Spicy Roasted Garlic Chicken Soup. Deliciously Garlicky.


This recipe has certainly made it’s way around the food blogs I visit, and I’ve been dying to try it ever since I saw it over on Mike’s Table.  I then realized he had garnered inspiration from Smitten Kitchen, who adapted this recipe from a Bon Apetit recipe.  Whew, that was like playing Six Degrees of Separation!  Sadly, there is no Bacon in this dish.  But there could be.  And it would be a fantastic addition.

Be warned, the flavour of this soup is extremely unexpected based on the ingredients, savory and slightly sweet, with a healthy amount of heat.


  • One whole roasted chicken, skin and bones removed, meat shredded or chopped
  • Anywhere from 4-6 heads of garlic (my husband looked at me funny when he saw ‘Garlic x7’ on our weekly shopping list :))
  • A big handful of thyme, leaves picked and chopped
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp of butter
  • Olive oil
  • 1 red onion, diced finely
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • Good quality chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 avocado, diced finely for garnish


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the top off of 3-4 heads of garlic (I used 4) and slather with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Wrap the whole heads tightly in tinfoil, and roast until the house starts to smell like Gilroy, CA – about 45 minutes.

In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onion, leek, thyme, and rosemary and sautee until soft, about 4 or 5 minutes.  Add the cayenne pepper and smoked paprika and stir to incorporate.  Peel the cloves of garlic from the remaining heads of garlic (I used 1) and add to the pot, sauteeing until slightly soft, another 4 minutes.

When everything starts to merry together (you’ll know when you want to smash your head down into the pot) deglaze with a nice white wine.  I used a Voignier that I would drink if I actually drank white wine.   Now that the heads of roasted garlic are cool, pop the cloves out of the head and add them to the pot.

Add enough chicken or vegetable stock to cover the leeks, garlic, and onions, and then add a tiny bit more.  Bring to a boil, and then simmer for about 30 minutes until the cloves af garlic are tender.  Remove from the heat and add the cream.


With an immersion blender, or in batches in a blender, puree everything until smooth.  Adjust seasoning to taste.  At this point I added about 1/4 tsp more of cayenne pepper.  Add the chicken and gently warm through.   Ladle into bowls, and garnish with avocado and bits of the chopped thyme leaves.  You could even add tomatoes, peppers, leave out the chicken, add bacon or pancetta.  It’s an incredibly versatile soup with an astounding amount of flavour!



  • comment-avatar
    Leslie March 10, 2010 (5:57 am)

    I’ve made this soup twice. The first time, the chili powder was way to spicy for my husband. So, last night I tried it again, putting in only 1/2 tsp. of chili powder. It was good, but I think it probably needed more or perhaps bacon.
    I did learn on the second try that roasted garlic is easier to remove from the head once it’s cold….the cloves pop right out!
    I love your website!

  • comment-avatar
    Lauren March 10, 2010 (9:26 am)

    Thanks for your feedback, Leslie! Spice is definitely subjective, and lately I’ve been eating quite a bit more of it. I should really note that I had no heat tolerance when I started this blog, and now I can eat the tip of a jalapeno on a dare. 🙂

    Bacon would be a great addition, maybe render the bacon down, reserve, and then use the bacon fat to saute the onion and leeks. Great suggestion – I think I’ll be making it that way soon!

  • comment-avatar
    Virginia May 11, 2010 (7:27 pm)

    I L-O-V-E this recipe!!!!! FINALLY A SOUP THAT I CAN EAT AND EAT AND EAT! I love spicy food, and this recipe had me in the fridge at all hours of the night and morning, stealing leftovers before anyone else woke up… I’m making a double batch tonight. MUCHAS GRACIAS!!!! 😛 ~Virginia

  • comment-avatar
    Lauren May 13, 2010 (5:05 pm)

    Virginia, thanks for stopping by! I love having leftovers around that I can’t wait to eat again. This soup certainly fits the bill! Hope you enjoy the next batch!

  • comment-avatar
    cambria March 31, 2011 (6:20 pm)

    Good recipe but very confusing. You roast the garlic but then never say when to add it in. The ingredients list includes cream, but it is never actually mentioned in the recipe. Makes it difficult.

  • comment-avatar
    Lauren April 10, 2011 (1:43 pm)

    Cambria, thanks so much for the catch. I had accidentally saved and updated an older version of the recipe, and realized when you commented that I hadn’t fixed it. Appreciate the comments, and now it should be updated!

  • comment-avatar
    Mamafi May 7, 2011 (10:39 am)

    Do you think, I could substitute potato puree or rice for the cream(I don’t have a problem with it, but my husband does).

  • comment-avatar
    Lauren May 27, 2011 (8:42 am)

    Mamafi, I understand; this is not exactly a low-fat dish. 😉 Potato puree could help with thickening, but what about using 2% milk as a substitute?

  • comment-avatar
    Trinni March 3, 2014 (3:04 pm)

    Interesting soup! I didn’t have all the whole garlic required, or a full chicken so I made a smaller batch. But to keep the garlic flavour, I added a few extra teaspoons of jarred crushed garlic while cooking.

    I added zucchini and roasted cauliflower to give it a higher veggie content, which blended in well. And to thicken at the end, rather than using cream, I added 3/4 cup of pureed white beans, which I finds adds a healthier creaminess to soups or stews. Went down well!