Jamaican Chicken Soup is the perfect soup to make when you’re looking for something hearty and flavourful, feeling sick or simply crave a bowl of heartwarming authentic Jamaican soup! This classic Caribbean chicken soup recipe is made with a chicken and pumpkin soup base, then filled with dumplings, vegetables, and hearty ground provision, such as yams and potatoes!
For another classic Jamaican soup, try my Traditional Jamaican Pumpkin Beef Soup or my tried and tested Classic Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup, or another Jamaican classic Jamaican Red Peas Soup recipe!
Full recipe ingredients and instructions are available in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Table of Contents
Jamaican Chicken Soup
It doesn’t get more classic than this Jamaican Chicken Soup, for those who grow up in Jamaican or Caribbean households. This is a soup that is heavily in rotation, especially on Saturdays which have been dubbed “soup sat-deh” or “soup saturdays.
This soup isn’t your average chicken noodle soup that is made with carrots, celery, onion, garlic and chicken. The Jamaican version of chicken noodle soup is made with all the above, plus pumpkin, dumplings, additional vegetables, herbs, spices and ground provision; making it one hell of a hearty, heart warming soup!
You’ll Love This Jamaican Soup Recipe! Here’s Why…
- Veggie Heaven – this is an easy way to eat your veggies and get a full serving or more of all its nutrients!
- Warming – during the cooler and cold winter months, this is a great way to warm you up from the inside out.
- Filling – loaded with dumplings, carrots, and hearty ground provision, such as yams and potatoes this soup will leave you feeling full and satisfied.
- Versatile – you can make this soup light with a broth like consistency, or thick and hearty. You can also add in various veggies and produce as you please; the options are endless.
Looking for More Soup Recipes? Check these Out…
What is Jamaican Chicken Soup?
Jamaican Chicken Soup is a hearty classic soup recipe that is traditionally served in the Caribbean on Saturdays. However, there is no specific day or time when it is enjoyed these days. It’s made with a chicken and pumpkin soup base, then filled with dumplings, vegetables, and hearty ground provision, such as yams and potatoes!
Is this Chicken Soup Healthy?
The ingredients in chicken soup are a great source of vitamins and minerals helping to support a healthy and strong immune system. It’s full of vitamin A, B, C, D, E, K, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, protein and will help keep you hydrated and full.
Benefits of Soup When Sick
When feeling under the weather, the steam, hot soup and heat from the scotch bonnet pepper help to clear congestion, your sinuses and mucus improving air flow. The broth helps you stay hydrated and give you an overall warm sensation from the inside out.
TSS Tip – use bone-in chicken as the bone marrow is what you need to ensure the stock is full of nutrients.
What You Need to Make this Recipe (Equipment and Tools)
Cutting Board – this is helpful for chopping the fresh ingredients, especially the pumpkin with ease. You can place a damp piece of paper towel to prevent the cutting board from slipping.
Large Chef or Butcher Knife – using a sharp chef or butchers knife will aid in thoroughly cutting through the harder vegetables such as the pumpkin, or ground provision such as the yam.
Large Stock Pot – a stock pot is often much taller than a regular large pot. The tall sides help to prevent too much liquid from evaporating during the cooking process, as well as helping to reduce any potential spillage. Not to mention, great for big batches of soup!
Long Handled Wooden Spoon – the handle of this spoon will stay cool while stirring the soup, as well it will not scratch your pot.
Ladle – this kitchen tool has a deep rounded bottom, perfect for scooping up heaping portions of the soup as well as all the vegetables, ground provision and meat.
Ingredient and Ingredient Notes
- Water – this is what you are going to use to make the soup base (the chicken pumpkin stock).
- Chicken – use bone-in chicken thighs, chicken legs, bone-in chicken breast, and/or wings and drums. If using chicken breasts, slice them into halves and use bone-in.
- Garlic – use large cloves and crush them using the bottom of a can or between two cutting boards.
- Whole Pimento Seeds – also known as allspice berries, this adds a woody, cinnamon like flavour but is not overpowering.
- Pumpkin – this is a round or oblong type of squash and is a must in the recipe. It’s what provides the rich pumpkin flavour and orange colour to the soup and helps to thicken the soup. Cut the into small cubes for easier cooking.
- Corn – quarter the corn into smaller pieces and add to the soup.
- Carrot – use large, peeled and sliced carrots or carrots cut into chunks.
- Yellow Yam – cut into 4 chunks.
- Chocho – also known as cayote is a type of squash and has a taste between a mild apple and cucumber with a crisp texture.
- Turnip – cut into small cubes, optional.
