This delicious, hearty Chicken and Lentil Soup made with cilantro, cumin, and other Latin spices is perfect for warming your belly on those cold winter nights.
Chicken and Lentil Soup
What’s more, it’s easy to make, economical, and very satisfying. Lentils were the first legumes I liked as a kid. My mom would make me a similar soup with carrots and celery, and since I was picky, she usually pureed mine. Try my Instant Pot Chicken and Lentil Soup if you want to make this recipe faster. And for vegetarian lentil soups, try this Lebanese Lentil Soup and Red Lentil Soup with Spinach.
I’ve been making this healthy chicken lentil soup for years. My family loves it – Madison was even a fan when she was a toddler! I like preparing lentils because they cook so much quicker than dried beans, and a small amount goes a long way. You can also make this soup with a little less water and serve it over rice.
Is lentil soup good for you?
Lentils are complex carbohydrates packed with protein and soluble fiber. They’re low in fat and high in vitamins and minerals like vitamin B and folate. The nutritional benefits of lentils are very similar to those of beans, but they do have about twice as much iron as other legumes.
Chicken Lentil Soup Ingredients
- Lentils: I used brown lentils, but green would also work.
- Chicken: Swap the chicken thighs for chicken breasts if you prefer white meat.
- Broth: Add Better than Bouillon chicken to eight cups of water, or if you don’t have bouillon, use chicken broth.
- Aromatics: I used onion, scallions, and garlic. If you don’t have scallions, double the onion. You can also use red onion.
- Herbs: Skip the cilantro if you’re not a fan.
- Tomato: Swap the tomato for Roma or cherry tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes if they’re not in season.
- Seasonings: Garlic powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and ground annatto give this lentil soup maximum flavor. Ground annatto (also known as achiote) is commonly used in Latin cuisine to add color and a subtle flavor. If you can’t find it, sub paprika or sazon.
How to Make Lentil Soup
- Combine lentils, chicken, water, and bouillon in a large pot, and bring it to a boil.
- Cover the pot, turn down the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes.
- While the soup simmers, mince the onions, scallions, cilantro, garlic, and tomato.
- Remove the chicken from the pot, shred it, and then put it back in the soup.
- Add the vegetables to the pot with the seasonings.
- Cover the pot and simmer for 25 minutes until the lentils are soft. Add more water if it’s too thick, and adjust the salt to your tastes.
How to Freeze and Reheat Lentil Soup
This chicken and lentil soup recipe makes a big pot, which means you’ll have plenty of leftovers for lunch. If you don’t want leftovers, you can easily cut the recipe in half.
To freeze, ladle it into individual containers, label with the name and date, and freeze for up to three months. When you need a quick lunch, thaw it in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave until warm. If it’s too thick, add a little water.
Most Asked Questions
- Should I soak lentils before making soup? No! That’s one of my favorite things about dried lentils – you don’t have to soak them overnight, unlike dried beans.
- Can I make a vegetarian lentil soup without chicken? You can omit the chicken in this recipe or try my Creamy Lentil Soup.
- Can I make this lentil soup in the Instant Pot? If you’re in a hurry, make this chicken lentil soup using my Instant Pot recipe.
- Can I add extra vegetables? Yes, if you’d like more vegetables in the soup, feel free to add spinach, kale, carrots, or celery.
More Lentil Recipes You May Enjoy:
- Lentil Bowls with Avocado, Egg and Cholula
- Asparagus with Green Lentils and Poached Egg
- Creamy Lentil Soup
- Lentil Salad
- Lentils and Rice with Bacon and Egg
Chicken and Lentil Soup
- 1 lb dried lentils
- 12 oz 3 boneless skinless chicken thighs, all fat trimmed
- 8 cups water
- 1 tbsp chicken Better than Bouillon
- 1 small onion
- 2 scallions
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 medium ripe tomato
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp ground annato or Spanish paprika, or even Sazon
- salt to taste
- In a large pot combine lentils, chicken, water and chicken bullion.
- Bring to a boil, covered over medium-low heat until chicken is cooked, about 20 minutes.
- Remove the chicken and shred, return to the pot
- Meanwhile, in a chopper or by hand, mince the onions, scallions, cilantro, garlic, and tomato.
- Add to the lentils with garlic powder, cumin, oregano and annato and cook, covered until the lentils are soft, about 25 more minutes, adding more water as needed if too thick.
- Adjust salt to taste as needed.