Christina Tosi refers to this leftover roast chicken soup as “overnight chicken soup” because she dumps a chicken carcass in a pot and then leaves the flame on low and slow overnight. As she explains, “the depth is insane when you roll slow and low, challenging reason and basic safety, leaving a whole carcass, with plenty of meat on it, to simmer overnight.” The result is that you’re able to coax out “every last slurp of flavor into the soup,” says Tosi. “Just cover the bird with water and say ‘night, night.'” adds Tosi. Just like Grandma knew how to do. Although you don’t need to check your homeowner’s insurance before making this as you can just as easily let the pot of soup barely burble over low heat during the day when you can cautiously keep watch over it. Either way, the meat turns incredibly tender and there’s no fuss at all. Tastes exactly like something Grandma would make.–Renee Schettler

A bowl of chicken soup with carrots and noodles on a white table.

Leftover Roast Chicken Soup

4.30 / 10 votes
This leftover roast chicken soup is a cinch to make in your slow cooker and is a great way to use up any vegetables languishing in your fridge.
David Leite
Servings6 to 10 servings
Calories12 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time9 hours 45 minutes
Total Time10 hours


  • Slow cooker (if following the slow cooker method)


  • Roast chicken carcass with some meat attached, (on the wings, back, etc.)
  • Any aromatics you desire, (you know, the usual stuff including garlic, herbs, onion, carrots, ginger, etc.)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup soy sauce, (Christina Tosi likes Kikkoman)
  • 1/3 to 2/3 cup apple cider or apple juice
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  • To make the Leftover Roast Chicken Soup in your slow cooker, see the Slow Cooker Variation below.
    To make the Leftover Roast Chicken Soup on your stovetop, combine the chicken carcass and any residual meat and desired aromatics in a large stock pot (5- to 8-quart capacity) and fill the pot with water so the chicken is fully submerged. Set over the lowest of low heat, lid that puppy 3/4 of the way so the water can evaporate a little bit but not too much, and leave it for at least 6 hours, skimming any scum that accumulates on the surface of the stock but leaving any puddles of fat. [Editor's Note: Christina Tosi leaves the stock simmering overnight. You may or may not wish to do the same. We guess it depends on your level of risk taking and whether your homeowner's insurance is up to date.]
  • Remove the pot from the heat. Your kitchen smells amazing, right? Strain the liquid from the chicken into another large pot and let the solids rest in the strainer. Walk away for a little while. Brush your teeth. Brush your hair. The chicken should be cool enough to handle at this point.
  • Using your hands, separate the chicken meat from the bones, aromatics, and gelatin. Don’t be grossed out—put your best farm girl face on, roll up your sleeves, and get to work. This should yield 2 to 3 cups light and dark meat, depending on how much chicken you ate the night before. Toss the bones and stuff in the trash. Add the shredded chicken to the pot with the broth. (You can cover and refrigerate the soup until dinnertime.)
  • Bring the soup to a gentle simmer. If you want, you can clean out your fridge by throwing in a handful of baby carrots, chopped onion, Brussels sprouts, spinach, or whatever else you've got languishing in your vegetable bin. It'll taste awesome. Simmer until the soup is warmed through and any vegetables are tender.
  • Stir in the soy sauce, apple cider, and black pepper to taste and ladle into bowls.


Leftover Roast Chicken Soup Variation

Slow Cooker Leftover Roast Chicken Soup
Toss your roast chicken carcass and desired aromatics (that means vegetables or herbs) in your slow cooker and cook on slow for 8 hours or overnight. (Trust us, the only thing better than the smell of coffee in the morning is the aroma of chicken soup.) Continue with step 3 in the instructions above. Easy just got even easier.
Leftover Roast Chicken Soup with Carbs
If you like rice or pasta, cook some up in a separate pot, stealing some of the broth from the soup pot to use as your cooking liquid.
Egg Drop Soup With Leftover Roast Chicken
Lightly whisk 3 eggs to combine. Stir the finished soup in a clockwise direction and, while still stirring, pour in the eggs in a slow, steady stream. Continue to stir for 1 to 2 minutes, until egg ribbons form. Ladle into bowls and garnish with thinly sliced scallions if you’ve got ’em.
Milk Bar Life Cookbook

Adapted From

Milk Bar Life

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Serving: 1 servingCalories: 12 kcalCarbohydrates: 2 gProtein: 1 gFat: 0.1 gSaturated Fat: 0.01 gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.01 gSodium: 383 mgFiber: 0.1 gSugar: 1 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2015 Christina Tosi. Photo © 2015 thepiwko. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I think this leftover roast chicken soup kicks some serious butt! For reasons that will soon become obvious, the hands-on time took no more time than it takes to cut fresh basil, rosemary, and lemon thyme from my garden, chop some carrots and onions, and, of course, toss it all in the pot. I shaved a few hours off the process by tooling into my local Publix and scooping up one of their gorgeous rotisserie chickens. (Laziness and ingenuity go hand in hand.)

My perfectly cautious wife was having no part of simmering anything overnight while we slept, so like a good soldier, I put the soup on early in the morning. I simmered the concoction in an 8-quart Le Creuset for about 8 hours. When I first began to eat the soup, I was disappointed, but then like magic I remembered the soy sauce and apple juice. Now my soup tasted just like something grandma made. Wonderful! This easy chicken soup improved daily, as soups are wont to do.

I’m always looking for slow cooker recipes. This leftover roast chicken soup might seem obvious, but I think it’s nice to have a reminder. You can use all parts of your chicken, and you can do it right after roasting a chicken. So rather than storing the bones in the freezer to make stock at a later date, it seems logical to just throw it into the slow cooker while you’re cleaning up.

I usually have carrots in the fridge, but I also keep veggie peels to use in stock. For this chicken soup, I used ends from onions I’d stashed in the the freezer and 1 carrot. I left it in the crockpot overnight. I only got 4 cups soup, but I started with a small chicken. I served the chicken soup for dinner 2 nights later. I added some of the leftover shredded chicken and the add-ins listed in the recipe. I also made some brown rice and some sautéed spinach and mushrooms that everyone put in their bowls and then ladled the soup over the top. A great way to have chicken leftovers without being boring.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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  1. Instead of putting the bones in the soup I strip the meat and put that in the soup, and I use the bones separately to make broth, that way I don’t end up with any bones in my soup and I get both soup plus broth to boot.

  2. 4 stars
    This was pretty good, however, next time I will not use the meat from the frame because the texture of the meat was soft and tasted flat. Thankfully we had half of a whole breast and one drum leftover that was added after straining (4.5 lb.large bird). Added precooked noodle to bowls at serving along with some green beans, the soy and cider were surprisingly very good, which was the inspiration to try this. BTW, the broth turns out fairly clear which we liked also, definitely a do again. THX

    1. Thanks, low and slow. I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed it and that’s a very useful tip to check the meat on your chicken to see if the texture and flavor is good enough to add to the soup. Can’t wait to hear what you make next!