A healthy spin on classic chicken noodle, this Chicken Quinoa Soup is packed with protein, simple ingredients, and cozy flavors. It’s ready to eat in 30 minutes and is easy to make in just one pot!
This light, healthy, and filling Chicken Quinoa Soup is an easy and comforting one-pot recipe. You’ll find all of your favorite chicken soup ingredients here, like vegetables, chicken breasts, and a savory, herbaceous broth. Plus, making it with quinoa instead of noodles makes each bite extra hearty and satisfying.
Just like my Vegetable Quinoa Soup, each bowl of this naturally gluten and dairy free chicken soup will make you feel great. It’s the perfect choice when you aren’t feeling well or to warm you up during winter. Better yet, make a batch now and store it in the fridge for quick, healthy, and easy dinners and lunches!
- The entire recipe is completely flexible! Switch up the veggies, meats, or seasonings to find your perfect flavor.
- Easy to make on the stove, Instant Pot, or crockpot!
- Each bite is full of protein, fiber, and antioxidants.
- Chicken breasts - I used about one pound of boneless, skinless, and thawed chicken breasts. Thighs or tenderloins would also work well.
- Quinoa - Any color quinoa will work! White quinoa has a similar texture and flavor to rice or you can use the slightly heartier red or black quinoa instead.
- Chicken broth - Keep things simple with storebought chicken broth, vegetable broth, or go all out with homemade chicken bone broth.
- Vegetables - Carrots, celery, garlic cloves, and yellow onion give the soup a great baseline of cozy flavors.
- Hot sauce - I prefer Cholula, but feel free to sub in your favorite.
Step 1: Sauté the veggies. Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven or large pot before adding the celery, carrots, onion, and garlic. Sauté until they're all soft and tender.
Step 2: Cook the chicken and quinoa. Add the bay leaves, chicken breasts, quinoa, broth, hot sauce, and salt to the pot. Bring the mixture up to a boil and simmer until the chicken is cooked through.
Step 3: Shred the chicken. Carefully remove your chicken breasts from the soup and use two forks to shred the meat. Add the meat back into the pot and simmer for a few more minutes.
Step 4: Garnish and serve. Ladle your hot chicken quinoa soup into bowls and garnish with black pepper, parsley, and fresh lemon juice. Serve and enjoy!
Expert tips and FAQs
- Not into spicy food? Feel free to omit the hot sauce.
- Rinse your quinoa in cold water before adding it to the soup. This will help to remove any debris and the bitter coating on the outside of the grains.
- Cut your soup making time in half by boiling the chicken and cooking the quinoa ahead of time. Just store them separately in the fridge until you’re ready to simmer everything together.
- A garnish of parsley and fresh lemon juice give the soup a bright zing.
Can you make chicken quinoa soup in the Instant Pot?
Turn your Instant Pot on Saute Mode and saute the celery, carrots, onion, and garlic in oil. Turn off Saute Mode and add the bay leaves, chicken, quinoa, broth, hot sauce, and salt to the pot. Seal the lid, close the valve, and cook on high pressure for 7 minutes.
Manually release the pressure when it’s done. Take the chicken out of the pot, shred it with two forks, and return it back to the pot. Season the soup to taste, then serve and enjoy!
Is chicken quinoa soup healthy?
Yes! Making soup with quinoa adds in plenty of amino acids, fiber, and antioxidants. The sauteed vegetables and boiled chicken don’t hurt, either. No wonder this chicken quinoa soup is the perfect go-to cold remedy!
What else can you put in chicken and quinoa soup?
Add more ingredients or replace the chicken or grains with more of your favorites, such as:
- Veggies - Peas, green beans, spinach, kale, corn kernels, cauliflower rice, or diced potatoes.
- Grains - Try swapping the quinoa for white or brown rice, couscous, barley, egg noodles, or homemade dumplings.
- Proteins - Although chicken is the classic way to go, it can always be replaced with turkey, pork, tofu, extra quinoa, or chickpeas.
- Refrigerator - Keep the cooked and cooled soup in an airtight container and store for up to 5 days.
- Freezer - Although you can freeze quinoa soup, I don’t recommend it because the texture of the cooked quinoa will become mushy and clumpy.
More comforting soup recipes
If you made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Thanks!
Chicken Quinoa Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 celery sliced
- 3 carrots chopped
- 1 cup yellow onion diced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 lb. chicken breast (approx. 2 breasts)
- 1 cup quinoa rinsed
- 7 cups chicken broth plus more as needed
- 2 teaspoon hot sauce more or less to taste
- ½ teaspoon salt plus more to taste
- black pepper to taste
- lemon juice to taste optional
- fresh parsley chopped, for garnish
- Heat oil in a dutch oven or large pot over medium heat, then add the celery, carrots, onion, and garlic; sauté for 5-7 minutes until the veggies soften.
- Next, add the bay leaves, chicken, quinoa, chicken broth, hot sauce, and salt and bring the soup to a boil. Then, reduce heat to a simmer and simmer the soup for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked.
- Use kitchen tongs to remove the chicken and place it on a cutting board; use two forks to shred it, then place it back into the pot.
- Add black pepper, fresh parsley and/or lemon juice to taste and enjoy!
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the celery, carrots and onion and sauté for 7 minutes; add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute; transfer mixture to your slow cooker, along with the bay leaves.
- Next, slice each chicken breast into 3 large pieces (this will help it cook at the same speed as the quinoa), then add the chicken to your slow cooker, along with the quinoa, chicken broth, hot sauce, salt, and pepper.
- Cook soup on HIGH for approximately 3 hours. Remove the chicken with tongs and shred it, then place it back into the slow cooker. Divide into bowls, then season with lemon juice and fresh parsley (optional). Enjoy!
UPDATE NOTTE: This post was originally published in November 2015. It was updated with new text and photos in December 2021.