Daily Cooking Quest

Chinese Chicken Herbal Soup

Chinese chicken herbal soup recipe as taught by my Grandma to my Mom and finally to me, with photo guide and links to gather all the necessary Chinese herbs to prepare this healing herbal soup.

My Mom insists that we drink a bowl of Chinese herbal soup once a week, no more and no less. Each week she diligently prepares a different herbal soup for us. This ritual is something that I truly miss once I live apart from my family, and I wish I had shown more appreciation to how special and meaningful this has been in my upbringing. Among the many Chinese soup recipes that my Mom prepares, I would pick this Chinese chicken herbal soup as THE ultimate herbal soup. The smell that fills the house whenever this soup is slowly simmering away on a stove really reminds me of a Chinese herbal store, really nostalgic and somehow just feels the healthiest.

Chinese Chicken Herbal Soup

Chinese herbs for the herbal soup

Each family has a different mix of Chinese herbs to prepare this soup, but these are the ingredients that I learn from my Mom, and she from my Grandma:

I admit it can be really hard to gather all these different Chinese herbs unless you live in a city where you have easy access to Chinatown, or bigger Chinese groceries the likes of 99 Ranch or Marina in the West Coast. All the links for each of the herbs will show you how they look. If buying online is the easiest, you can use those links to simply gather all you need from Amazon.

Ingredients for Chinese Chicken Herbal Soup

Chinese Chicken Herbal Soup

5.0 from 5 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 30 mins

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour 30 mins

Serves: 4



  1. Rinse and drain all the dried herbs to remove dust and dirt. Place all ingredients in a soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour or until chicken is tender and fully cooked. Remove from heat and serve warm.


  • dewi sala3 says:

    Mmmm...yummy,,, I really like the soup..

    • Anita says:

      Thanks Dewi. Me and my family love the soup too :)

      • EdP says:

        I love the taste of the Chinese herbal soup. Is it safe to eat the boiled roots, fruits, and ginseng in the soup?

        • Anita says:

          Most are perfectly safe to be eaten EdP. For this particular soup, the two herbs that I don't eat are the astragalus root and codonopsis root, mainly because they are too fibrous and tough. The rest can be safely eaten.

  • Raama says:

    My mom made a very similar soup for postpartum and my recovery after childbirth was speedy. I ate the soup for about 5 days straight and will have it about every other day. I feel much stronger.

    • Anita says:

      For post delivery recovery, our family usually serve the new mom chicken in ginger and rice wine for 1 month straight :)

      • kiki says:

        Can 2years old boy eat this herb soup? Thanks

        • Anita says:

          Most Chinese grow up drinking soup like this from a very early age, so I am pretty sure a 2 year old will be okay drinking this soup. But not all people appreciate the taste, especially children. I remember hating herbal soup my Mom and Grandma made when I was young, so your 2 year old boy may need a bit of coaxing to drink up :)

  • ameera says:

    after rinsing all the dried ingredients, should i boil it together with the chicken?

    • Anita says:

      Hi Ameera, yes please boil all the ingredients together with the chicken. :)

  • Anastasia says:

    Instead cooking it on a stove for one hour, is it ok if i just put everything in electric slow cooker and set the automatic timer for chicken? Is it also oke to add little sugar in it? Thank you :)

    • Anita says:

      Hi Anastasia, you can definitely use a slow cooker to cook the chicken soup. And it is more than okay to add a bit of sugar to suit your preference. :)

  • sovan seng says:

    Hello, Anita I really like your website and the soup. I just wonder if you can show us how to make the other kind of soup that you mention about your mother weekly difference soup you have drunken when you was young.

  • Jason says:

    Does this soup make you feel powerful? Would it be detrimental to drink such a soup every day?

    • Anita says:

      Hi Jason. I asked the same question to my Mom a long time ago. According to her, taking the soup everyday is not detrimental to health, but it is not going to be that useful since taking it everyday vs. once a week is supposed to have the same benefit. :)

      • dorres says:

        hi Anita, can i drink the herbs chicken soup everyday?

        • Anita says:

          Hi Dorres, yes you actually can, though from what has been passed down from my Grandma, our family only drink this once a week.

  • Nin says:

    Hi Anita, Is number 7 really ginseng?

    • Anita says:

      Yup, it's Korean red/panax ginseng that has been chopped to small pieces :)

  • Tina says:

    I like soup

  • Eunbi says:

    Hi, Is it okay for a pregnant person to drink this? My mom is pregnant with a boy, would this be okay and I want to make something for her. What would be a good soup to make and what should I make for her after birth? In korea, we make seaweed soup but what is the traditional chinese soup?

    • Anita says:

      Hi Eunbi, this soup should be fine for pregnant ladies. But, it is best to consult with the doctor, just in case. Traditionally, after giving birth, the Chinese prepare chicken in chinese rice wine for the new Mom. Again, it is always best to consult doctor first since the norm may not apply to everyone :)

  • Silvia says:

    Hi Anita, your mom sounds just like my mom! Now that I'm living quite far from her I try to make my own herbal soups. Thanks to your recipes they're very helpful!

    • Anita says:

      You must have a really sweet Mom then, Silvia :) I am glad the recipes are helpful.

