This is the chicken soup you'll be having on repeat! Loaded with fresh lemon juice, and amped up with veggies, herbs, and warm spices, this Mediterranean-style turmeric lemon chicken soup is delicious, nutritious and comforting in the best way possible!

chicken soup with lemon, turmeric, carrots, spinach, and fresh herbs in a bowl

The chicken soup you'll be having on repeat!

Homemade chicken soup is just what the doctor ordered! And it’s even better prepared Mediterranean-style with homemade broth, chopped veggies, fresh herbs, and loads of fresh lemon juice.  A foursome of warm spices — coriander, Aleppo pepper, ground ginger, and turmeric — give this extra cozy soup a unique and delicious Eastern Mediterranean vibe!  

In my house, particularly during the cooler months, chicken soup with an extra dose of freshly squeezed lemon juice is often on the menu. We rotate my Greek avgolemono soup with rice, lemon chicken orzo soup, and something more brothy like today’s chicken and vegetable soup accented with bold, healing spices.  Either way you can’t go wrong!

This turmeric lemon chicken soup though is the comforting elixir we all need: I think of it as a delicious way to detox and hit “reset.”

Ingredients: What you’ll need for this chicken soup

With just a few simple ingredients, you can have fragrant, zesty chicken soup ready in no time. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • Boneless skinless chicken breast – You can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs if you prefer
  • Yellow onion – Cut the onion into quarters, and you can leave the skin on for more flavor (this will just be used to make the broth)
  • Garlic cloves – 4 large cloves
  • Extra virgin olive oil – I used our Early Harvest Greek EVOO, an intense oil with a fruity, peppery finish and some healing qualities of its own. Our Hojiblanca Spanish olive oil is also another one that will work great here!
  • Carrots – Peeled and thinly sliced into rounds, carrots add subtle sweetness.
  • Baby spinach – A generous 2 cups get stirred in at the very end to add a pop of green and, more importantly, nutrients like iron, folate, and vitamin A.
  • Spices and seasonings: Ground coriander, Aleppo pepper, ground ginger, and turmeric. This combination of spices adds layers of warmth and earthiness to this cozy chicken soup, while giving it a unique Eastern Mediterranean vibe. When it comes to turmeric, just a little bit is all you need (no more than ½ teaspoon), which gives the soup a beautiful golden hue. And don’t worry, Aleppo pepper is not too spicy, but it will add a subtle kick with a hint of sweetness.
  • Fresh dill and fresh parsley – Chopped dill and parsley for an herby, fresh finish that balances the warmth of the spices.
  • Lemons – You’ll need zest and juice of 2 large lemons! The acid from the lemon juice will give tang and brightness, while infusing the soup with some needed vitamin C.
lemon chicken soup in a blue and white bowl with a spoon

How to make lemon chicken soup

This simple soup takes just a few steps! Here’s how to make it:

  • Make the chicken broth. Add 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 breast halves) and 6 cups of water to a large Dutch oven or pot. Make sure you are using a pot large enough to boil the chicken (you’ll be using this one pot to make the entire soup). Season with kosher salt and pepper, and add 1 quartered yellow onion and 2 whole garlic cloves to the pot.

    Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat and allow the broth to simmer until the chicken is cooked (about 20 minutes). Move the cooked chicken to a cutting board and shred it. I recommend using two forks and not your fingers, as the chicken will be very hot. Strain the broth into a large bowl using a mesh strainer and discard the onion and garlic.

    Note: you can do this step ahead of time and keep the chicken and strained broth in the fridge. Or, if using already cooked chicken (like leftover rotisserie chicken), you can skip this step and use quality store-bought broth.

    chicken breasts boiling with onions
  • Sauté the carrots, garlic, and chicken. After wiping the pot with a paper towel (be careful, as the pot will still be hot from the broth), return it to the heat. Over medium heat, warm a couple tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and add 2 cloves minced garlic and 2 carrots (thinly sliced into rounds). Add a good pinch of kosher salt and black pepper. Add the spices (1 teaspoon coriander, 1 teaspoon Aleppo-style pepper, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, and ½ teaspoon turmeric). Return the shredded chicken to the pot, season with kosher salt, and toss everything around briefly.

    shredded chicken in a pot with carrots and turmeric
  • Add the broth and cook. Pour the homemade chicken broth back into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover partway, leaving just a little bit of an opening at the top. Cook until the carrots are tender and cooked through. (This will take 15 to 20 minutes.)
  • Finish with the spinach, fresh herbs, and lemon. Remove the pot from the heat and  stir in 2 cups baby spinach (the spinach will wilt quickly), ¼ cup chopped fresh dill, ½ cup chopped fresh parsley, and the juice and zest of 2 lemons.

