Carrot Soup with Leftover Chicken

This carrot soup with leftover chicken and thyme is best when made with fresh and vibrant carrots to take advantage of their bright flavor and color. The addition of potatoes adds a beautiful velvety texture and leftover chicken bumps this up to a full meal.

A blue-rimmed porcelain bowl filled with carrot soup topped with chicken and thyme and a lemon wheel.

For this carrot soup recipe, pick up a bunch of fresh-dug lovelies at your farmer’s market, whenever possible, to achieve the most vibrant carrot taste. The carrots are slowly stewed, which coaxes out their sweetness. A little potato gives this soup its velvety-smooth texture.–Mindy Fox

LC Pantry Pyrotechnics Note

The most remarkable thing about this stunning soup, besides it’s vibrant hue and sweet taste, is that it comes together from nothing but pantry staples at a cost of, oh, about $3.45 for the whole shebang. Although this Technicolor soup doesn’t really need any embellishment, it’s far more fetching when you include a little flourish, especially when it’s as simple as some roast chicken. Since when did leftover hen ever seem so chic?

Carrot Soup with Leftover Chicken

A blue-rimmed porcelain bowl filled with carrot soup topped with chicken and thyme and a lemon wheel.
This carrot soup with leftover chicken and thyme is as delicious to eat as it is stunning to behold. It’s also incredibly simple to make. Adding leftover chicken (or turkey) at the very last moment turns a simple bowl of soup into a satiating supper.

Prep 15 mins
Cook 1 hr
Total 1 hr 15 mins
4 servings
366 kcal
5 / 4 votes
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  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon (1/2 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1 medium white onion coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds carrots peeled and cut crossways into 1/4-inch (6-mm) slices
  • 1/2 pound new or Yukon Gold Potatoes peeled and cut into 1/4-inch (6-mm) cubes
  • Fine sea salt
  • 4 cups homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth
  • Pinch or two of sugar (optional)
  • 1 cup shredded roast chicken or turkey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons thyme leaves
  • Freshly ground peppercorns preferably white
  • 1 lemon halved


  • Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts. Add the onion and reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook until softened, about 15 minutes. (This is commonly known as “sweating” the onion, as the pieces will throw off some perspiration, er, moisture and will soften and sweeten but not brown.)
  • Stir in the carrots, potatoes, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and cook, covered, for 10 minutes more.
  • Add the stock or broth, increase the heat to medium, and gently simmer, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Purée the soup with an immersion blender or let the soup cool for about 10 minutes and then purée it in a blender, working in batches if necessary. Return the soup to the pan and gently reheat. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding a pinch or two of sugar to sweeten the soup, if desired.
  • Divide the soup among serving bowls. Top each portion with some chicken or turkey, a pinch each of thyme leaves and coarsely or finely ground white pepper, and, if you’d like a little something sour to offset the sweet, a scant drop or two of juice from half the lemon. Cut the other half of the lemon into 4 thin slices and garnish each bowl with a slice, just to make it look a little extra lovely.
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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1portionCalories: 366kcal (18%)Carbohydrates: 40g (13%)Protein: 18g (36%)Fat: 16g (25%)Saturated Fat: 4g (25%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 41mg (14%)Sodium: 492mg (21%)Potassium: 1198mg (34%)Fiber: 7g (29%)Sugar: 14g (16%)Vitamin A: 28574IU (571%)Vitamin C: 39mg (47%)Calcium: 92mg (9%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

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Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I love sweet, silky carrot soup, and this recipe was no exception. It was a little sweet, so I didn’t add the sugar. To tell you the truth, I didn’t add the chicken, either, as I thought the soup stood on its own. This recipe was so simple to make and yielded great results!

This soup is just perfect for this transition from winter to spring, and it’s delicious with or without chicken. It’s warming, but its flavors hint of the lightness of spring foods. The hands-on time was minimal—mostly just chopping at the beginning. TIPS: It’s a thick soup, so keep a little extra chicken broth on hand to thin it. Also, don’t neglect to add the lemon and pepper at the end because they cut through the creaminess of the soup.

This is a delicious carrot soup recipe with straightforward and easy-to-follow directions. I opted for a vegetarian version so I omitted the chicken. I did notice the soup improved with the addition of the lemon and pink peppercorns, so don’t skip that step. Overall, this is a unique and wonderful recipe, and I’ll definitely make it again.

This recipe produces a sweet and creamy soup—perfect for a cold day. The lemon, thyme, and pepper balance the sweetness of the carrots nicely, as well as make for a very pretty presentation of food. I served this for two as a main course, and we found it was a filling enough meal with just some bread on the side. The only thing I’d change is to grind the pepper more finely next time to avoid the discomfort of biting down on large pieces of peppercorn. A final note: I found measuring the chicken by cup was odd. Nonetheless, I roasted three small chicken thighs for the soup, and the meat from three of them gave me a full cupful.

