Golden Chicken Soup

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A bold, bright, immunity-boosting Golden Chicken Soup recipe here to help cure any cold-weather coughs & sniffles! This turmeric chicken noodle soup kicks classic chicken soup up a couple of healing notches with ginger, turmeric & lemon. It’s cozy, warm, bright & zippy all in one, & you can make it in 40 minutes or less…Golden Chicken Soup for the weeknight win!

Golden Chicken Soup served in a speckled white bowl, set on a white backdrop.

Pin this Golden Chicken Soup recipe for later!

Helloooooooo, Golden Chicken Soup! My newest cold weather obsession!!!

Here in Minnesota, winter tends to drag on for months & months (& months & months!). Cozy & comforting cold-weather recipes are practically essential to survival. But as the cold weather season drags on (& on!), I find myself needing to give my go-to cold-weather meals a little bit of a boost.

See also: it’s freakin’ March & I neeeeed some freshness in my life!

That’s exactly what we’re doing in this Golden Chicken Soup recipe.

Turmeric chicken soup in a white bowl, next to some lemons & a black linen on a white marble surface.

Classic chicken noodle soup is infused with the immunity-boosting goodness of ginger, turmeric, & lemon. Turmeric adds awesome punchy flavor, ginger adds tons of zip, & freshly squeezed lemon juice ties it all together with really nice brightness. The soup isn’t overly lemony (or ginger-y, or turmeric-y, for that matter); it’s just really well balanced with nice, bright flavor.

Light and cozy. Warm and zippy. Bright and feel-good. This soup honestly has it all.

And, as a major bonus, it’s the kind of recipe that tastes as though it bubbled away on the stovetop for hours when, in reality, it takes less than 40 minutes, start to finish, to prep.

It’s is absolutely perfect for any night of the week & I know once you try this turmeric ginger chicken soup, you’ll be absolutely obsessed…even if no one in your house has the sniffles.

This Golden Chicken Soup is good for the mind, body & soul, & I know you’ll be obsessed as soon as you try it. ♡ Read on to learn more about this Turmeric Chicken Soup, or jump straight to the recipe & get cookin’!

Golden Chicken Soup Ingredients

This recipe is made with many of the usual chicken soup suspects, with a couple of PWWB additions along the way to make it totally special.

The line-up includes… (Note: the full Ingredients List, including measurements, is provided in the Recipe Card, below.)

  • Chicken thighs: It wouldn’t be chicken soup without chicken! You can certainly use breasts, though I opt for thighs since they’re so juicy & flavorful. Browning them off before poaching them in the chicken broth also helps create that extra rich oh-this-must’ve-simmered-all-day-long flavor, despite only cooking for 30-ish minutes.
  • Mirepoix: the trusty trifecta otherwise known as onions, carrots, & celery. As a lifelong celery-hater, I always omit celery & double the carrot in mirepoix…you do you!
  • Butternut squash: My special turmeric chicken noodle soup ingredient, making this soup extra golden & extra hearty. You can feel free to sub it out with sweet potato if that’s what you’ve already got on hand.
  • Ginger & turmeric, both which I absolutely looooove, especially in the cold weather season. Ginger & turmeric both have an amazing reputation thanks to their incredible anti-inflammatory, immunity-boosting properties. They also add the warm, zippiness to this golden chicken soup that’ll have you going back in bite after bite. Delish!
  • Chicken broth or stock: It wouldn’t be chicken soup without chicken broth or stock! Feel free to use whatever you love most – store-bought or homemade. You can even use bone broth for extra concentrated flavor.
  • Lemon juice, my chicken soup secret weapon, which adds a ton of brightness, without being overly lemony. It’s the perfect finishing touch.
  • & a couple of optional add-ins: finely shredded kale (which I love using in soups its hearty texture holds up really nicely) & a short pasta of choice (which you can totally omit if you’re craving a noodle-less soup!).

