Six Soups to Soothe a Cold

We've all heard the age-old recommendation: Starve a cold.

Doesn't work.

And what about: Chicken soup will cure the common cold?

Not exactly, but there might be a little truth to the old wive's tale.

There's no question hydration helps the body fight illness. Not to mention that warm liquids can comfort those clogged nasal passages. But recent research indicates that chicken soup, specifically, may help you feel better in other ways.

"It does actually have an anti-inflammatory effect," says Dr. Lisa Bernstein, an associate professor of medicine at Emory University in Atlanta and a participant in the OnCall+ Cold & Flu section.

"It's important to just keep your nutrition up, keep hydrated, and if you like chicken soup, go right ahead," Bernstein says.

Sure, the canned soup standards can do the job just fine, but why not consider soup from scratch?

We've assembled six delicious recipes to try, including the classic chicken noodle soup.

Visit the OnCall+ Cold & Flu Center

None of these recipes is guaranteed in any way to speed up an illness, but they will fill your stomach and soothe you, nonetheless.

Chicken Noodle Soup

This timeless recipe is the signature antidote to the common cold.


  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 package egg noodles (12 ounces)


1. In a big stock pot, combine water, chicken, salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer one hour, or until chicken juices run clear. Remove chicken and shred it. Strain the broth and reserve it.

2. In a skillet over medium heat, cook onion and garlic in olive oil until slightly browned.

3. Combine in the pot: the browned onion and garlic, shredded chicken, strained broth, carrots, corn, and celery. Simmer 20 minutes.

4. Add parsley and egg noodles and simmer for 10 minutes more.

Submitted by Rachel Meeks, 41, of Dallas, Texas

Fennel and Apple Soup

Serve hot, garnished with chopped chives or red apple cut into matchsticks. (Leave red apple skin intact; toss with fresh lemon juice to retain color.) This recipe is also deliciously gluten-free and dairy-free.


  • 2 medium fennel bulbs, stalk and fronds removed, chopped (about 5 cups)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Madeira wine or Port
  • 2 cups gluten-free, dairy-free chicken stock (suggest Imagine, Pacific or Kitchen Basics brands)
  • 2 large apples, Granny Smith or other firm, tart apple, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, to taste

    1. In a large, heavy-bottom stockpot, saute fennel and onion in olive oil until softened and slightly browned (caramelized), about 15 minutes.

    2. Add wine and let cook for a minute. Add chicken stock, apples, bay leaf and thyme. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes or until apples and fennel are soft.

    3. Remove bay leaf and puree in batches in a blender or food processor. For velvety-smooth texture, pass soup through a food mill or strain.

    4. Add nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.

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