Nothing soothes when you’re feeling crummy quite like chicken soup – am I right? But as a traveler, I love learning about and trying other cuisines, especially when I’m under the weather and unable to visit them directly. That’s why I was so excited to try making Cuban chicken noodle soup once I heard about it.
See, Cuban chicken noodle soup is completely different than whatever chicken soup you probably had when growing up and feeling unwell – whether that was Campbell’s or homemade. (Unless, of course, you’re of Cuban descent in which case – lucky you!) Cuban chicken noodle soup takes a lot longer than the 90 seconds I used to microwave my condensed soup to heat it up, and uses many more interesting ingredients and complex flavors. But all those veggies and spices – plus a little citrus juice and hot sauce on top – amp up a standard chicken noodle soup’s ability to help you feel better by literally giving your body nutrients to fight what ails you.
In this post I’ll be sharing my version of Cuban chicken noodle soup; I am not Cuban and if you’d rather support a site that has a native chef making this recipe, I completely understand. If you’re still with me, let’s dive in to learn more about this special soup and how you can make it at home.
The History of Cuban Chicken Noodle Soup
When I share ethnic soup recipes, I like to spend a little time discussing the history and cultural context of the dish; after all, part of the reason we try foods around the world is to experience that place through the flavors of the dish.
In the case of Cuban Chicken Noodle Soup, it is colloquially called “Remedio para el Resfriado” or “Cuban Cold Remedy” (source) – and if you look at the recipe, you’ll see that it is (at its core) a standard chicken noodle soup with a few extra ingredients to add a Cubano flair, such as finishing the soup with lemon/lime juice or hot sauce.
Cuban Chicken Noodle Soup is pretty ubiquitous in Cuban communities, and you can commonly find it even in the U.S. where Cuban food is commonly available (think: South Florida). The reality is that everyone makes their recipe a little bit differently – usually how their abuela (grandmother) made it – but I tried to standardize my recipe to be a baseline you can adapt to your own flavors and family preferences.
Making Cuban Chicken Noodle Soup
Now that you know a little bit about this soup’s history and cultural relevance, let’s dive into making it. In this section I’ll go into detail about the steps of making Cuban chicken noodle soup; if you want a quicker version of these steps with the ingredients and their exact portions, you can skip down to the recipe card.
Start by grabbing your favorite large soup pot. (We all have one, right? No? Just me?)
Add the chicken, onion, carrots, celery, smashed garlic, and water to the pot. If the water doesn’t completely cover your ingredients, add an extra cup or two – it won’t affect the deliciousness of the final result. Then add the bay leaf, oregano, and cumin.
Bring the soup to a boil, then lower it down to simmer over medium-low heat. Half cover the pot and leave it to simmer. Come back to check it every 10-15 minutes; when necessary, skim off foam and grease with a slotted spoon.
After 90 minutes, remove the broth from heat and use your spoon to remove all chicken onto a plate, to cool. Strain the broth to remove all debris (no, you don’t need to keep any of the veggies you use in the broth for the final product.)
Once the chicken has cooled, use a fork (or your hands) to remove all bones and break up the chicken into bite-sized pieces. You can discard the bones, skin, and cartilage.
In a separate pot – maybe your second-favorite pot – bring water to a boil. Add the Fidelini Fideo and cook them according to the package directions.
Bring the broth back up to a simmer over medium-high heat, then the chicken stock as well as the turmeric. Chop and add the remaining celery and carrots too, as well as the cubed potato and sliced corn cobs. Cover and simmer for 5-6 minutes.
Next, add your de-boned, bite-sized chicken and cooked noodles to the pot. Keep the soup simmering for another 5-10 minutes until the veggies are tender, then season with salt and pepper as desired.
Cuban chicken noodle soup is best enjoyed fresh and hot, so serve it right up with lemon or lime juice and hot sauce. ¡Buen provecho!
Cuban Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe
- 2 pounds Chicken, bone-in
- 1 large Onion, peeled, halved or quartered
- 5-6 Garlic Cloves, peeled and smashed
- 3 Celery Stalks, divided (2 for the broth and 1 for the soup)
- 3 Carrots peeled, divided (2 carrots for the broth and 1 for the soup)
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
- ½ teaspoon Cumin
- 8 cups Chicken Stock
- 8 cups Water
- ½ teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- 1 Medium Potato cut into 1 inch cubes (about ½ lb.)
- 1 Corn Cob cut into 1 roughly inch rounds
- 6 ounces Fidelini Fideo Noodles
- Salt to taste
- Add the chicken (bone-in), carrots, onion, celery, garlic, bay leaf, oregon, cumin, and water to a large soup pot. If the water doesn’t completely cover your ingredients, add an extra cup or two.
- Bring the pot to a boil, then once boiling lower to medium-low heat to simmer. Half-cover the pot, and stir occasionally while cooking. When necessary, skim off foam and grease using a wooden slotted spoon.
- After 90 minutes, remove the broth from heat and remove all chicken onto a plate to cool.
- Once the chicken has cooled, use a fork and your hands to remove all bones and reduce the chicken to bite-sized pieces. (You can discard the bones, skin, and cartilage.)
- Strain the broth to remove all debris.
- Separately, fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the noodles and cook according to the package directions. When done, drain the noodles and set them aside.
- Bring the broth back to a simmer over medium-high heat, then add the chicken stock and turmeric.
- Then add the remaining celery and carrots, as well as the potatoes and corn cobs to the broth. Cover and simmer for 5-6 minutes.
- Add the chicken and noodles to the pot, and stir to combine. Cook for another 5-10 minutes until the veggies are tender. Season with salt as needed.
- When ready, serve with lemon or lime juice and hot sauce.
And with that, you’re ready to level up your chicken noodle soup-making skills the next time you or someone in your house is feeling ill – or you just want a taste from our nearby but not easily visited neighbor.
Have other questions about this Cuban chicken noodle soup recipe? Let me know in the comments!
Looking for other ethnic soup recipes? Here are some suggestions: