This 5-ingredient chicken soup recipe is perfect for a cool spring day, though you can modify it with any seasonal vegetable and serve it year-round. It’s almost embarrassingly easy to make, and I felt like sharing this recipe was perhaps a bit superfluous. It’s nice, light, and perfect for spring, and you’ll love its simplicity.
The broth is bright and gingery, with chicken thighs lending just the right amount of fat and richness to the broth to give it a nice mouthfeel. Peas work perfectly as a quick veggie addition, but throw in spinach or baby corn instead.
I have made–what feels like–a million chicken soup recipes. This one is by far the easiest. Here’s what you need for this 5-ingredient chicken soup recipe:
- Chicken thighs: Use bone-in, skin-on thighs for the most flavor.
- Ginger: Use a big knob, give it a good scrub, crush it lightly with your knife, and chuck it in.
- Onion: Shallots will work well too. They need to be just sliced into half-moons.
- Green peas: Fresh or frozen will work here, or make this with your favorite quick-cooking vegetable.
- Noodles: Any noodle variety will work here, like soba, udon, rice noodles, or egg noodles.
Garnishing is optional but is a good way to round out flavors. I finished with sliced Thai chili and Thai basil. A sprinkle of sliced scallions, a drizzle of sesame or chili oil, or a pinch of sesame seeds would all be nice finishing touches on this soup. You could also finish with fresh dill, minced parsley, or Italian basil leaves. Or, you could finish with nothing at all! The soup broth is wonderful on its own.
How to make this 5-ingredient chicken soup recipe:
As I mentioned above, it’s almost embarrassing how easy this recipe is to make. Here’s what you need to do:
- Step 1: First, cover the chicken thighs with water in a big pot. You’ll need around 6–8 cups of water. Bring to a boil and add the crushed ginger and sliced onion. Be sure to add plenty of salt. Reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes. Skim any foam or muck from the top of the broth as it simmers.
- Step 2: Remove the chicken from the pot and then shred the meat from the bone. Discard the bones and skin. It’s never wrong to fry up the skin in a bit of oil and crumble it on top of the soup…just saying.
- Step 3: Fish out the ginger and throw it away. Now, if you feel like being fussy, you can certainly strain the broth through a sieve and discard all the solids if you want a very perfectly clear broth. I didn’t bother. I just removed the ginger with my skimmer and used the skimmer to scoop out any big pieces of onions.
- Step 4: Lastly, throw the chicken back into the broth. If you want a soupier soup, top it off with a bit more water. Taste and season and bring to a boil. Throw in the peas, reduce the heat, and let them simmer for a few minutes until bright green.
Now, the noodles. I’m not telling you what to do, but I won’t tell anyone if you decide to cook the noodles right in the broth. If you’re planning on eating this all in one go, there would be nothing wrong with that. It’s what I did. If you do want to be able to eat leftovers, then you should boil the noodles in a separate pot and then drain them.
- 2 Large pots
- Fat skimmer
- 1½ pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 6 cups water, plus more if needed See note below
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced into half-moons
- 3- inch piece of ginger, scrubbed and crushed lightly with the back of your knife
- ½ cup green peas, fresh or frozen
- 8 ounces noodles of choice
- Salt, to taste
For serving, optional:
- Fresh herbs, like Thai basil, minced scallions, dill, parsley, or fresh cilantro
- Thinly sliced chili pepper or chili oil
- Sesame oil
Simmer the chicken:
- Place the chicken in a large pot and season it with salt. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Add the onion and ginger. Add another generous shake of salt. Reduce heat and simmer for 35–45 minutes. Skim the surface of the broth occasionally to remove any scum or muck.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and transfer it to a bowl. Once it’s cool enough to handle, remove the skin, pick the meat from the bones, and shred it. Discard skin and bones or reserve them for another use.
- Fish out the ginger and as much of the onion as possible and discard them both. Keep the broth on a low simmer.
Cook the noodles:
- As the broth simmers, boil another pot of water and cook the noodles according to package instructions. Drain, rinse, and divide between bowls.
Finish the soup:
- Return the chicken to the pot and bring it to a boil. Add the peas. Simmer for 5 minutes until bright green. Taste and season to your preferences.
- Ladle the broth over the noodles. Garnish to your preferences with fresh herbs, chili pepper, or sesame oil. Enjoy!