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Preserved Lemon Chicken Soup with Rosemary

Take advantage of winter’s fresh, in-season citrus with preserved lemon chicken soup, seasoned with rosemary and made rich and creamy with a touch of coconut milk. The herby, lemony sauce gives a tasty twist to the classic soup.

Preserved Lemon Chicken Soup with Rosemary from

Doesn’t it feel like the world is starting … trying … wanting … to shrug off winter? Just a little, even though it’s still mid-February?

Maybe one teeny tiny reason is that it hit almost 70°F this weekend, and on Friday we had a dry windstorm that reminded me of those March-went-out-like-a-lion spring thunderstorms that rattle the rafters and make you wonder why the heck you still live in the Midwest, with all its twistery ways.

That, and I’m just now getting around to placing my garden orders … late late late … so I’m having to do it all at once in one big, manic planning session, day-dreaming all the while about the plump and juicy tomatoes I’ll grow this year.

Yessirree, I feel like spring is just around the corner, even though real life says, “Karen, that is a comically misplaced sunny outlook you’ve got going on there,” because, peeps, (A) it’s only February and we get snow all the way through March, and (B) I’m working through Winter Cold #2. That’s right: COLD #2. Back-to-back January-February colds. I could not believe it when I got the sneezers and runny nose on February 11th, just 10 days after Winter Cold #1 — the season’s winner and champion Cold From Hell — finally wrapped up after six weeks of totally overstaying its welcome.

By the time Valentine’s Day rolled around, I was cursing the fiction of hand sanitizers — I’ve no doubt that I caught this cold at Kroger — and consoling myself with copious amounts of herbal tea and sneaky slivers of chocolate creme pie.

Spring! I need you!

Preserved Lemon Chicken Soup with Rosemary from

So, this winter, it’s been a very good thing that I actually do have a soup addiction, because soup is what I’ve lived on for the last two months. All kinds of soup, but most of all, chicken soup. Chicken soup, seasoned with a fresh batch of herb-infused lemon preserves and lots of rosemary from the plant I dug up last fall and brought inside. Both full of health-supporting, immune-boosting properties that shoo away the nasties and beam sunshine straight from the spoon into my mouth.

Preserved lemon chicken soup to the rescue! Let’s do this thing!

Preserved Lemon Chicken Soup Tips

  • Rinse the preserved lemon wedges before you make the sauce. They’ve absorbed quite a bit of salt during their briny rest, so you want to get the extra off.
  • Early on in my preserved lemon cooking years, the recipes I used called for removing and discarding the pulp, because it holds a lot of salt. I did it, without thinking, but now more and more recipes sensibly call for the whole lemon wedge <= on board with it. Especially when you’re making a sauce or salad dressing, the seasoned pulp adds amazing flavor. If you’re adding preserved lemon straight up to a dish — say, sprinkling over a salad — I’d discard the pulp in that case and just use the tender rind.
  • I {{{heart}}} coconut milk in soups. So creamy, dairy-free, and just a hint of flavor. But if you prefer almond milk, goferit. Or, actually, dairy would work, too, but when I’m sick and well, mucousy, the world is shinier when I avoid dairy.
  • Rotisserie chicken is great for this soup, but if you need to cook your chicken fresh, zero problemos. Slice the chicken into bite-size pieces — they’ll cook faster — and then sear them in the oiled, preheated pot. When the pieces are cooked almost all the way through, add the vegetables, and continue with the recipe.
  • What to do if you don’t happen to have preserved lemons on hand: there’s really no quick and dirty substitute for the unique flavor of preserved lemons, but you can try this technique and see how it turns out. Note that you can absolutely use lemon zest and lemon juice in this soup (not the whole rinds), but the result will be different. Delicious, but different.

Preserved Lemon Chicken Soup with Rosemary from

I hope you’ve all avoided the colds and flus this winter, but if you’re feeling under the weather between now and glorious summer, make yourself a big batch of preserved lemon chicken soup — it warms the bones and cheers the soul without weighing down the tummy.

Looking for more soup ideas with preserved lemons? Checkie these outie:

North African Chicken Soup from Leite’s Culinaria
Avgolemono Greek Lemon Chicken Soup from The Heritage Cook
Navy Bean Soup with Kale, Preserved Lemon, and Harissa from Sassy Radish

Karen xo


Print Recipe
4.84 from 6 votes

Preserved Lemon Chicken Soup with Rosemary

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Servings: 4 generous servings
Author: Karen Gibson


for the preserved lemon rosemary sauce

  • 5 wedges preserved lemons about 1" each (remove any seeds in the pulp)
  • 4 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 2 large fresh rosemary stems leaves only
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

for the soup

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion diced
  • 2 ribs of celery diced
  • 1 large carrot diced
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk well-shaken
  • 12 ounces rotini
  • 6 - 8 ounces cooked chicken chopped (leftover roasted or rotisserie is nice)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley for garnish


make the preserved lemon rosemary sauce

  • In a blender, puree the preserved lemons, garlic, rosemary, and olive oil until smooth. If the mixture is too thick to blend thoroughly, add a little bit of the chicken broth.

prepare the soup

  • Heat the olive oil in a 4 to 5 quart Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat, until the oil shimmers. Add the onions, celery, and carrots to the pot and saute until soft, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir to coat, cooking until the flour disappears into the vegetables (2 to 3 minutes). Pour in the preserved lemon rosemary sauce and mix into the vegetables. The sauce should become fragrant quickly.
  • Increase heat to medium-high, add the chicken broth and coconut milk, and bring the soup to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to maintain a bare simmer, and cook for 10-15 minutes. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed.
  • While the soup simmers, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the rotini for 8 minutes. Drain, and add to the soup, along with the cooked chicken. Let the soup rest on low to heat evenly through. Garnish with parsley, and serve.
Nutritional information, if shown, is provided as a courtesy only, and is not to be taken as medical information or advice. The nutritional values of your preparation of this recipe are impacted by several factors, including, but not limited to, the ingredient brands you use, any substitutions or measurement changes you make, and measuring accuracy.
Recipe Rating


Thursday 30th of December 2021

This was perfect. I was trying to find something to do with preserved lemons I made. No leftovers!!


Sunday 24th of January 2021

We made this (twice!) because we happened to have a few whole preserve lemons. This is probably the best chicken soup I've ever made. Lightly lemony and herby, not overwhelming. In fact, the first time we made this, I used one smallish whole preserved lemon, but I could have used more herbs and lemon, so the second time we made this I used two, and it was (to my taste) just the right amount of lemony and delightful. The second time, we also added 3c additional cups of broth/stock, upped the coconut milk from one cup to a whole (~14oz) can, and cooked 8oz noodles right in the broth pot to soak up those wonderful flavors. Would definitely make again.


Monday 20th of January 2020

What is considered 5 wedges? Is that one whole lemon?


Monday 20th of January 2020

Preserved lemons are almost always prepared in wedges. If you have to buy them (which I assume you will), the lemon will most likely have been sliced like petals of a flower. Look for wedges that are about 1" wide. No need to actually whip out a ruler; just eye ball it. ;) It may or not be one whole lemon, depending on the size of the lemon that was preserved. Small lemons are sometimes sliced into quarters; larger lemons into sixths.


Saturday 28th of December 2019

This is my new favorite soup. I’m always looking for recipes with preserved lemon. This soup is delicious!


Saturday 28th of December 2019

This was great. A truly different chicken soup. Easily veganized with Tofurky plant-based chick’n and vegetable broth. Thank you.