You’re here to find out how to make the best old fashioned chicken soup from scratch, right? Well, you’ve found it!
This chicken soup is so good that I would have some any time of the year. In fact, this soup is so delicious I could care less what season I make it in. I would slurp this stuff up in a piping hot dessert – it's that good!
In this post, you'll find out exactly how to make old fashioned chicken soup made completely from scratch using a whole chicken and fresh veggies, just like my grandmother did.
Many of you found my site originally through this recipe as it was one of my very first posts to go viral. It's been a reader favourite since 2015, with over 140K shares across social media! Wow! Thank you so much to everyone who's tried the recipe and to those who haven't tried it yet, I'm so excited for you to dig in! ❤️❤️❤️
I hope you enjoy this recipe! ❤️ If you give it a try, please let me know how it turned out for you in the comments section at the bottom of the page or share a pic of your om noms on Instagram and tag @dishesanddustbunnies! ❤️
*This post has been updated from an earlier version to include new photos and a few tweaks to the original recipe to make it even more scrumptious!*
I'm super excited to share this recipe and method with you because I know you'll love it!
My grandmother taught me this method for making soup from scratch using a whole chicken. She's such a wonderful lady who took great care of all her children (and grandchildren) – she always knew best in all areas of life, not just in delicious soup making! 🙂 This is the only way I make chicken soup now because it really is the best!
I'm also proud to say that since originally posting this recipe, I've received many many comments and emails from readers telling me how happy they are with the results of this recipe! Many have told me that after they tried this method, this is their go to recipe for the perfect chicken soup! I'm absolutely confident you'll love this chicken soup just as much!
I know my Grammie would be pleased to know that so many people are enjoying this. 😀
Before we jump right into recipe and make this GLORIOUS old fashioned soup, there's a few tips that you need to know so that the method and recipe turns out absolutely perfect every single time.
Before we get to the recipe at the bottom of the post, please take a look at these tips!
How to make the best chicken soup from scratch – Overview
Old fashioned chicken soup is quite easy to make!
You can find detailed instructions in the recipe at the bottom of the page, but first, here is a little breakdown of how it's made:
First a homeamde stock is made my boiling the chicken in a large stockpot along with some salt. After boiling for a while, the whole chicken is removed and allowed to cool for a little bit before removing the meat and leg bones.
Next, the meat, leg bones, veggies, garlic and herbs are added to the pot with the homemade stock and cooked for a few hours. Season with more salt as necessary, remove the bones and bay leaves and serve.
Be sure to also check out my tips and notes below before diving into the recipe! ❤️
Tips for a Perfect Old Fashioned Chicken Soup from Scratch
1. Making a homemade soup from scratch does take some time but the end result is totally worth it. It's not difficult at all to make and can be done on a Sunday afternoon while you go about some of your other household business. Don't sit and watch the pot – let it do it's thing – come back and check on it when you need to go about each step.
2. For this recipe, you'll need to boil a whole chicken in a large stock pot covered in water for a few hours. Once the chicken is almost falling apart you remove it from the water and onto a cookie sheet or large plate. Then you can remove the meat from the chicken and place it back into the pot with the chicken stock.
3. As you cook the chicken soup, you may need to keep adding water to the pot as it evaporates with the steam.
4. The most important thing to remember when making a homemade chicken soup from scratch is to put those chicken leg bones back into your stock pot as you cook the soup with the rest of the veggies and meat. Before serving remove the bones.
The leg bones in the stockpot are absolutely essential in making your soup taste like a proper and amazing soup, so please don't forget them!
5. Don't be afraid to make adjustments to the recipe and make it your own! I find it fun to try adding different types of veggies into the stock pot as the soup simmers for the afternoon.
This time I just wanted to make a good ol' traditional chicken soup with carrots, onions, celery, garlic, thyme and a bit of salt and pepper. This is the combination that my grandmother always used so I find this the most comforting when I'm under the weather.
6. One of the great things about making a traditional homemade soup using a whole chicken is that you get a lot more nutrients than if you would have something premade from a can. I've also tried making chicken soup without a whole chicken, but it's just not the same.
Frequently asked Questions about making Chicken Soup from scratch
What spices and seasonings are good in chicken soup?
Typically I like to use thyme, bay leaves, parsley, salt, pepper, garlic and onions to season my chicken soup. The celery and carrots also add a lot of flavour to the broth.
If you'd like to try different spices from the ones I use in the recipe on this page, definitely give it a try! I'd recommend sticking with the essential ingredients (celery, carrots, onion, garlic, salt, pepper) and switching up the thyme, bay leaves and parsley for other spices. Here are a few ideas:
- paprika, smoked or regular
- onion powder
Do you leave skin on chicken when making soup?
Yes, when making the soup you can leave the skin on! When the whole chicken is removed from the broth in step 4 of the recipe, you can remove the skin.
