Sleep Love Eat

{Spicy Scratch Chicken Soup}


Making a good soup is a labour of love. It generally takes a bit of time, and you really want it to be great in the end so that it’s worth all the ingredients and your time and effort. While I still really love our Chicken No Noodle Soup recipe, I wanted to find a second soup to add to our collection, preferably something with a lime-cilantro twist.

After reading about 200 recipes online, I finally stumbled across one with an ingredient list that matched what I had envisioned. I followed the recipe to a T, and, well, it came out quite awful. Heartbreaking as it was, we ended up tossing the whole batch of broth.

Not to be discouraged – I knew the basic ingredient list had potential, so I researched why it came out so awful (it contained entire lime halves – including peel & pith which will make it bitter), tweaked it, practiced it a few more times, and came up with something so delicious that I wanted to share it with you.

This chicken soup has really bright flavors of ginger, lemongrass, cilantro, and lime, and is really fun to make. I especially love that it’s 100% made from scratch, so you have complete control regarding food quality.

While deboning the chicken can be a bit tedious, the meat is so fall-off-the bone that it’s actually much easier than it sounds. If you’re a chicken soup lover, I encourage you to give this a go. It takes 5 or more hours from start to finish (only more if you opt to simmer the broth for longer). It doesn’t take long to prep the ingredients, so even though it takes awhile to simmer, you’ll be free to do other things most of the time.

The ingredients are to scale for level of spiciness desired. We made the 3-Serrano Pepper version. If you do this, please keep in mind that the broth will be quite spicy when you taste it alone, however when you add the chicken meat to it, it mellows out a little bit. If it becomes too spicy, you can always opt to add in more lime juice or even a bit of water at the end.

If you try it, please let us know how it goes!


  • 1 whole Chicken (3-4.5 lbs), rinsed, neck & gizzards removed


  • 1 cup fresh Ginger, diced into 1” pieces, unpeeled


  • 3 Carrots, peeled, cut into thirds
  • 3 stalks Celery, cut into thirds
  • 1 bunch Cilantro Stems (save leaves for garnish)
  • 1 stalk Lemongrass, leaves trimmed & base smashed
  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • 4 Lime Leaves
  • 1/2 tablespoon Whole Peppercorns
  • 1-3 Serrano Chilis, amount based on desire level of spice: 1 = mild spice, 2 = medium spice, 3 = spicy
  • 1-3 tablespoons Sea Salt, to taste
  • 1 Lime, juice only


Soup garnish:


  • reserved Cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup finely diced Red Onion
  • 2 small Chilis, diced or sliced (Cherry Chili Peppers for mild spice or Jalapenos for more spice)



  • Place the whole chicken in a large stockpot (we used an 8 qt pot for a 4.12 lb chicken), and cover completely with cold water. Using medium-high heat, bring to a boil (takes approx 25-35 minutes).


  • Once a boil is reached, add Ginger pieces to the Chicken and water, and reduce heat to medium. Simmer 1 hour.


  • Add all remaining ingredients except for the Lime Juice, Sea Salt, and garnish ingredients. Simmer on Medium for 3 more hours.


  • When done, remove the chicken from the stockpot and place on a platter. Allow the chicken to cool, and then separate the meat into a bowl. Shred it or create bite-size pieces as you do this. The chicken skin and bones can be discarded, or you can return them to the stock if you want to simmer your stock for longer.




  • When ready, remove all vegetables and chicken pieces (if any) from the stockpot, and discard.
  • Strain chicken broth into a large bowl using a fine-mesh strainer.
  • Return the strained broth to the stockpot over low heat. Stir in the Lime Juice and season with Sea Salt to taste (we used 2 tablespoons Sea Salt). Isn’t is beautiful?! I love how homemade broth glistens :)


  • Season the reserved chicken meat to taste (we used 1 tablespoon Sea Salt & cracked Black Pepper.)


  • When ready to serve, place chicken meat and desired garnishes into a bowl.


  • Ladle the warm chicken broth over the garnishes, and serve.


  • Store remaining chicken broth in fridge in small jars for up to 3 days. Freeze for up to 3 months.



Happy eating!



Hitch says hello. He was watching me chop ingredients from the living room :)



  1. Jessica

    I’m making this soup right now. I can’t wait to taste it! The only thing I couldn’t find was like lime leafs, I called around and no one had them. I’m sure this will be a new favorite! Thanks for the recipe! :)

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