I love to make a nice chicken soup.

I take some chicken legs, carrots, leak and celery, a few herbs and of course salt and pepper, and I just let it boil for like 4 hours. I then sift the soup to take out all the vegetables, skin, bones and meat. This way I get somewhat of a clear soup. Then I take the chicken and put in all the chicken meat back in to the soup. The thing is, I often have a hard time separating the chicken and vegetable "mash".

My question: is there an easier way to do this? I was thinking about putting the chicken in some kind of net, but couldn't find cooking nets online.

Are they maybe called different?

Is it an option to do half/half? Boil the chicken in 1 pan and the vegetables in a second one?

  • Thanks for all the great answers, I wish I could accept more then 1, because I'm going to explore all the options. I up-voted you all. I chose the boil bag but that doesn't mean I'm not going to explore the other options. (and I'm am going to use a proper soup-chicken next time I'll make my chicken soup.)
    – Pieter B
    Commented Mar 13, 2019 at 18:00

6 Answers 6


Since the intermingling of the flavors is what your soup is about, and you want to remove only some of the solids (the chicken), a metal insert or colander might be too cumbersome.

Boil bags are what I’d suggest - cheap, disposable, and will allow everything to simmer together nicely.


  • As an update, I ordered a boil bag through ali-express and it took its time. I got a nylon bag with a tight mesh.This week it arrived and today I made my soup. It worked wonderful. All the flavor of the vegetables is in the soup and once I took out the bag, the broth was super-clear, I could see to the bottom, thank you.
    – Pieter B
    Commented Apr 20, 2019 at 17:33

Several companies make steel saucepan divider sets, such as this one. You might have to shop around a bit to get the best size for your pan. saucepan divider set of three wedge-shaped perforated steel containers which can sit together in a pan to hold ingredients separately wit in the same water/soup base


Meat used to make soup should probably be discarded after making the soup.


  1. Roast chicken.

  2. Remove the good meaty chunks from the chicken before you make the soup.

  3. Make soup using bones, gristle, backs and chicken parts with small bits of meat attached. And vegetables, of course.

  4. Remove all that when soup is done.

  5. Put chunks of meat you have reserved in soup, together with fresh vegetables (e.g. peas, carrots).

The thing about the meat you make soup with is that it gets cooked a lot in the course of making the soup. As a result it is boiled tasting and flavorless. When making soup you can extract the flavor from parts of the chicken you can't really eat. Then put non-overcooked nice pieces of meat in the soup when you are done, together with any non-overcooked vegetables you might want in your finished soup.


Some good ideas in other answers, but I think I would simply go 'old school' and tie up the veggies and herbs in cheesecloth. Simply cook as you normally do and when done lift the packet out.


You can use a colander (ideally stainless) or even a coarse sieve to suspend the chicken in the soup, but if you're buying something there's a better option: a saucepan with a steamer insert (a rather deep one if possible), but not used for steaming. Instead the liquid should be deep enough to cover the chicken in the steamer basket. This works better than the colander because the lid should fit better, allowing less steam to escape.


I remove as much chicken from the carcass that I can, then boil it up with other bones and bits I have saved in the freezer. I add parsley stems, peppercorns, bay leaf, an onion cut up, celery cut up and carrots.I pour it into a colander and may use some of the meat (but usually not) if there is any and it looks good, but I do use the carrots. When I add the carrots for the stock, I just wash them, cut off the ends and cut them into 1 inch logs with the peel intact. Then when the stock is done I remove these and easily remove the peel with a paring knife and cut them up. They are not mushy or tasteless this way and you are good to go carrot-wise without having to cook the soup and reduce the stock too much. When I make the soup I put in the saved chicken, the carrots, noodles or leftover rice and/or vegetables and spinach. Sometimes for the carb depending on time and available carb leftovers I use a pack of the prepared "microwave 90 seconds" rice with whatever (just out of package).

  • Try also using leak in addition to the celery and carrots. And add some fresh leak right before you serve it.
    – Pieter B
    Commented Mar 13, 2019 at 18:15

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