Fighting Colds & Flus, and My Healing Chicken Soup Recipe!

Healing chicken soup recipe | Quirky Cooking

When you’ve got a cold and you’re feeling sick and miserable, or you feel the need for a super nourishing meal so you don’t GET sick, what do you crave? For me, it’s always chicken soup. Maybe it’s something to do with my childhood, and mum making soup for us when we were sick… Chicken soup for me means love, nourishment and comfort. But it’s not just psychological – it really IS medicine! Let me explain.

It seems like most of our friends are sick with the flu at the moment. The flus and colds have been crazy this year!! We are fighting them every way we know how, and chicken soup is on high rotation on the meal plan. My daughter messaged me from work the other day and said we needed to make soup for her cousin who was sick in bed, and she asked that we make a ‘chicken soup that’s not watery, with LOTS of veggies’! So this is what I came up with. I added every vegetable I could get my hands on, plus fresh herbs, chilli, garlic, turmeric (anti-inflammatory), collagen (for gut health), ghee (fat soluble vitamins), egg yolks (omega-3s, vitamins, and to add creaminess), and seaweed (for iodine and minerals that fight colds). And it’s of course based on chicken broth! (If you don’t know the benefits of broth you can read about them here.) How’s that for a nutrition-packed soup??

I maaaaayyyyy have overdone it, because I ended up with about 15 litres of soup, but no one complained. 😀 My niece and her husband, my friend and her family of four, and my family of six all enjoyed it… and I must admit I ate it for four meals in two days because it was so YUMMY!!

Healing chicken soup recipe | Quirky Cooking

If you’re already a believer in the powers of chicken soup for health and happiness, you probably are well-acquainted with my Coconut Lemon Chicken Soup – it’s been the most popular soup on my blog for years, especially during cold and flu season. (Or maybe you love my Creamy Chicken and Brown Rice Soup or Chicken and Fresh Turmeric Soup – it’s hard to choose!) The reason I’m sharing yet ANOTHER chicken soup with you is because, 1) you can’t have too many chicken soup recipes, and 2) my daughter specifically asked for a chicken soup that is FULL of veggies… so here it is. As veggie-full as I could get it!

Healing Chicken Soup Recipe | Quirky Cooking

Food is Medicine

If you think about all the advice for fighting colds and flus naturally, you will understand why chicken soup really does make you feel better. Here’s some of the best tips I’ve collected over the years, and how a nutrient dense soup can help to promote healing. 

Tips for fighting colds and flus:

  • Keep fluids up. Make sure you’re having lots of warm drinks (elderberry tea, fresh ginger tea, lemon and honey, peppermint tea or other herbal teas). Cold drinks are not recommended if you have a sore throat, so drink room temperature water, not cold from the fridge. For acute cases, make elderberry syrup. Soup tips: Broths and broth-based soups are the perfect food to keep fluids up. Sip light soups and broths from a mug, and when you feel up to eating try a hearty soup like the one below.
  • Eat light, healing foods; avoid foods that promote congestion and inflammation. Gentle, easy to digest foods are important when fighting an infection – soups, stews, casseroles, fresh juices (diluted), and juice jellies. Avoid flour and baked goods, starchy foods, sugars, preservatives, vegetable oils, and dairy. Soup tips: A broth based soup with plenty of soft-cooked veggies and fresh herbs will help to reduce congestion, and boost the immune system. Add some turmeric to help reduce inflammation.
  • Gargle with salt water, or sage and thyme water. Gargling really helps to soothe sore, inflamed throats and clears the sinuses, and also reduces bacteria in the throat, mouth and tonsils. For a salt water gargle, stir 1/4-1/2 tsp sea salt into 1 cup of boiled water and cool to lukewarm. For sage and thyme gargle, boil 150ml water with 1 tsp each of fresh sage and thyme (or 1/2 tsp each of dried herbs). Allow to infuse for 10 mins, then strain and cool to lukewarm. Soup tips: Add good quality sea salt and fresh herbs to your soups – when you sip the salty soup it’s like gargling with warm salt water, and the added herbs will give your immune system a boost! Read about the Health Benefits of Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme.
  • Avoid medications that dry out mucus or suppress a cough. It’s much healthier for the body to get rid of the infected mucus by coughing it up, so that the cold doesn’t turn into a secondary chest infection. To loosen and thin out mucus so it’s easier to release: take hot, steamy showers; have a humidifier with eucalyptus oil going to keep air moist, or do steam inhalations; keep hydrated (avoid coffee, tea and alcohol, see recommended fluids above); drink ivy leaf tea or take ivy leaf syrup; drink licorice root tea or suck on natural licorice lozenges (unless you have high blood pressure); mince up some fresh garlic and mix with honey and have a spoonful when coughing; add cayenne pepper, horseradish and onions to your food as much as possible. Soup tips: Leaning over a steaming bowl of soup full of fresh herbs, chilli, pepper, garlic, onion, turmeric and ginger, and sipping it while you inhale the steam, will help to thin out mucus and clear sinuses.
  • Get plenty of fresh air, and rest and relax! Keep the windows open if you can (even a little) to let the air in while you lay in bed or rest on the couch; sit outside in the sunshine; lay on a blanket in the shade in the backyard (well-rugged up if the weather is cool). Breathing fresh air is important for the vitality of your respiratory system. Avoid stuffy, overheated rooms. Rest as much as you can, and when you start to feel better don’t overdo it, or you could end up back in bed, worse than ever! Soup tips: Keep a thermos of broth or brothy soup beside your bed to sip on when you get hungry. When you’re starting to feel a bit better and you want to get out of the house, take soup and tea in thermoses, pile some blankets and pillows into the car, pack a good book, and find a sunny, quiet spot to have a lazy day and an outdoor nap!

