This chicken and cabbage soup is a savory combination of juicy chicken thighs, savory potatoes, hearty vegetables, ginger, garlic, and spices. With just a dash of one unexpected ingredient, this recipe is lively, filling, and extremely delicious!
Why You'll Love Cabbage Chicken Soup
I grew up in a predominately Filipino area. Most of my friends and their families were Filipino, and I learned a lot about how to combine and build flavors in their homes.
This chicken soup with cabbage draws on that.
There's a traditional Filipino dish called Tinola, in which chicken pieces are cooked in a ginger broth with garlic and vinegar. When I decided to make chicken and cabbage soup, this was the first thing I thought of.
Never tried it? After I had had soup with a splash of vinegar, I never went back.
It's bright, fresh, and brings all of the flavors in the soup to life. Cabbage and vinegar have always been the best of friends.
So, why will you love this dish? First and foremost, it's incredibly delicious. The rich chicken thighs, fragrant ginger and garlic, earthy rosemary, and creamy potatoes are an amazing combination.
It's easy. The most culinary skill this recipe requires is some cutting and shredding with forks. Otherwise, it's just time in the pot.
It's quick. This soup takes about 30 minutes for a full meal that's packed with flavor.
It stores well. You can make this a few days in advance and it reheats super well. You can also make it and freeze it for a few months down the line.
You can use it for meal prep. While you can't make it more than a week in advance, I've made a batch of this cozy soup that served as lunches for two people for most of the week.
Finally, it's a hearty soup and it's healthy. Lots of veggies paired with filling meat and potatoes make this an ideal comfort food dinner for those days when you really need to replenish yourself.
What You'll Need
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- Chicken Thighs I strongly prefer chicken thighs here because they don't get tough and they are more flavorful, but you can use chicken breast meat if you'd like. Either way, you'll want to use the boneless, skinless variety.
- Chicken Broth You can use regular boxed broth, make your own chicken broth, or try Better than Bouillon, which I love. Chicken stock is a great option, too.
- Baby Potatoes You'll want to use baby yellow potatoes here, like Baby Dutch Yellows.
- Cabbage I prefer using green cabbage for this recipe because red cabbage can change the color of the broth. I've also made this with savoy cabbage, which works great.
- Fresh Ginger Don't replace with ginger powder unless you absolutely must!
- Fresh Garlic I recommend using several fresh garlic cloves. You can also use jarred garlic. I don't recommend substituting garlic powder for this recipe.
- Celery You can use either full celery stalks or just celery hearts. If you use celery stalks, be sure to hang onto the scraps to make a homemade vegetable broth at a later date.
- Carrot You'll want a few medium carrots for this recipe. You can wash them and slice them with their skin or peel them. I recommend using regular orange carrots because those beautiful purple carrots you see at the store can change the color of your broth.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil Using high-quality extra virgin olive oil is always a treat, but any kind you have on hand will be fine here.
- Kosher Salt I always recommend using kosher salt in recipes. It is easier to control the saltiness because it is less concentrated per teaspoon than table or sea salt.
- Pepper Freshly cracked black pepper is my favorite!
- Cumin This was a secret ingredient my mom used in chicken soup when I was little. Just a dash adds warmth and depth to the broth.
- Rosemary This is one of the instances where I'm not opposed to dried rosemary because it has time to soften while the broth cooks.
- Fresh Herbs (Optional) I love to add a bit of fresh parsley, basil, or dill to this dish right at the end of the cooking time, before serving.
How to Make Chicken Cabbage Soup
Step One: Prep your vegetables: peel the ginger.
Step Two: Finely chop the garlic and ginger. Slice the carrots and celery.
Step Three: Quarter the potatoes.
Step Four: Cut the cabbage into large, bite-sized pieces.
Step Five: Place a large pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Sweat the carrot, celery, garlic, and ginger.
Step Six: Add the quartered potatoes and chopped cabbage.
Step Seven: Add the broth and spices. Bring up to a boil and then cook at medium-high heat for about 5 minutes.
Step Eight: Add the chicken and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until cooked through.
Step Nine: Remove the chicken, shred with two forks, then return the shredded chicken to the pot.
Step Ten: Cook for another few minutes. Stir in the vinegar, taste for seasoning, then serve.
