Take the 2-minute tour ×
Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

How is "soup chicken" different from "cooking chicken". Is it a different breed or just old chicken? Can I eat its meat?

I have always made soup from the bones of boneless chicken I cook. Today I got a chicken specifically for soup, whose packing said "ideal for broth". So I broke its bones and put the entire thing to boil for an hour. Now my normal chicken's flesh just fells apart after boiling for an hour. This one was still firm and a bit hard and leathery. It was actually hard to remove the flesh from the bone after all this boiling. And the flesh itself was kinda unappetizing. I still cut it up in cubes and put it in the soup(because, protein!).

So is it a different kind of chicken, or just old chicken (I know the meat of old cows becomes leathery). Is it safe to eat the meat?

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

You've already guessed it correctly, soup chickens are basically old codgers that are too tough to roast or fry up. They may get tender enough to eat if you cook them slow for 2-3 hours but often even that won't make them palatable. The only reason I'd ever use them is if I wanted to make loads of chicken stock and didn't plan to use the meat.

share|improve this answer
If the rest of the chicken is old and tough and flavorless, does that also impact the quality of stock and/or broth you can make from it? –  MargeGunderson Oct 22 '12 at 19:48
@MargeGunderson : actually, they're more flavorful, as they've had a chance to develop over time. They're just tough. –  Joe Oct 22 '12 at 20:15
@Joe: Thanks for clarifying that! :^D –  MargeGunderson Oct 23 '12 at 4:38
@MargeGunderson, that's a good point. In general the tougher meat is the more flavorful. It's why dark meat has more flavor than white on a chicken, or beef shin tastes so much more "beefy" than filet. The more work a piece of meat has done, the more flavor it has. –  GdD Oct 23 '12 at 7:37

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.