This Nourishing Jamaican Chicken Soup recipe is sure to be the next best soup you'll ever make and you're guaranteed to be satisfied while highly nourished with the nutrients included in every bite. A great weeknight option or weekend addition in spite of the season, this soup boasts of it’s major flavor factor and comes loaded with chicken, carrots, onions, garlic, potatoes, corn, dumplings, seasonings + herbs, and chicken broth. Slow Cooker + Gluten-Free options.
I love to go back to my Jamaican roots when I'm craving comfort food. But comfort food doesn't have to be all about Mac and Cheese and Donuts (of course, there's always a time and place for those) and this Nourishing Jamaican Chicken Soup speaks volumes. This chicken dumpling soup is spiced with Jamaican flavors and keeps things pretty traditional, especially when it comes to the inclusion of "spinners" aka dumplings. Plus, it's the best thing to enjoy when you want something hearty, warm, or need to feel better when sick.
This is often the million dollar question because not only is chicken soup delicious, but if you've ever been sick and needed something that brought comfort and some sort of healing, then you know that chicken soup does the trick oftentimes. Why? Well, because it's packed with a variety of vitamins and nutrients, including protein, B Vitamins, Vitamin C, amino acids, and others.
What is Jamaican Chicken Soup?
Jamaican Chicken Soup is a traditional hearty soup that is usually served on Saturdays--although it is not required to have a specific day or time. Usually, it's made with a chicken and pumpkin base and then filled with vegetables, dumplings, and provisions such as potatoes, yams, or sweet potatoes.
Why You'll Love This Jamaican Chicken Soup
Here are just a few reasons that you'll be making this hearty chicken soup recipe on repeat:
It's full of flavor, thanks to dried spices and veggies
It offers essential vitamins and minerals, plus protein and fiber
You can make it ahead of time (it's even better the next day)
It's fully kid-approved for a family meal!
How to Make Jamaican Chicken Soup
To make this nourishing one-pot chicken soup, you'll start by seasoning and searing the sides of your chicken first and then setting it aside. Then to finish the soup, you'll need a pot on the stove to sauté the garlic, onions, and carrots followed by the herbs and seasonings as well as the scotch bonnet peppers. The seared chicken, potatoes, corn, along with the remaining ingredients go into the pot for the soup. Let it simmer a bit more until the chicken and veggies are tender and wallah! Nice, aromatic results.
Chicken Soup Ingredients
To finish the soup recipe, you'll need:
Chicken. You can use a mixture of thighs, breasts, and drumsticks, just remove the skin first.
Corn. Use fresh or frozen corn. You can choose either to keep the corn on the cobs large or cut them into smaller pieces.
Potatoes. Keep things traditional with Irish potatoes, however, you can use baby red potatoes or russet or Yukon gold potatoes for the best texture. Peeled + cubed is what you need.
Olive oil. You can also use Avocado oil, Grapeseed oil or coconut oil as well.
Red onion. Substitute with yellow or white if that’s what you have.
Dried herbs and spices. I love to season my dishes in "layers" which means that marinating your chicken overnight in seasoning is best! Generally, you'll need a combination of salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, and an all-purpose seasoning-----Flavo Rice is an authentic Jamaican seasoning.
Thyme. I recommend fresh, but if you only have dried, use a half teaspoon.
Chicken stock. If you're buying it from the store, use low-sodium. Or make your own! You can also sub with veggie stock or water.
Organic bone broth. This adds wonderful body and collagen to your soup. It's also full of nourishing vitamins and minerals to help you feel (and look) great.
Garlic. I prefer fresh, but you could substitute with 1 Tablespoon garlic powder in a pinch for a bold flavor.
Carrots. For flavor, color, and nutrition.
Scotch bonnet peppers. These pack some heat, so if you're sensitive to spice, you can use habaneros or jalapeños instead.
Turmeric powder. This adds a nice sunny color to the dish and an earthy flavor.
Adding Chicken Bone Broth: The Extra Nutrients
I truly love adding bone broth to many of my soups for that extra nourishment and it really does do the trick! Incase you aren't familiar, bone broth is the clear, protein-rich liquid obtained by simmering meaty joints (in this case chicken) and bones in water to pull the nutrients out. Much like regular stock, bone broth can be used as a great base for soups, stews, and risottos---although, I love drinking it warm in a mug whenever I'm sick or need some aid in my recovery. My fave brands are Bare & Bones as well as Kettle & Fire.
Breakdown of health benefits:
Good for digestion and gut health
May support immune function
May support joint health
May help promote sleep
Is Chicken Noodle Soup Healthy?
