Classic Chicken Soup

September 22, 2015

A family favorite, classic chicken soup is soothing and delicious. Perfect to start any Jewish holiday meal or to cure a cold. 

classic chicken soup is a perfect make ahead, freezer-friendly recipe

A Jewish Tradition

With the start of fall comes the Jewish holidays Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year), Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), and Sukkot (one of the three pilgrimage festivals). In my family, as in many Jewish families I know, it is tradition to serve this classic chicken soup at the start of all of these holiday meals.

Luckily, chicken soup is one of those recipes that keeps getting better every time it’s reheated. So instead of making pot after pot of soup, I make one huge pot and divide it into containers, some for the fridge and the rest for the freezer.

Family Chicken Soup Recipe

Until I had my own kids, my mother would give me containers of her classic chicken soup, saving me the trouble of cooking my own. But those days are gone – especially since one of my daughters loves soup and I don’t think my mother’s supply would be able to keep up with the demand! So now I make the traditional Jewish chicken soup on my own. It’s an easy recipe, but definitely requires some time and patience to make sure your resulting soup is as clear as possible and free of any bones.

Unfortunately my photos don’t really do the soup justice – it tastes so much better than it looks. Side note: It’s always interesting to learn what foods are difficult to photograph and chicken soup is definitely one of them. If anyone has tips, I’m all ears!

In the meantime, I hope you find the time to make a batch of my classic chicken soup, aka Jewish Penicillin. It’s perfect for any day, but especially when cold season hits!

A family favorite, traditional chicken soup is soothing and delicious.

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A family favorite, traditional chicken soup is soothing and delicious. Perfect to start any Jewish holiday meal or to cure a cold. Recipe at JessicaLevinson.com | #GlutenFree #DairyFree #EggFree #kosher #jewishfood #chickensoup #soup

Classic Chicken Soup

Yield: 15
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes

A family favorite, my traditional chicken soup is soothing and delicious. Perfect to start any Jewish holiday meal or to cure a cold.

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, Kosher


  • 2 large handfuls parsley, washed and trimmed + more for serving
  • 2 large handfuls dill, washed and trimmed + more for serving
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 large onions, cut in half
  • 6 stalks celery, halved widthwise
  • 2 leeks, dark green parts removed, and halved widthwise
  • 1 package chicken bones
  • 2 split chicken breasts with wings attached (skin on)
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and halved widthwise
  • 3 large parsnips, peeled and halved widthwise
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt (or more to taste)
  • Freshly ground pepper (to taste)


  1. Wrap parsley, dill, and smashed garlic in cheesecloth to make a bouquet garni. In a large pot, combine bouquet garni, onions, most of the celery, leeks, chicken bones and chicken breasts. Add as much water as you want (I fill my pot about 3/4 full). Bring to a boil over high heat; cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 45 minutes. Skim any foam that rises to the top and discard.
  2. Remove chicken from pot, and set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove and discard bouquet garni. Using a large standing strainer set over another pot or very large bowl, strain the soup so you have the clear stock alone. Salvage some of the onions and leeks from the strainer and add back to the stock along with the uncooked celery, carrots, and parsnip.
  3. Remove chicken meat from bones; discard skin and bones. Shred meat and return to the pot. Add salt and as much pepper as you like. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook about an hour, until the vegetables are tender. Serve garnished with parsley and dill if desired.


I usually make the soup at least one day in advance. After soup has cooled down, refrigerate and/or freeze. When ready to eat (or upon defrosting), skim solid fat from soup and discard.

Chicken soup can be made in the Instant Pot (IP) as well. Use soup setting for step 1, allow to naturally release for 10-15 minutes before doing quick release. For step 3, set IP to manual for 30 minutes. 

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 15 Serving Size: 1/15th
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 113Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 337mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 11g

Nutrition information was calculated by Nutritionix. It may not be 100% accurate.

What’s your favorite freezer meal?

Share with me in the comments below!

A family favorite, classic chicken soup is soothing and delicious. Perfect to cure a cold or start a Jewish holiday meal.

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  1. I have been craving soup these past few days – must be that touch of fall air in the city! Nothing beats chicken soup and this one still looks delicious, despite what you think of the photos 🙂 These Jewish holidays always sound like fun!

    1. Totally know what you mean! LMK if you try it and hope you enjoy! The holidays are fun, except for today’s 25 hour fast!

  2. On mobile the thumb nail for this recipe makes it look like clown fish soup. That’s why I clicked on it. I thought surely I must be seeing it wrong. Glad I was. This looks much tastier now that I know what it actually is.

    1. I’ve never heard of Clown Fish Soup, but I’m glad you like the recipe now that you saw it in full! Sorry the mobile pick didn’t do it justice – working on getting my site more mobile friendly. Appreciate you clicking through and stopping by!

  3. Just wondering if making a bouquet garni with the rest of the vegetables bit separate from the original one would still give the soup the same flavor. Since it seems it would make it much easier to keep the soup clear but be able to reuse all the veggies instead of losing some. Wouldn’t that be even more healthy. And I’m not sure what nutrioulicious means by asking for a website when we make a comment. Are they asking which website we saw the recipe on so the recipe author will know where we saw it?

    1. Hi Shauna,
      I’m sure the flavor would be the same if you made a bouquet garni with the onions, celery, leeks, etc, but that would require a pretty large bouquet garni and I’m not sure it would be worth the extra effort. The vegetables will still get as cooked down as if they were not in the bouquet. You can certainly use the vegetables after the way I do it, although since they have been cooking for so long I’m not sure what else you would use them for. If you have any ideas I’d love to know! The broth comes out quite clear the way I have made it.

      As for the website question when you comment, if you mean the space to fill in a website under your name and email, that is optional for you to include your own website if you have one. That said, I would love to know where you saw the recipe, just for my own information. Thanks for stopping by and if you give the recipe a try I’d love to know how it comes out!

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