General Question

cosmicprawn's avatar

Do you need to cook chicken before boiling when making a soup?

Asked by cosmicprawn (107points) October 26th, 2011

This is probably a stupid question, but i am relatively new to cooking and am going to make a chicken soup today to banish my cold! I bought some raw chicken and the recipe does not mention anything about frying/cooking it before boiling. I am guessing you have to fry the chicken (and mushrooms) before… please can someone confirm this?

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15 Answers

keobooks's avatar

It depends on the recipe. If it needs cooked chicken, it usually specifically mentions it.

Quick tip. This may be a little advanced, but if you are feeling daring. If the recipe does want you to use raw chicken, you can just saute it a tiny bit to get it brown to add some flavor. And if it calls for cooked chicken, just roast it in the oven with something to cover it to keep it moist. Frying would be overkill.

That can be tricky for a newbie, but this one isn’t so much. If there are onions you can also saute them using some oil and cooking them on medium until they are soft—for about 10 minutes. You can toss in the mushrooms for about 2 minutes after that. This can enhance the flavor.

Buttonstc's avatar

If you don’t want the chicken in your soup to be tough as shoe leather, do not boil it.

A bare simmer will be the best way. Slower but much more flavor and tenderness.

This applies to any type of meat. Boiling it is really awful.

My suggestion would be to sauté the ingredients to give them some added flavor first Then add the water or broth start off on high to bring it almost to the boilingand point.

Then turn it down to low and simmer for an hour or so. Simmer is when the bubbles are just gently and slowly breaking the surface.

Since your new to cooking you might want to consider getting a crock pot. They are available for cheap at any thrift store.

There are lots of really good books on crockpot cooking. Many simple “dump” recipes which only require putting in all the ingredients and allowing it to go for 6–8 hours. You can put the contents in before you leave for work and have a delicious dinner waiting for you when you return. Plus a delicious smelling kitchen.

poisonedantidote's avatar

Chicken will be perfectly safe to eat if it is properly cooked regardless of the cooking method, be it baking, frying or boiling, as long as the temperature is high enough for long enough, it will be safe and tasty.

When I make my own chicken soup, I always boil the chicken on the bone, with the other stuff that takes a while to cook, such as carrot and potatoe, once the chicken falls off the bone I remove the bones and add in the other ingredients.

Buttonstc's avatar

This is a great website with lots of recipes for free and all tested by the author on her own family. Lots of good info on crockpot basics too.

I’ve used a lot of her recipes. They’re really good. She’s also published the best ones in book form.

Here’s a similar one with same basic idea. The previous site was the first. I’m not as familiar with this one tho.


If you decide to get a crockpot (or slow cooker) make sure it’s made by Rival. This is the original company and the owners of the copyrighted term “crockpot”.

I bought a off brand one on Craigslist a while back for $5 but it scorched my food even on Low.

Rival Crockpots have MUCH better temperature control. Definitely worth it even if it may cost a few bucks extra.

But used ones are cheap as dirt usually and do the job just as well as a new one so get a Rivsl. I guarantee you’ll love the results.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

What parts of the chicken have you got? Legs, breast, etc?

janbb's avatar

I don’t cook it first – you want the flavor to go in the broth. However, I also don’t eat the chicken after I make the soup because it is fairly tasteless.

marinelife's avatar

Yes, you do need to cook it. Some to make the stock for the soup and some to go in the soup.

Take part of the chicken (including any bones or skin) and cover with enough water to make the stock for the soup. Add a piece of onion, a carrot and a stalk (and any leaves you have) of celery. Season with salt and pepper and simmer on low heat for several hours.

Strain the liquid into another pot or container and throw away the remaining chicken and vegetables.

While the stock is being prepared, cook the remaining chicken by roasting it in a 350 degree oven 30 to 40 minutes. Dice the cooled meat.

Now, assemble your soup ingredients. (Diced onion, celery and carrots are good, You mentioned mushrooms.) Dice (or slice) and saute.

Place the sauteed vegetables and the diced chicken meat in the stock and heat through, Season to taste. (If you are going to put noodles in you can do that first and boil the stock until they are done about ten minutes.)

CWOTUS's avatar

Are you following a recipe from somewhere, or are you trying to invent chicken soup?

If you’re new to cooking then I strongly recommend that you find a recipe that will tell you how to cook the chicken, and how (and when) to cook it in relation to your other ingredients. It will also have recommendations about how much of each ingredient to use relative to each other so that you have a soup that’s not a stew or a broth.

