Filled with tender chicken, red lentils, curry powder, and creamy coconut milk, this chicken lentil soup is a hearty one-pot meal that is high in protein and fiber. This heart-warming and hearty meal is great for lunch, dinner, or an easy meal prep idea.
If you like lentil curry and chicken soup, you are going to love this chicken lentil soup recipe! Not only is this soup full of flavor and color but it’s incredibly easy to make but it’s hearty nature is sure to keep you full for hours to come.
Over the years, I’ve probably made a dozen different variations of this soup. Whether you use chicken breast or chicken thighs, full-fat coconut milk or light coconut milk, mild or spicy curry powder, or kale or spinach, this soup seems to turn out perfectly every single time.
This easy chicken lentil soup recipe makes a hearty and healthy meal that works equally well for lunch or dinner. Whit up a double batch for dinner tonight and you’ll have leftovers for healthy lunches all week long.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Quick and Easy – Made in one pot and ready in under 45 minutes, this lentil soup is simple and fast to make.
- High in Protein – The combination of chicken and lentils makes this soup a protein-packed meal, with over 20 grams of protein per serving.
- Full of Fiber – Filled with carrots, kale, and red lentils, this lentil soup contains 8 grams of fiber per serving.
- Great for Meal Prep – This chicken lentil soup recipe keeps well in the fridge and freezer, which makes it a great make-ahead meal or meal prep idea.
Ingredients for this Chicken Lentil Soup
- Chicken Breasts – To add some lean protein to the soup. If needed, you can also use leftover chicken, cooked chicken thighs, or store-bought rotisserie chicken.
- Red Lentils – To add additional vegetarian protein and boost the fiber content of this chicken lentil soup. If you don’t have red lentils, you can use green or brown lentils, however, it will slightly change the texture and flavor of the soup.
- Curry Powder – To add some spice, heat, and flavor. Feel free to use mild curry powder if you don’t like spicy, or hot curry powder if you like things with a kick.
- Turmeric – Ground turmeric enhances the golden color, adds flavor, and provides anti-inflammatory properties. You can use minced or grated fresh turmeric if you prefer.
- Onion, Ginger, and Garlic – Some aromatics for additional flavor. You can use onion powder, ginger powder, or garlic powder if you don’t have fresh, but they will not provide the same depth of flavor.
- Coconut Milk – To provide a curry-like texture and taste to the soup, both full-fat and lite coconut milk will work well. If you’re not a fan of coconut milk, you can use whole milk with a bit of heavy cream instead.
- Chicken Broth – To make the broth and create a deeper flavor. Feel free to use low-sodium chicken broth if you prefer.
- Carrots, Kale, and Cilantro – Some veggies for a boost of fiber and nutrients and a bit of cilantro to serve.
- Olive Oil – To add some healthy fats and cook the veggies.
- Salt and Pepper – To season the soup.
To Make it Gluten-Free: No adaptations are needed, this soup is gluten-free.
To Make it Dairy-Free: No adaptations are needed, this soup is dairy-free.
How to Make Chicken Lentil Soup
- Cook the veggies. Begin by cooking the onion, carrots, ginger, and garlic with olive oil in a large pot on the stovetop on medium-high heat until tender.
- Add the lentils and spices. When the veggies are tender, add the lentils and spices, and stir until well combined, the lentils are well coated, and the spices are toasted and fragrant.
- Add the broth and coconut milk. Cover the lentils and veggies with chicken broth and coconut milk and bring to a boil.
- Add the chicken and cook the soup. Add the raw chicken breasts to the soup, ensuring that they are completely submerged in the liquid, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the lentils are tender, and the chicken is cooked through.
- Shred the chicken. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pot and shred it into bite-sized pieces.
- Add the green. Return the shredded chicken to the soup along with the kale and cook for a few more minutes until the kale is wilted and everything is well combined.
- Taste and serve. Taste the soup and season with additional salt and pepper as needed and then serve warm with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.
Red’s Nutrition Tip
The use of full-fat coconut milk in this chicken and lentil soup ensures that it has a rich and creamy texture, however, it does make it a little higher in calories per serving. If you’d prefer to reduce the calorie content to support a calorie deficit, simply use light coconut milk instead.
Tips for the Best Chicken Lentil Soup
- Give the vegetables time. Ensure that the onion and carrots are well coated in oil and softened before adding any other ingredients. This ensures you keep the flavor and provides a bit of sweetness to the broth.
- Toast the spices until fragrant. Give your curry powder and turmeric a bit of time before adding the broth. This brings out their full flavor and aroma, which will be transferred to the soup.
