Phyllis’s Chicken Soup

Phyllis’s chicken soup turns out a perfectly-seasoned, delicate golden broth every time. This is is my go-to recipe for holiday cooking and Shabbat meals.

The Backstory: My mother-in-law hosts the most amazing (and I mean amazing) Passover Seder. It’s like something out of a caterer’s handbook.  The big, round party tables come out, she and my father-in-law sketch out seating arrangements, guests have speaking parts (with handouts on their plates), each table has its own Seder plate, dips, spreads, wines, and finger puppets and plagues and for the kids (you know what I mean) and the evening is truly a memorable and entertaining experience. More of the Backstory after the recipe

Phyllis's Chicken Soup

Golden broth, tender chicken that falls apart, and the perfect blend of seasonings and fresh vegetables make this the quintessential chicken soup recipe you'll turn to again and again.
Course Soup
Cuisine Jewish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 20 servings
Recipe Author Phyllis Baron


  • 6 quarts water
  • 2 tbsp. Kosher salt plus more for seasoning later on
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 1 large onion, peeled
  • 2 large Kosher chickens cut in quarters
  • 1 large can chicken broth (32 oz) or box of Manischewitz chicken broth
  • 8 carrots, peeled and cut into 4 pieces each
  • 6 stalks of celery, cut into 4 pieces each
  • 1 parsley root, peeled
  • 6-7 small parsnips, peeled
  • 1 soft tomato, with core removed
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley plus kitchen twine to tie it up


  1. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. When water boils, add a tbsp. of salt and 8 peppercorns. Add one large onion, peeled with 2 cuts in the onion and cook for 10 minutes.
  2. Add large College Inn chicken broth and put chicken (two large chickens, quarters) into pot and let cook for 10 minutes. Then add the carrots, celery, parsnips, parsley root (whole tube with greens on it, but peel the root), and the tomato with the core removed. Cook for 1 1/2 hours until the chicken is tender. NOTE: Remove the onion when it starts to fall apart.
  3. When the chicken is tender and soup is done, tie up a bunch of washed fresh parsley and let it sit on top of soup for an hour.

  4. Strain soup twice (important!) and discard all vegetables except carrots (slice carrots into smaller pieces).

  5. Taste soup and add more salt and pepper as needed. You will likely need to add salt. This recipe was written with very low amounts of salt added so be prepared to season it after it has finished cooking.

Recipe Notes

NOTE: It is often difficult to find parsley root, so don't worry if you can't locate it. The soup will be perfectly delicious if you make it without this ingredient.

…The Backstory continues: And then there’s the food. Where to begin?

My father-in-law’s layered gefilte fish torte. Not enough words to describe this delicate, flavorful, masterpiece. Try it and you’ll make it for every single Jewish holiday from this point onward.  It’s that good.

Platter after platter of amazing foods, delicacies, specialties from different members of the family, all served elegantly (my mother-in-law’s own specialty), one after another. And in between all this decadence, Phyllis’ chicken soup. Liquid gold.

When she gave me the recipes she told me she adapted it from her mother’s own recipe, which served up to 40. So you see, entertaining ran in the family. This recipe feels like a gift and I’m delighted to share it with you. Thanks, Mom.


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Jodi Luber

Jodi Luber

Here goes: Born in Brooklyn. Daughter of a bagel baker with a Henny Youngman soul and a mom who makes Joan Rivers seem tame. Late bloomer. Married the love of my life at 45 and love being a mom to our three kids. I'm a professor at Boston U. Happiest in the kitchen baking and remembering how my dad would melt from a single bite of my cheesecake.
Jodi Luber
Jodi Luber

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