This is a deliciously creamy soup, made without cream.

I’d never heard of adding shredded chicken to carrot soup, but it made for a heartier dish. It’s kind of like a roast chicken (with onions, carrots, and potatoes) in soup form. Overall, I felt the soup could use an additional teaspoon of salt, but everything else was well-balanced, especially with the help of the bright lemon juice squeezed on top. My carrots themselves were pretty sweet, so I didn’t add any sugar, so I’d definitely suggest you taste as you go. With the chicken, this soup is easily a lunch; without it, it makes a lighter first course or side dish. I love the scattered thyme and cracked peppercorns, but you can just grind some pepper over the soup if you don’t want the big, cracked pieces.

This was a satisfying dish. The fresh thyme and lemon definitely bring this carrot soup to a higher level. It has a simple flavor that’s rich without being fattening, and is thick and creamy as if cream was added—but it’s just vegetables! This dish is also very easy to pair with other foods, like a spring salad, pear salad, grilled cheese, quiche, etc.

This is a delicious and versatile soup. With the shredded roast chicken, it can be served as an entree for lunch or dinner, or as an appetizer with smaller portions. My soup was quite thick, so I added a little more stock to get it to a good consistency—slightly thickened, but creamy and smooth on the palate. I used my immersion blender to puree the soup right in the pot—this is a lot easier than moving the soup to and from a blender. Also, instead of cracking the peppercorns with the side of my chef’s knife, I used a pepper mill on the coarsest setting. I found that the method specified in the recipe didn’t get the peppercorns to a palatable consistency. I tasted the soup with and without the addition of sugar, and found that the sugar brought the soup up a notch in terms of punch and flavor.

I love hearty main-course soups, and this one fits the bill. It also has simple ingredients, easy prep, and yields great results—the description of “velvety smooth” is completely true. Even my kids loved it. I cheated and used a shredded rotisserie chicken from the market, and used my immersion blender instead of a regular one, which made for easy one-pot clean-up. Next time, I’ll cut back a little on the lemon, and season with ground pepper, not cracked. Those changes are just for personal taste.

I don’t think of soup as being pretty—it’s usually the warmth and smell that I find appetizing, not how it looks. But this soup is quite a beauty, with a vibrant and rich color that’s very inviting. It’s also delicious, filling, and the ingredients are easy to find. Adding the chicken is a great way to make this soup heartier. And as much as blending it can be cumbersome, the result is a soup that has body, and a beautiful color. TIPS: Use a flavorful broth and sweet carrots to deepen the flavor. Also, try to slice the carrots and potatoes in similar sizes so they cook evenly. And do watch the amount of lemon you add—I overdid it in one bowl and the soup was sour, as opposed to balanced with a bright kick of acidity. The step with the white peppercorns crushed in a mortar and pestle or a knife seems a bit fussy to me, so a good crack of fresh pepper is just fine. We tried the soup a day later and it was just as good, with a more pronounced carrot flavor.

Overall, I’m quite pleased with this recipe It’s not full of cream, but does have a creamy consistency. At first, when looking at its simple few ingredients, I thought it would need some doctoring—but I was wrong. I put my trust in this recipe, and out came this wonderfully smooth and velvety soup, with a nice deep orange color. First, I tried it as-is, without the chicken, thyme, and lemon, and found I was happy with it at this stage. I then tasted it with the three ingredients, as well as the peppercorns, and found that it was more of a complete meal instead of a soup course.

Originally published April 04, 2011


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  1. 5 stars
    This soup looks yummy! But, as a vegetarian I would try this and avoid the chicken. Perfect for a rainy day like today.

  2. 5 stars
    Yum! Could this also be served cold (without chicken of course)? I love the vichyssoise family of soups and I often make them in the summer – potato-leek and also zucchini-potato-leek – and this looks like a nice addition to the bunch.

    1. Lovely idea, Marcella. Sure, this can be served cold. Although bear in mind that extremes in temperature tend to mute flavor, so you may want to chill it and then allow it to set at room temp for just a few minutes to take the edge off and let the flavors bloom. I’d wait to add any lemon or thyme until just before serving, tasting it and adjusting the seasonings accordingly, as you may find it slightly wanting because of that flavors-lurking-behind-the-cold thing.

      1. that makes a lot of sense, Renee, thanks. We’re having a surprisingly warm springtime here so it looks like I won’t have to wait too much for the right time to try this 🙂

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