- Use full-fat coconut milk. While you can use any style of coconut milk in this soup, full-fat coconut milk will provide the creamiest texture.
- Use an Indian curry powder. Curry powder is a mix of spices, and a wide variety of curry powders are available. The stereotypical yellow blend in grocery stores is designed to mimic the flavors of Indian cooking, which is recommended for this chicken lentil soup, however, Jamaican, Japanese, and Thai curry powders are available as well.
- Use leftover chicken. If you want to save time, use leftover rotisserie chicken or leftover cooked chicken. Simply add the shredded chicken to the soup once the lentils are cooked.
What to Serve with Chicken Lentil Soup
This delicious soup is a balanced meal on its own, complete with protein, fiber, and healthy fat, however, it pairs well with crusty bread, fresh baguette, focaccia, and/or a side salad. You can also serve it with a dollop of yogurt or creme fraiche on top.
Do lentils need to be soaked for chicken lentil soup?
While it is best to rinse lentils before cooking and pick them over to remove any pieces of debris, the lentils do not need to be soaked for chicken lentil soup.
Can I use canned lentils?
I do not recommend using canned lentils in this chicken lentil soup recipe. Not only is it difficult to find canned red lentils, but cooking the lentils in the broth helps to break them down and create a creamy lentil soup.
Can you make chicken lentil soup in a slow cooker?
To make chicken and lentil soup in a slow cooker, add all the ingredients to the slow cooker and simmer the soup on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours until the chicken is cooked. Once cooked, remove the chicken from the slower cooker, place it on a cutting board, and shred it into pieces before returning it to the soup. Stir everything until well combined, season to taste, and serve.
Can you make chicken lentil soup in an instant pot?
To make chicken lentil soup in an Instant Pot, place all the ingredients in an Instant Pot, stir to combine, and cover. Press the “soup” button and cook for 30 minutes until the pressure releases. Remove the chicken from the pot, shred it on a cutting board, then return it to the soup and stir until well incorporated.
Storage + Reheating
To Store: Allow the soup to cool completely and then transfer to an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
To Freeze: Transfer the cooled soup to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. To make grab-and-go meals and reheating easier, you can freeze the soup in individual portion-sized containers.
To Reheat: To reheat from the fridge, place the soup in a pot on the stovetop on medium heat and warm for 5 minutes or until heated through. To reheat from frozen, thaw the soup overnight in the fridge and then place the soup in a pot on the stovetop on medium heat and warm for 5 minutes or until heated through. To reheat the soup in the microwave, place thawed soup in a microwave-safe bowl and warm for 1-2 minutes, with 30 additional 30-second increments as needed depending on the strength of your microwave.
More Healthy Soup Recipes:
- Chicken and Rice Soup
- Roasted Vegetable and Lentil Soup
- Wild Rice Chicken Mushroom Soup
- Chickpea Chicken Soup
- Turmeric Chicken Stew
Golden Chicken Lentil Soup
This golden chicken lentil soup is high in protein, rich in fiber, packed full of flavor, and ready in under one hour making it a great weeknight meal! Not to mention, it makes great leftovers and works well for meal prep too.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 cup red lentils, dry
- 2 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
- 14 oz. can coconut milk
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1” fresh ginger, grated
- 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 2 cups kale, roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoon curry powder
- 1/2 tablespoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Fresh cilantro, to serve
- In a large pot heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add onions, carrots, garlic, and ginger, and cook for 3-4 minutes until tender.
- Add lentils, curry powder, turmeric, salt, and pepper, and cook for an additional 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Pour in broth and use a spoon or spatula to scrape any bits off the bottom of the pot. Add coconut milk and again stir to combine.
- Add raw chicken breasts to the pot, ensuring they are submerged in liquid, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure the lentils don’t stick to the bottom of the pot, on a low simmer until the chicken is cooked through.
- Once cooked, remove the chicken from the pot and place it on a cutting board. Using two forks, shred the chicken into bite-size pieces.
- Return shredded chicken to the pot with the chopped kale, stir to combine, and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper as needed and serve with fresh cilantro.
To Use Leftover Chicken: If you’d prefer to use pre-cooked chicken or leftover rotisserie chicken, skip adding the raw chicken breasts in step 4 and only cook the lentils for 15 minutes. While the lentils are cooking, shred the leftover chicken into small pieces and then add the shredded chicken as per step 7.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 341 calories
- Sugar: 6 grams
- Fat: 15 grams
- Carbohydrates: 35 grams
- Fiber: 8 grams
- Protein: 20 grams