Can You Cook Raw Chicken In Soup?

Whether you're feeling under the weather or the dreary winter cold just has you down, there's nothing quite like a homemade bowl of chicken soup to warm you up inside and out. However, the last thing anyone wants to do when fixing the meal you are supposed to eat when you're sick is make yourself sicker, which brings up a common question for home cooks: Can you cook raw chicken in soup?

The simple answer is yes, but it might not be the safest idea (via Miss Vickie). While chicken might be the most commonly consumed meat in America, it often contains dangerous bacteria including Campylobacter and Salmonella, according to the CDC. Food poisoning from these contaminants affects approximately one million Americans a year and, and as Medical New Today notes, can cause nausea, head and stomach aches, vomiting, and diarrhea — or, essentially, most of the symptoms of the flu your chicken soup is supposed to help you overcome.

Because of these risks, cooks need to be incredibly careful when throwing raw chicken into their soup pots to ensure that the meat is being cooked through at a high enough temperature to kill any bacteria.

Browning the chicken first is advised

To guarantee that your chicken soup remains safe as well as healthy, Miss Vickie advises searing or browning the chicken in a separate pan first, then adding it to your broth. This not only improves safety, but also improves the taste and color of the soup, adding richness and an extra umami element to the flavor. 

The chicken does not need to be cooked completely through when preparing soup in this way, because it will cook more once it's in the boiling broth, but The Whole Portion notes that if you are adding raw or underdone chicken to broth you need to ensure the broth still needs time to be fully ready so it won't taste over-cooked and your vegetables and noodles won't get mushy while you wait for the chicken to finish cooking.

Whether you're using pre-made stock or creating your own soup completely from scratch, hopefully this helps you keep things both safe and delicious.