Turmeric Ginger Chicken Soup

Wholesome, health restoring ginger turmeric chicken soup is worth the effort.

The soup takes time to cook. If you’re in the mood for a soul-nourishing chicken soup full of anti-inflammatory, flavor-enhancing ginger and turmeric. It’s worth it. A meditative quality to this type of cooking that’s often as satisfying as the actual eating of the soup.

I love the color this soup takes on, a golden orange, thanks to the turmeric. More about this delicious and extremely healthy root, turmeric comes from the Curcuma longa plant, which grows in India and other Southeast Asian countries. The active substance in turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin is what makes turmeric a “functional food,” defined by the Mayo Clinic as “foods that have a potentially positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition.”

Let this chicken-y elixir work its magic on your mind, body, and spirit.

For a shortcut: use store bought chicken stock, shredded rotisserie chicken, and simmer the stock with the garlic, ginger, turmeric, and cilantro… Strain the soup, discard the solids, then add the shredded chicken. Sauté the bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, and carrots in garlic and olive oil, add to the soup, with fresh lemon juice, add the vegetables to the stock, and simmer until carrots are soft and the chicken is heated, and serve with fresh cilantro.

Turmeric Ginger Chicken Soup

A wonderfully nourishing homemade chicken soup with ginger and turmeric.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 4
Author Tania Van Pelt


  • 1 3½ –4-pound chicken or 3 bone-in with skin, chicken thighs
  • 2 medium onions unpeeled, quartered
  • 2 heads of garlic unpeeled, halved crosswise, plus 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 4- inch pieces of ginger unpeeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon halved
  • Fresh cilantro
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 12 ounces carrots about 4 medium, peeled, cut into ½-inch pieces on a diagonal
  • 4 ounces of shiitake mushrooms about 1 cup, diced
  • 3 to 4 leaves of bok choy white and green parts, sliced


  1. Place chicken, onions, garlic, ginger, bay leaves, turmeric, peppercorns, a few stems of cilantro, and several pinches of salt in a large pot. Pour in cold water to cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and gently simmer until chicken is done, 30–35 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and let cool slightly; keep stock simmering. Remove skin from chicken; discard. Pull meat from bones and shred into bite-size pieces; set aside. Return bones and carcass to stock. Add the tamari or soy sauce and juice from half a lemon. Increase heat and bring stock to a boil, for about 15–20 minutes. Season with more salt if needed.
  2. Strain stock into a large saucepan; discard solids.
  3. In a large pan, add the olive oil and minced garlic, sauté at medium-high heat until garlic is fragrant, add the mushrooms and carrots, cook for about 5 minutes until mushrooms soften. Add the bok choy, cook until bok choy wilts, about 3-5 minutes. Squeeze juice from half a lemon. Add the vegetable mixture to the soup.
  4. Add shredded chicken meat to stock and cook just until the carrots are tender and the chicken is heated through; season stock with more salt if needed. Ladle into bowls. Top soup with fresh cilantro.

Recipe Notes

If you find cooking a whole chicken daunting, try a few bone-in chicken thighs (with skin). They're easier to strip of their meat, and they are flavorful. Not quite as much as a whole chicken, but close enough. And, I find the tamari adds a nice layer of flavor.
For a quick short-cut, buy both chicken stock and a rotisserie chicken. You can simmer the store-bought stock with the ginger, bay leaves, turmeric, cilantro, and peppercorns, or just the turmeric and ginger, for about 20 minutes, and then strain it before adding the chicken meat and other vegetables.

Adapted from Bon Appetit