ingredients and Variations

Make small tweaks to ingredients to give this simple recipe for chicken soup a whole new flavor profile.

Try different pasta and grains. To turn this into chicken and gnocchi soup, chicken orzo soup or chicken tortellini soup, simmer the vegetables for 3 to 5 minutes, then stir in the orzo, tortellini or gnocchi and cook until tender.

Stir in pesto. Give chicken soup an Italian accent by stirring in 2 to 3 tablespoons of storebought or homemade pesto with the shredded chicken.

Add veggies. Complement the onions, carrots and celery with favorites like zucchini half-moons or frozen peas. Frozen veggies don’t need as long to cook, so add them with the rice.

Vary herbs and aromatics. Add chopped dill, tarragon or thyme with or instead of parsley; or give your broth an aromatic boost by adding a tablespoon of grated ginger, a teaspoon of ground turmeric and minced garlic when you add the vegetables.

How to Store Chicken Soup

Let this recipe for chicken soup cool to room temperature, then store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or in a covered pot over medium-low heat.

Can You Freeze This Chicken Soup Recipe?

You can freeze this chicken soup recipe in a airtight container for up to 6 months. Leave 1 to 2 inches of space beneath the lid because the soup will expand slightly when frozen.

Thaw chicken soup overnight in the fridge, then reheat in the microwave or in a covered pot over medium-low heat on the stovetop. Reheated rice is softer than when it’s first cooked and will thicken the broth, but your homemade chicken soup will be just as delicious as the day you made it.

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

Simple Chicken Soup

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 55 min
  • Prep: 5 min
  • Cook: 50 min
  • Yield: 8 cups (4 servings)

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Put the bones and carcass from a leftover chicken (they can be in pieces) in a large pot. Cover with the broth and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Skim any foam or fat from the broth with a ladle as necessary.
  2. Remove the bones and carcass with tongs or a slotted spoon; set aside to cool. Add the carrots, celery, onion and bay leaf to the broth, bring back to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are about half cooked (they will still have resistance when tested with a knife but be somewhat pliable when bent), about 10 minutes. Stir in the rice (to keep it from sticking to the bottom), and cook until the grains are just al dente, 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, when the carcass and bones are cool enough to handle, pick off the meat, and shred it into bite-size pieces.
  4. When the rice is done, add the meat to the broth and simmer until warmed through, about 1 minute. Stir in the parsley, and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste. Serve hot.