Cold Cure Soup Recipe (2024)

By Nigella Lawson

Cold Cure Soup Recipe (1)

Total Time
2 hours 15 minutes
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This soup started life as quite a different thing. I'd made a traditional Persian chicken, cinnamon and Seville-orange stew and realized that it was the scented broth I loved the most. So I cut to the chase. A supermarket packet of chicken wings, a stick of cinnamon, a carrot, an onion, a knob of ginger and the juice and zest of an orange left to simmer on the stove make a restorative broth that delights, soothes and helps fight off winter blues. I like it sprinkled with chopped cilantro and chilies, but you could make more of a meal of it by adding shredded chicken and noodles.

(This recipe originally called for a Seville orange, but we've modified it so it can be made with a combination of orange and lime juice. If you have access to Seville oranges, all the better!)

Featured in: A Rip of Orange in Deepest Winter

Learn: How to Make Soup

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Yield:4 servings (about 6 cups)

  • 3pounds chicken wings
  • 1carrot, peeled and halved
  • 1onion, peeled and halved
  • 1cinnamon stick
  • 13-inch knob of ginger, peeled
  • 1tablespoon Maldon salt or 1½ teaspoons table salt
  • ¼cup fresh citrus juice (2 parts orange juice to 1 part lime juice), plus zest in strips
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • 1small red chili pepper, seeded and cut into fine rings, for garnish

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings)

690 calories; 45 grams fat; 14 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 21 grams monounsaturated fat; 10 grams polyunsaturated fat; 10 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 3 grams sugars; 61 grams protein; 1001 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Cold Cure Soup Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    In a large stockpot, combine chicken, carrot, onion, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Add 3 quarts water, orange zest and juice.

  2. Place over high heat, and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, until liquid has reduced to about half and chicken flavor is strong, 1½ to 2 hours.

  3. Step


    Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl, and discard solids. Allow broth to cool, then refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve, remove layer of solidified fat from surface, and wipe surface of congealed soup with a paper towel to remove traces of grease. Soup may be covered and refrigerated for up to three days.

  4. Step


    To serve, warm soup, ladle into mugs or bowls, and garnish.



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Cooking Notes

Len Fishler

When I make whole roasted chicken, I roast two at a time. I always stuff the cavity with a couple of whole oranges, cut into pieces, plus rosemary sprigs. I use a good spice rub (like Arthur Bryants Poultry) to coat the skin. After cooking, I save the carcasses, & oranges, and toss it all in a stockpot, cover with water, and simmer for at least 20 hours. Strain and you have a wonderful broth. Add carrots, celery, parsnips, and pearl barley and simmer another 4 hours for a nice rich soup.


This has helped me recover many times! The only thing I do differently is in addition to the cilantro and chile pepper garnish, I add about half a teaspoon of fish sauce to the mug when I drink it. Trust me...


How about a meatless version?

Lee Norris

It's wasteful to throw out the "solids." When the meat from the chicken wings feels done, take the wings out, tear out the meat, and return the bones to increase the strength of the broth. Then when it's done, refrigerated and the fat taken off, add the meat back in.


I've got a terrible cold this week and so my husband went out and bought all the ingredients and made this for me yesterday. I brought a Thermos of it to work with me -- what a wonderful soothing soup to sip through the morning.


Chicken wings were a bit pricey today, and I had a hard time thinking I'd just toss them out as wll, so I scored a package of chicken backs for $1.80. They are releasing a lovely broth into my pot at this very moment and I won't feel bad about throwing them out when I'm done.


I made this in my instant pot and its my new favorite recipe! I cooked it at high pressure for 60 minutes with natural release. Also took the recommendation on using chicken backs -- much less expensive and just as yummy. I now have a few batches frozen and at the ready for a cold winter day.


It is a wonderful, flavorful broth. I gave it to my husband who has a bad cold, serving it with noodles, some shredded chicken, sliced jalapeño, sliced green onions, cilantro, and lots more lime. I would double the recipe the next time.


The collagen from the chicken bones and connective tissues dissolves into the liquid when it's simmered for a long time, and causes the broth to gel at fridge temps. It will liquify again when reheated. A gelled broth is a rich, tasty, and nourishing broth!


I jacked this up a little bit by adding one star anise, some cloves + peppercorns, a couple bay leaf along with cinnamon/salt. Deepened the flavor a bit. This broth is just divine and also works as a great base for Pho-type soups!