See what I mean? A good old-fashioned chicken soup ticks all the boxes. Make this soup for your friends and family when they’re under the weather, and send them the recipe so they can make it for you! 😀 Teach your kids to make it, keep some in the freezer, always be prepared! 😉

Broth in a cup Quirky Cooking

Broth in a cup + sunshine + rest = medicine!

I don’t usually use a recipe for chicken soup, but I’ve written one out for you in case you feel like you need some guidance at first. It’s very flexible – I don’t use precise measurements, it really depends on how big your pot is and how much chicken and veggies you like in your soup. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the ingredients – this is the “optimal” version, but you will still get a delicious, healing soup if you don’t have all these veggies, or if you only have dried herbs, or if you don’t have any fresh turmeric or seaweed or collagen… Use what you have, and treat this recipe as a guide. 

Here’s some photos to illustrate what I did, and you can also print out the recipe card below.

Enjoy. (And be well!)

Jo xx

Broth, Quirky Cooking

Make a chicken broth with 1-2 kg chicken drumsticks or 1 whole chicken (organic, free range) – simmer until soft then remove chicken to a dish to keep warm while you cook the veggies.

Healing Chicken Soup, Quirky Cooking

Healing Chicken Soup, Quirky Cooking

While chicken is cooking, finely chop fresh chilli, herbs, garlic, ginger and turmeric and set aside.

Healing Chicken Soup, Quirky Cooking

For a creamy soup, make cauliflower mash to add at the end, blending in ghee, gelatin (I use this one) and egg yolks for extra goodness.

Healing Chicken Soup, Quirky Cooking

While cauliflower mash is cooking, chop up all the veggies and add them to the pot – harder veggies first with herbs and seaweed (kelp, dulse flakes – opt), then softer veggies, simmering until veggies are soft.

Healing Chicken Soup, Quirky Cooking

Add the cauliflower mash to the soup and season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper (if desired). Remove chicken from bones (if using drumsticks) or cut whole chicken into pieces and stir gently into soup.

Healing Chicken Soup, Quirky Cooking

Feed your puppy the chicken scraps.😄 (But not the bones!)

Healing Chicken Soup, Quirky Cooking

Freeze some soup for another day, or take some to your sick friends and family – they will love you forever! ❤️



Healing Chicken Soup

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5 from 3 reviews

  • Author: QuirkyJo



1 whole chicken or 1-2kg chicken drumsticks (organic or free range)

filtered water

34 cloves garlic

12 long red chillies, deseeded

5cm piece of turmeric, peeled

23cm piece of ginger, peeled

large handful Italian parsley or cilantro

1 head cauliflower (approx. 800g), cut into florets

2 Tbsp ghee or chicken fat

2 Tbsp organic gelatin (opt)

2 egg yolks (opt)

1 large onion, chopped

12 stalks celery, finely sliced

1 leek, tough outer green leaves removed, finely sliced (wash carefully)

34 large carrots, sliced

2 cups pumpkin, cut into 2-3cm cubes

1 large turnip, cut into 23cm cubes

2 large potatoes, cut into 2cm cubes (omit for GAPS diet)

23 sprigs fresh sage, leaves only, chopped

23 sprigs thyme, leaves only, chopped

1 sprig rosemary, leaves only, chopped

12 tsp dulse flakes or dried kelp (opt)

2 large mushrooms (portabello), sliced

34 large button squash, finely sliced

1 head broccoli, cut into florets, stalks peeled and thinly sliced

1 small bunch leafy greens (kale, bok choy, spinach, etc), finely sliced

fine sea salt to taste (approx 3-4 tsp)

black pepper, to taste

a pinch of cayenne pepper (opt)


1. Place the chicken into a large stock pot (6-8 litres), or divide it between two 4-litre pots. Pour in filtered water up to about 5cm from the top of the pot. Place the lid on and bring to a boil, scoop off any scum, then reduce heat and simmer (lid on) for 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until chicken is soft. (Don’t overcook or the chicken will be tough.)

