Nothing in the world says “Shabbat” quite like chicken soup. Here is the recipe for my husband Bill's traditional Chicken Soup. I hope you enjoy it as much as our family and guests do!

Jeanie Milbauer July 01, 2022 • 5 min read

Nothing in the world says “Shabbat” quite like chicken soup. The aroma of chicken soup wafting through the house can act as a family notification system: get ready, everyone, Shabbat is coming. 

Also known as “Jewish penicillin,” chicken soup is the perfect antidote to whatever has been ailing you this past week. Stressed at work? Chicken soup can help you release serotonin, making you feel calmer. Feeling under the weather? Chicken soup is a great way to hydrate. Made-with-love chicken soup is comforting and healing.

Here is the recipe for my husband Bill's traditional Chicken Soup. I hope you enjoy it as much as our family and guests do!

Prep Time: 20 minutes (think: chopping vegetables)

Simmer Time: 60 minutes 

Yield: 6-8 people


  • A big pot with a cover that fits approximately 7 qts.

  • Olive oil

  • 8 oz of sliced mushrooms 

  • Hot sauce (e.g., Red Hot)

  • 2 large diced white onions  

  • 3 good-sized turnips — cut into ¼" pieces 

  • 6-7 carrots cut into 1” pieces

  • 2 sweet potatoes — peeled, cut into 1” chunks

  • 2-3 parsnips — peeled, cut into 1” chunks

  • Black pepper — a teaspoon

  • Peppercorns — a tablespoon

  • Two leeks — cut the white part into ¼ inch pieces

  • 2-3 boxes of 32 oz Organic Kosher Chicken Stock (The chicken stock is important to get right. You want one that is dark and rich in color.)

  • 2-3 boneless chicken breasts with skin 

  • 4 chicken legs with skin


  • Add a generous splash of the olive oil to the pot over medium heat, then add the white onions, mushrooms, black pepper and a tablespoon of hot sauce. Stir occasionally until the onions are translucent.  
  • Place the chicken breasts in the pot, skin side down. Stir the pot a few times, then add the chicken legs on top and all the remaining ingredients except the broth. Let it cook for 5 minutes so the chicken breasts brown.  
  • Pour in the chicken broth until it covers the ingredients by around an inch to an inch and a half – this is usually two cartons of broth, sometimes 2 ½.  
  • Add the peppercorns, another tablespoon of hot sauce and a teaspoon of black pepper. Stir.  
  • Turn the heat up to high, and bring to a boil without the lid.  
  • Once the pot is boiling, lower to a simmer, stir the ingredients and put the lid on.
  • Stir twice or so in the next 60 minutes if you can. If you are busy – finishing work, setting the table, watching Netflix – no problem. Stirring is good, but optional.  
  • Turn the pot off, give it a final stir and leave it covered.
  • When ready to serve, fish out the chicken leg bones with a slotted spoon and cut up the chicken breasts while removing the skin. Stir the pot three or four times and re-heat briefly when ready to serve. (If you are serving kids, watch for bones in case you didn’t get them all.)  

A word on the chicken broth. My husband likes a dark and hearty one with salt (which is why his recipe doesn’t add salt). Empire Kosher, Manischewitz, Tabathchnick and Imagine among others make kosher chicken broth. 


“To be spiritual is to be amazed.”– Abraham Joshua Heschel