Also, do you have the recipe for the stew mentioned above?

Persian chicken, cinnamon and Seville-orange stew


I'm totally doing this as a starter for a meal this week. It's cold and wet in LA, and I've got people from out of town. This is going to be an elegant touch, I think.

Even better, I have a tree full of Seville oranges! They're so much nicer in this kind of thing than the sweet oranges. The zest has a really clean, intense fragrance.


As chicken wings have increased in popularity for eating them so has the price to buy them gone up by leaps. Chicken backs are equally good here for making the soup and a mere fraction of the price. They are my 'go to' for chicken stock of any kind, including this one for this very delicious soup.

Kaitlin Y.

Not sure if this counts as a recipe as much as a magic potion. It’s delicious, but also chased my head cold right out of town. I charred the onion and ginger before adding them to the pot and threw in a couple whole star anise, which made the whole pot taste little like noodleless pho– a win, in my opinion.


Would not recommend for wolves. They don't do well with cilantro.


I am a decades-long fan of Nigella’s concoctions and presentations and this remains my favorite. I have made at least three tubs of this every winter since the recipe was published and sipping a glass I from the latest batch. I do experiment, but then always begin each winter following the recipe without embellishment so that I won’t stray too far from the brilliance of the source. I am fortunate enough to be able to get the seville oranges but the workaround published hits the mark also.


Has anyone ever eaten this day of without refrigerating overnight? I am sick and need this in my body STAT.

Sheryl H

Makes a lovely brot- the house smelled like pho. I doubled and used 2 pkgs of chicken thighs with bone, some cloves, and thick peels not just zest. I took the chicken out when cooked put the meat into the fridge to add after the fat was skimmed, and put the bones back into the broth. I then had 5 or 6 soup containers with broth and chicken (and one with the sliced cooked soup carrots). I have enjoyed using it differently. Great with spinach and orzo with a squeeze of lemon. Skipped jalapeno

Megan B

I loved the taste of this soup, and it has made really helped comfort my boyfriend in the midst of a nasty cold. It’s almost worth getting sick for! One tip: make a little extra “citrus juice” to spike the soup with after you’re finished cooking. I enjoy the extra brightness (and vitamin C).


Loved this, although wish we had chicken backs at our market so I could’ve avoided spending $12 on wings. The broth itself is light and lovely, we kept some of it plain for sipping. To the rest, we added back the chicken meat as well as some kale and potatoes. The hot pepper (we had to use Jalapeno) and cilantro on top really make it!


Really enjoyed the cinnamon stick in this!


I wish this recipe had specified how much zest to use. I used a vegetable peeler to get thin strips of zest, and ended up zesting all of my orange and half of my lime, but that ended up being way too much. Sadly, my broth ended up bitter and almost undrinkable. For those who enjoyed this recipe, how many strips of zest did you use?


Very soothing for a sore throat. Loved the unique blend of ginger and cinnamon.


I used store bought organic chicken stock instead of water for a double strength soup. I used a whole orange and a half a lime. I used 2 star anise and added the meat from the wings after I defatted the soup. Delicious and you could make soup dumplings out of it.


Great soup broth! We use chicken backs from a local chicken farmer who pasture raises the birds that are leftover from their butchering some of the whole chickens for sale as parts. Using backs cuts the cost and we think ups the flavor of this wonderful broth over the use of wings. In particular if they are the factory-farmed chicken source. Less fat too although the fat quality on pasture raised birds is SO good that the schmaltz makes the flavor fabulous.


Excellent. I use chicken bones from my local butcher instead of chicken wings, it cuts costs and is less mess


Delicious with a regular orange and no lime. Also delicious without any garnish.

kathy g

Another alternative to chicken wings are chicken feet, if you can find them. I’m lucky enough that my supermarket cart them all the time. Use them with the carcass from a roast chicken and you get a wonderful bone broth!


took a bit longer than 2 hours (just shy of 3 hours) to get it to be as flavorful as i expected. i usually modify recipes a tad, i left this alone. the aromas in the hallway of my building were ethereal.i pulled the chicken from the bones and used it for some chicken salad.


I doubled the ginger and cut it into pieces. Mistake. Subtlety is a virtue. I added garlic for health reasons and it was great.

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Cold Cure Soup Recipe (2024)
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