Chicken Mulligatawny Soup

Slip your spoon into this curry-scented chicken mulligatawny soup and prepare for a taste explosion. It's so EASY to make and is the ultimate one-bowl meal.

Mulligatawny Soup
Elise Bauer

Have you ever had mulligatawny? Best soup ever!

It's basically a curry soup, most often made with chicken, vegetables, apples, and rice. Not only is it absolutely delicious, it's the perfect example of how one culture acquires food from another and adapts it to their own taste.

What Is Mulligatawny Soup?

Mulligatawny is the ultimate "fusion" food, invented centuries before anyone would even know what that meant. It hails from the early days of the British Raj in India.

Mulligatawny Soup
Elise Bauer

According to Lizzie Collingham in A Tale of Cooks & Conquerors, the colonialists, wanting a first course for their dinner, requested of their Indian cooks to make them soup. The cooks obliged with what most approximated soup in their repertoire, a light tonic broth made with peppers, tamarind, and water ("molo tunny" in Tamil), dressed up with some vegetables and meat.

Over the centuries the soup evolved to what we know today—a creamy curry chicken soup with apples, rice, and vegetables. It's a simple, wholesome soup, and a classic in Anglo-Indian cuisine.

How To Make Chicken Mulligatawny Soup


Watch This Chicken Mulligatawny Soup Recipes

Substitutions To Try With Mulligatawny Soup

  • For vegetarian mulligatawny soup, use chickpeas instead of chicken and oil instead of butter.
  • For dairy free mulligatawny soup, use coconut milk instead of cream and oil instead of butter.
  • Use potatoes or turnips instead of apples.
  • Use lentils instead of rice.

How To Store and Freeze This Soup

Store the soup in a covered container for up to 5 days. The rice will absorb broth as it's stored, so you may need to add a little more chicken broth or water when you reheat it. If you're making the soup ahead of time, you can cook it without the rice and add it when you're reheating the soup.

Freeze the soup in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. For best results, freeze it without the rice and cream, adding them when you're reheating the soup.

Indian-Inspired Recipe To Try Next

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Chicken Mulligatawny Soup

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 65 mins
Servings 4 to 6 servings

The recipe calls for tart apples. Try these varieties: Granny Smith, Cripps Pink, Winesap, Braeburn, or Courtland.


  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)

  • 2 ribs celery, chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 2 carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 4 teaspoons curry powder

  • 1 1/4 pound (570g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of visible fat

  • 2 cups (475 mlchicken stock

  • 2 cups (475 ml) water

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon sea salt)

  • 1/4 cup uncooked basmati rice

  • 2 tart apples, cored, peeled, and chopped (about 2 cups)

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy whipping cream

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) plain yogurt, for garnish

  • 1 tablespoon minced chives, for garnish


  1. Sauté the aromatics:

    Heat butter and olive oil on medium high heat in a large (4 to 5 quart), thick-bottomed pot. Add the onions, celery, and carrots. Cook for 5 minutes until just starting to soften. Add the bay leaves. Add the curry powder and mix to coat.

    Elise Bauer
    Elise Bauer
  2. Add the chicken, stock, and salt:

    Add the chicken thighs and stir to coat with the curry mixture. Add the stock and water to the pot. Add the salt. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.

    Elise Bauer
    Elise Bauer
  3. Remove the chicken, let cool to touch:

    Remove the chicken pieces from the pot. (They should be just cooked through. If not, return them to the pot for another 5 minutes or so, until they are cooked through.) Place on a cutting board and allow to cool to the touch.

    Elise Bauer
    Elise Bauer
  4. Add the rice and apples:

    Add the rice and the chopped apples to the soup. Return to a simmer on high heat, then lower the heat to maintain a low simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through.

  5. Shred the chicken, return it to the soup, and add cream:

    While the apples and rice are cooking in the soup, shred the chicken, discarding any tough bits. Once the rice and apples in the soup are cooked, add the chicken back to the pot. Heat for 5 minutes more. Then stir in the cream.

    Elise Bauer
    Elise Bauer
  6. Serve:

    Serve with yogurt and chives.


Mulligatawny Soup
Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
368 Calories
19g Fat
24g Carbs
28g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 368
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 24%
Saturated Fat 8g 39%
Cholesterol 140mg 47%
Sodium 679mg 30%
Total Carbohydrate 24g 9%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 28g
Vitamin C 4mg 22%
Calcium 73mg 6%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 634mg 13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.