Cuban Chicken Soup Recipes – Homemade Comfort Food Delights

Cuban Chicken Soup: A Brief History and Why It’s Beloved

Cuban chicken soup, often known as ‘sopa de pollo,’ is a beloved dish that reflects the island’s festive culinary culture. It’s not just about the flavor, but the dish’s significance as a warm and comforting meal that many families have shared for generations. 

Cuban chicken soup recipes typically consist of simple, fresh ingredients like chicken, vegetables, and aromatic herbs. The magic, however, lies in the time-honored methods of preparing and serving the soup, which can vary with every family.

The indigenous Ta’no people, who first inhabited the island, are the source of Cuban chicken soup’s rich history. The dish evolved over centuries, incorporating Spanish, African, and Caribbean influences, which gave it the robust and savory flavors it’s known for today. During the colder months, this soup becomes a go-to remedy for colds and flus, or simply a way to warm up on a chilly evening.

Cuban chicken soup recipes
Cuban chicken soup recipes

The Health Benefits of Cuban Chicken Soup—Nutritious and Delicious

Whether you’re seeking to boost your immune system or just looking for a nutrient-dense meal, Cuban chicken soup has you covered. The broth alone contains an array of essential minerals and amino acids. Many cultures refer to it as “Jewish penicillin” because they believe the combination of chicken, vegetables, and herbs to have healing properties.

The cuban chicken soup is usually high in protein, which is crucial for many bodily functions, and the presence of vegetables like carrots, celery, and onions adds a dose of vitamins and minerals. It’s also a great way to stay hydrated, and the warmth can help clear a stuffy nose. If made with love and patience, Cuban chicken soup has the power to nourish not only the body but also the soul.

The Core Ingredients of Cuban Chicken Soup

For a pot of Cuban Chicken Soup to succeed, it’s essential to start with the primary essentials. Every flavorful batch requires the following key components:


The star of the show and the key source of protein in the soup. A whole chicken cut into pieces, or a mix of drumsticks, thighs, or breasts with the bone-in and skin-on, adds depth to the broth during the simmering process.


Onions, garlic, and bell peppers form the trifecta of aromatics that will serve as the base of your flavorful broth. They bring a sweet, pungent, and slightly smoky profile to the soup.

Root Vegetables

Potatoes, carrots, and yuca (cassava) are the traditional trio of root vegetables that provide a hearty and substantial quality to the soup, as well as a mellow sweetness and starch to thicken the broth slightly.


Cumin, oregano, bay leaves, and a splash of citrusy sour orange juice or lime are the hallmark spices that elevate the flavor profile to the distinct Cuban taste.

Fresh Herbs

Cilantro and parsley offer a lively, fresh note that is essential to balance the dish and add a final touch of brightness.

How to Cook Cuban Chicken Soup Recipes

Crafting the Base Broth

The magic of Cuban Chicken Soup starts with the broth, which is the heart and soul of this dish. Here’s how to prepare it:

Step 1: Sauté Aromatics

Begin by sautéing chopped onions, bell peppers, and minced garlic in a large pot over medium heat with a dash of olive oil. This step sets the foundation for a rich flavor.

Step 2: Submerge the Chicken

Place your chicken pieces into the pot, allowing them to brown slightly on all sides. Browning the chicken adds an extra layer of depth to your broth’s flavor profile.

Step 3: Slow Cooking

Pour enough water into the pot to fully submerge the chicken and vegetables. Add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cover. Allow the chicken to cook in the broth for at least an hour, but preferably longer if time allows. The slow and steady process will extract the savory essence of the chicken and aromatics, ensuring a flavorful broth.

Adding the Chicken and Vegetables

Once your broth is infused with intense flavors, it’s time to continue building the layers of your Cuban Chicken Soup:


Remove the chicken from the broth and set it aside to cool slightly. Discard the skin and bones, shredding the meat into bite-sized pieces. Return the chicken to the pot.


Peel and chop your root vegetables into evenly-sized chunks. Add them to the pot, and continue to simmer until the vegetables are tender, but not mushy.

Seasoning for Authentic Flavor

No Cuban Chicken Soup is complete without the perfect blend of traditional spices. Enhance your broth with:

Cumin and Oregano

These earthy spices are staples in Cuban cuisine and will add warmth and depth.

Bay Leaves

A couple of bay leaves impart a mild, fragrant note, complementing the cumin and oregano.

Citrus Burst

A splash of sour orange juice or the juice of a fresh lime provides a zesty, refreshing accent to the soup’s savory profile. This citrus finish is essential to cutting through the richness of the broth.

Fresh Herbs

During the last few minutes of cooking, stir in finely chopped cilantro and parsley to infuse the soup with their vibrant flavors.

Serving Your Cuban Chicken Soup

Your Cuban Chicken Soup is now ready to serve. Ladle generous portions into bowls, making sure each serving has a balanced mix of chicken, vegetables, and broth. 

Consider pairing your soup with warm, crusty Cuban bread. To truly impress, sprinkle additional chopped cilantro and parsley on top, or add a dollop of tangy sour cream. This dish is the epitome of comfort food and is perfect for sharing among family and friends.

Making the Soup Your Own

Cuban chicken soup is incredibly versatile, leaving room for personalization and creativity. Here are a few ways you can make it your own.

Customizing Your Soup

The beauty of this recipe is how versatile it is. You can add your favorite vegetables, like carrots or corn, during the base cooking process to incorporate more textures and flavors. For those who enjoy a spicy kick, a diced jalapeño or a splash of hot sauce would be a welcome addition. You can also make it heartier by adding chunks of sweet potatoes, plantains, or even some white beans.

Making It Healthier

For a lighter version, you can use skinless chicken breasts or thighs instead of a whole chicken. Broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach are great options to integrate more nutrients into the dish. Choosing low-sodium chicken broth and

Cuban Chicken Soup Recipes

Cuban Chicken Soup Recipes

A perfect Cuban chicken soup is a collage of flavors, achieved with a variety of fresh ingredients. Here's what you need to get started
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Servings 4 peope


  • 1 whole chicken, about 3-4 pounds
  • 8 cups of water
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped
  • 2-3 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 cup of tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh cilantro, for garnish


  • In a large pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the whole chicken and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for one hour, skimming any foam that rises to the top.
  • Remove the chicken from the pot and set it aside to cool. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve and return it to the pot.
  • Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and shred it. Discard the bones and skin.
  • Return the shredded chicken to the pot, along with the strained broth.
  • Add the chopped vegetables, garlic, tomato sauce, cumin, and bay leaf to the pot. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Simmer the soup for another 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
  • Remove the bay leaf and discard it. Serve the soup hot, garnished with fresh cilantro.
Keyword Cuban Chicken Soup Recipes

How to Enjoy Cuban Chicken Soup Recipes

Cuban chicken soup is a satisfying meal on its own, but it’s also perfect for pairing with other dishes or as part of a larger spread. It’s traditional to serve Cuban chicken soup with a side of white rice, which you can mix into the soup for a heartier meal. A crusty piece of Cuban bread or a side of plantains are also excellent choices.

For those who enjoy wine, a light and crisp white wine, such as a Sauvignon Blanc, can be a delightful pairing. Or keep it thematic with a glass of mojito or a Cuba Libre!

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Final Notes

Cuban Chicken Soup is not only a testament to the diversity of Cuban cuisine but also a testament to the health benefits of simple, natural eating. It’s high in protein and loaded with vitamins and minerals from the assortment of vegetables, and the slow-cooking process ensures a savory, nutrient-rich broth. You should not only enjoy this dish but also savor it.

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