Chicken Cilantro Soup {A Favorite Recipe – GAPS, Paleo}

Update: I finally took a picture last time I made the soup (see below)! The picture is of the soup made with some chopped tomatoes in it (I rinsed the chopped tomatoes to get all the juice off because I didn’t want tomato juice in my broth). I also made it recently just straining but not rinsing the tomatoes, so there was some of the juice in the broth, and it was still really great!)  There is also some yogurt stirred in to the soup in the picture, which is why it looks creamy colored.

Have I ever mentioned I adore cilantro?  I think it is a miracle herb.  When it’s time to plant it this spring, I would love to devote about half our garden just to cilantro.  I don’t think my desire for an abundance of tomatoes will agree with that, though…oh well…I love cilantro, on salmon, in salmon patties, on taco salads, and in soups…

I don’t have a picture for this soup, although it is easily the most consistently loved soup in this house.  Maybe I never take a picture because we just eat it all so fast.  Well, except maybe for chili.  But in the world of chicken soups, this is our most favorite!  We eat this on a regular basis, and even when I think I am going to tire of it, I take one bite and am simply in love again.

This soup began as one of our favorites before we began GAPS eating, but we included corn and black beans in it.  So, if you eat grains and beans, I can say it is wonderful with those things added in.  I will include that in notes below in the recipe.

This is a fantastic soup for spring and summer, as it is fresh and light tasting, but it is also superb for the fall and winter because of it’s warm richness.  Being a GAPS, bone broth loving lady, I have to enjoy my soups year round!  This is also incredibly easy to adapt to seasonal ingredients, and I will share those notes below as well.  In my recipes, I always put a range on each vegetable, and those are so you can take in to consideration how much you love that particular vegetable and the size.  Sometimes I get freakishly large carrots and sometimes they are skinny, so just adapt as to what you have on hand!


Chicken Cilantro Soup  {A Favorite Recipe – GAPS/Paleo}

  • 2-4 tbsp butter (or ghee, coconut oil, tallow, or lard)
  • 1 medium – large onion, chopped
  • 3-4 carrots, chopped
  • 3-4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4-6 cups of chicken broth (meat or bone)
  • 2-4 zucchini, chopped (yellow summer squash also works well)
  • 1 large bunch of cilantro, rinsed well
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced (I just put mine through a press)
  • 2-3 cups cooked chicken, chopped or shredded to your preference
  • Salt (I usually use about 1 Tbsp because my broth is unsalted) and Pepper, to taste
  • Optional: 2-3 cups chopped tomatoes or a large can or package (24-26 oz) of chopped tomatoes
  • Optional (for non GAPSters and non-Paleo): 1-2 cups organic frozen corn, 2 cups black beans
  • Great Additions at the table: a squeeze of lemon in each bowl, grated raw cheddar cheese, sour cream, cultured cream, or plain yogurt is wonderful added at the table after the soup is not scalding hot. 


  • In a soup pot or dutch oven, heat butter over medium heat.  Add chopped onion, carrots, and celery.  Saute until onions begin turning translucent.   
  • Add chicken broth (and tomatoes if using), and bring to a boil.  Simmer until vegetables are almost desired tenderness.  I usually add a couple teaspoons of salt at this point. 
  • If using zucchini (we only use when in season here), add and simmer until almost tender. (If using corn and black beans, add here as well.)
  • Take your washed cilantro and either chop it and add to the pot or just use kitchen scissors and cut it straight into the pot.  I don’t bother to chop or cut it really small, and my little ones still eat it! Also, I use all of the cilantro bunch.  Not just the leaves.  I tear off the part of the bunch that is just all stems and put the rest in the soup.  The stems cook down and are very soft in the soup and add great flavor. 
  • Add garlic and chicken, stir it all together well, and bring back to a boil. 
  • Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.  
  • Salt to taste, add pepper if desired. 
  • Serve with desired toppings – raw cheddar cheese, sour cream or yogurt, lemon juice…


  • GAPS intro:  this is appropriate as soon as you can use fresh herbs, just omit celery until you can tolerate that well! 
  • Tomatoes:  If not using fresh, know that certain cans are BPA free like Muir Glen.  I buy Pomi if I need chopped tomatoes.  Read facts about Pomi in this post.  I find adding tomatoes changes to overall taste of the soup and causes the cilantro to be less dominant, but it is good, just in a different way than without it!  
  • Corn and Beans: Use organic corn to avoid the extreme pesticides of non-organic and the genetically modified state of more than 90% of non-organic corn!  For Black beans – soak them in filtered water and the juice of 1 lemon overnight and then drain them and cooked in fresh water before adding to soup.  If you eat beans, simply make a large batch of these and cook them in your crock pot!  Easy and you can freeze 1 and 2 cup portions to be able to pull out and add to recipes easily.  
  • Vegetables: I only use zucchini and yellow squash when they are in season at the market, which is much of the year here.  The soup is still fantastic without it, and I still make it all the time without zucchini.  I usually add another stalk of celery and another carrot if I am not using zucchini.  

Hope your family enjoys this!  We love it!  Part of Sunday Night Soup Night!

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