Mom’s Cold-Season Chicken Soup

Soup and StewChicken Soup

This light chicken broth soup is perfect for cold season! It's easy to digest and made with homemade chicken stock.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Mom and dad are both sick this week with a “rotten cold” that is keeping them feeling pretty miserable – coughing, sneezing, grumpy, etc.

Mom made a delicious chicken soup today with just chicken broth and vegetables, no chicken meat. It was so good, I just had to get the instructions down before I forgot.

The most important thing of course is the chicken stock. If it all possible use chicken stock you’ve made from bones or backs (see chicken stock recipe.)

If you are looking for a more robust chicken soup, check out our Chicken Noodle Soup made with stock from a whole chicken.

Mom’s Cold-Season Chicken Soup Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 3 to 4


  • 4 cups of homemade chicken stock
  • Fat from the homemade chicken stock
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced in 1/4-inch slices (about the same amount as onion)
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced in 1/4-inch slices (about the same amount as the onion)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 Tbsp of chopped greens from a green onion (green part of the green onion) or chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning (ground sage and thyme)
  • 1/8 teaspoon (a pinch) of crushed red pepper flakes (or a small pinch of cayenne)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1 Sauté onion, carrots, and celery: In a 4 qt saucepan, heat a tablespoon of chicken fat (that has risen to the surface and solidified from your homemade stock) on medium high heat. If you don't have enough chicken fat, you can add some olive oil. Sauté the vegetables in the fat until the carrots are almost done.

2 Add seasonings: While you are sautéing the vegetables, add the seasoning - the poultry seasoning, the crushed red pepper flakes, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Seasoning like this during the cooking of the vegetables brings out their flavor. According to my mother, crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne is very helpful for a cold, which is why it is part of this recipe.

3 Add stock and simmer: Add the 4 cups of chicken stock. Bring to a low simmer. Cook until the carrots are just cooked through (about 5 to 10 minutes).

4 Add the fresh parsley and green onion greens. Check seasonings (you will likely need to add more salt) and adjust to taste.

Serve with (at least) day old crusty French bread.

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Note: I asked mom about why no chicken meat and she said that it muddies the flavor of this particular light soup. I think I would have to agree. This soup is absolutely delicious just the way it is. Just make sure you are starting with excellent stock.

Cold Season Chicken Soup on Simply Recipes

Showing 4 of 8 Comments / Reviews

  • Carolyn Henderson

    Winter time here and we have been sick with pneumonia and bronchitis yes great household NOT!!
    For the last 4 weeks, the weekends I’d make up a huge pot of chicken or turkey soup from scratch basically the same as suggested. The last one was made from a whole brought roast chicken, just stripped the meat off the bones throwing the skin bone etc in to the stock pot ; chopping the meat up to add later when making the soup.
    Another suggestion I did was add slices of fresh ginger when making the stock also adding some with the veggies. I like the taste but it really helps with
    healing the body as it warms the inside organs. This was something I learnt from my Doctor.
    I have just finished moving the roasted marrow bones to the stove top to cook for 5 hours this will be my first ever beef broth I have made sure not like the stuff..mum made us eat.

  • Pink Sun Drops

    Yum! This sounds good. Especially when you’re sick. I had a headache from sinus pressure the other day and I finally figured out why people like chicken soup when they’re sick. The hot liquid relieves the sinus pressure. I just kept eating and eating and couldn’t stop ‘cuz it made my head feel sooo much better. That was Trader Joe’s canned chicken noodle which I love. This one seems like a wonderful different version, I’ll have to try it.

  • Joan

    This soup was soooooo good! This is replacing our old chicken soup recipe. My little boy, who’s having running nose, and I finished it all. I wanted to leave some for my husband, but just couldn’t stop. Thank you!

  • Michelle

    I just finished making stock and was wondering about the fat, once I realized it can be useful to save and use as above. Since I will be freezing any leftover stock, is there a decent way to preserve the fat? Or should I just not skim it off and freeze the whole lot together? Would the fat rise to the surface as it freezes if I let it freeze in the fridge freezer compartment instead of a deep freeze? Thanks, I’ve enjoyed your recipes so much that I don’t even look anywhere else for a recipe until I check here first. Thanks for inspiring me to cook from scratch for my family.

    From everything I’ve researched it seems that it’s best to not freeze the stock with the fat on top. Something to do with affecting the taste of the stock. I would take off the fat before freezing. The fat itself will last a good long time in the refrigerator. We use it like we use bacon fat, as a cooking fat to add flavor to whatever it is we are cooking. Don’t know about freezing it. ~Elise

  • josh

    Great soup recipe, Elise! Thanks for posting it!

    I didn’t have homemade chicken stock, so I just used a carton of low-salt free range chicken broth from Trader Joes. Rather than chicken fat, I used vegetable oil. I’m not a big fan of green onions, so I skipped them. And for the Poultry Seasoning (of which I had none), I used fresh herbs from my small balcony garden – sage, rosemary, and tyme. I followed all the other directions.

    Then, once the soup had about 20 minutes left to let all the spices mix together, I added some matzo balls! (which I had prepared with matzo meal, eggs, vegetable oil, fresh chopped parsley and a little powdered ginger)

    So in other words, I had a carton of chicken broth, and wanted to know how to make a good base for my matzo balls soup. I found your recipe and it worked great! I really liked the red pepper flakes.

    Thanks again!


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Mom’s Cold-Season Chicken Soup