  • Kris says:

    Hi Anita, Is this a soup for general immunity? What soup would you recommend women to take while on their monthly period? Thank you.

    • Anita says:

      Hi Kris, for monthly period, I usually just make a very simple chicken soup with jujube (hong zao), wolfberry (gou gi zi), and angelica root (dang gui). It is best if taken right at the end of the period. Hope this helps. Cheers! :)

  • Dan Creffield says:

    Hi Anita, I would love to use this great recipe and the pic of the herbs in a magazine article I am putting together, of course would list your website as the source! Would this be OK? The magazine is here - it goes out to F&B industry professionals in Hong Kong and the region. http://www.angliss.com.hk/category/foodtalk/ Many thanks Dan

    • Anita says:

      Sure Dan! Good luck with the article :)

  • Leanne Huynh says:

    Hi Anita, Thanks for posting about this soup! My mom used to make this for me when I was a kid, but she passed away 7 years ago so I haven't had it in a very long time and didn't really know how to make it. Fortunately, the local Chinese supermarket had a bag that had this mix in it already! However, since I don't read Chinese, I didn't exactly know what the ingredients were in English so thank you for clarifying what I was eating, lol. Best, Leanne

    • Anita says:

      You are welcome Leanne :) My local Chinese supermarket also carry prepackaged soup mix. But, since I make this quite frequently, I try to buy individual ingredients and make the mix myself and ends up cheaper :)

  • Eleanor says:

    Hi Anita, Thank you for sharing this nutritious soup recipe. Will adding slices of ginger and using aluminum clad stainless steel pot reduce the efficacy of the herbs? When is the best time to drink this soup, before or after a meal? Many thanks, Eleanor

    • Anita says:

      Hi Eleanor, I think adding ginger to the soup should be alright though I have never tried it so the taste may alter slightly. And I am sure it is perfectly okay to cook in an aluminum clad stainless steel pot :) Hm.. I usually have it with my meal, though I notice that most Chinese restaurants that I frequent typically serve herbal soup as first course.

  • Talbert says:

    Hi Anita Believe it or not ngpI usually Just make this into a tea For my before bed relaxation. I would to know what's in that makes me sleep so well? Or is it mind over matter? I am from Jamaica the Chinese in the family would make tonic soup with it.

    • Anita says:

      Hi Talbert, this is the first time I have ever heard this soup made into tea. How interesting! And it is also new to me that the soup promotes good sleep since according to my Mom, this is supposed to boost one's energy, so I am guessing feeling wide awake is more the goal here, though a good sleep is not a bad thing. :)

  • K says:

    Hi Anita, thank you very much for your blog. Is the chicken skinless? And with most soup recipes should the meat be skinless also?

    • Anita says:

      Hi K, chicken is not skinless for this soup, and this is usually the case for most Chinese soup recipes, but it is okay to use skinless too if that is your preference.

  • Roger says:

    Going to make this soup for our holistic medical center. It lists two kinds of ginseng– "Asian ginseng", and then it just says "ginseng". Do you mean American ginseng? Or just white Asian Ginseng? Thank you so much!! Roger

    • Anita says:

      Hi Roger, I use two kinds of ginseng: white American ginseng, and red Korean ginseng. You can just use one type if that is easier.

  • Trisna says:

    Hi, Anita I am trisna and I came from Indonesia when I was at Singapore I do try this soup before, Love it so much! And Now finally I found The blogger , who's are like to sharing this kind of ingredients. So thank you allot for sharing your Amazing ingredients . God bless!

    • Anita says:

      You are welcome Trisna. I hope you can recreate this soup in your own kitchen.

  • Annalia says:

    Hi Anita.. Do you simmer with or without the lid covered? Is it equally nutritious to drink the soup only without eating the chicken? Is it necessary to increase the simmer time since I only drink the soup? I dont like the texture of chicken in the soup since it's a bit dry..

    • Anita says:

      Hi Annalia, I simmer with the pot covered with a lid. Supposedly, the soup is the most nutritious part and not the chicken after it's been cook, though I always eat the chicken too since it's such a waste to just throw it out. I don't think it is necessary to increase the cooking time, but if you want a super easy way to cook this, you can always use a slow cooker and cook it overnight.

  • Megumi Yamashita says:

    Hello, I would like to know can we add ginger and garlic together with this? Is this almost the same like Bak kut teh ? If I add garlic will the taste will become different like less tasty or if I just use the listed ingredient is more better? Its my first time cook this.

    • Anita says:

      Hi Megumi, it is best if you don't add garlic and ginger. The soup is not supposed to taste like bak kut teh :)

  • Trinh says:

    Can you recommend a website I can buy Chinese herbs online

    • Anita says:

      99 Ranch has some online, though their brick-and-mortar stores are way more complete with more choices per ingredient. I have never tried other online sources, so I can't say if they are good or bad and I don't feel confident in recommending them.

  • Kania says:

    Hi Anita, is it safe if I refrigerate the leftovers and have it the next day? Will the herbs be altered in any way?

    • Anita says:

      Hi Kania, you can safely refrigerate the soup and reheat as needed. Back when I was still in college, my Mom used to cook a big pot of this and freeze the soup into portions and reminded me to drink one portion per week. :D

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