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


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!



  • 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


  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!


  • 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!)

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