Absolutely! Homemade chicken dumpling soup is much healthier than store-bought ones, which often include high-levels of sodium, preservatives, artificial flavors, etc. Plus, you have a lot more control over the ingredients used this recipe and you're able to purchase organic, healthier ingredients to make up your nourishing soup and provide you with loads of vitamins and nutrients.
Tips + Secret To Making Good Soup Every Time:
Now, if you're intimidated with making soup or are concerned that it won't turn out as delicious, no worries. In my experience with making many different types of soup and watching the adults around me make a TON of soup (it's a staple in the Jamaican culture), I've learned a few things along the way that can help you make really good soup, including this Nourishing Jamaican Chicken Soup:
Chop your veggies and ingredients into bite-sized pieces for greater ease when eating.
ALWAYS sauté your veggies, especially the garlic, onions, etc.
Make your own stock if you can or use water as your base with seasonings + herbs for a great taste. If using store-bought stock/broth, always purchase high-quality ones.
Let it simmer. While you might be tempted to cook your soup on high for a faster cook time, it's definitely BEST to let everything simmer and allow the flavors to "fuse" together slowly.
If using meat, always sear your meat in the pot first prior to adding it to the soup to cook the rest of the way.
If adding dairy or an alternative, always stir it in last or during the final few minutes.
To thicken (if needed), always mix your thickener (flour, arrowroot, starch, etc.) in a small bowl with some of the hot broth from your soup before adding it to the entire pot of soup. This prevents lumps and gives you a nice creaminess.
How to Make Dumplings aka "Spinners" for Chicken Soup
Instead of noodles, this Jamaican chicken soup is bulked up with tender and fluffy dumplings called spinners. They're made from:
Flour. I use organic all-purpose from Bob's Red Mill.
Water. Start with ¼ cup, then add more to bring your dumplings together.
The spinners are super easy to make and just use three ingredients. The one key is to not add all of your water at once. This will make a too-wet dough that will fall apart when you cook them. Making spinners is also a fun task for little ones to help with if you have kids in the kitchen.
What is Ground Provision?
For many of you, this term might be new. However, in Jamaica "ground provision" refers to any starchy vegetable that grows underground and need to be dug up when harvested. Some common provisions include potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, cassava, etc.
In addition, there are other provision foods that Jamaicans enjoy as well which include plantains, green bananas, breadfruit, etc.
What Gives Chicken Soup the Most Flavor?
In general, the most flavors come from the herbs + seasonings used. For this chicken dumpling soup recipe, you'll get a ton of flavor from the salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic, onions, thyme sprigs, scotch bonnet peppers, chicken stock + bone broth, as well as the chicken itself.
How to Cook Chicken for Soup?
In this recipe, I usually start by searing my chicken and then allowing it to cook along with the remaining ingredients in the soup until tender and cooked through. However, if you'd like to use chicken breasts and cook them and shred them and then add them to this soup, that's fine also. See my Nourishing Chicken Noodle Soup on how to best shred cooked chicken breast.
What to Eat with this Jamaican Chicken Soup Recipe?
When it comes to pairing this Jamaican chicken soup with a food, traditionally it's enjoyed with some sort of bread (crusty bread or hard dough bread) or crackers (soup crackers or water crackers).
Common Q + A's for this Nourishing Jamaican Chicken Soup
Can I Make this Chicken Soup in a Slow Cooker?
Yes! To make this soup in the slow cooker, simply sauté garlic, onions, and carrots, before adding everything (including seared chicken) into your slow cooker and cooking on a low setting for 6-8 hours, stirring occasionally.
Is this Jamaican Chicken Soup Spicy?
Yes, it is! Traditionally, Jamaican soups usually have a "kick" to them in terms of spiciness, however, you can make this soup less spicy by adding less peppers.
What Type of Pumpkin Should I use?
If you'd like to keep things more traditional with the addition of pumpkin, the best varieties of pumpkin I’ve used are Jamaican pumpkin or kabocha, calabaza and butternut squash.
Can I Make this Soup Gluten-Free?
Of course! The base of this soup is actually entirely gluten-free, however, to ensure that it's fully free of gluten, you can make the dumplings using gluten-free flour.
Can I Make this Soup Ahead of time?
Absolutely! You can easily marinate your chicken overnight (or up to 2 days) prior as well as prep/chop your veggies and store them in air-tight containers in the fridge. However, it's always best to make everything the day of when making this soup.
Why Add Turmeric?
