Lemon Chicken Chickpea Soup

Moroccan inspired lemon chicken soup with chickpeas, rice, turmeric, and cumin. Delicious!

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6


  • 1 1/4 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 celery rib, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 1/2 Tbsp)
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (or powdered ginger)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2-3 strips of lemon zest from one lemon
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup basmati rice
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
  • Cilantro or parsley for garnish


1 Coat the chicken pieces with the spices: Whisk the salt, turmeric, cumin, and black pepper together in a medium bowl. Add the chicken pieces and toss with the spices to coat.

2 Brown the chicken in olive oil: Heat olive oil in a large, thick-bottomed soup pot on medium high. Add the chicken pieces and brown lightly on all sides, 5-7 minutes total. Remove chicken to a bowl and set aside.


3 Sauté onions, celery, garlic, ginger: Add the chopped onion and celery to the pot. Sauté until lightly browned, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook a minute more.


4 Add chicken, stock, bay leaves, lemon zest strips, then simmer: Add the chicken pieces back to the pot. Add the stock, bay leaves, lemon zest strips. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes.


5 Add rice, chickpeas, lemon juice, simmer: Add the rice, chickpeas, and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, until the rice is cooked through.


6 Add salt pepper to taste: Remove bay leaves and lemon peel strips. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with cilantro or parsley to serve.

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  • Drek

    This was JAWSOME!


  • Joanne

    Fairly easy to make and very tasty! I also used chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs.


  • Morgan

    Wonderful soup for a Sunday night. I really wouldn’t change a thing- I used chicken breasts instead of thighs bc that’s what I had on hand. This recipe was a delight & I’ll def make it again. Thanks for another winner!


  • Harmony

    Any tips for how to modify to make in an Instant Pot pressure cooker? I love the soup but would prefer it to be done a lot quicker. Thanks!

  • Alicia

    Great soup on an unusually chilly summer day. Love that it utilizes tumeric and ginger as I’m looking for tasty recipes that use both without being obvious about it being “Indian” as I’m not a fan of Indian cuisine. Even hubby said this is a keeper. Quite a compliment for Mr. Meat and Potatoes. Don’t have much leftover to freeze.

  • Laura Walker

    Any suggestion for making this meatless? Would you just add the spices to the broth?
    Thanks for any suggestions.

  • Yvonne

    This was easy and really good. It actually got better the next day. I would say you could substitute white beans for garbanzo beans.


    Normally, I would not do this. I follow your recipes to a t. I decided to add a little cauliflower too and it was super tasty.

  • Kate

    This soup is delicious in the summer too!! Another keper–thanks, Elise.

  • Rogue

    Absolutely awesome. My wife and kids loved it. Thank you!

  • r.a.

    Thank you for a great recipe! While I love soup I don’t make many chicken soup recipes. But this one included many of my favorite things, turmeric, cumin and garbanzo beans, this recipe is a keeper.

  • Peggy

    I just made this soup for my husband and myself. It was fabulous. We don’t use a lot of cumin or turmeric, so I was unfamiliar and a bit wary of the flavors. The spices all meld together perfectly. The broth has a wonderful lemon flavor to it, but it’s not overwhelming. It was very easy to make and I love that it’s a one pot wonder.

  • Hugh

    I made this to have while we waited for it to stop snowing outside (East Coast Blizzard of 2016) and I have to say it was a huge hit. Wonderful flavors and textures, and satisfyingly filling. I ended up making it with jasmine rice because I was out of basmati, and with white meat chicken because my friend is not a fan of dark meat, so it’s good to know the recipe is flexible that way.

  • Emily

    I wasn’t sure about trying this one, but was very intrigued. The spices and flavor combinations are a bit outside of our usual here. But I made this tonight to have for dinner tomorrow. I tested it and was so surprised at how perfectly all those flavors came together. Nothing was too prominent or overwhelming, just a perfect blend. Wish I could have eaten it all tonight! Looking forward to dinner tomorrow!


  • Lynn Lamorte

    This soup is perfection! Made it a little while ago during a crazy winter storm here in NY. The flavor is so divine. I can easily see this being one of my favorite soups, ever! It needed no adjustments in the seasonings. The only thing I did was micro plane the zest right into the soup & I left it in. Delicious!!!

  • charlotte

    This was a delicious soup for a rainy week. Added a carrot. Made my own broth from thigh bones and an onion. I used the “bones” of the recipe, including the perfect garlic/ginger/spices/lemon. Yum.

  • Allison

    I didn’t ask the question to follow that information — which option would you advise?

    • Elise

      Hi Allison, I would advise using bone-in thighs over legs, fewer bones and tendons. I would brown the whole skinless thighs in the spices, then add the whole thighs bone-in back in with the stock in step 4, and cook them a bit longer than the recipe indicates because you’re dealing with whole thighs. When the chicken is falling off the bone you can shred it with a fork or remove it and chop it, and easily remove the bones.

  • Allison

    I usually use bone-in thighs or drumsticks. I’m thinking I could adapt the recipe by either cutting up the pieces and coating/frying as you suggested, or frying the spices with the onion etc and adding the chicken to cook with the stock.

  • Torrey

    Really nice, wonderful soup for a cold winter night. I used more fresh ginger – there’s something about ginger and lemon that really goes together. The pepper gives it just enough spice. Definitely will make this one again!

  • Kate Smith

    Oh my goodness. I made this soup for dinner last night because I came across the recipe by accident but I had planned to make chicken noodle soup because I was fighting a cold. Made this instead and it is SO delicious. The flavor was just perfect. And I really think it helped me feel better. This is my new go to soup when I feel a cold coming on, and probably even when I don’t.


  • wendy

    Thanks again, Elise. i made this gem tonight. Your recipes never disappoint.