Homemade Chicken Vegetable Soup

Chicken Vegetable Soup is a comforting, nutritious powerhouse loaded with customizable veggies in an adeptly seasoned broth – no bland soup here! Instructions for how to make with chicken thighs, breast, or leftover/rotisserie chicken as well as tons of variations, tips and tricks!  This easy Chicken Vegetable Soup recipe can be made on the stove or in the crockpot and is great for meal prep (all instructions included!).

Watch How to Make Chicken Vegetable Soup

top view of chicken vegetable soup served in a bowl


 

Why you’ll love this Chicken Vegetable Soup Recipe

  • WELL SEASONED. Garlic, onions, herbs, ground mustard, paprika and a pinch of red pepper flakes combine for an alluring tapestry of flavor.
  • TENDER, JUICY, FLAVORFUL CHICKEN. Chicken thighs are seasoned, seared, then braised directly in the broth until fall apart tender, creating a golden fond which infuses the soup with unbeatable flavor.
  • OR SHORTCUT CHICKEN. Instructions to use rotisserie chicken instead!
  • LOADS OF NUTRITOUS VEGGIES. The flavor/texture contrast creates a craveable medley of good-for-you ingredients that fill you up without weighing you down.  
  • KITCHEN SINKNESS. This recipe invites invention and kitchen-sink-ness – use whatever you have on hand! Swap the veggies for any of your favorites, add rice, orzo, quinoa, etc. – see variations section for ideas!
chicken and vegetable soup in a soup pot showing the healthy ingredients: chicken, carrots, green beans, corn and potatoes
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Vegetable Chicken Soup ingredients

This recipe is extremely flexible, but let’s take a closer look at my favorite combination of ingredients (measurements in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post):

  • Chicken: I recommend juicier, more flavorful, boneless, skinless chicken thighs. However, you may swap out for chicken breasts (take care not to overcook) or better yet, use rotisserie chicken.
  • Onion: Use one diced yellow onion. When a recipe doesn’t specify a certain kind of onion, use yellow onion.
  • Garlic: Use 4-6 cloves depending on how garlic forward you want the soup.
  • Celery: You’ll need one cup sliced celery which is about about 3 stalks. Chop them on the thicker side, about ⅜ inch thick, just shy of 1/2-inch. This ensures they don’t fall apart or get lost in the soup.
  • Carrots: You’ll need one cup sliced carrots, about 2-3 medium carrots sliced 1/4-inch thick.  
  • Potatoes: Use Yukon gold potatoes peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes. Don’t substitute with Russet potatoes because they can fall apart and turn mealy in the soup, whereas Yukon gold potatoes remain intact and buttery.  
  • Green Beans.  I like fresh green beans but they are not my favorite vegetable – but guess what?!  I LOVE them in this Chicken Vegetable Soup!  They add a fresh pop of flavor and texture – I highly recommend them.  Please use fresh and not canned = they taste far superior!
  • Corn: I love the sweet pops of flavor! Use fresh, frozen or canned.
  • Chicken broth: Use low sodium chicken broth so we can also use chicken bouillon – it’s like salt with flavor.
  • Chicken bouillon: Use bouillon powder, bouillon cubes or bouillon base (like Zoup! or Better Than Bouillon). Add it to the soup without dissolving in liquid first. If using cubes, you will need 2; crush up and add directly to the broth.
  • Fire roasted diced tomatoes: These tomatoes have been roasted resulting in a complex smokiness, deeper flavor and lower acidity than regular tomatoes.
  • Seasonings: Dried parsley, dried oregano, dried basil, ground mustard, paprika and a pinch of red pepper season the Chicken Vegetable Soup to perfection.
  • Parmesan: A finishing of Parmesan adds a nutty, salty dimension of YUM!
top view of chicken vegetable soup recipe with a ladle in the soup showing how chunky with vegetables it is

How to make Chicken Vegetable Soup

Let’s take a closer look at how to make this Chicken Vegetable Soup recipe with step-by-step photos (full recipe in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post):
          