How to make turmeric chicken soup:

The best thing about this golden chicken soup is that it comes together in a single pot on the stovetop, in 40 minutes or less. The best weeknight dinner recipe for cold season!

The cooking process itself is pretty straight-forward soup-makin’ business. The basic gist of it goes something like this… (Note: full Recipe Directions are provided in the Recipe Card, below.)

  1. Brown the chicken: Many chicken soup recipes call for poaching chicken in the soup as it simmers. I like to take a couple of extra minutes to brown the chicken beforehand. Browning the chicken adds such a rich depth of flavor to the soup, which is especially important when you’re relying on store-bought chicken stock or broth.
  2. Cook the veggies: Cook the mirepoix & butternut squash for 5-ish minutes, just until they begin to soften. As the veggies cook, they’ll release moisture; use that moisture to scrape up any browned bits that may have formed on the bottom of the pot. Browned bits = FLAVOR.
  3. Toast the aromatics: Stir the garlic, ginger, & turmeric into the veggies, & let it all cook for 1-2 minutes. Giving aromatic ingredients a minute to come into contact with the heat really wakes them up & brings their flavor to life. Your kitchen will begin to smell totally heavenly!
  4. Simmer: Add the browned chicken back into the pot, then pour some chicken stock over top. Give it a stir, then bring the soup to a simmer & let it bubble for 10-12 minutes, just until the chicken is cooked through.
  5. Finish: Carefully remove & shred the chicken, then add it back into the soup, along with some freshly squeezed lemon juice & finely shredded kale. Give it one last big stir, & you’re ready to serve.
Turmeric chicken soup in a white bowl on a white marble surface.

A big ol’ bowl of glowing golden goodness, comin’ right up!

Serving & Storing Noodle-y Soups: the PWWB Philosophy:

While you certainly don’t need to, I really love the addition of pasta to this Golden Chicken Soup. There’s just something about chicken noodle soup that is so classic & nostalgically comforting…it’s hard to beat.

To add noodles to your golden chicken soup, simply boil the pasta separately as the soup simmers, drain, & spoon directly into your serving bowls. Do not dump the warm pasta directly into the soup pot. I repeat: DO NOT dump a bunch of pasta directly into the soup pot!!!

When left in a broth or stock for a long period of time, pasta will absorb liquid like crazy. It not only the pasta soggy when you re-serve the soup, but also messes with the overall ratio of liquid in your soup. Double sad face!!!

PWWB’s advice for storing & freezing turmeric chicken noodle soup:

  • Storage: Transfer leftover golden chicken soup to your favorite airtight containers. Pop the cooked pasta into a separate airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To reheat, bring the soup to a simmer on the stovetop or microwave a bowl of soup for a couple of minutes. To serve, add the pasta directly into the warm soup; the soup’s residual heat should warm the pasta.
  • Freezing: Transfer leftover golden chicken soup to your favorite freezer storage containers or ziptop bags. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave as described above. You may need to liven up the flavor of the soup with an extra squeeze of lemon juice. Boil a fresh pot of pasta & serve!

No soggy noodles here!

Turmeric chicken soup in a white bowl, next to some lemons & a black linen on a white marble surface.

Turmeric Ginger Chicken Soup FAQs:

What does turmeric taste like?

Turmeric is a warm spice, with bittersweet & peppery characteristics. To me, the closest comparison to turmeric is mustard: it has similar rich, earthiness, with an extra little zippy kick.

If you’ve ever enjoyed curry, chances are you’ve already enjoyed turmeric; it’s one of the primary ingredients used in both Indian & Thai curry pastes. Turmeric has become more & more popular here in the US in recent years, in large part due to its anti-inflammatory & antioxidant properties (plus, golden milk lattes are delish!).

How can I spice up turmeric chicken noodle soup?