Rotisserie Chicken You can add leftover cooked chicken to this soup. This rotisserie chicken soup is another favorite if you like this variation!
Cruciferous Vegetables Want to bulk up your soup even more? Try adding some extra veggies, like kale or broccoli.
Rice If you want to try a variation of this dish without potatoes, substitute some cooked white rice or brown rice.
Beans You can also try some canned white beans in place of the potatoes!
Spicy Add some finely chopped jalapeños or a pinch of red pepper flake to the soup with the carrots, celery, ginger, and garlic.
Aromatics like garlic, ginger, carrots, and celery are a great base for a flavorful chicken soup. You can also add fresh herbs. My favorite trick is adding just a bit of vinegar at the end to really wake up the flavor!
Use chicken thighs in place of chicken breasts. The fat content in the chicken thighs will go a long way in adding richness to your soup.
You don't need to. Your chicken can cook in the soup along with the other ingredients without any worries about food safety. Of course, you can add cooked chicken to a soup, but there's no need to cook it in advance.
- If you forget to defrost some chicken for this recipe, you can use frozen chicken. It will just take longer to cook. Add the chicken along with the broth and check for doneness with a meat thermometer.
- Meal prep the dish! Make a big pot of this soup on Sunday night and you'll have lunches and/or dinners for nearly a week.
- Peel your ginger with a spoon. This is an easy way to remove the tough outer skin of the ginger without losing too much of the ginger itself.
Storage and Reheating
Fridge You can store this cabbage soup with chicken for 3 to 5 days in the fridge in an airtight container. Reheat on the stovetop by bringing up to a boil and down to a simmer until heated through.
Freezer If freezing, cool the soup completely then transfer it to airtight, freezer-safe containers. I like to use reusable silicone or gallon plastic storage bags. Squeeze all of the air out, then freeze.
For the best taste, store soup for about 3 months or less in the freezer.
Defrost in the fridge overnight and reheat by bringing up to a boil and down to a simmer as above.
How to Make a Meal
This chicken ginger soup is definitely a meal unto itself. Here are some ideas to fill out your table with different sides:
Bread Serve with a crusty baguette, or go a step further and make some crispy crostini.
Crackers Have you ever made your own crackers? This soup would go really well with a handful of homemade crackers.
Sandwich Serve a half sandwich with a cup of this soup. A grilled cheese would be great!
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Chicken and Cabbage Soup with Ginger
- 1 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
- 6 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 inch ginger peeled and finely chopped, see note 1
- 2 carrots medium, chopped
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 1 pound baby yellow potatoes quartered
- ½ head green cabbage medium, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 pound chicken thighs boneless, skinless
- 2 quarts chicken stock
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ¾ teaspoon rosemary dried
- kosher salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar see note 2
- fresh herbs like parsley, dill, or basil, optional
- Place a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil, carrots, celery, garlic, and ginger, and sweat for a few minutes, until softened.
- Add the potatoes, cabbage, rosemary, cumin, salt, pepper, and broth to the pot. Bring up to a boil and down to medium-high heat. Cook for five minutes.
- Add the chicken and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until cooked through.
- Shred the chicken using two forks, then return to the pot.
- Cook for a few more minutes to let the flavors combine. Stir in the vinegar, taste for seasoning, and serve with fresh herbs, if using.
- It is easiest to peel your ginger with a spoon. Scrape the interior of the spoon along the skin of the ginger to remove it.
- If you don't have champagne vinegar, you can try red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, or unseasoned rice vinegar.
- You can use frozen chicken for this recipe. It will just take longer. Add the frozen chicken along with the broth and monitor with a meat thermometer to ensure it reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit before shredding.
- Fridge You can store this soup for 3 to 5 days in the fridge in an airtight container. To reheat, place in a pot and bring up to a boil and then down to a simmer, or heat for a few minutes in the microwave.
- To reheat, place the soup in a pot on the stove. Bring up to a boil, then down to a simmer, until the soup is heated through.
- Freezer If freezing, cool the soup completely then transfer to an airtight, freezer-safe container. For the best taste, store soup for about 3 months or less in the freezer.
- To reheat from frozen, defrost in the fridge overnight and reheat as above.