Granny's Best Chicken Soup


4 quarts cold water
1 4- to 5-pound chicken, quartered
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 to 5 stems parsley
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Measure water into a large soup pot and add all the ingredients. Slowly bring to a boil over medium heat, then immediately reduce the heat and simmer for 3 hours, using a spoon to frequently skim the soup as well as possible. Remove from heat and cool. Skim fat from the surface and strain the soup. Wash out the soup pot and return the strained stock to the pot.

Remove and discard bay leaf and parsley. Mash the carrots, celery, and garlic and stir them into the soup. Remove the skin and bones from the chicken, chop the meat and add to the soup. (If the chicken meat has completely fallen apart, that's ok, too; just use as is, with bones removed.) Heat and season to taste with additional salt and pepper.

Cooking & Recipes


Any cool or rainy day is a great time to make this invigorating, traditional soup. You can cheat and use canned chicken stock—but it won't be quite the same.


8 to 10 servings


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4 out of 5 Reader Rating. 88%

4 out of 5 Reader Rating. 88% of readers would make this recipe again. Submit your own review.

This recipes is almost the way I make my soup. I also add a handful of rice and some egg noodles just to add a little extra volume. This is the kind of soup you can live off of, not just in the winter months, but anytime of the year; nothing feels better than warm chicken soup for your insides. – Reviewed by jose Moore

This is good, but I learned to make Chicken Soup from my German motherin-law. She puts Parsley Root in the pot, adds the potatoes and carrots later. We then use just the stock, add very fine egg noodles cooked in it, and that is the soup. Then we eat the meat and veggies with a horseradish/sour cream sauce as the meal. – Reviewed by Jean Stuhlmueller

To add a Spanish flair, add small potato pieces and/or add corn or peas. Add pepper sauce for heat. Cut tortillas into tiny strips and just before serving cut avocado into eighths. Have made this for years. GREAT recipe. Thanks. – Reviewed by Dee Bertelsen

Very good. My grand children loved it, which should speak for itself. – Reviewed by Bobbi Hernandez

Just like my Mom made it. Well almost but very close. – Reviewed by Joseph Ploszaj

I have passed this recipe on to a lot of my friends! I love it. Thank you Almanac! – Reviewed by Helen Wenzel

This recipe leaves out ONE very important ingredient: PARSNIPS. The soup needs about 2 (1-inch in diameter) parsnips. They will add a special flavor that will give the soup that perfect touch that will allow you to nurse yourself back to health. – Reviewed by Mike Orenstein

Have made this soup many times, but never thought about adding parsnips, which I will do next time, since parsnips are one of my favorite veggies. – Reviewed by Rose Llewellyn

I have made this whenever we start getting sick. It is truly the best!!! I would recommend it to anyone who has a cold or is getting sick. Try it, you will like it and feel better!!! – Reviewed by Rae Hedlind

Love it!! – Reviewed by sam mallia

About the only thing I'd add would be a half bunch of chopped dill. It is wonderful for chicken soup. – Anonymous Review

I add 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom to my chicken soup ... it adds a light lemony flavor that is a nice change of pace. – Reviewed by l.t. dougherty

I added cubes of pumpkin. So scrumptious. – Reviewed by Barbara Negron

I use the remains of my roast

I use the remains of my roast chicken, leaving some meat on the bones, I put the chicken in the crockpot top up with water till just covering the carcas, I put it on low in the crockpot for about 24 hours before straining it, I add potatoe's and other root veggies, cook till they're done - and eat!

I added one small can of

I added one small can of RoTel Tomatoes. Gives it
a small little kick. Yum! Yum!

The remains of the rotisserie

The remains of the rotisserie chicken avail almost every where are GREAT for making soup---if they are marked down get as many as your largest pot and or freezer can hold!
Place the chicken AND any drippings in the package in LARGE pot. Add onions--whole is fine---parsley; celery; carrots; pepper. Don't add salt yet! Cover with COLD water and bring to boil; simmer for as long as you can stand it. Now for that REAL home made taste I add PEPPERIDGE FARMS STUFFING---a 1/2 bag of HERB SEASONED for a LARGE Commercial size stock pot. (If you have home roasted chicken and made gravy---add the leftover gravy at the end!) After straining all the bits out with a Chinese wire strainer (too big to dump into colander!) I add every bodys Bubbe's Secret---a few boullion cubes! And a FEW dashes of tamari. Then you can adjust for salt.

You can cook noodles--thin or wide; or potatoes; or matzoh balls; or almost any other veggies (raw frozen or leftover) rice---dry or leftover--almost endless. Can be used as a stock; as base for Chicken n Dumplings---endless possibilities.
Make and freeze--if you can use Zip Bags and freeze FLAT on their sides---then you can stack or place upright like file folders to save space. Can then be placed easily in a pot of cold or hot water to thaw quickly. Don't try to heat in the Zip bags tho!

This is the same recipe I use

This is the same recipe I use which was handed down from my mother. You don't have to use any canned chicken stock. The ingredients themselves create a stock. The only difference is I don't discard the parsley and I don't mash the celery and carrots. The trick is to use plenty of salt during the cooking time.