It's late and cold and you're craving a hot bowl of homemade soup, but your fridge is bare. What to do? Pull out some chicken broth and try one of these six ultra-quick and simple yet satisfying ways to transform it into dinner.
Chicken broth is one of those cupboard or freezer staples I almost always have on hand. It's a savory, nourishing base that can be easily transformed into dinner, especially when you're cooking for just one or two.
Now, let's talk about chicken broth for a minute. Homemade is obviously best; the taste and savor of homemade chicken broth, fragrant with bay leaves and black pepper, cooked slowly with onion and carrots, is one of the more special things in the kitchen. A bag of chicken stock in the freezer is always a treat, and one that doesn't go to waste.
However, while boxed broth won't have the same body or depth of flavor as homemade, we don't discount it. Sure, some cooks with high standards say that they would rather cook with water than with broth from the grocery store. But we think that is a little extreme, especially when there are decent broths to be had. Look for organic chicken broth, and always buy low-sodium varieties. (Do you have a favorite brand? If so, we'd love to hear about it.)
Once you have that box of broth or bag from the freezer, then the fun begins — which of these six soups would you like to eat tonight?
1. Egg Drop Soup
One of the easiest ways to transform simple chicken stock, this recipe just needs eggs, scallions, and soy sauce!
Basic Instructions: Heat 1 cup chicken broth (optional: with 2 slices fresh ginger) until simmering. Remove 1/4 cup of the stock and whisk it with 1 teaspoon of cornstarch in a small bowl. Whisk back into stock and simmer for 1 minute. Whisk 1 large egg with 1 teaspoon of cornstarch. Make sure your soup is at a bare simmer. Slowly drizzle in egg while whisking. Let stand for 1 minute, then serve with sliced scallions and soy sauce.
See More Photos & Get a Recipe: How To Make Egg Drop Soup
2. Tortilla Soup
Lime juice gives an added kick to this soup, and shredded chicken and crunchy tortillas offer satisfying texture.
Basic Instructions: Heat chicken broth until simmering. Add chopped cooked chicken and warm, then squeeze in the juice of a lime. Pour into bowls and top with crumbled tortilla chips, shredded cheese, and cilantro.
Get a Recipe: Fast & Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup
3. Noodle Soup
Add chubby egg noodles or udon to boiling stock and cook. Stir in some greens or whatever vegetables you have on hand for a delicious quick soup.
Basic Instructions: Heat chicken broth until simmering. Stir in a handful of udon, soba, or egg noodles and simmer until cooked through or warmed. Stir in a handful of chopped greens and cook just until wilted. Optional: finish with a little grated Parmesan.
Get a Recipe: Quick Udon Noodle Soup
4. Miso Soup
Miso paste gives chicken broth a satisfying savory flavor to make a fast soup. It's savory and delicious, and one of our absolute essential quick meals.
Basic Instructions: Heat 1 cup chicken broth until simmering. Whisk about 1/4 cup of hot broth into a small bowl holding 1 tablespoon miso paste. Whisk until smooth then add back to the pot and warm (don't boil again). Add chopped tofu and scallions and heat just until warm.
Get a Recipe: Miso Soup
5. Bean & Sausage Soup
Spicy sausage, greens, and beans kick this soup up a notch. Extra filling!
Basic Instructions: Heat some chopped smoked chorizo or pork sausage in a saucepan. Add chicken broth and heat until simmering. Stir in a handful of chopped greens and a portion of beans or lentils. Serve with chili paste.
Get a Recipe: Hearty Kale and Sausage Soup
6. Rice & Lemon Soup
With only 5 ingredients, this lemon-y chicken soup comes together in no time.
Basic Instructions: Heat 2 cups chicken broth until simmering. Add 3 tablespoons white rice. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes or until the rice is al dente. In a separate bowl whisk together 1 egg and the juice of 1 lemon. Slowly whisk in about a cup of the hot rice and broth mixture, then whisk the entire mixture back into the pot.
Get a Recipe: Avgolemono Soup
What's your favorite way to turn chicken broth into a quick meal?
(Image credits: Faith Durand)