    soup with carrots, fresh herbs, spinach, chicken, and green onions
  • Serve! Ladle the chicken soup into bowls and enjoy!

    top view of lemon chicken soup in a bowl

Shortcut homemade chicken soup

If you’re planning to make this healthy chicken soup on a weeknight and need to save some time, here are a couple of tips that will shave off a good 20 minutes:

  • Use leftover chicken. If you have some cooked chicken on hand (or even leftover rotisserie chicken), you can skip the first step of making the broth from scratch. Simply use quality store-bought low-sodium chicken broth.
  • Make the broth in advance. The boiled chicken and homemade chicken broth will last 3 to 4 days! So, you can follow the first step of the recipe to boil the chicken ahead of time and save the chicken and broth in the fridge until the next day or two when you are ready to make the soup. You can also freeze the boiled chicken and the broth in separate containers for later use. (Don’t shred the chicken before freezing as this will dry it out.) Simply thaw both out in the fridge a night ahead of when you plan to make the soup. Shred the chicken when it is defrosted.

Variations

With chicken soup, the possibilities for variations are endless!

  • Add more vegetables! I love the idea of using up what vegetables I have on hand in a soup like this. You can add chopped celery or small-cubed zucchini, potatoes, or small broccoli florets, for example. If you do, make sure you add them in at the very beginning when you sauté the carrots and garlic. Check out my vegetable soup for inspiration. Or, for a vegan soup with a similar flavor profile, see my "detox" cabbage soup with turmeric and ginger.
  • Add grains or chickpeas to bulk up the chicken soup. If you’re after something thicker or want to add volume to your soup so it’s even more filling, you can add cooked rice or orzo, or canned chickpeas (just rinse the chickpeas and add them in early with the carrots and garlic).

    Orzo pasta cooks fast, so you can either cook it in advance and add some to individual servings of soup, or add the uncooked orzo to the soup about 7 to 9 minutes before the soup is finished cooking.
chicken soup with lemon and turmeric in a bowl

Serve it with

I like how this turmeric lemon chicken soup is both light and comforting at the same time, so I enjoy eating it by itself or with a little crusty bread. It’s never a bad idea to add a big salad for some soup-n-salad action!

Leftovers and storage

Store leftover turmeric chicken soup in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for about 3 days (unless you’ve worked in advance to cook the chicken or make the broth).

To reheat, transfer the soup to a pot and bring it to a gentle boil over medium heat. Once boiling, remove from the heat and serve.

Other soup recipes to try

Hungry for more? Here are all our Mediterranean Recipes!

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4.93 from 116 votes

Mediterranean-Style Turmeric Lemon Chicken Soup

Suzy Karadsheh
homemade chicken soup with lemon in a bowl
This is the chicken soup you'll be making on repeat! Prepared Mediterranean-style with loads with fresh lemon juice, veggies, herbs, and warm spices, this turmeric lemon chicken soup is nutritious and comforting in the best way. Make it your own and add different veggies or even a handful of chickpeas for some bulk. See suggestions and notes within the post.
Prep – 10 minutes
Cook – 40 minutes
Cuisine:
Mediterranean
Serves – 4 people
Course:
Entree, Soup

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound boneless chicken breast
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 4 large garlic cloves, divided (2 whole, 2 minced)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced into rounds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo Pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Juice and zest of 2 lemons

Instructions
 

  • In a large Dutch oven or pot, combine the chicken with 6 cups of water. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add the onion and 2 whole garlic cloves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower the heat and let simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
  • When ready, remove the chicken from the pot and carefully shred it using two forks. Strain the broth using a mesh strainer over a large bowl. Discard the onion and garlic. Set the broth in its bowl aside for now.
  • Carefully wipe the pot and return to the heat. Add a couple tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and warm over medium heat. Add the minced garlic, carrots, and spices.
  • Return the shredded chicken to the pot. Stir to combine. Season with kosher salt.
  • Add the cooking broth and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low, and cover partly. Cook for another 15 to 20 minutes (the carrots should be tender and cooked through).
  • Stir in the spinach, herbs, and lemon juice and zest. Transfer to serving bowls. Enjoy!

