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Immune-Boosting, Cold-Kicking Chicken and Rice Soup with Ginger, Garlic and Turmeric

5.0 from 1 vote

It’s been a while since I posted a recipe but it seems that everywhere I turn someone is home with a cold, or it’s their kids who are fighting something. So it seemed like the right time to make a big pot of my favorite Immune-Boosting, Cold-Kicking Chicken and Rice Soup.

This recipe is loaded up with immune-boosting ingredients, such as ginger, turmeric, and garlic – a whole head! It’s pretty quick to throw together, and the end result is pure magic in a pot. Even just tasting the first spoonful is so comforting and soothing, and I’m so glad this recipe makes a hefty batch. (The turmeric gives it a nice golden color, so I have been referring to it as a “pot of gold”.)

You can freeze this soup, or you can keep it in your refrigerator and enjoy it for lunch and dinner over the next few days as you kick your cold. There is nothing like giving a few bowlfuls of this in a big glass jar to friends in need, be it parents with a newborn, someone going through a tough time, or simply to someone with a case of the sniffles. The flavor becomes very rich when you let it simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

I also love this recipe because it’s adaptable; you can experiment with different flavors of herbs, or add to it what you have in your refrigerator. Feel free to experiment. And I hope it helps you kick that cold!

Immune-Boosting, Cold-Kicking Chicken and Rice Soup with Ginger and Turmeric


*Note: for this recipe, and for any others that require a solid amount of chopping, my favorite kitchen tool is this chopper:

It saves me a TON of prep time! There are also two different attachments you can use so you can chop in different sizes. I use the larger size for soups and other recipes, and the smaller size is perfect for when I cook for Miss P.


Melt butter/olive oil in a large sauce pot over medium heat. Add chopped onions and saute for 3-5 minutes (until translucent). Add chopped garlic and sautee for another minute, then add carrots, celery, turnips, salt and pepper, and saute for 5-7 more minutes until veggies are soft.

Place whole chicken into the pot over the vegetables and add bay leaves, bouquet garney, broth, water, and mushrooms (if you are including them), and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to simmer, and allow to simmer for 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

Prepare rice as directed on packaging. Once cooked, set aside. Remove chicken with a pair of tongs (or some other way that will ensure you won’t burn your hand), transfer to a plate, and allow to cool. (Note: if you used a whole chicken it may pull apart here; that’s fine. Just remove it in pieces.)

Once the chicken is cool enough to touch, take a fork and remove the meat from the bones (the chicken should shred and pull away from the bones easily at this point). Discard bones, or save them for later to make a bone broth. Place shredded chicken back into the pot, add the rice, and stir in ginger, kale, green onions and parsley. Keep on a simmer until you are ready to serve. Just before serving, remove from heat, and add the turmeric. Stir until combined.

Enjoy your pot of gold, and feel better!!

Immune-Boosting, Cold-Kicking Chicken and Rice Soup with Ginger, Garlic and Turmeric

Recipe by Alessandra Macaluso
5.0 from 1 vote


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  • 3 tablespoons ghee (or butter, or extra virgin olive oil)

  • 2 yellow onions, diced

  • 5 medium-sized carrots, diced

  • 5 ribs celery, diced

  • 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, diced

  • 1 head garlic (about 8-10 cloves), 1/2 minced*, 1/2 smashed

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

  • 1 3-5 lb. whole chicken, preferably organic farm-raised (alternatively, you can use pieces of chicken, such as 2 thighs and 2 breasts – see note)

  • 1 tablespoon dried herbs, such as Herbs de Province (what I used here), or Italian seasoning, or a combination of thyme, rosemary, and oregano

  • 3 bay leaves

  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric

  • 2 quarts chicken broth

  • 2 quarts water

  • 1 8 oz. package of shiitake mushrooms, loosely chopped

  • 1 inch piece of ginger, minced (optional, see note)

  • 1 bunch bok choy, green parts of leaves loosely chopped, white stems removed

  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley

  • 1 cup white rice, such as jasmine or basmati (optional)


  • *For the garlic, use a garlic press for 1/2 of the cloves, and simply smash the other half with the side of a chef’s knife.
  • I like to add a whole chicken in my pot of soup. If you do not want to mess with removing the bones once its finished cooking, you can alternatively use pieces of boneless, skinless chicken instead (i.e.: two boneless skinless breasts and two boneless skinless thighs). You could also use all white meat, or all dark meat, if you prefer. I use the whole chicken so I can save the bones for later to make broth.
  • The ginger is optional. It has been shown to fight germs, help with nausea, soothe sore muscles, and is considered anti-inflammatory, helping the body’s immune system against colds and coughs (read more on the health benefits of ginger here). If you don’t like the taste, you can leave it out.

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Alessandra Macaluso is the author of What a Good Eater! , Lucy the Bee and the Healing Honey, and The Real-Deal Bridal Bible. She’s also a Qigong and Tai Chi instructor, and overall wellness advocate. Her work has been featured in several anthologies which can all be found on her Amazon author page, and she has contributed to The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, TODAY Parents, and many other online publications.

Alessandra is a northerner-turned-southerner, enjoying the south with her children, Penelope and Ciro, and her husband, Greg.

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