There’s nothing like a nourishing bowl of homemade chicken soup. It’s deeply rooted in tradition for its healing benefits, comforting flavors, and balanced nutrition. This Paleo Crockpot Chicken Soup recipe not only captures all those elements, but is also easy to make, and the slow cooker does the brunt of the work.
Benefits of homemade chicken soup
Homemade broths, and therefore soups, date back to the Stone Age when turtle shells served as the pots in which they were brewed. But, since the discovery of MSG (monosodium glutamate — a potentially dangerous ingredient), there’s been an over-reliance on commercial soups — loaded with fake ingredients and harmful additives.
Making homemade chicken soup really is quite easy, and the benefits far outweigh the small amount of hands-on time required to pull it together.
Beginning with the French “mirepoix” of onions, carrots, and celery, and adding other aromatics (such as garlic and herbs), we build a soup base full of flavor and nourishment.
Vitamins, especially A, C, E, and K shine brightly through these veggies, and turnips offer B vitamins and plenty of trace minerals. Turnips also provide phytonutrients called indoles, which may help reduce your risk of certain cancers.
If you love turnips like I do, or want to play with additional recipes focusing on these beautiful root vegetables, try:
What I love best about this Crockpot Chicken Soup recipe — at least from a nutritional standpoint — is that by using a whole chicken, you are making a nourishing bone broth at the same time!
With a long, low simmer (and the added help of apple cider vinegar), the nutrient load found in bones, bone marrow, and other non-edible parts of the carcass, seep into the broth. Gelatin, amino acids, and minerals become available for our own health benefits — and these nutritional elements help flush toxins, reduce inflammation, and improve healing capacity.
Collagen is a protein in connective tissues that produces gelatin after hours of simmering, and the two together boost immunity through healthy skin, good gut bacteria, and providing necessary amino acids to support a strong immune system.
Turning to a warm bowl of chicken soup when you have a cold, flu, or upper respiratory infection is not an age-old myth — there is actually science to support such a remedy. Arginine, glutamine, proline, glycine, and cysteine (amino acids in chicken bone broth) can reduce inflammation and thin mucus secretions, which alleviate symptoms, and speed recovery.
The nutritional elements in homemade chicken soup also help build and restore a healthy gut lining. Having a healthy gut is critical for reducing food sensitivities and allergies, and improving nutrient absorption, as well as waste removal.
Inflammation in the gut is associated with many gastrointestinal conditions, including IBS, IBD, leaky gut, and autoimmunity. But, nutrient rich bone broth and slow-cooked vegetables help improve gut integrity.
Variations of this chicken soup recipe
This homemade chicken soup recipe is a great base from which to build a soup that meets your family’s tastes. Let’s consider some variations you can play with.
I love using my slow cooker, but this recipe can also be done in an instant pot. Follow the same recipe (along with your products’ instructions), and the “soup” setting to speed the cook time.
You may also opt to follow this chicken soup recipe in a large soup pot on the stove if you are home for the day to keep an eye on the simmer. There’s nothing like the delicious smell of a simmering soup to fill your home.
You’ll notice that this is not a chicken “noodle” soup recipe, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t add your own version. Cooked rice, spiralized veggies, or a noodle alternative such as Cappello’s fettuccine, are delicious add-ins just before serving.
My favorite ingredient addition includes extra veggies. In fact, this is the perfect time to celebrate the best frozen veggies, such as a bag of peas, or chopped kale!
If you’re looking for an extra punch of pure flavor, try a splash of lemon juice and lemon zest (like in this Chicken Coconut Soup recipe), or a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley, thyme, or rosemary.
And for a non-dairy creamy finish, stir in a can of full-fat coconut milk at the end of your simmer.
Other recipes you may enjoy
Once you master, or at least try, this Paleo Crockpot Chicken Soup, broaden your horizons with these other tasty recipes like Chicken Sweet Potato Soup with Bone Broth. I think you’ll love them and the creative spark they’ll light in your family’s kitchen.
Thai Coconut Chicken Soup
This Thai Coconut Chicken Soup recipe also uses the convenience of the crockpot to meld delicious flavors of ginger, lime, and lemongrass with other vegetables and coconut milk for a creamy soup with a little zip.
Mexican Twist Chicken Soup
Mexican Twist Chicken Soup celebrates the nourishment that a warm bowl of soup provides, but adds summertime ingredients and flavors that make it enjoyable during warmer weather months.
Crockpot Seasoned Whole Chicken
Take advantage of your crockpot to easily cook a whole chicken — using the cooked meat for healthy lunches for your teens, or healthy dinners that your kids will love. Pulling together nourishing meals quickly during a busy week can keep your family thriving.
Homemade Chicken Bone Broth
If you want to focus on making bone broth, or even re-use the chicken carcass from this recipe (or any other), try this Homemade Chicken Bone Broth.
Invite your kids to help!
Learning how to make a homemade chicken soup is a skill that I believe everyone should have by the time they leave home. Just think, having teenagers who are competent in basic kitchen skills that will serve them over the years to properly nourish themselves — how reassuring as a parent!
This recipe provides opportunities for growth and learning, whether you are cooking with toddlers or teens. Have young ones gather ingredients, wash produce, and observe your positivity towards real food. Older kids can help you chop, measure, and shred chicken.
When your kids are involved in the process, they will be much more excited to eat a nourishing meal!Print
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 large carrots, chopped
- 4 large celery ribs, chopped
- 2 medium turnips, scrubbed, trimmed, and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry (ideally pasture-raised)
- 1 Tbsp Herbs de Provence
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Add onion, carrots, celery, turnips, and garlic to the pot of a 6 – 8 quart slow cooker.
- Season the chicken with Herbs de Provence, salt, and pepper. Place chicken in the slow cooker.
- Add bay leaves and apple cider vinegar to the pot and then fill with water.
- Set your slow cooker on low for 8 hours.
- After 8 hours of cooking, carefully remove the chicken (it may fall apart, which is a good sign) and place it on a rimmed baking sheet. Allow chicken to cool slightly before using two forks to remove the meat from the bones, skin, and other tissues. Gently shred meat and place back in the pot.
- Set aside bones, skin, and rest of the carcass to make another round of bone broth!
- Now is your opportunity to add any additional veggies (fresh or frozen), flavors, or herbs and stir until heated through.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!
Note: You may want to skim the top of the soup if there is any foam or fat on the surface, however, I rarely find it when I make this chicken soup (especially with an organic chicken).