Video

Notes

  • Shortcut homemade chicken soup
    • Use leftover chicken. If you have some cooked chicken on hand (or even leftover rotisserie chicken), you can skip the step for boiling the chicken and use store-bought low-sodium chicken broth.
    • Make the homemade broth in advance. You can make and strain the broth in advance. Simply freeze it after it returns to room temperature (for broth, I like to use freezer-safe containers instead of bags). You can also freeze the boiled chicken in freezer-safe bags. Simply thaw both out in the fridge a night ahead of when you plan to make the soup.
  • Ingredient variations:
    • Add more vegetables! I love the idea of using up what vegetables I have on hand in a soup like this. You can add chopped celery or small-cubed zucchini, potatoes, or small broccoli florets, for example. If you do, make sure you add them in at the very beginning when you sauté the carrots and garlic. (Check out my vegetable soup for inspiration).
    • Add a grains or chickpeas to bulk up the chicken soup. If you’re after something thicker or want to add volume to your soup so it’s even more filling, you can add cooked rice or orzo, or canned chickpeas (just rinse the chickpeas and add them in early with the carrots and garlic). Orzo pasta cooks faster, so you can either cook it in advance and add some to individual servings of soup, or add the uncooked orzo to the soup about 7 to 9 minutes before the soup is finished cooking.
  • Leftovers and storage: Store leftover turmeric chicken soup in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for about 3 days (unless you’ve worked in advance to cook the chicken or make the broth). To reheat, transfer to a pot and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Once boiling, remove from the heat and serve.
  • Visit Our Shop for quality Mediterranean ingredients including extra virgin olive oils and spices (like the coriander, Aleppo pepper, and turmeric used in this recipe).

Nutrition

Calories: 167.9kcalCarbohydrates: 8.3gProtein: 25.7gFat: 3.3gSaturated Fat: 0.7gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.9gCholesterol: 72.6mgSodium: 180.5mgPotassium: 736.8mgFiber: 2.3gSugar: 2.8gVitamin A: 7545IUVitamin C: 23mgCalcium: 61.5mgIron: 1.9mg
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4.93 from 116 votes (62 ratings without comment)

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Comments

  1. Allison says:

    5 stars
    This is SO good and easy to make! Thanks for sharing!

  2. D. Johnson says:

    P.P.S. - Oh and I used fresh, grated ginger. Delicious!

  3. D.Johnson says:

    Oh, P.S. - I used boneless skinless chicken thighs instead of breast, because that’s what we had. I cooked it a little longer than the breast called for.

  4. D.Johnson says:

    5 stars
    This soup was good even *without* the Aleppo pepper. It was so good that I ordered Aleppo pepper online, so I can make it again and know what it tastes like with the Aleppo. Looking forward to make it again. It is insanely delicious. My husband *loved* it.

    1. TMD Team says:

      Oh, that Aleppo is really going to take it up a notch! Enjoy!

  5. Mary Lou says:

    5 stars
    This is a new favorite of mine. Just made a second time today.

  6. MGardner says:

    5 stars
    Made this tonight was absolutely amazing. In fairness I had leftover shredded chicken so I actually just did that with chicken broth and sautéed some onions in the actual soup but pretty sure that didn’t change the outcome. The flavors and spices a little bit of lemon, make this just a wonderful combination of tastes. Taste, amazing and so healthy. I have zero guilt eating extra of it.

    1. TMD Team says:

      Oh, leftover chicken will totally work in this recipe when you're short on time! So glad you enjoyed it!!

  7. Glenda R says:

    5 stars
    We love this soup! I added orzo and more chicken broth and/or water just to make it soupier. My husband said that this is his new favorite soup and I’ve already made it twice in two weeks. I’m going to try added some farro to the soup next time and I’m sure it will be just as yummy and filling.

  8. Kim says:

    5 stars
    This was very good and very easy to make.

  9. Stephanie Graziano says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious!!

  10. Stephanie Graziano says:

    This is delicious!! I added 1t salt to the pot which enhanced the lemon flavor. I only used 1 lemon for fear of it being too lemony for me. I used barley for a hearty grain. Lots of carrots and celery. Your recipes are really really good. I recommend them and your book routinely to my patients (I’m a dietitian and diabetes educator). Thanks!!

    1. TMD Team says:

      Thank you so much for your support of The Mediterranean Dish, Stephanie!

  11. Lisa Duval says:

    5 stars
    This soup is amazing!!! so many anti-inflammatory ingredients and just taste refreshing. Thank you.

  12. Amy says:

    5 stars
    This soup was so comforting, nourishing and helped to kick out my son's head cold! I made it as written and it was so easy to come together on a weeknight...but as always I appreciate your short-cuts! 😘

    1. TMD Team says:

      Thanks, Amy! So glad to hear your son is feeling better!

  13. Susan Graham says:

    This is a fabulous soup!! It was super easy to make (I used rotisserie chicken leftovers). It had wonderful flavor!! I’ll be making this soup again!! Thank you Suzy!!

    1. TMD Team says:

      So glad you enjoyed it, Susan!

  14. CJ smith says:

    What salad is best with the Mediterranean Lemon Turmeric Soup & what us a good dessert to compliment the end of the meal

    Have so enjoyed the recipes!
    Thank you!