2. Towards the end of cooking time, begin preparing other ingredients. Place garlic, chilli, turmeric, ginger and parsley into a Thermomix bowl and chop for 5 sec/speed 7 (or chop until fine in a food processor). Remove to a small bowl and set aside. Begin chopping vegetables and herbs.

3. Place cauliflower florets into the Thermomix bowl (no need to clean bowl), and add 200g of the chicken broth from the pot and the ghee or duck fat. Cook 20 minutes/100C/speed 1. Add egg yolks and collagen to bowl (if using) and blend 1 min/speed 9, gradually increasing speed from 1-9. (If you don’t have a Thermomix, cook cauliflower with broth and ghee/fat in a saucepan on the stovetop, then add yolks and collagen and blend with a stick blender, or cool and blend in a blender or food processor.) Set aside.

4. When the chicken is finished cooking, remove it with a slotted spoon and place it into a dish to keep warm.

5. Add onion, celery, leek, carrots, pumpkin, turnip, potatoes (if using), sage, thyme, rosemary and dulce flakes/kelp to the broth. Continue to simmer with the lid on for 15 mins.

6. Add mushrooms, squash, broccoli and leafy greens. Continue to simmer with the lid on until all the vegetables are soft.

7. Add in the mash and the reserved chopped herbs, chilli, garlic, ginger and turmeric. (If you don’t want the soup too thick, only add half the mash.) Turn off the heat, and stir through gently until combined.

8. Season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper (if using).

9. If using drumsticks, remove meat from the bone and flake it into soup in large pieces. Or if using a whole chicken, cut it into pieces and add it to the soup. Stir through gently so chicken and veggies don’t break up too much. Adjust seasonings if needed.

10. Serve hot.


If making ahead of time and refrigerating or freezing, leave out the fresh herbs, chilli, ginger, garlic and turmeric until ready to serve, and add them last minute for optimal nutrition, if desired. Or make as above and freeze, then just add some more freshly minced garlic when you heat up the soup.

Store in the fridge for up to two days, or freeze in airtight containers for up to four months.

If you didn’t use the whole batch of cauliflower mash, it can also be stored in the fridge for two days (or longer if egg yolks are omitted), or frozen for up to 4 months.

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59 thoughts on “Fighting Colds & Flus, and My Healing Chicken Soup Recipe!

  1. Janice says:

    Love your work Jo! I haven’t made your Chicken Soup yet but it’s on my plan as of now! I can’t wait to try it!
    Thank you for being so lovely! ????

  2. Elise says:

    Thanks Jo this looks and sounds yummy! I’ve made your coconut lemon chicken soup a few times and love it! Im looking forward to trying this new recipe. Just wandered if you can recommend a brand of collagen? I’ve been meaning to get some for a while! ???? Thankyou so much

    • QuirkyJo says:

      Hi Elise! Glad you love the coconut lemon soup – it really is delicious, isn’t it? 🙂 Either Great Lakes or Vital Proteins are brands of collagen I would recommend. xx

  3. hannah says:

    This soup looks absolutely delicious, and is certainly nutrition-packed. I’d be interested to know where you found out that there is a link between cough suppressant medication and chest infections? Thanks!

    • QuirkyJo says:

      Hi Hannah, that information was found in a book called Natural Health for Children by Lynda Brewin plus also in research I did online. xx

  4. Julie Martin says:

    So looking forward to make this recipe Jo !! Thank you.
    Quick question : if I want to make bone broth in my slow cooker and use the whole chicken, should I start my broth with the whole chicken in the slow cooker and maybe after 3 or 4 hours on low, remove the meat and replace carcass in slow cooker. Put chicken meat in fridge and wait until my bone broth is done ( 24 -36 hours) and then start the recipe with veggies… ?
    Or would the chicken need 8 hours to slow cook before I remove the meat…unsure. I usually just use the chicken bones. Thank you

    • QuirkyJo says:

      Hi Julie! You would need to cook the whole chicken in the slow cooker 3-4 hours on HIGH before removing the meat. Then proceed with the recipe as you have described. Enjoy! 🙂

  5. Andreya says:

    Nice post. I too love the chicken soups but this is also one of the great recipe for cold weather. Thanks for sharing the recipe 🙂

  6. Lis says:

    I cant wait to make this. Do you recommend a slow cook, if so which one.

    I just purchased your book life changing food…cant wait

    • QuirkyJo says:

      Oh thank you, Lis!!! Apparently the low-tox recommendation is the Cuisinart slow cooker – most slow cookers with ceramic bowls have a fair bit of lead in the bowl, but Cuisinart is a lot less. Or see if you can find a stainless steel one.

