Homemade Ginger Chicken Soup

Ginger Chicken Soup is simple and cozy with plenty of fresh ginger, garlic, and lemon. It’s one of the best homemade chicken soup recipes, perfect for nursing a cold.

Homemade chicken soup with ginger, garlic, lemon, and sweet potatoes in a white bowl

Homemade Ginger Chicken Soup

I know we’re coming out of our major soup season, looking ahead to spring and summer foods. But as I was making a pot of Ginger Chicken Soup a few days ago – because, hey, we’ve had snow and highs in the 30’s this week – I was prompted to share the recipe with you and get it into our family’s archives.

This is one of those soups that I know I’ll make forever and ever and ever.

I find myself using more fresh ginger, garlic, lemon, and sweet potatoes all the time. So this soup has naturally become one of my go-to recipes since I first made it last fall. It’s the best chicken soup recipe when I’m needing a bowl of steaming chicken soup comfort with that wonderful ginger and garlic kick!

Ginger chicken soup in a white bowl

This is the Best Soup for a Cold!

I had originally seen this soup recipe in my bon appetit magazine. They called it Feel-Better Chicken and Rice Soup. At the time, the cold and flu season had just kicked in, and I was nursing a stuffy head and sore throat. And those slices of fresh ginger and garlic, along with the fresh lemon, were calling my name.

When I found this recipe, I immediately tore it out of the magazine and set it on the kitchen counter for the following day. I was feeling better before I even put the pot on the burner!

While the recipe was very good as written, I’ve made several changes over the past few months to better suit my family.

First, I plumped up the recipe size. Because it was a rather smallish recipe, which didn’t leave us with any leftovers. And I live for leftovers!!

Then I swapped the rice out for pasta, a request from our daughters. And added more ginger, garlic, lemon, and seasoning, all around.

I like to make this soup “whenever”. But I reeeeeeeally appreciate it when I’m not feeling well. It’s now my go-to best soup when sick.

ingredients for ginger chicken soup: chicken thighs, pasta, sweet potatoes, ginger, garlic, lemon

Homemade Chicken Soup Ingredients

The soothing coziness of this soup is matched by a simple and fresh ingredient list. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • fresh garlic
  • fresh ginger
  • water
  • sweet potatoes
  • ditalini pasta
  • fresh lemon juice
  • fresh lemon zest
  • soy sauce
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh cilantro leaves
Homemade ginger chicken soup with ginger, garlic, lemon, and sweet potatoes in a white bowl

How to Make this Homemade Chicken Soup

  1. In a large pot, bring chicken thighs, garlic, ginger, and water to a boil.
  2. Add salt and reduce heat. Simmer until chicken is cooked. Remove chicken to cutting board and let cool a few minutes.
  3. Add sweet potatoes and pasta to pot and cook until sweet potatoes are softened and pasta is al dente.
  4. Shred chicken using two forks while sweet potatoes and pasta are cooking. Add chicken back to pot.
  5. Stir in lemon juice, zest, and soy sauce. For more pronounced chicken flavor, stir in 1 to 2 teaspoons chicken base. (Please don’t buy the overly salty cubes of bouillion – I like this chicken base.)
  6. To serve, ladle soup into individual bowls and top with cilantro leaves and freshly ground black pepper.
a bowl of chicken soup

Want to Make this Easy Recipe Your Own? Here Are Some Variation Ideas:

Boost the chicken flavor. In my opinion, chicken thighs are the best chicken pieces for flavor – and they do impart alot of flavor to this broth. But I also like to keep some quality chicken bouillion on hand, for when I’m needing even more cozy chicken soup flavor.

Add immune-boosting turmeric. Like ginger, turmeric has strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibiotic properties. These are all excellent qualities to look for when our immune system is needing a lift. If you’re a turmeric fan, this is a great soup for it!

Try a different pasta shape. I prefer a small pasta for this recipe, and most often use ditalini. A couple other great choices would be orzo or rings.

Use rice instead of pasta. Just like the original recipe calls for, you might like to use white rice instead of pasta. Bon appetit suggests using jasmine rice, adding it to cook right along with the chicken. Another option – if you have any leftover rice from a previous meal, you could always add that to the soup broth toward the end of cooking.

Use white beans. If you want to eliminate the pasta and rice, white beans would work very well, too. Look for great northern beans, cannellini beans, or navy beans.

How about quinoa? This offers yet another protein alternative to pasta, rice, or beans.

Sprinkle in some chili flakes. When I’m feeling the need for even more zing than the ginger and garlic already give this soup, I also sprinkle a few chili flakes over my bowl. Wowee! So good!

Don’t like cilantro? I get it. I know plenty of people who don’t like fresh cilantro. No worries – Italian parsley or regular curly parsley are also good. And for even more fresh green, add some chopped scallions.

More Chicken Soup Recipes

Chicken soup IS good for the soul. Here are a few more recipes for you! Thai Chicken Soup is lightly creamy with coconut milk and also has ginger and garlic, another great feel-better soup option. Chicken Wild Rice Soup will always be a favorite. And our girls really like this Lemon Chicken Tortellini Soup, loaded with puffy cheese-filled pasta.

Like this soup recipe? Save it to Pinterest!

Homemade chicken ginger soup with ginger, garlic, lemon, and sweet potatoes in a white bowl

And here are a few more recipes with ginger:

Ginger Chicken Soup

Ginger Chicken Soup

A delightfully simple and cozy soup that's loaded with fresh ginger, garlic, and lemon. It's one of the best chicken soup recipes, perfect for nursing a cold.

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz. fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
  • 10 c. water
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 lb. small sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4" thick rounds
  • 6 oz. ditalini pasta
  • 3 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • zest of 1 large lemon
  • 3 T. soy sauce
  • 1 to 2 tsp. chicken base, if needed
  • 1/2 c. cilantro leaves
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large pot over high heat, bring chicken thighs, garlic, ginger, and water to a boil.
  2. Add salt and reduce heat to medium to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is firm and cooked, about 10-12 minutes. Remove chicken to cutting board and let cool a few minutes.
  3. Add sweet potatoes and pasta, and stir occasionally until sweet potatoes are softened and pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes or so.
  4. While sweet potatoes and pasta are cooking, shred chicken using two forks. Once sweet potatoes and pasta are done, add shredded chicken back to pot.
  5. Stir in lemon juice, zest, and soy sauce. Taste test. If soup needs more salt, add a bit more kosher salt and/or soy sauce. If you want a more pronounced chicken flavor, stir in 1 to 2 teaspoons chicken base. (Please don't buy the overly salty cubes of bouillion - I like this chicken base.)
  6. To serve, ladle soup into individual bowls and top with cilantro leaves and freshly ground black pepper.

Notes

adapted from bon appetit magazine, November 2019 "Feel-Better Chicken Soup"

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 164Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 282mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 15g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.

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