Spicy Chicken Lime Soup

This spicy chicken lime soup is like chicken noodle meets chicken tortilla soup for a spicy, noodle-less middle ground perfect for a cold winter day.

*This post for spicy chicken lime soup was originally published 11/16/2012. It’s been updated with new pictures and a few tweaks of the recipe. I could (and do!) literally eat this soup all winter long. It’s got the best limey broth, a good kick of spice and lots of warm, comforting chicken broth making it a great go-to whether you just need an easy dinner or a big bowl when you’re feeling under the weather. Hope you try it out this season! *content below is original*


So I’m writing this post in the airport (on Wednesday night…that’s about as far ahead as I ever get) and I feel the need to talk about a few things…

This spicy chicken lime soup is like chicken noodle meets chicken tortilla soup for a spicy, noodle-less middle ground perfect for a cold winter day.

Firstly, CNN. No matter which direction I turn in the gate area, it’s on. And not only is it thrown up on the TV screens with subtitles but the lovely JFK airport has wired the sound into every 5 feet of ceiling space so you can’t escape it.

Without getting political in either direction, all I have to say is this…is the media even effing serious with the crap they televise? The bs story after bs story that makes national headlines literally makes me sick to my stomach. How and why do we tolerate this crap they feed us and call “news”?

Secondly, the birds.

There have been no less than 7 birds that have landed at my feet over the past 30 minutes in hopes that I’ll magically drop my $33 airport kiosk dinner on the floor for them. That wouldn’t be weird if I were outside maybe, but I’m inside an airport.

Classy, JFK.

And lastly, the poor whiter than white American Delta gate agent assigned to the Shanghai flight. This woman has been making repeat announcements of passenger names for the last 15 minutes straight and each one that comes out of her mouth you just want to give her a hug for trying really hard to sound it out like she’s on stage at a spelling bee.

I’m pretty sure she keeps repeating the same names because whoever those people are, they have no idea they’re even being called with the butchered attempts that are coming out of her mouth.

Spicy chicken lime soup is perfectly comforting for winter with a delicious tangy broth.

Now that that’s out of the way, I feel like I can focus on this soup.

Spicy chicken lime soup. Here we go…

I love the idea of chicken noodle soup but when it actually comes down to it, it does nothing for me. Nothing. I like my soups refreshing. As in spicy, limey and with tons of cilantro, just like traditional sopa de lima.  THAT makes me feel like I can kick a cold, not soggy noodles in chicken-y broth.

Jenna has an awesome Asian chicken noodle soup that totally fits the bill for me (and I’ve made multiple times) but when bok choy and Asian noodles aren’t on hand, this spicy chicken lime soup is my go to version.

This spicy chicken lime soup is my go-to winter soup and perfect if you're feeling under the weather.

How To Make Spicy Chicken Lime Soup

The base for this chicken lime soup is very similar to most soups. You have the typical ingredients to start things off:

  • onion
  • carrot
  • celery

What makes the soup spicy and gives that refreshing, lime flavor are:

You can make it as spicy as you like by just adjusting the jalapeño amount, but for me, a full one goes in without question. I kinda like the numb mouth feeling the full pepper leaves you with when you get to the end of the bowl and if you’re sick, it’s one sure way to open up those sinuses!

I love using rotisserie chicken from the grocery store to throw in because the last thing I want to do when I’m sick is cook more than I have to. 

This is a warming, refreshing and cozy kind of soup. Pretty much everything this airport experience isn’t. So regardless of its appearance, I kind of wish I had a big bowl of it in my hand right now.

Love this spicy chicken lime soup recipe?

Try out these cozy soup recipes: sweet corn egg drop soupbuffalo chicken soup with orzo,and Hot and Sour Egg Drop Soup.

This spicy chicken lime soup is like chicken noodle meets chicken tortilla soup for a spicy, noodle-less middle ground perfect for a cold winter day.