  7. Lisa McGregor says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe Jo. I’ve been looking for a really good Chicken Soup and this is definitely it. I made up a huge pot of it last night and it’s beyond amazing. I’m having a bowl full right now for breakfast. I love all the amazing things that are packed into this soup and it’s like I can feel it doing me good with every spoonful. This will be my go to Chicken Soup recipe from now on and the great thing is that it makes so much that I can take some into my Mum who is recovering from surgery and is having trouble eating a lot of things. I love a whole heap of your recipes but this is definitely my favourite now. Thank you so much again for sharing your knowledge and talent in the kitchen with all of us. It’s certainly changes my life for the better.

  8. Erin says:

    Wow what a great recipe. When I told my family I was making chicken soup for dinner they all moaned but everyone has gone back for seconds. This will be a staple in my house I only wish I’d discovered it sooner.

  9. Gina says:

    Can you please recommend a replacement for cauliflower mash as it is one of the high dismal foods I can no longer cope with. Thank you.

  10. Dawn says:

    Just made the soup and It tastes amazing! Do yourself a favour and make a batch…you won’t be disappointed. Thanks for sharing it ????

  11. Sharmaine says:

    If your using cream instead of cauliflower how much would you use and when would you add collagen and ghee ?

    • QuirkyJo says:

      Hi Sharmaine! 🙂 Mix the collagen in with the cream (how much you use is up to you and how creamy you want the soup but 600g would be nice) and add to the soup along with the ghee in step 7, stirring through well. xx

  12. Vanessa says:

    Jo, your chicken broth is the best. I never realised how good homemade broth was until I made yours. It is also really simple and quick to make. Thank you for all your great work. I love your books.

    • QuirkyJo says:

      Hi Jessye! 🙂 You can buy collagen powder online and you can make chicken fat yourself using chicken skins or when roasting a whole chicken. If too difficult, you can leave the collagen out of this recipe and substitute the chicken fat with another healthy fat. xx

  13. Maria-Louise says:

    Just made this for a friend and my family had to taste test it (I’m vegetarian;-)). Rave reviews, even with all the veggies they would normally rather not have. Will definitely make again. Thanks Jo

  14. Zelda Mar says:

    Have made this soup in a big pot two times in the last week and not only is it amazing BUT it makes us so sleepy. Like both me and my partner noticed it literally sends us both to sleep and we have the best nights sleeps too. I don’t know what it is but it’s like a natural sleeping pill.

  15. Leah says:

    I made this last night as our whole family has been run down, delicious! Even my husband who claims “soup isn’t a meal” really enjoyed it and took leftovers for lunch today 🙂
    Thanks Jo for another awesome recipe!

  16. Stephanie says:

    I tried this yesterday and did wiz it in Thermomix so kids wouldn’t see all the veggies, they all loved it! So filling and you just feel good eating it.

    • Quirky Cooking Team says:

      Hi Naomi, dried turmeric still retains some healing properties so it’s definitely worth adding! A couple of teaspoons would be roughly equivalent to the fresh turmeric used here.

  17. Kate says:

    Wow, where has this soup been all my life!
    The kids didnt like it as as they prefer bland tasteless, colourless food layered in salt.
    Oh well, more for me!!
    Thanks for the recipe!

  18. Elyse says:

    Hi Jo,
    I can no longer eat chicken as it’s reactive with my body. What could I use as an alternative?

  19. Jacque says:

    If u add the egg yolks and then freeze it do the egg yolks do weird things when u heat it up again?

    • Quirky Cooking Team says:

      Hi Jaque. This soup can be easily frozen and then reheated without any issues:-). Enjoy.

    • Quirky Cooking Team says:

      Hi Jane. Unfortunately I have never made it in a pressure cooker so not really sure. I guess you would have to minimize the cooking time…Good luck.

  20. Emil Ryan says:

    Hi Jo,
    Great recipe! I got the “thumbs up” from the family tonight as we ate your soup. It was delicious!

  21. Skye says:

    I’ve lost count how many times I’ve made this soup! It is my go-to for cold winter nights or feeling a bit ‘blah’. So nourishing and smells amazing! Thanks Jo 🙂

  22. Ryan Meddings says:

    Thanks for the recipe, been eyeing it off for a long time but only just got around to making it. turned out well except I can’t have garlic and onion so it was a little bland, as is everything when I cant eat the two main flavour foods!! but the family still liked it.

  23. Morlife! says:

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful chicken soup recipe! It looks delicious and perfect for fighting off those colds and flus. I can’t wait to try it. Your detailed instructions and tips are much appreciated. Keep up the great work!”

  24. Morlife! says:

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful chicken soup recipe! It looks delicious and perfect for fighting off those colds and flus. I can’t wait to try it.

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