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Cook It Kosher

Traditional Chicken Soup

Traditional Chicken Soup

Jewish Penicillin


Between the flu and strep, it feels like everyone I know is sick these days, which means it’s time for a nice big pot of Jewish penicillin. Chicken soup!

No two pots of chicken soup are exactly alike, in my experience, and I don’t claim to have the very best chicken soup recipe in Jewish history. But it’s rich and healthy, and I’d love to share it with you.

You’ll need chicken, carrots, onion, celery, sweet potato, zucchini, fresh garlic, salt and, of course, water. Peel the carrots, sweet potato and onion. It’s best to leave the peel on the zucchini, or else it completely disintegrates in the soup. Cut the vegetables into chunks, not too small.

Put all the ingredients into the pot (it’s okay if the chicken is frozen) and bring to a rapid boil. Skim the surface and remove all floating scum. Turn down to a very low simmer, and cook for 4–6 hours. (The longer it simmers, the better the soup will be. You can even cook it longer.)

Let the soup cool and refrigerate it overnight. The fat will rise to the top and harden, making it easy to remove (see picture). Scoop off the fat and bring the soup back to a boil. Simmer until you’re ready to serve.

You can eat it plain, with matzah balls, or with the chicken and vegetables from the pot.

I’ll be sharing a number of different matzah ball recipes and techniques in a separate post. Stay tuned!

Tip: For a very clear broth, pour it through a cheesecloth.


  • 2 chicken bottoms (drumstick and thigh)
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 onions
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 zucchini
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt, or to taste
  • 12 cups water


  1. Peel the carrots, sweet potato and onions. Leave the peel on the zucchini.
  2. Cut the vegetables into chunks, not too small.
  3. Put all ingredients in the pot and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, turn it down to a very low simmer, and cook for 4 hours.
  4. Refrigerate the soup overnight. The fat will rise to the top and harden, so you can easily remove it.
  5. After you remove the fat, reheat and serve the soup.

Tip for a clear broth: Strain the soup through a cheesecloth.

Serves 8-10 (the longer it simmers, the more it will reduce)

Do you have any unusual chicken soup ingredients or tips? Share them in the comment section below.

Miriam Szokovski is the author of the historical novel Exiled Down Under, and a member of the editorial team. She shares her love of cooking, baking and food photography on’s food blog, Cook It Kosher.
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Discussion (80)
January 10, 2017
In addition to the veggies in the recipe, I also use 3-4 parsnips, celery root (needs to be cleaned thoroughly), Yukon potatoes, parsley and dill. Chicken feet or grass fed beef bones add a lot of richness and nutrients to the broth.
I put the chicken parts in a cheesecloth type bag, so I can easily "fish" it out of the broth.
December 12, 2016
In addition to the veg, the herbs, and seasonings and chicken, I also add chicken's feet. After everything has simmered for a good long time and before cooling in the fridge I remove the feet.... this soup will cure anything that ails you.
M. Wilson
August 3, 2016
As long as they eat it
I just went back and read all the comments. All the variations sound scrumptious.
My husband tells me that as the oldest brother he was usually the last one home and all that was left of his mother's soup was liquid and the some "grease" on top! I can attest that her soup was delicious - carrots, celery, onions, chicken and I don't remember if she used parsley.I use a classic "Poilisher" recipe as taught by my grandmother which I sometimes vary with own twists. No matter what I do, seldom is my soup not delicious. The secret is to both smell and taste any soup and adjust to your liking.
August 2, 2016
I agree with those who don't want chicken soup to taste like kosher dill pickles. I would avoid adding either dill or garlic. But I would definitely include bones (not marrow!) Be sure to include yellow onions, a bunch of celery, a pound of carrots. And you don't have to remove anything. It's even OK to cut the vegetables into bite sized pieces and let them float in the clear broth. If you don't want to cut them up, then leave them whole and ladle out the broth into the bowls, and add hot cooked noodles or rice or knaidlach to each bowl.
August 2, 2016
Defintely add dill. I put all the vegetables in a soup bag then easily removed once soup is ready. Should not boil, simply allow to simmer. Boiling makes soup cloudy. .
ST Kilda East
June 19, 2016
I love dill. In kosher pickles, not in soup.

Parsley yes. The soup needs parsley half a bunch of parsley and an entire bunch of celery along with a pound of carrots and a chicken (or a turkey) in a big pot. Holds gallons. Simmer it all day and put it in the fridge and skim it.
And be sure to include some beef bones. Not marrow bones. Just some sliced up beef bones--knuckle bones or whatever--for the calcium and flavor. The bones give it flavor and the bones cure whatever ails you. I have never frozen a soup. We manage to get it all eaten by the end of the week. Everyone always wants seconds and thirds.
June 18, 2016
the only thing I would add is fresh dill to the pot for the start boiling the chicken and veggies. Granny Lizzy says its gotta have dill.
February 20, 2016
My mother taught me to add fresh parsley and dill one hour before the soup is done cooking and remove the hrrbs before refrigeration. She made the best soup ever.
Trudy Brown
south Florida
January 28, 2016
Jewish Penicillin
I don't like celery, so my grandmother used parsnip
Providence, RI
January 6, 2016
I make an 8 quart pot every week. And we eat it never freeze it. Pesach is of course a whole other kitchen, a whole other story. But yeah every week, a pot of soup for Shabbos! Occasionally I will make only a 6 quart pot but usually the 8 quart. We are k"h 4 people and rarely have guests.
Cook It Kosher features recipes from food blogger Miriam Szokovski, as well as guest bloggers and cookbook authors. Let us know if you’d like to contribute!
Miriam SzokovskiMiriam Szokovski is the author of the historical novel Exiled Down Under, and a member of the editorial team. She shares her love of cooking, baking and food photography on’s food blog, Cook It Kosher.
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