One of the reasons I’m so obsessed with this golden chicken soup is because the flavors are so bright & bold. Turmeric adds awesome punchiness, ginger adds tons of zip, & fresh squeezed lemon juice ties it all together with really nice brightness. You won’t find it to be lacking in flavor!!!

If you’d like to spice up your turmeric chicken noodle soup, a little bit of heat from cayenne pepper is awesome. Start by adding a pinch-1/4 teaspoon in Step 3 of the Recipe Directions, tasting & adding more based on how much heat you’d like to add.

Can I make this vegan or vegetarian?

Of course! Tweaking this turmeric soup recipe to be vegetarian/vegan-friendly is actually quite simple:

  1. Replace the chicken thighs with a hearty ingredient you love, like chickpeas or cauliflower florets. You may want to add some extra olive oil & spices (garlic, ginger, turmeric) to give the soup richer flavor. I included more details in the Recipe Notes, below!
  2. Swap out the chicken broth with your favorite vegetable broth.
  3. For vegans: be sure to use vegan-friendly pasta (this one is my favorite!).
Zoomed in view of Golden Chicken Soup in a small white bowl.

I really hope you try this Golden Chicken Soup recipe soon! It’s the perfect cozy weeknight dinner, especially when you need a little immunity boost this winter. It’ll be a new go-to!

If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations! Happy cooking! ♡

Print
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Golden Chicken Soup served in a speckled white bowl, set on a white backdrop.

Golden Chicken Soup

  • Author: Jess Larson | Plays Well With Butter
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4 1x
  • Category: Soup, Stew, & Chili Recipes
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This turmeric chicken noodle soup kicks up classic chicken soup a couple of healing notches with the addition of ginger, turmeric & lemon. It’s cozy, warm, bright & zippy all in one, & you can make it in 40 minutes or less…Golden Chicken Soup will be your newest cold weather obsession!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1/2 small butternut squash, peeled & diced into 1/4-inch cubes (about 4 cups – may substitute with 1 medium sweet potato)
  • 6 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled & grated or finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 48 ounces low-sodium chicken broth or stock (6 cups)
  • 2 lemons, juiced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 bunch kale, destemmed & finely chopped (about 3 cups packed)
  • optional: 8 ounces short pasta of choice, cooked to al dente according to package directions & drained

Instructions

  1. Brown the chicken: Add the olive oil to a large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towel, then season generously with 1 teaspoon each kosher salt and ground black pepper. Carefully add the chicken thighs to the pot, working in batches as needed to avoid over-crowding. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, until deeply golden brown. Transfer to a plate and set aside. The chicken will not be cooked through at this point – that’s fine!
  2. Cook the veggies: Reduce the heat under the Dutch oven/pot to medium. Add in the onion, celery, carrot, & butternut squash, seasoning with 1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and ground black pepper. Stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes, until the veggies are softened & tender.
  3. Add the aromatics: Add the garlic, ginger, & turmeric to the pot. Stir to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes, until toasty & fragrant.
  4. Simmer the soup: Add the browned chicken thighs from Step 1 back into the pot. Pour the chicken broth over top. Increase the heat to medium-high to bring the soup to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low & simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
  5. Finish the soup: Remove the chicken thighs from the pot & carefully shred. You can do so using 2 forks, or my favorite trick: pop them in a stand mixer & let the paddle attachment do the work for you (I swear this works!). Add the shredded chicken back into the pot, along with the lemon juice & kale. Stir to combine. Cook 2-3 minutes, until the kale has softened. Taste and season with additional salt or ground black pepper as desired.
  6. Serve: Ladle the golden chicken soup into individual bowls. If using, stir in a handful of the cooked pasta. Serve immediately, with a slice of buttered crusty bread, as desired – YUM! Enjoy!