  • Step 1: Sear Chicken. Season chicken with salt and pepper then sear until golden in sizzling olive oil, about 2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate but leave drippings.
showing how to make chicken vegetable soup recipe by searing the chicken until golden
  • Step 2: Sauté Onion, Carrots, Celery. Sauté onions, carrots and celery until onions are tender, scraping up the golden bits on the bottom of the pan.  Add garlic and sauté one minute.
showing how to make chicken vegetable soup by sautéing onions, celery and carrots
  • Step 3: Add Rest of Ingredients. Add chicken back to the pot along with the potatoes, fire roasted tomatoes, chicken broth, and seasonings.
showing how to make chicken vegetable soup recipe by adding chicken, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes and broth to the Dutch oven to simmer
  • Step 4: Simmer Soup. Partially cover the soup and simmer the until chicken is tender enough to shred. Remove chicken to a cutting board to cool.  Shred chicken once cool enough to handle (don’t add back to soup yet).
showing how to make chicken vegetable soup by simmering soup until chicken is tender enough to shred
  • Step 5: Add Green Beans and Corn. Add green beans and corn to the soup and continue to simmer until potatoes are tender.
showing how to make chicken vegetable soup by adding green beans and corn
  • Step 5: Add Parmesan. Reduce heat to low and add Parmesan add shredded chicken to the soup. Stir until Parmesan is melted.
showing how to make chicken vegetable soup by stirring in Parmesan followed by shredded chicken
  • Step 6: Garnish. Season to taste and garnish with parsley if desired.
showing how to make chicken vegetable soup by seasoning with salt and pepper and garnishing with parsley

Best Chicken Vegetable Soup Recipe Variations

  • Swap vegetables: Use whatever veggies you have on hand or mix it up just for fun. Zucchini, peas, bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, kale or spinach, etc. would all be delicious. Just be aware of different vegetable cooking times.
  • Different protein: Use any of your favorite proteins in place of the chicken – lean ground beef, ground turkey, ground chicken, etc. Ham would also be a tasty swap. Add ham at the end of cooking and heat through. Ham can be quite salty, so reduce the bouillon to 1 teaspoon and omit the salt in the recipe and add salt to taste.
  • Make it vegetarian:  Omit the chicken completely and bouillon and use vegetable broth. Add additional vegetables, beans, rice or your favorite meat substitute instead of chicken.
  • Chicken Vegetable Soup with Beans: Add cannellini beans for their slight sweetness, creaminess and meaty texture.  Add them instead of the potatoes or in addition to and be prepared to add additional broth.
  • Chicken Vegetable Soup with Rice: Swap the potatoes for rice. Add white rice to the soup the last 10 minutes or so. Simmer gently until rice is almost tender. (The rice should have a little “bite” to it because it will continue to cook while the hot soup sits.) ***NOTE: Rice cooking time may vary depending on your rice and how long it takes to bring your soup to a simmer so I suggest checking the rice often until done.
  • Chicken Vegetable Orzo Soup: Swap the potatoes for orzo. Orzo pasta will take about 7 minutes to cook to al dente. 
  • Chicken Vegetable Barley Soup: Pearl barley is another delightful swap for potatoes. The pearl barley will need to simmer for a total of about 30 minutes.
  • Chicken Vegetable Quinoa Soup: For a higher protein option, swap the potatoes for quinoa, rinsed and drained and simmer for about 25 minutes.
  • Chicken Vegetable Tortellini Soup: Swap the potatoes for 12 oz. uncooked fresh cheese tortellini.  Tortellini only requires a couple minutes to cook, so watch them closely! 
up close of a ladle of chicken and vegetable soup showing the vegetables

Chicken and Vegetable Soup recipe tips and tricks

  • For the juiciest chicken: This recipe will work with chicken breasts or chicken thighs, but for best flavor, use chicken thighs or shredded rotisserie chicken.
  • Rotisserie chicken hack: Stock shredded chicken or rotisserie chicken portioned into 2 1/2-3 cup freezer bags so you always have it ready to add to any soup.
  • Don’t burn the bits: When searing the chicken, you don’t want blackened bits, or they will make your soup taste burnt. If the chicken is browning too quickly, turn the heat down.
  • Cook the chicken at a gentle simmer: After you bring the soup to a boil, reduce to a gentle simmer so the chicken doesn’t become rubbery.
  • Simmer chicken until tender: Whether using chicken thighs or breasts, check the pieces individually for tenderness because they may cook unevenly. Be prepared to remove pieces of chicken at different times. The chicken is ready when it easily pulls apart with two forks, or reaches 165 degrees F. Thicker chicken breasts will take longer to cook than chicken thighs.
  • Don’t over cook chicken: Chicken breasts will dry out if overcooked, so take care not to overcook.
  • Vegetable size: Pay attention to the vegetable chop size in the ingredients so they will be tender at the same time and not overcooked.
  • Scale up or down: This recipe can easily be scaled up or down (use the sliding scale that appears when you hover over the servings).
showing how to serve chicken vegetable soup in a bowl garnished with parsley

