Spicy Chicken Lime Soup

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

79 pictures. That’s how many shots of this soup were taken. 78 of them were deleted. If someone can tell me the magical secret to getting a brothy chicken soup to look good on camera, I’d love to hear it. I went from festive colored bowls to the white ones above, used about an entire plant of cilantro as garnish in every which way possible to no avail and even filled the bowls up just a little so you could actually see the contents of the soup rather than them sinking to the bottom and to me, that picture above still looks hideous. I assure you however, it’s taste more than makes up for it’s unfortunate looks. Didn’t your mom teach you not to judge superficially? Well, that applies here. Listen to mom.

Spicy chicken lime soup

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…

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.

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.  THAT makes me feel like I can kick a cold, not soggy noodles in chickeny 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 is my go to version.

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.

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

Serves 2-3     adjust servings

Spicy Chicken Lime Soup

Cook Time 25 min Prep Time
Preparation 5 min Cook Time
Total Time 30 mins Total Time

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


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled & diced
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed, diced*
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (1 tablespoon of fresh, minced ginger would be even better!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • salt & pepper
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cooked chicken breast, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • juice of 1/2 a lime


  1. In a 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 ginger, cumin, salt & pepper and saute for another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add 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.

Recipe Notes

*with 1 full jalapeno this is a very spicy soup! Use less for a more mild version.


  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!


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