What is the best cut of chicken for soup?
From my experience the best cut of chicken to use in homemade soup, is the entire chicken!
Do you cook the chicken before putting it in soup?
Can I put raw chicken in boiling water?
When making old-fashioned chicken soup, you start by boiling a whole chicken to create a rich broth from scratch. You don't need to cook the chicken before putting it in the soup because you're using it from the very beginning to make the stock.
If you're using a premade broth or stock, you can definitely put the chicken right in. The best way to do this is to put the chicken in a large stockpot, then add the premade stock over top; bring the stock and the chicken to a boil together. Please don't drop the chicken into a pot of already boiling water.
How do you make chicken soup more flavourful?
My stock/broth tastes bland; how do I fix that?
Sometimes when making soup, you'll notice that it needs just a little something extra to boost its yumminess.
If your (from scratch) chicken stock or broth tastes less rich or flavourful than expected, that's ok and doesn't mean you did anything incorrect in the recipe… it just means that the fat content varies from chicken to chicken. To boost the flavour of your soup, you can try:
- Add some more salt – add a little, give it a stir, then give it a taste. Repeat as necessary, according to taste.
- Add more pepper (and/or other seasonings)
- Add premade broth/stock or some chicken bullion
- Let it reduce down longer – you may just need to give it more time to cook so the flavours can become more concentrated and excess liquid boils away.
How do you thicken up soup?
Personally for chicken soup, I prefer a clear broth but if you'd like it thicker, you're welcome to adjust it to your liking. There are a few waays to thicken soup:
- add a potato and mash it
- remove some of the soup solids, puree them in a blander and add them back to the soup
- add cream (full fat) while the soup is simmering
- mix some cornstarch with some liquid from the soup, make sure there are no lumps and whisk it in
I want noodles in my chicken soup.
What do I need to know?
You can add the noodles to the pot in the last 10 minutes or so of cooking however, I usually like to cook my noodles separately and then add them to the serving bowls individually. There are a couple reason's I do it this way:
- It helps make sure the texture of the soup is at it's yummiest if you need to store the leftovers in the fridge. (to avoid soggy noodles)
- This recipe makes a lot of soup so I like to freeze some of the leftovers – freezing noodles can alter their texture.
As for the types of noodles you can use in chicken soup – any kind will work great! Personally, I prefer flat wide egg noodles, or spaghetti that's been broken into pieces.
What can I serve with chicken soup?
Here are some ideas:
- breads (especially crusty ones), rolls, crackers
- Ham and Swiss Croissant Sandwiches
- Basil Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwiches with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- Crispy Chicken Cutlets Recipe – make a chicken burger with this!
- Baked Chicken Parmesan Sliders
- Lobster Roll Recipe – An Atlantic Canadian Favorite!
- Other yummy things:
- 6 lb whole chicken (I used 2 small chickens about 3lbs each)
- 2 cups onions, chopped
- 4 cups celery, chopped (This is about 1 bunch of celery)
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 cups of carrots, chopped into coins
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes
- Water, as needed
- Additional salt and pepper, to taste
Important You will need a large stock pot for this.
- Put your chicken into the stock pot and cover with water.
- Add a little salt and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a good rolling boil for a few minutes, lower the heat to between LOW and MEDIUM. Put the lid on and let it cook for about 2 hours on the stove.
- Open the pot and check to see how the chicken is doing. When the meat is more tender and JUST STARTS to come off the chicken it's time for the next step.
- Using tongs or another kitchen tool (I like to use a large roast beef fork) remove the chicken from the pot and set on a cookie sheet or large plate. The only thing that should be left in the pot is the liquid.
- While the chicken cools for a couple minutes so you can work with it easier, skim off some of the fat that's accumulated on the surface of the pot. You don't have to remove it all since it does give the soup a great flavor but if there's a lot you should try to remove some. The amount of fat you have on the top depends on the chicken itself – some are fattier than others.
- Using a fork and knife, remove as much meat as possible from the chicken and drop it into the pot. Do not cut the meat into chunks – let the meat naturally come apart as it continues the cooking process.
- Make sure that you add the leg bones to the pot along with the meat. The bones are extremely important in making the soup taste perfect.
- Once all the meat is removed from the chicken you can discard the unused parts.
- Now add the vegetables, garlic and herbs to the pot.
- Add some water to the pot until the veggies, etc are covered.
- Bring to a rolling boil once more for a couple minutes.
- Lower the heat to about between LOW and MEDIUM, cover and let it cook for 2 more hours.
- Stir the soup a couple times while it cooks.
- At the end of cooking give the soup a taste and add a little more salt and pepper to taste.
- Let it cook for a couple more minutes and remove the leg bones and bay leaves.
- Once done – Enjoy!