Lemon Chicken Soup with Cabbage

Lemon Chicken Soup with Cabbage
A light, refreshing soup that is not only for the colder months. Serve with your favorite sourdough or baguette and this is the perfect, healthy soup.

Today was a migraine day. They don’t happen often but when they do, they’re strong. I worked for a client today too, and stared at a computer screen all day. My body was craving healthy sustenance, so I wanted a warm dish that had all the veggies and chicken I longed for. Lemon Chicken Soup with Cabbage was simple to make and only took an hour, but the flavor was as if I had simmered the soup all day. I have a few simple tricks that will help your simple stews and soups taste slow-cooked.

Firstly, if using store-bought stock or bouillon, I like to add either soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce to the stock before adding it to my soup. It helps the stock taste not-so manufactured. Both ingredients are incredibly salty so keep that in mind before adding any additional salt. If anything, salt this soup at the end after tasting for seasoning, if needed. I did not need to further salt my soup.

I also recommend adding an acid. I knew I was going to be using lemon in this soup, so I utilized both the rind/zest and juice. Citrus zest is surprisingly flavorful; way more flavorful than just the juice. The punchy, lemony flavor that you get from the zest helps a dish have layers of flavor, which you get from cooking something all day.

Enjoy this Lemon Chicken Soup with Cabbage. My husband and I sure did.

Lemon Chicken Soup with Cabbage

This soup takes less than hour to make, but has an all-day simmered flavor. Fresh lemon rind and bone-in chicken thighs make this soup the perfect weeknight meal, no matter what season we're in.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cabbage soup, chicken soup, Lemon Chicken Soup with Cabbage, lemon soup
Servings: 4 people


  • 2 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 15 baby carrots, sliced
  • 1 large stalk celery, diced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded, deveined, and diced
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 tbsp boullion powder or paste
  • 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • splash sweet white wine
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 3 slices lemon rind, mostly yellow parts only
  • 5 baby Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1/4 head small green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • fresh chives, for garnish


  • Begin with the chicken. Pat dry with paper towels and season liberally with salt and pepper.
  • Add oil to a hot medium skillet with high sides. Allow to get hot over medium heat, then add the chicken skin side down. You might have to fiddle with your chicken to ensure it does not stick. Cook on the first side 5 minutes, or until deeply browned. Flip and cook another 3 minutes or so. Remove onto a plate and set aside.
  • Turn the heat down to medium low. Add your onions, carrots, celery, and jalapeno. Cook and sweat the veggies for 6-7 minutes, stirring frequently. You want the veggies to develop a deep brown fond at the bottom of the pan.
  • Add garlic powder and cayenne. Mix together and keep on low.
  • Meanwhile, microwave 6 cups of water until warm in a glass measuring cup. When warm, add boullion and stir to combine. Add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. Set aside.
  • Add wine to the vegetables and cook off the alcohol for 2 minutes. Add boullion stock that you just made, stir together.
  • Add bay leaves to the soup. Slice 3 slices of lemon rind off of your lemon that you will juice later. Be sure to cut as close as you can to the yellow outside, as the white pith can be bitter. Add lemon rinds to the soup.
  • Add your sliced baby potatoes to the soup at this stage, as you do not want them falling apart. Add chicken back to the pot too.
  • Bring soup to a boil and reduce to a low simmer for 25-30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and tender. When cooked through, remove to a plate and set aside to cool.
  • After the chicken is out, add your cabbage. After about 5-10 minutes, shred your chicken and add it back to the soup.
  • Allow soup to bubble all together for about 5 minutes. Off the heat, add the juice of the lemon you zested earlier.
  • Pick out the bay leaves and lemon rind. Serve soup in a bowl with a garnish of fresh chives.


Note: You do NOT need to add any additional salt to this dish! You want to season the chicken before cooking, but that it is. Bouillon is very salty as is soy sauce, and that is plenty of salt for the whole soup.