This is the best chicken and kale soup recipe! Made with immune-boosting ingredients like fresh garlic, leafy green kale, bone broth, and golden turmeric. This healthy chicken soup comes together quickly in one pot and is so easy to make.
I love a classic chicken soup, but I also love taking something as simple as chicken soup and jazzing it up a bit with some extra greens, veggies, and spices. It's so easy and really elevates the nutrition and flavor.
Kale is one of my go-to greens for adding into dishes. Kale is a nutrient powerhouse! It contains fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin E, and many other nutrients. It's no wonder I love using kale in so many of my recipes. It's great in my pesto, apple kale smoothie, and roasted butternut squash salad.
This soup is like a soothing hug... warm, comforting, and cozy. Make sure to get this chicken and kale soup on your list of things to make as we approach cold and flu season. Or get it made now and freeze some for later. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did!
Reasons to Love This Recipe
- EASY - This soup takes 10 minutes of prep and both the chicken and veggies cook in the same pot, so clean up is a breeze!
- DIETARY NEEDS - This chicken kale soup is gluten free, dairy free, Whole 30, Paleo and made from real/whole foods (for Whole30/Paleo make sure your broth doesn't have any added sugars).
- CUSTOMIZABLE - There are lots of ways to customize to your liking!
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
A complete list of ingredients and the amounts can be found in the recipe card below. Specific notes and substitutions are listed here.
CHICKEN BREASTS - I use chicken breasts, but you could use boneless skinless chicken thighs if you prefer. You could also use pulled rotisserie chicken.
CHICKEN BONE BROTH - I like using bone broth for the added health benefits, but you can use any broth or stock you'd like. For Whole30/Paleo make sure your broth doesn't have any added sugar.
KALE - Curly kale or lacinato kale works best. You can swap for spinach if you prefer.
VEGGIES: This chicken kale soup calls for the soup staples; onions, carrots, and celery. Feel free to add whatever other veggies you have on hand.
I highly recommend buying organic for the kale and celery. Both of these are on the Environmental Working Group's dirty dozen list (meaning they contain the highest amounts of pesticides).
Clean food tip: Opt for organic chicken if you can. Chicken that’s been certified organic has not been given antibiotics and has been fed organic feed. In addition, I like to look for certifications like “Certified Humane Raised and Handled”, “Global Animal Partnership” or “Animal Welfare Approved.” This ensures quality treatment of the chickens.
Clean food tip: Look at the ingredient list on your store bought broth. There are some very clean options out there and some not so clean. Some may contain sugar or added flavors, so look for one that contains a short list of ingredients like chicken, vegetables, and spices. Organic is recommended. Some of my go-tos are Pacific Foods, Kettle and Fire, and Bonafide Provisions.
How to Make Chicken Kale Soup
It takes just a few simple steps to make this healthy & easy soup!
- CHOP YOUR VEGGIES: Start this chicken kale soup by chopping up the carrots, onion, celery, and garlic.
- COOK VEGGIES AND SPICES: Add chopped veggies and extra-virgin olive oil to a large stock pot or dutch oven. Cook veggies over medium heat until they begin to soften and onions are translucent (about 10 minutes). After the veggies are cooked, add in the turmeric, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently (this helps to bring out the flavor of the spices/herbs).
- ADD CHICKEN AND BROTH TO VEGGIES: Place the chicken breasts on the cooked veggies and add bay leaves and broth. Turn to high heat to bring broth to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and let chicken cook while broth simmers. The chicken cooks in the broth, so no need to cook the chicken separately. This is such a time saver… and it’s one less dish to clean!
- SHRED COOKED CHICKEN: Once the chicken has cooked, remove the chicken from the soup and shred with two forks. Add shredded chicken back into soup. You could also use a stand mixer or hand held mixer to shred the chicken (yep, you can shred chicken this way)!
- ADD THE KALE AND LET SIMMER: Add kale to soup and allow to wilt (you can also remove the bay leaves at this point). The kale will wilt in the warm soup within minutes. Keep at a low simmer until ready to eat.
- ENJOY this chicken and kale soup!
Add-ins and Variations
One of my favorite things about soup is that there are so many ways to customize it to your liking, and this chicken kale soup is no exception.
VEGETARIAN: Use vegetable broth instead and add in some white beans and/or cooked noodles in place of the chicken (add these in when you add in the kale).
VEGGIES: Go ahead and throw in any veggies of your choice. I kept it pretty standard with this recipe, but broccoli, sweet potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, or green beans would be yummy, too!
EXTRA PROTEIN - Throw in a can of drained/rinsed white beans when adding in the kale.
CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP: Add in some of your favorite cooked noodles.
LEMON: Some fresh lemon juice would be delicious! Try adding some to your bowl or the entire pot.
They both typically contain a mix of vegetables known as mirepoix (a mixture of onions, carrots, and celery) and can be used interchangeably in most recipes.
Stock is made using more of the bones, is typically unseasoned, and thicker than broth (because of the collagen from the bones). Broth is made from more of the meat and seasoned with fresh herbs. Bone broth is also made from bones, but has a much longer cook time than stock and will have a thicker consistency than regular broth.
The broth in soup helps keep you hydrated, the protein in the chicken helps your immune system, the veggies can help fight inflammation, and the turmeric in this soup is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
Yes, the broth cooks the chicken right in the pot. This will kill any bacteria from the chicken. Just ensure the internal temperature of the chicken is 165 F before removing from the pot and shredding.
This chicken kale soup will stay good in the fridge for 4-5 days and can be frozen for up to 3 months. Perfect for meal-prepping! If you don’t already have some, grab some Stasher bags for freezing. They work great and are good for the environment!
More Comforting Recipes
If you make this healthy chicken and kale soup, please let me know what you think! Leave a comment below and/or share a photo on Instagram and mention @CleanPlateMama!
Chicken Kale Soup
- 1 large stock pot or Dutch oven
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 4 celery stalks, chopped
- 5 large carrots, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1-2 tsp. turmeric (see notes)
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. salt (more to taste)
- ½ tsp. ground pepper (more to taste)
- 1-1 ½ lbs. chicken breasts (see notes)
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 cups chicken bone broth (stock or regular broth works too)
- 4 cups curly kale or lacinto kale, stems removed (I prefer curly kale for this soup)
- Heat a large stock pot (or Dutch oven) over medium high heat. Add olive oil, onion, celery, carrots, and garlic. Cook veggies until they begin to soften and onions are translucent (about 10 minutes).
- Add the turmeric, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper, and cook for an additional minute or two, stirring frequently.
- Add uncooked chicken breasts and bay leaves on top of veggies. Pour broth over veggies and chicken, ensuring chicken is fully covered by the broth.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium low and keep at a simmer (uncovered). Simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
- Remove cooked chicken from pot and place on a cutting board. Using two forks, shred the chicken.
- Add shredded chicken back to pot. Add kale and continue to cook until kale is wilted (about two minutes). Keep at a low simmer until you're ready to eat (you can remove the bay leaves at this point).