Notes

  • Can I use chicken breasts? Sure! While I love the extra flavor & richness that chicken thighs add to this soup, you can certainly feel free to swap them out with boneless, skinless chicken breasts if that’s your jam.
  • Can I make this chicken soup vegetarian/vegan? Yes! Swap the chicken out with 2 15-ounce cans of chickpeas (drained & rinsed) & swap the chicken broth for your favorite veggie broth – this golden soup will be totally vegetarian & vegan. Skip Step 1 of Recipe Directions, adding the chickpeas into the soup in Step 4. You may want to zhuzh up the flavor a bit with extra ginger or a bay leaf or 2.
  • Storage: Golden chicken soup will keep, stored in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days. Transfer cooled golden chicken soup to an airtight container. If you made pasta for your soup, store it in a separate airtight container. It’s so important to store the pasta separately – if left in broth or stock for a long period of time, the pasta will absorb liquid like crazy, which not only makes the pasta soggy when you reheat it, but also messes with the overall ratio of liquid in your soup. To reheat, your soup in the microwave or on the stovetop.
  • Freezing: Transfer cooled golden chicken soup to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Same concept for storing pasta separately applies for freezing – I’d actually suggest boiling pasta fresh when you reserve the soup.
  • 15-minute meal prep: All of the prep time involved in this recipe is chopping veggies. Chop all the veggies in advance, storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. At dinnertime all you have to do is get cookin’ – seriously so easy!:
    • Dice 1 medium yellow onion
    • Dice 3 medium carrots (peel as desired)
    • Peel, deseed & dice 1 small buttnernut squash into 1/2-inch cubes – you’ll use about 2 cups for this soup recipe & you can use the rest in another hearty recipe (like this vegetarian enchiladas skillet!)

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4 recipe
  • Calories: 297
  • Sugar: 7.4g
  • Sodium: 205.2mg
  • Fat: 11.9g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.4g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 8.8g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 32.2g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Protein: 21g
  • Cholesterol: 52.5mg

Keywords: golden chicken soup, turmeric chicken noodle soup, healthy, winter, easy soup recipe

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Turmeric chicken soup in a white bowl, next to some lemons & a black linen on a white marble surface.

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Hi there, I'm Jess!

If there’s 1 thing to know about me, it’s this: I am head-over-heels in love with food. I’m on a mission to make weeknight cooking flavorful, fast, & fun for other foodies, & PWWB is where I share foolproof recipes that deliver major flavor with minimal effort. Other true loves: pretty shoes, puppies, Grey’s Anatomy, & my cozy kitchen in Minneapolis, MN.

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Comments

  1. 10.15.20
    Hillary Gras said:

    This was one of the best soups I’ve EVER made. I can’t believe how tasty the broth was. WOW. The ginger is key here, so don’t skimp on it, folks! Fresh is best!!!

    I made this for my sick fiance, but I’ll make this all the time!

    • 10.15.20

      Hillary, I’m SO glad you enjoyed this Golden Soup so much! It’s one of my favorites, too, & I agree – you can’t skip on the ginger! Hope your finacé feels better soon! xx

  2. 9.14.20
    Elizabeth Beckmann said:

    Made this soup on a whim because my hubby wasn’t feeling well, and it was fantastic! Sure, it’s 90 degrees out in southern california right now, but I was able to use chicken from my freezer, prep the veggies while it defrosted, and pull the whole meal together in about 45 minutes, which is pretty crazy swift for a cozy soup like this. I haven’t gone grocery shopping in a week so there were a few substitutions in my version tonight but truly the only thing that isn’t a complete pantry or freezer staple is the turmeric which makes this soup recipe a great “use up your veggies” option too!

  3. 4.8.20

    A little too much pepper for my taste but otherwise delish!!!

    • 4.11.20
      jess said:

      Thanks for commenting, Arpita! You can definitely scale back on the ground black pepper – though it’s important to use at least a little bit because it’s what helps your body absorb the goodness from the turmeric. Glad you enjoyed the soup otherwise! =)

  4. 4.5.20
    Kathleen said:

    I love this fun spin on the classic chicken noodle soup. Not to mention these photos are GORGEOUS!