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Easy Leftover Chicken Soup

Homemade chicken soup (using leftover chicken!) is so much fresher, tastier, and better for you than canned. This leftover chicken soup recipe is naturally gluten free.

Who else is comfort food cooking this week? Me, I might just be doing a little bit of stress cooking… But at least it’s both cathartic and productive, right? So, yesterday I threw together a pot of Leftover Chicken Soup with a little cooked chicken from the freezer, plus the ends of some celery & carrots from my fridge. Soup is always good food — as well as a welcome bit of aromatic comfort in unsettled times.

bowl of leftover chicken soup with carrots, celery, garlic, turmeric, and more!

Although this homemade chicken soup recipe ticks all the right boxes when it comes to comfort food, I’ll freely admit that it’s not particularly photogenic. (Part of that is the turmeric; although it’s good for you and adds a certain something to the flavor, it also tints everything a very shade of yellow.) Trust me, though — Sometimes it’s all in the taste and the comfort, rather than in the appearance.

Chicken soup now, chicken soup later…

Chicken soup also freezes quite nicely, if you want to cook up a batch and freeze individual portions in cups of 8 oz containers or in bowls of 12 oz containers. (I just ordered myself a new batch of these, since they tend to wander off over the years…) It’s always good to have some homemade soup on hand for the future. Plus:

Seriously… you can’t go wrong with chicken soup. We always used to refer to it as Jewish pencillin in our house for a reason!

Easy Leftover Chicken Soup

Ingredients

1 Tbsp olive oil
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1.5 cups leftover cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
1 bay leaf
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne
Black pepper, to taste
Sea salt, to taste

Directions

chop up the leftover chicken for chicken soup

Chop the chicken, carrots, celery, onion, and garlic.

Heat olive oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering, then add the carrots, celery, and onion.

carrots, celery, onion, and garlic cooking up in a soup pot

Saute for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic and continue to cook over medium heat for another two minutes.

Add spices to the chicken soup and bring to a boil

Add the chicken broth, water, chicken, and spices to the pot. Stir, increase heat, and bring pot to a boil.

Skim, if necessary (if using chicken breast, you may not have to). Stir, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove and discard the bay leaf, and serve.

Note: Go light on the salt, because the broth is already salty. You can always taste and add a bit more at the end, if desired.

Basic Chicken Soup is a Basic Good

Leftover chicken soup is a basic good: Comfort food for crazy times. It's so easy to make a pot of homemade chicken soup, and so much better (and better for you) than canned.

Take comfort in a basic bowl of chicken soup, which reminds us to slow down and find some solace in the little things. It’s easy to make this leftover chicken soup recipe with shredded rotisserie chicken or leftover roasted chicken, or you can poach up a chicken breast or cook it in your Instant Pot.

Leftover chicken soup is just so good, with its classic veggies plus a little kick of garlic, turmeric, and cayenne. (We’re having leftover chicken soup leftovers for dinner here again tonight!) Homemade chicken soup is always fresher and better for you than canned, and naturally gluten free.

Leftover Chicken Soup, printable recipe

Easy Leftover Chicken Soup

Homemade chicken soup (using leftover chicken!) is so much fresher, tastier, and better for you than canned. This leftover chicken soup recipe is naturally gluten free.
Course dinner
Cuisine soup
Keyword chicken soup, gluten free, leftover chicken, leftover chicken soup, leftovers, soup
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 people

Equipment

wooden utensils
dutch oven

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 2 tsp minced garlic about 4 cloves
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1.5 cups leftover cooked chicken chopped or shredded
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Sea salt to taste

Instructions

  • Chop the chicken, carrots, celery, onion, and garlic.
  • Heat olive oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering, then add the carrots, celery, and onion.
  • Saute for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic and continue to cook over medium heat for another two minutes.
  • Add the chicken broth, water, chicken, and spices to the pot. Stir, increase heat, and bring pot to a boil.
  • Skim, if necessary (if using chicken breast, you may not have to). Stir, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove and discard the bay leaf, and serve.

Notes

Go light on the salt, because the broth is already salty. You can always taste and add a bit more at the end, if desired.

Recipes in the real world

weekly ALDI meal plans from Mashup Mom -- six complete dinners for four, $60 out the door! MashupMom.com, every Wednesday.

Be sure not to miss the free weekly ALDI meal plans, which show you how to use these easy family recipes to meal plan affordably and realistically for your family. Or, find more recipe ideas with the Recipe Search!

Be sure not to miss the free weekly ALDI meal plans, which show you how to use these easy family recipes to meal plan affordably and realistically for your family. Or, find more recipe ideas with the Recipe Search!

Recipe Rating




Suzie

Sunday 6th of March 2022

Hi, I made this for my husband it was delicious! I made Lebanese rice meat to it! Egg pasta with rice!

Jan Wishau

Sunday 23rd of January 2022

I made what Rachel calls "Jewish Penicillin" soup using one large left over chicken breast. I was hesitant that it would be enough chicken but it worked just fine. I made it exactly as written. My husband and I loved this flavor filled soup. The tumeric and cayenne set it apart from the many bland ho-hum chicken soups. The spice was just right for us.

Pauleen Miller

Monday 8th of November 2021

Hi, My husband loves to rotisserie chicken, and there's always leftovers. This is our go to recipe for the leftovers. The magic is with the tumeric. It ads a wonderful flavor. We also add a little bit of noodles. So delish!!

Liz p Berman

Tuesday 2nd of November 2021

Thanks for a great recipe--the spices are spot on. I did add a can on diced tomatoes as was short on carrots 9 cut back on the water), and a half cup of heavy cream because it needed to use it up. Total yumminess!!!

Vida

Friday 1st of October 2021

I had a leftover cooked chicken breast from Aldi's and decided to give this recipe a try. My house smelled divine. The flavor of this soup was incredible. I wanted to add a few alphabet pasta, but left it out. Wonderful comfort food at the beginning of October. Thank you for posting.

rachel

Wednesday 6th of October 2021

I'm feeling soup season right now, too, as the leaves are starting to fall here. So glad you enjoyed this one!

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