Comforting Cuban chicken soup is on every abuela’s arsenal! This is the cure if anyone has a cold or is just a bit under the weather! Chicken noodle soup seems so basic I almost didn’t add this recipe to the blog, but it’s my favorite soup and it just takes me back to my childhood and feeling loved on when I had a cold. Lots of love goes into making this Cuban chicken soup and even if it doesn’t cure the common cold, it cures the common cold blues.
While it’s packed with love, this homemade Cuban chicken noodle soup is super simple to make. The first time I made it on my own, I got it all wrong because I added too many seasonings, and the broth was not clear and golden like Mami’s. It didn’t taste anything like her Cuban chicken soup.
Cuban Chicken Soup Like Mami Makes
I called Mami to see where I had gone wrong. Here’s what she told me:
- Use dark meat with the bones to make the soup. This is what gives the broth such a great flavor.
- Add onions, garlic, green peppers, tomato, carrots, celery, culantro and and bay leaves to the chicken and simmer for an hour. Culantro is a long leaf often used in Cuban cooking. You can find it with the other herbs. But if you can’t find it, don’t sweat it. I don’t always add it.
- Strain the soup and press all the vegetables through a sieve to get all the flavor out of it. Mami likes to use a pestle to squeeze every bit of flavor out of the veggies and into the soup.
- Then add potatoes, fresh carrots, corn cobettes, and noodles. Add salt to taste. Chop the chicken and add it back into the soup.
I made a few of my own edits to her Cuban chicken soup. I use red bell pepper instead of green pepper, and I add some saffron threads at the end. It gives the soup great flavor and a nice, golden color. Mami uses Bijol, a red food coloring used in many Cuban dishes. But I don’t like using the coloring, so I usually use paprika and/or saffron for flavor and golden color. Saffron is used in Spanish cooking, especially in making paella. But I love the flavor so much, I add it to many dishes, including chicken soup.
The Best Noodles for Cuban Chicken Noodle Soup
Cubans use fideos to make this chicken soup. These noodles are as thin as angel hair and are shaped into little bundles. You can make it with angel hair pasta, but I really love using these! Maybe it’s because I grew up eating them, or maybe it’s because they look like little birds’ nests. I like my soup with three little bundles, which I break up just before adding. If you can’t find these in the grocery store, you can also make it with angel hair pasta. If you use angel hair, break up the noodles before adding them to the soup.
This Cuban chicken soup really hits the spot when you’re sick! But really, it hits the spot all the time, especially with a thick slice of buttered Cuban bread.
So, I made my Cuban chicken noodle soup today. When my daughter walked into the kitchen and smelled it, she wanted to know who was sick. Yea, I pretty much make this soup when someone is sick. But, I should make it more often because it’s delicious!
Food associations are so strong! I have such vivid memories of having a comforting bowl of my mom’s delicious Cuban chicken soup when I was sick. It made me feel loved and cared for. So, I do the same thing for my kids. But I really shouldn’t wait until they’re sick to love on them with this soup.
Sometimes we save certain things for special occasions, but every day can be remarkable. Life is too short to limit the good stuff for just sometimes. So this Cuban chicken soup, hugs and kisses, and quality time are for every day because every day is special. ❤️
This Cuban Chicken Soup is comforting and satisfying! It’s perfect for a cold day or when you’re feeling under the weather.
For the stock:
1.5 lbs skinned chicken thighs
1/2 medium onion, cut in half
2 celery stalks, cut in half with the leaves
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 culantro leaves (see note)
1 tomato, cut in half
1/4 bell pepper (green or red is fine)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
For the soup:
1 small potato, peeled and cut into one-inch pieces
2 carrots, sliced into quarter-inch rounds
4 corn cobettes
2 to 3 bundles of fideos (see note)
One pinch Saffron threads or a teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Lime wedges for serving
Make the Stock:
- Fill a stockpot with water about 3/4 full (approx 12 cups). Add the chicken, onion, celery stalks, garlic, tomato, carrot, bell pepper, culantro and and bay leaves. Bring it to a boil, and lower the heat and simmer for an hour.
- Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon, then strain the stock. Mash the vegetables through the strainer with the back of a spoon or a pestel. Scrape the bottom of the strainer, too. This will help capture every bit of flavor.
Make the soup:
- Peel and cut the potatoes into one-inch pieces. Peel and slice the carrots into quarter-inch rounds. Chop the chicken into bite-size pieces.
- Add the broth back to the pot and then throw in the potatoes, carrots, corn, and a pinch saffron threads or a teaspoon of paprika. Bring to a boil, add the noodles and cook until the noodles are softened. Taste and add salt as needed necessary.
- Now about the corn. I usually take these out and cut the corn kernels and add them back to the soup. Or you can leave the cobettes in. I like using corn cobettes instead of frozen corn because the husk gives the soup extra flavor.
- Serve with Cuban bread, of course!
You can use Latin-style fideos or angel hair. The amount of noodles will vary based on how you like your soup. I use 3 little bundles of fideos because we like it with a lot of noodles. You can substitute about 2-3 ounces of angel hair pasta.
Culantro is an herb used in Cuban cooking. It has long leaves and can usually be found with the other herbs. But if you can’t find, don’t sweat it.
Keywords: Cuban Chicken Soup, Cuban Chicken Soup Recipe, Cuban Chicken Noodle Soup, chicken noodle soup, homemade chicken soup