How to Make an Easy Soup from a Chicken Carcass!

If you’re looking for a delicious and budget friendly chicken soup, you need to try making a nutritious chicken soup from a chicken carcass!

This is a simple process and can easily be a weekly routine for frugal meat meals. This recipe can be varied with different vegetables added, switching beans for lentils, and then changing the toppings. Try it with yogurt cheese and tortilla chips for a taco soup feel, or with a grilled cheese, or crusty bread and a salad. You can also thicken the sauce with flour and make a chicken pot pie filling. So frugal, so flexible!

a close up of an orange chicken soup being scooped by a ladle out of a white casserole pot.
Chicken Soup made with broth from simmering frugal organic chicken carcasses.

How do you make broth from a chicken carcass?

If you take the carcass of a roasted chicken, cover it in water and bring it to a simmer for 3+ hours before straining off the liquid, you’ll have made a nutrient rich broth from a chicken carcass. The soup recipe below starts with making a broth and then turning it into a soup – scroll down for the full recipe.

Kitchen Essentials for this Recipe!

What’s the difference between stock and broth?

Typically stock comes from boiling predominantly just the meat for a shorter time whereas broth comes from simmering the bones and maybe some meat for a much longer time. With broth, the gelatinous collagen is extracted from the bones and so you get a jelly like product when the liquid cools. This recipe makes a broth first, and after 2-3 hours of boiling the roasted carcass you’ll get a liquid that has that jiggly collagen filled texture when it cools.

Why make soup from a chicken carcass?

Chicken carcasses are often considered waste, people will eat the meat off a roast chicken and throw away the carcass. Additionally, people often buy the breasts, thighs and wings at a premium and don’t want the carcass. That means you can typically get carcasses for a very good price. And while they have less meat, they still have the ability to make a flavour rich and nutrient dense broth. The carcasses can also still have a decent amount of meat (THESE ones I buy definitely do!) on them to make a richer soup. So you can save on buying expensive broth and make a delicious meat meal for a low amount of money. What can you add to chicken soup?

Where can you buy chicken carcasses?

The best way is to ask your local local butcher if they have them for sale, or buy them from an online butcher. I get these organic chicken carcasses from Abel and Cole most weeks in our veg box as a frugal source of protein and to make broth. They’re £3.85 for 2 and have a good amount of meat left on them, enough to take some off for another dish but still make a broth with shredded meat in it.

You might like this post on shopping Abel and Cole on a budget!

a bag with chicken carcasses in being held my a left hand, on a terracotta colour flour.
Abel and Cole Organic Chicken Carcasses

Nourishing and Budget Friendly Chicken Soup from Chicken Carcasses

An easy and flexible chicken soup to use every part of the chicken – for maximum nutrition and minimal waste!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time3 hrs 40 mins
Servings: 8


  • 1 Dutch Oven or Large Soup Pan and Lid
  • 1 Sieve or fine strainer


  • 2 Chicken Carcasses or 1 Full Chicken These are the organic ones that we get!
  • 2 Medium/large Onion Or more smaller ones
  • 1/4 Cup Butter or Oil for cooking
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Cups Carrots, finely diced You can use more if you have more you want to use up, or less if you don't have them on hand. You can also use a cup of celery instead I just don't tend to use it out of preference.
  • 1 Can Chopped Tomatoes You can also use chopped tomatoes
  • 3 Cups Beans or Lentils, pre cooked For the most budget friendly option soak them from dry then cook. You need one cup of dry beans to make about 3 cups cooked.
  • 1 Cup Sweetcorn Or one can, or the corn of 2-3 cobs of corn, cooked. It's a flexible amount so don't waste any to stick to one cup.
  • 3 Tbsp Cumin Or more or less to taste
  • 2 Tbsp Smoked Paprika Or more or less to taste, make sure you taste!
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


Making the Broth

  • Preheat the oven to 150℃/375℉
  • Place the chicken carcasses (or a whole chicken) in a roasting dish and roast until the meat is cooked though, about 40 minutes. This will be a different time depending on how much meat is left on the carcass. If you're working with a whole bird – cook the the correct time for the size you're working with.
    two chicken carcasses in a glass baking dish on a grey counter. top down view.
  • Once the meat has cooled enough to handle, pull the easy to remove parts off the bones and reserve it. You can add it back into the soup, or use it for a different dish.
  • Place the bones, skin, and any giblets into a stock pot or dutch oven skillet and add a roughly chopped onion, salt and pepper. You can also add any unwanted veggie scraps you have at this point to cook down and flavour the broth.
  • Fill the pot with water, enough to fully cover the chicken and anything you've added, about 2 litres.
  • Bring the pot to a simmer and leave it safely simmering for 2-3 hours. If the water gets low, top it up to just covering the bones.
  • When it's had a 2-4 hours to simmer, carefully strain and reserve the liquid. You'll have about 1.5 to 2 litres of broth. This is your broth for making the soup or using for anything you want.

Making the Soup

  • Finely dice the remaining onion and add it to a stock pot with 2 tablespoons butter or oil over a medium heat. Stir the onion as it cooks until it's soft and translucent.
  • Add the garlic, spices and diced carrot and continue to stir and cook until everything has softened. (In a time pinch you can throw it all in together and let it simmer and cook together once everything is added.) Add more butter or a splash of broth if the pan gets dry.
    carrots and onions diced with red spice powder in a white casserole pot.
  • Once the onion, garlic and carrot are cooked and soft, add in the broth and chopped tomatoes, beans or lentils, corn and any meat, and stir together.
  • Turn down the pot to a low simmer, add the lid, and let it simmer for 30 minutes to an hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper (it's going to need a lot of salt!) and add more cumin and smoked paprika as needed. The seasoning MAKES this soup, it's nothing without it and suddenly all comes together when it's seasoned right.
  • Serve with crusty bread or toasted tortilla strips, grated cheese or a dollop of yogurt.
    Chicken soup in a white casserole pan with 2 loaves of sourdough.
  • Allow to cool and store in a glass container in the fridge for 2-3 days.

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