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Basic Chicken Soup

Everyone has a personal spin on the recipe, but rarely have so few ingredients added up to so much comfort. This version has classic flavors and, thanks to a simplified method, cooks more quickly than traditional chicken soups (the dish is ready in a little over an hour). There's no need to make a separate stock; the vegetables and meat form their own satisfying broth.

  • Servings: 6
Basic Chicken Soup

Source: Martha Stewart Living, January


  • 1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds), cut into pieces (including back)
  • 8 cups water
  • Coarse salt
  • 3 medium onions, thinly sliced (4 cups)
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 6 medium carrots, sliced 1/2 inch thick


  1. Bring chicken, water, and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil in a large stockpot. Skim foam. Add onions, celery, and garlic. Reduce heat. Simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes.

  2. Remove breast, and set aside. Add carrots. Simmer, partially covered, for 40 minutes.

  3. Remove remaining chicken; discard back and wings. Let cool slightly. Remove meat from bones, and cut into bite-size pieces.

  4. Stir in desired amount of chicken; reserve the rest for another use. Skim fat. Season with salt.

Reviews (17)

  • Beran Parry 23 Jan, 2015

    It’s so cold today and a bowl of this soup would be fantastic right about now. Have a cozy day.. This recipe of Soup looking so healthy and best suitable for these day. This recipe is also best for having a healthy diet..

  • Chris Prince 21 Jan, 2015

    I've never made my chicken soup without store bought broth and was looking for a recipe that would show me how to do it without. This basic soup is super easy to make, and really could be spiced up with your favorite seasonings/vegetables. TRUST the salt amount. It doesn't need any more salt than the tablespoon (and I like my food well salted and not bland). An amazing bowl of soup made COMPLETELY from scratch... it tastes way healthier than any soup I've made with pre-made broth.

  • NeaET 26 Feb, 2014

    Tried it today. It's incredible what flavours such an easy recipe gave out.
    I realise i have been crowding out my soups, this recipe is a keeper. Thanks!

  • amandasaur 6 Apr, 2013

    Definitely my favorite soup to make when someone is sick or when I'm just not feeling well. Very simple, clean-tasting, and I save all the extras to make stock. Awesome recipe!

  • amandasaur 23 Feb, 2012

    I cannot recommend this soup enough. It's a great staple soup recipe that I will surely use over and over again!

  • jodles 8 Jan, 2012

    I made this soup and it looked just like the picture... it was good but a little tasteless... i guess cuz it's got a whole lot less sodium than the canned chicken soup :) It's great to eat something so healthy though. Next time i might leave out the parsnips too because i'm just not very familiar with them.. might put in some sweet potato instead.

  • nowicki 9 Feb, 2011

    I was under 500 characters, not sure why my comments are short?

  • nowicki 9 Feb, 2011


  • nowicki 9 Feb, 2011

    8 oz of what? What kind of water are you using? How do you submerge 4 lbs chicken, 6 carrots, 4 garlic cloves, 3 medium onions, 2 celery stalks in 8 oz of water? Lol, what am I missing here?

    Not to mention, my family is Polish

  • Sheryll 7 Feb, 2011

    I have always made chicken soup this way. I was never taught to cook, so I thought this was the way to make it.. But I always was unsure of how to get rid of the fat. Still this video does not show the best way to remove fat. Paper is still not my thing, I use it for drying meat off if I do not braise, which is usual for me.

  • Fleur-de-Lisa 14 Oct, 2010

    I've made this a couple of times since it first aired on TV. I made it again today and I just had to comment on how EXCELLENT this soup is! This is a recipe to keep forever!!

  • Fleur-de-Lisa 14 Oct, 2010

    I've made this a couple of times since it first aired on TV. I made it again today and I just had to comment on how EXCELLENT this soup is! This is a recipe to keep forever!!

  • veronicaty 6 Jun, 2010

    I wish I had come across this recipe 20 years ago. It's simple perfection--easy, supremely nutritious, satisfying to both kids and adults. I added a handful of fresh dill and my husband looked at me with the luv eyes: "Sweetie! You made my grandmother's chicken soup!"

  • AnitaJField 9 Mar, 2010

    Made this and it was delicious. I made it with chicken thighs that were on sale and used about 3 thighs and 4 drumsticks. Also tossed in a variety of noodles. I willl keep this recipe as a staple.

  • above_rubies 27 Feb, 2010

    I made this today. It was SO good! This was the first time I cut up a chicken myself. It wasn't a pretty sight LOL but I did it. My 12yo niece was here and she ate two bowls of it! Also it's the first time I made chicken soup without using bouillon cubes and I thought it was delicious. I was pleased that I didn't have to use the cubes that usually have too much salt and msg in them.

  • Plum_Mojo 22 Feb, 2010

    When I saw this on the show today, I knew I had to make it since I had a whole chicken thawed in the fridge. I followed the directions to a T, except that I left the garlic whole (I thought that's what they did on the show). I am just reheating it now and am going to be adding Amish dumplings (farina based). It tastes wonderful, I did not season with any extra salt. The 1 Tbs. called for in the recipe seems to be just right!

  • pixi36j 22 Feb, 2010

    This recipe really simplifies making the much loved Chicken Soup. Thank you so much. I will make it this week.

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