- Thyme – this fresh aromatic and flavourful herb is essential in many jamaican dishes, and definitely great in this one as well.
- Escallion – also known as green onion, crushed using the handle end of a chefs knife if needed.
- Flour Dumpling – a mixture of all purpose flour, water and salt rolled into circular shaped dumplings.
- Scotch Bonnet Pepper – this packs a good spicy punch, and flavour to the soup. Alternatively, you can use habanero peppers or your favourite variety of pepper. Be sure to keep it whole (don’t let it burst), as the soup may become too spicy.
- Grace Cock Soup Mix – his is a packaged soup mix, that gives great homestyle flavour to the soup. You can find this many large chain grocery stores as well as west indian or caribbean grocery stores.
- Seasoning Salt – or salt, to taste
- Fresh Cracked Black Pepper – to taste.
- All Purpose Flour – you can also use other varieties of flour such as whole wheat, gluten-free etc.
- Water – more, or less may be needed.
- Salt – to taste.
What is Ground Provision?
Ground provisions are a term used for Caribbean starchy vegetables that grow underground, and are then dug up when harvested.
Some commonly used ground provisions include, yams, sweet potatoes, dasheen (taro), eddo and cassava (yucca or manioc).
They are prepared in a variety of ways, however they are usually the only or main source of carbohydrates for the meal. Other provision or “food” as Jamaicans say also include breadfruit, green bananas, and plantains.
Recipe Substitutions and Variations
- Ground Provision – add yams, potatoes, dasheen, eddo or cassava to change up the soup and add great filling nourishment.
- Vegetables – chocho (cayote), turnip, carrot, celery and corn, use these veggies interchangeable as desired.
- Protein – you can add beef to this soup for added variety such as bone-in stewing beef or salted cured beef.
- Dumpling – instead of using white all purpose flour, swap the flour and use gluten-free or whole wheat dumplings.
See My Story Below for Step-by-Step Instructions!
How to Make This Recipe
1. Prep Ingredients – prep all your vegetables, ground provisions, chicken and set aside.
2. Make Chicken Stock – in a large stockpot, bring to rapid boil 12 cups of water. Carefully add the chicken, garlic and pimento to the pot. Allow to boil for about 15 minutes or until the chicken is partially cooked.
3. Add Hard Vegetables and Ground Provision – add pumpkin, corn, carrots, yellow yam (or other ground provision) and continue to cook for about 15 minutes or until pumpkin softened and chicken is tender.
4. Add Remaining Fresh Vegetables – when pumpkin has softened into the soup (water is now an orange colour), add the remaining fresh ingredients – cayote (chocho), turnip, dumpling, thyme, green onion (escallion), and scotch bonnet pepper.
5. Season and Serve – reduce heat to medium. Stir in Grace Cock Soup Mix, seasoning salt and black pepper. Taste and adjust if necessary; allow to simmer for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Remove scotch bonnet pepper and thyme sprigs, serve while hot and enjoy!
Storage and Freezing Suggestions and Tips
Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or keep frozen for up to 3 months.
The Best Storage Containers for Storing and Freezing Soup
Soup recipes often taste even better as leftovers, and if you’re making a big batch, storing for later is a great idea! The best features to look for in the storage containers are ones that are:
- Glass Container – this allows you to see what’s inside, lasts longer than plastic, does not stain, can be heated on stove top (double boiler), used in the oven as well as microwave.
- Snap Close Lid – this forms a tight seal to ensure no spillage as well as to keep freshness in.
Be sure to look for a lid that is BPA-free!
How to Freeze Soup
Soup is one of the best meals to make-ahead because it freezes so well. Here’s how to store your soup in the freezer and the best tips for the best results:
- Cool and Portion it Out – it is recommended you cool your soup prior to placing into the freezer to prevent it from thawing other foods in the freezer. Then, portion the soup out into easy and convenient grab-and-go individual servings.
- Separate Grains and Pasta – if there are pasta or grains such as rice in your soup, they will soften as they freeze and reheat. Remove, store, and freeze separately then add back the soup broth when ready to serve.
- Store in Glass or Plastic Containers – then line the top of the soup with a piece of plastic wrap to reduce the risk of freezer burn.
- Label – you can keep frozen soup in the freezer for up to 3 months, so label with a “eat by” date.
- Thaw/Reheat – the easiest way to thaw your soup is in your refrigerator overnight then reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
How to Reheat
- Microwave – for individual servings or smaller batches, transfer soup to a microwave-safe dish, cover with a microwave-safe lid or paper towel and heat.
- Stove – reheat large batches of soup in a stock pot or dutch oven on the stove over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until heated through.
