Classic Chicken Soup

Serves 4-8 (depending on portion size and how many people ask for seconds!)

Prep time – 10 Minutes | Cooking Time – 4 hours

Often referred to as Jewish penicillin, there are few dishes more iconic in the Jewish repertoire than this Ashkenazic Friday Night staple, served with kneidlach (matzah balls) or lokshen (noodles). There are an infinite number of minor tweaks to this recipe from the addition of tomatoes and dill to arguments about clarity, but what we can all agree upon is that if your mum ever made chicken soup for you when you were sick then you will insist forevermore that hers is, was and always will be the best, and nobody will ever convince you otherwise. We’re okay with that, because our mums all made the best soup, too!

For those who haven’t had a recipe handed down to them through generations, however, here’s our take on a classic. Pair with traditional matzah balls (kneidlach) to complete the dish.


  • Whole Boiling Chicken (or 2 soup packs)
  • 4 Carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2 Parsnips, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2 sticks Celery, peeled and cut into large chunks (plus leaves, if available)
  • 2-3 cloves Garlic, whole, peeled
  • 1 brown Onion, peeled and halved
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 4-6 whole Peppercorns
  • 1 Bay Leaf (optional)
  • 2-3 litres cold water


  1. Place all the ingredients into a large stock pot, (in soup nets if you prefer), bring to a simmer and cook partially covered for 2 hours, without allowing the pot to fully boil.
  2. Skim off any scum and fat that has formed on the surface, then leave to cook, partially covered, for a further 2 hours.
  3. Remove from the heat, and when cool enough, remove the chicken from the pot and carefully separate the flesh from the bones and skin, taking extra care to remove any small bone fragments.
  4. Strain the broth into a separate vessel and reserve the vegetables, removing the bay leaves and peppercorns if possible.
  5. Many argue that the soup is better the next day. At this stage you may wish to refrigerate the soup overnight, and skim any fat off the top when cooled.
  6. When ready to serve, add chicken and vegetables back to the broth, along with kneidlach, and bring back to temperature, ensuring the soup and kneidlach are piping hot before serving.
  7. If serving with lokshen, we prefer to cook the lokshen separately in boiling water or some of the soup for a few minutes, then place a little in each bowl and ladle soup on top.

Chicken Soup with Kneidlach (Matzah Balls)