It sounds like you’re trying to wing it, which I would not recommend for a beginning cook. You’re very likely to get sicker instead of better if you don’t cook the chicken properly, and if you make an unpalatable mess because of inexperience, then you’re also likely to give up on cooking. Both of those outcomes would be a shame.

janbb's avatar

Oh well – of course you are cooking it in the soup.

Seek's avatar

I make a pretty kickass chicken soup. People not related to me call to ask for chicken soup when they’re sick.

I always make it from a whole chicken, and always roast the chicken first, with plenty of water at the bottom of the roasting pan for basting. The pan drippings+water makes a good addition to the stock after you remove the fat floating on top.

janbb's avatar

Sounds like @CWOTUS ‘s advice is the one to follow: look up some recipes and then decide since there are many different ways..

wundayatta's avatar

I like @marinelife‘s recipe best, although roasting the chicken first, as @Seek_Kolinahr says, is equally good. I usually use leftover bones and backs and other chicken parts to make my soup with. They can come from a roast chicken or various other dishes that leave bones with scraps of meat on them. I usually freeze them a while until I have enough. Or, if it’s right after Thanksgiving or Christmas, I make a soup almost immediately with the carcass of the turkey or goose. Goose makes excellent broth.

It is my belief that it is either garlic or, most likely, the herbs you put in that make the soup or broth so healing. I put in all kinds of herbs. Everything I can think of. Basil, oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves and lemon grass. There are probably things I’ve left out. Salt is pretty important.

The vegies are simple. Celery (including the greens, but not too much—maybe two stalks) a carrot (any size but small), a medium sized onion, and, if you like, garlic (a few cloves). Also, if you want a spicy broth, throw in a dried pepper or two, to taste. When you strain the broth through a strainer at the end (to get out the rosemary and bones and stuff, you should mash as much of the vegies through the strainer as you can to get extra flavor and goodness. If you make extra broth, you can freeze it so it will be there next time you want to make any kind of soup at all.

I used to go so far as to pick the meat off the soup bones, but the meat, as someone else mentioned, tends to be tough and nasty, so I don’t bother any more. I just make broth. Then if you want soup, go back to @marinelife‘s recipe.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I roast my chickens (or any soup meat first) to get the roasted meat flavor into the broth.

If you are really new to cooking, then you may wish to do a Rachel Ray version. She buys a rotisserie chicken and uses that in her soup. I’ve done it a few times when crunched for time, and it’s almost as yummy as my homemade version.

MissAusten's avatar

Can you post the recipe you are using? That will help in answering this question.

I’ve made soup using raw chicken and I’ve made soup using leftover cooked chicken. If you’re starting with water, gently simmer the chicken in the water until it is cooked through. Remove the meat, reserve the water (which is now broth), let the meat cool until you can handle it, then chop or shred it. Add whatever veggies/seasonings/rice/pasta you want to the broth, cook until those additives are done, then add the chicken just to heat it through. Voila, you have soup.

I’ve noticed when simmering raw chicken, you tend to get this foamy stuff on top of the liquid. Just skim it off.

If you’re starting with canned broth, you can still simmer the chicken in that to cook it. Or, you can cook the chicken some other way then add it to the broth. It really just depends on how complex your recipe is.

My lazy-ish soup recipe: Thaw out some frozen chicken broth (or you could use canned, low sodium fat free broth). Bring the broth to a boil, then add whatever pasta I have in the cabinet. Boil the pasta in the broth until it’s still a few minutes from being done. Add frozen mixed vegetables. Bring back to a boil until pasta is al dente. Add chopped leftover roast chicken. Simmer until heated through. Season to taste with salt, pepper, oregano, or whatever other herbs I find in my cluttered spice cabinet.

Sometimes instead of pasta, I use leftover rice. Sometimes instead of frozen mixed veggies, I use chopped up fresh carrots. The basic idea is to cook everything in the broth as you go. Soup like this is a good start, and then you can move up to starting with a whole chicken and some sauteed onions. My family loves my lazy soup as much as they love more complicated soups.

Whatever you do, it’s sure to be better than anything you buy in a can.

christine215's avatar

This isn’t MY chicken soup recipe, but I’ve adopted it since someone passed it along to me.
if you don’t have the pieces, I use a whole bird, or sometimes just whatever’s on the bone that is cheap and on sale (leg quarters, drum sticks, backs, etc)

I also add to this in a piece of cheese cloth three or four ¼” slices of fresh ginger, 3–4 whole garlic cloves, 2–3 bay leaves and a small palm full of whole peppercorns

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