What to serve with Vegetable Chicken Soup

up close of chicken vegetable soup recipe in a bowl showing the thick consistency

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showing how to serve chicken vegetable soup in a bowl garnished with parsley

Vegetable Chicken Soup

Chicken Vegetable Soup is a comforting, nutritious powerhouse loaded with customizable veggies in an adeptly seasoned broth – no bland soup here! Instructions for how to make with chicken thighs, breast, or leftover/rotisserie chicken as well as tons of variations, tips and tricks!  This easy Chicken Vegetable Soup recipe can be made on the stove or in the crockpot, and is great for meal prep!
Servings: 8 servings
Total Time: 1 hour
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, patted dry OR 3 cups rotisserie chicken
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 cup peeled and sliced carrots 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 cup sliced celery 3/8-inch thick
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, 1/2-inch cubes
  • 7 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 14 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes with juices
  • 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon
  • 1 tsp EACH dried parsley, dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp EACH dried basil, dried thyme, mustard powder, paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 bay leaf

ADD LATER

  • 5 oz. (1 heaping cup) green beans, trimmed, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup fresh, frozen or canned (drained) sweet corn
  • 1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan (optional)
  • freshy parsley (optional), for garnish

Instructions

  • Sear chicken: Heat 1 ½ tablespoons oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven/soup pot. Season chicken thighs with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper then sear until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate but leave drippings.
  • Sauté vegetables: Heat one tablespoon oil over medium-high heat in then now empty pot with drippings. Add onions, carrots and celery and sauté until onions are tender, about 5-7 minutes, scraping up the golden bits on the bottom of the pan. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté one minute.
  • Simmer: Add chicken thighs (don't add rotisserie yet if using) back to the pot along with all remaining ingredients up to Add Later. Partially cover the soup with about a one-inch opening. Bring to a simmer over high heat; once simmering, reduce to medium-low. Gently simmer until the chicken is tender enough to shred, about 5-10 minutes after it starts to simmer.
  • Remove chicken: Remove chicken to a cutting board to cool. Meanwhile:
  • Add green beans and corn: Add green beans and corn to the soup and continue to simmer the soup over medium low for an additional 10-15 minutes, partially covered or until potatoes are tender. Stir occasionally while simmering, partially replacing the lid.
  • Shred chicken: While simmering, shred chicken once cool enough to handle (don’t add back to soup yet).
  • Add chicken and Parmesan: Reduce heat to low and stir in Parmesan until melted. Add shredded chicken OR rotisserie chicken to the soup. Stir in additional broth if desired for a less “chunky” soup. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if desired (I like more salt).

Video

Notes

  • Rotisserie chicken:  If using, you won’t add it to the soup until the last step. 
  • Crockpot: Add all ingredients to the slow cooker except the Parmesan.  Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 7-8.  Shred chicken and add back to soup along with Parmesan.  Let cook on low for an additional 10 minutes. 
  • Variations:  See post for how to swap out veggies, protein, how to add quinoa, rice, pasta, etc. 
  • Storage: Let the soup cool to room temperature, cover and store in your Dutch oven or transfer to an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 4 days.  You may also freeze for up to 3 months but the texture won’t be quite the same. 
  • Meal Prep: This Chicken Vegetable Soup can be made 100% ahead of time and reheated or you can prep some of the ingredients ahead of time. Trim the chicken, or proceed to season sear, then refrigerate. The vegetables and aromatics can be chopped or proceed to sauté and refrigerate in the pot with the chicken, broth and seasonings. The potatoes can be peeled and chopped but must be stored submerged in water in the refrigerator so they don’t brown.

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