While adding turmeric is optional, it definitely has benefits: powerful medicinal properties, natural anti-inflammatory ingredient, increases antioxidant activity in the body, and more.
Where Can I Find the Ingredients in this Soup?
Most of the ingredients in this soup can be found at your local grocer, however, there might be a few specialty ingredients like the scotch bonnet peppers, Jamaican all-purpose seasoning, bone broth, pumpkin, etc. that can be found online via Amazon or at a local Caribbean or West Indian Food Market.
How to Best Store + Reheat Chicken Soup
Leftovers can be stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, for optimal freshness. Can also be frozen for 4-6 months. To defrost, simply place soup in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature before re-heating on the stove top to serve.
To reheat this soup, it's always best to do so over the stovetop or microwave. When reheating on the stovetop, you can add additional water, chicken stock, or bone broth to create more of a liquid base if needed since the chicken and dumplings might soak up most of the liquids when refrigerated.
2lbs.organic chicken(You can use drumsticks, breasts, thighs, etc.)
1teaspoonall-purpose seasoning(I love using Flavo Rice)
2TbspsExtra virgin olive oil
3cupsorganic chicken stock, low-sodium(You can sub with vegetable stock or water, if desired)
2(16 oz.) bagsorganic bone broth, chicken
2largecarrots, peeled + chopped
½red onion, chopped
4garlic cloves, minced
handfulfresh thyme sprigs
3-4scotch bonnet peppers, chopped or slit on the sides(You can also use habanero peppers; Reduce amount for less spicy flavor, if needed )
2Irish potatoes, peeled + cubed into medium chunks(You can sub with Yukon or Russet potatoes)
4-6mini corn on the cob
JAMAICAN "SPINNERS" (DUMPLINGS):
1cuporganic all-purpose flour
¼cupfiltered cold water (Plus more if needed)
SEASON THE CHICKEN:
In a bowl, add your freshly cleaned + rinsed chicken along with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, all-purpose seasoning, and onion powder, mixing everything together until chicken is fully coated.
SEAR THE CHICKEN:
In a dutch oven pot over medium-high heat, add 2 Tbsps olive oil until heated. Once hot, add your chicken and sear on each side, about 2-3 minutes per side. When done, remove from pot and let chicken be set aside until ready to use again.
TO MAKE THE SOUP:
In the same dutch oven, add another tablespoon of olive oil and add the onions and garlic, sautéing until fragrant and translucent, about 1-2 minutes.
Add the chopped carrots followed by: the salt, black pepper, parsley, basil, turmeric, and garlic powder, and stir together until combined and veggies are coated.
Add in the seared chicken, chicken stock, bone broth (if using), corn cobs, potatoes, thyme sprigs, and scotch bonnet peppers, stirring everything together until combined. Bring everything to a boil.
TO MAKE THE JAMAICAN "SPINNERS" (DUMPLINGS):
Start by adding the flour, salt, and black pepper to a bowl and whisk everything together. Slowly add the cold water and gently knead together until a stiff dough is formed. NOTE: Do NOT ADD ALL THE WATER AT ONCE; DON'T MAKE THE DOUGH TOO MOIST!
Pinch off a small pieces of dough and gently roll dough into the palms of both of your hands together until a long, round-like dumpling is formed. Repeat until all dumplings are made. Add dumplings to the soup and stir them in gently.
Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken and dumplings are fully cooked through. Add additional salt, to taste if necessary.
Remove from heat and serve immediately into prepared bowl(s) and enjoy with a side of crackers, if desired.
Tips & Tricks
STORAGE: Leftovers can be stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, for optimal freshness. Can also be frozen for 4-6 months. To defrost, simply place soup in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature before re-heating on the stove top to serve.
BONE BROTH: Bone broth has incredible health benefits which include: immune boosting properties, good for digestion + gut health, joint health, etc.; However, if you'd like to make this soup vegan----be sure to omit the bone broth and sub with additional veggie stock.
SLOW COOKER OPTION: To make this soup in the slow cooker, simply sauté garlic, onions, and carrots, before adding everything (including seared chicken) into your slow cooker and cooking on a low setting for 6-8 hours, stirring occasionally.
GLUTEN-FREE DUMPLINGS: You can substitute flour with GF flour to make these dumplings gluten-free friendly.
SPICES/HERBS: If desired, you can reduce the amounts slightly. Please know that this recipe is bold in spice/herb flavor, so feel free to adjust based on your tastebuds.
TURMERIC: While adding turmeric is optional, it definitely has benefits: powerful medicinal properties, natural anti-inflammatory ingredient, increases antioxidant activity in the body, and more.