Creamy Chicken and Vegetable Soup, made from scratch, is an easy and healthy-ish dinner, filled with all your favorite vegetables like carrots, celery and onion, and wonderful mild spices like turmeric, paprika and bay leaf. Packing the flavor without weighing you down!
The ultimate comfort food is a warming bowl of soup. Every sip warms us through the core, and adding nutritious vegetables and chicken and we have a filling and delicious meal. Of course, soup is also a great excuse to dig up those bacon and cheese dinner rolls from the freezer!
Always have bread rolls in your freezer, rule #1. This also applies to ‘dessert rolls’, which includes cinnamon rolls, basic sweet buns, vanilla crescent rolls and Norwegian vanilla custard coconut buns.
Have them all in the freezer, because you never know when that craving hits. In a 300F (150C) oven for 10-15 minutes, and you have what feel and taste like fresh buns out of the oven!
This creamy vegetable and chicken soup can be made all year round, from cozy soup season in the winter, or when the vegetables are at their best in your garden. You can customize the soup to whatever vegetables you have, herbs you prefer, and overall what soup mood you’re in today.
What can I add to soup to make it thick and creamy?
For starters, to make a creamy soup you usually add milk or heavy cream. This recipe uses milk to make it a little healthier, but heavy cream would make it even creamier. If you can't eat dairy, coconut milk is a great option. Both light and full-fat can work beautifully.
To make the soup thicker, yes, the milk and/or heavy cream will help thicken it, but sometimes that is not enough. You can use thickeners like potatoes (like I do in this roasted garlic chickpea soup!), rice, cornstarch and a roux. Whatever you choose, is fine. For this recipe, I made a roux.
A roux is a mixture of equal parts flour and fat (oil or butter) by weight, that forms into a paste, and once combined with the soup, the soup will thicken. In a saucepan on medium heat, add the fat and once it's hot, add in the flour. Whisk until it forms a paste, and let it cook for about 1 minute to get rid of the floury taste.
To make brown sauces, this roux is simply cooked for much longer to brown. Here though, 1-2 minutes is enough.
If you want to use potatoes, you can simply add a tiny piece of potato (like 1 tablespoon sized), to the soup, and the starch will thicken the soup. You could also mix 2 teaspoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water before mixing it in the soup, and it will become thicker rather instantly.
Rice is also a great way of thickening up the soup, and adding rice will make the soup more filling and comforting too.
Make creamy chicken soup with rice
You will need to omit the roux, and add more liquid to the soup. So when you're adding all the chicken broth, add an additional 1 cup of water or broth. I prefer to use brown rice or wild rice (or a combination) in soups, but jasmine or basmati works too.
Brown and wild rice needs longer cook time, about 40 minutes, while white takes closer to 20 minutes. Add ⅓ cup of your preferred rice when it is about that long left of the cooking time. But either way, just cook until the rice grains are done, no need to worry about drying out the chicken, because it is encapsulated in all this delicious broth.
If it is still too thick, just add more water or broth as desired. If you find it too thin, add 1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed in 1 tablespoon water.
How to make soup more flavorful
I think this soup already is packing a lot of flavor, and especially considering how easy it is to make. But there are some ways in which you can get any soup more flavorful:
- Brown (sear) the chicken to get more flavor on the chicken with that golden crust. This is what I do in this Thai chicken noodle soup.
- Roasting the vegetables in the oven will develop and deepen the flavors of the vegetables. For example, this roasted tomato soup tastes very different from my easy tomato white bean soup (although both are delicious!)
- Homemade chicken stock or vegetable stock/broth will always make everything taste better, I don't have a recipe for this but you can try Went Here 8 This' Crockpot Chicken Broth or That Girl Cooks Healthy's Vegetable Stock.
- Fresh high-quality ingredients. What you put in, is what you get! So unflavorful vegetables will also lead to an unflavorful soup!
- More spices and flavor enhancers like garlic, ginger, herbs, turmeric or chili for more heat.
How to make this creamy vegetable and chicken soup even healthier
This soup is already fairly healthy. It is packed with nutrition from the vegetables and chicken, but also from the milk and spices. There are two things that can be better, and that is using a potato for thickener and omitting the butter.
You could omit the roux to make it gluten-free. Use a small potato in the soup instead, to help thicken the soup. Add it before simmering for 45-60 minutes. Or use any of the other tips mentioned above to thicken the soup.
I’m a firm believer in making tasty food, and will therefore not omit the butter. As butter is the tastiest thing on earth. Yes. However, it is perfectly doable and the soup will still taste fantastic.
Creamy Chicken and Vegetable Soup Recipe
To make this chicken and vegetable soup, you will have to first make the roux. In a small saucepan, add 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter to medium-high heat. Once hot, add in the flour and whisk until it forms a paste. Cook for about 1-2 minutes or until it turns a light golden color. Slowly, whisk in about ½ cup of chicken stock, and whisk vigorously until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
Add 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add in the carrots, celery, and onion and cook until the onion is translucent - about 7 minutes. Add the leek and minced garlic and cook for another minute.
If needed, add a splash (about 2 tbsp) of dry white wine, cooking sherry or even water to the saucepan and scrape the bottom to deglaze the pan. Here are a lot of delicious flavors.
Now slowly pour in the rest of the chicken broth and the roux in the first step. Stir well while you bring it up to a boil and then reduce it to a simmer. Now add in all the other ingredients apart from chicken and garnishes. Simmer for 45-60 minutes, then taste and adjust seasonings.
Pan fry vs rotisserie chicken
If you're in a hurry, a rotisserie chicken is a convenient choice. As I mentioned above, you get more flavor by searing the chicken, and if that's enticing to you here's how you do it: pan fry two cubed chicken breasts in 1 tablespoon oil, on high heat for about a minute or two to get a nice sear, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
You can also use the spices that you have in the soup. Let them continue to cook in the soup.
When ready to serve, discard the bay leaf and garnish with fresh parsley, and a sprinkle of cheese if desired. I love to serve it with good bread like these cheese and bacon dinner rolls or whole wheat bread rolls for a healthier option.
Did you like this chicken and vegetable soup? Here are more soup recipes I think you will like:
- Skinny Thai Chicken Noodle Soup
- Butternut and Chevre Soup with Roasted Garlic
- Lemongrass Noodle Soup (Vegan)
- Tomato White Bean Soup
- Curry Coconut Carrot Soup
- Roasted Tomato Soup with Herbs
- Ukrainian Borscht Soup (Beet Soup)
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