Recipe Notes and Tips
- Large Stock Pot – once you add in all your vegetables, dumplings, and chicken things can get crowded, ensure you use a large enough pot.
- Dumplings – when the dumplings begin to float to the top, they are ready.
- Water/Stock Level – always make sure there’s enough water in your pot to cover your ingredients at all times. Enough water to cover the chicken and pumpkin during the cooking process. Enough water to cover all your vegetables and dumplings to allow the soup to simmer.
- Thinner/Thicker Soup – if you prefer a thinner soup, add more water during cooking process, if you prefer a thicker soup add more pumpkin and ensure its softened out fully into the water.
This is a one pot meal that encompasses meats, veggies, starch and of course the flavourful chicken and pumpkin soup broth. It is usually not served alongside any other food items, however you can serve with:
- Bread – warm crusty bread or jamaican hard dough bread.
- Crackers – soup crackers or jamaican water crackers.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
If you’re unable to find Grace Cock Soup Mix, or any of their other soup mixes (i.e. Chicken Noodle Soup), feel free to use chicken bouillon, or chicken noodle soup mix.
In my experience, the best varieties of pumpkin I’ve used are jamaican pumpkin or kombucha, calabaza and butternut squash.
The vegetables can be prepped (washed and peeled) ahead of time or from the night before. However, for making the soup the ahead, its most common to make soup the day of and enjoy leftovers the day after.
Head to the nearest Caribbean or West Indian food market, alternatively you can find many of these ingredients at an Asian food market as well. If none of these are in your local area, refer to the substitution and variations list above to find alternatives.
You can leave the skin on the pumpkin, or you can peel the skin off. There isn’t much bearing on the outcome of the soup.
Interested in more Jamaican Recipes? Check These Out!
- Traditional Jamaican Pumpkin Beef Soup, pictured below
- Jamaican Pickled Vegetables (Escovitch Sauce), pictured below
- Easy Jamaican Pigeon “Gungo” Peas and Rice
- Jamaican Escovitch Fish
- Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken
- Jamaican Rice and Peas
- Jamaican Fried Dumpling
- Jamaican Curry Shrimp (Seafood)
- Vegan Jamaican Bulgur Wheat & Peas (Rice & Peas Remix)
- Jamaican Rasta Pasta
- Quick & Easy Jamaican Jerk Chicken
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Jamaican Chicken Soup
- 1 Large Stockpot
- 12 cups Water
- 4 Chicken Thighs skin-off, bone-in
- 2 Chicken Breasts halved
- 6 cloves Garlic crushed
- 6-8 Whole Pimento Seeds or allspice berries
- 1/2 medium Pumpkin cut into small cubes
- 1-2 Corn cut into 4
- 1 large Carrot sliced
- 2 thick slices Yellow Yam cut into 4 chunks
- 1 medium Chocho cayote, peeled and sliced
- 1 medium Turnip cut into small cubes, optional
- 6-8 sprigs Thyme
- 2 stalks Escallion green onion, crushed
- 6 Flour Dumpling see below for recipe
- 1 Scotch Bonnet Pepper optional
- 1 pkg Grace Cock Soup Mix or Chicken Noodle Soup Mix
- 2 tsp Seasoning Salt or salt, to taste
- 1/2 tsp Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
- 1 cup All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 cup Water more, or less may be needed
- 1/4 tsp Salt to taste
Other Optional Ingredients or Substitutes for Above Listed Ingredients
- Ground Provision yams, potatoes, sweet potatoes, dasheen, eddo and cassava
Cook Chicken & Pumpkin
- In a large stockpot, bring to rapid boil 12 cups of water. Carefully add the chicken, garlic and pimento to the pot. Allow to boil for about 15 minutes or until the chicken is partially cooked. Then add pumpkin, corn, carrots, yellow yam (or other ground provision) and continue to cook for about 15 minutes or until pumpkin softened and chicken is tender.
- When pumpkin has softened into the soup (water is now an orange colour), add the remaining fresh ingredients – cayote (chocho), turnip, dumpling, thyme, green onion (escallion), and scotch bonnet pepper.
- Reduce heat to medium. Stir in Grace Cock Soup Mix, seasoning salt and black pepper. Taste and adjust if necessary; allow to simmer for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Remove scotch bonnet pepper and thyme sprigs, serve while hot and enjoy!
- In a medium mixing bowl, add flour and salt then gradually add water and use your hand to knead and form the dough for the dumpling. Dough should be soft but not sticky and wet.
- Pinch or cut off 6 equal sized pieces. In the palm of your hand using a circular motion, form each piece into a ball, flatten slightly, and fold the edges of the dough into the center creating small round wheels. Set each dumpling aside.