Spicy Chicken Lime Soup

Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This spicy chicken lime soup is like chicken noodle meets chicken tortilla soup for a spicy, noodle-less middle ground perfect for a cold winter day.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled & diced
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • salt & pepper
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cooked chicken breast, shredded
  • handful cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • juice of 1 lime


  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Once hot, add onion, carrot, celery and jalapeno and saute for about 5-8 minutes until softened and starting to brown.
  3. Add garlic, ginger, cumin, salt & pepper and saute for another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add lime zest and chicken broth, let mixture come to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Add shredded chicken, cilantro, vinegar and lime juice and stir to combine.
  6. Remove from heat, serve hot and garnish with additional cilantro.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 316Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 2093mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 5gSugar: 7gProtein: 24g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.


Please leave a comment & rating below or share a photo on Instagram and tag @runningtothekitchen


  1. Kathryn

    This soup sounds really tasty – I love how light and bright it is. I feel a similar way about chicken noodle soup. I always feel like I want more from it and I think this spicy kick is what I’m craving.

  2. Abby

    I think the bowl choice is a good one; the white sets off the colors well. Keep a stockpile of clear marbles; they sink and provide a platform for the goodies in the soup. :)

    Looks tasty, regardless. :)


  3. Aparna B.

    Girl, you are preaching to the congregation about the airport stuff! I noticed all that crap at my previous job. I traveled every two weeks for work and stayed on the road for two weeks. So the airports and hotels became my home over my real home. So much so I learned how to say “Detroit, Michigan is in the eastern time zone” in Japanese and Mandarin because they’d repeat that on the intercom every. five. minutes. Ah, the things you notice as a traveler. Well, where ever you are or where you’re going, I hope you get there safe! This soup looks yummy. Agree with you on making brothy soup look good – you got me :P Any suggestions of how to make this soup vegetarian? Just sub tofu for chicken?

    1. Aparna B.

      P.S. I wasn’t implying that your soup pictures don’t look good. I think you did a great job! You make food look good ;) Why is we always end up taking 8937493 photos of food (o_O;

      1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

        haha, no offense taken. Even if you did say it looked horrible, I’d have to agree with you on this one! And that time zone announcement in DTW? Omg, how ANNOYING is that?! I’ve had plenty of layovers there to know exactly what you’re talking about. Also on my annoyance list with that airport is the fact that it’s absolutely huge and has shit options for food. S.h.i.t.
        ps- I think tofu would be a great veg substitute here!

        1. Aparna. B.

          OMG. Hilarious! Yeah the food options suck at McNamara. What suck is that terminal was even WORSE if that’s even imaginable. Haha. Be glad you don’t have to fly out of there all the time ;) haha.

  4. Michele

    This couldn’t be more timely. I have a terrible cold…will make it. Sounds much more tasty than two asprins and lots of water.

  5. Cinnamon @ eatpraytri

    ha! birds in the airport? what the heck?
    I loved your rant btw…I’m glad you were able to get it all off your chest. I always feel better after a good rant.
    This soup looks amazing. I LIKE your picture so cut yourself some slack. ;-)

  6. Pingback: Spicy Chicken Lime Soup « Out of Place

  7. Jenny

    I made this soup last night and we devoured it! The flavors were perfect – spicy, savory and tangy all at the same time. The only thing I added was broken spaghetti noodles during the last 9 minutes of cooking. Thanks for a great recipe!

  8. Rachel

    Arghhhhh, regardless of political views, the news just drives me nuts lately!

    And NYC airports are absolutely horrible. I spent some time in the Vancouver airport this weekend, and I was amazed at how nice and clean it was. JFK is bad, and Laguardia is just a total mess. Newark isn’t much better. I wish our airports were just a little bit nicer!

    That soup looks great though :)

  9. Carissa Burns

    I could see dressing this with some chopped avocado and chicharron (pork rinds) – as you would tortilla soup. Looking forward to making this!


    LOVE this soup!! It was incredibly delicious. Really incredible flavor profile! Nom :)

    Just a note – I assumed the garlic should be added with the ginger, but it’s not in the directions.

    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      Yay! So glad you like it and thanks for letting me know about the garlic, recipe has been updated.

  11. Margie

    I never post reviews, but had to share that this soup is incredible. Easy, light, super flavorful, perfect. Love it. Thank you!


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