Mulligatawny Indian Soup with Chicken

Yellow curry cream mulligatawny soup served in a white crock alongside fresh parsley, a cloth napkin and spoons.
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Curry is having a moment. It’s popping up in recipes everywhere and that’s for one reason – it’s delicious. Mulligatawny Indian Soup is a great way to add some of this “hot” new trend to your weeknight dinner routine.

Everything you need to know to make Mulligatawny Indian Soup

Casandra’s Recipe Notes

There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of Chicken Mulligatawny Soup. If you’re a Seinfeld fan however, you’ll know the soup kitchen episode gave mulligatawny it’s 5 minutes of fame. With the origins of mulligatawny soup coming from India, this dish is a rich yellow color with the deep flavor of curry. The hint of spice from the curry is perfectly balanced out by mulligatawny’s signature ingredient – apples. Add in the chicken and some brown rice and you’ve got yourself a one pot soup dinner for the whole family.

About the Ingredients

Chicken – diced chicken breasts. The dark meat of thighs compliment this rich mulligatawny soup nicely too so feel free to make the swap.

Butter – nearly a whole stick. This will add a lot of richness to the flavor.

Celery, Carrots and Onion – the soup vegetable trio. All diced small.

Minced Garlic – a tablespoon of minced garlic to add to the veggies.

Flour – all-purpose flour to thicken the butter.

Seasonings – curry, all spice, cumin, thyme, salt and pepper.

Chicken Stock – lots of stock, 8 cups.

Brown Rice – the reason you need so much stock. The rice gets cooked directly in the soup and will absorb a lot of the chicken stock.

Apples – the tart flavor of the apples is the magic to mulligatawny soup. I tend to cook with what I have on hand and we eat sweet apples but if you can, use green apples for this soup. The extra tartness goes a long way.

Heavy Cream – 1 cup to give the soup a thick creamy texture.

ingredients needed to make chicken mulligatawny soup

How to Make Mulligatawny Indian Soup

Begin your soup preparation by cooking the chicken pieces in a heavy bottom pot until browned and cooked through. Remove the chicken to a plate and then sauté the vegetables in lots of melted butter.

When the vegetables are soft, add your seasonings and thicken everything with 2 tablespoons of flour. Pour in the chicken stock and rice and bring everything to a boil. Place a lid on your pot, reduce the heat to a simmer and let the rice cook for about 15-20 minutes.

When the rice is cooked, add back your chicken and chopped apples. Heat everything through and taste for salt and pepper.

Watch me make Mulligatawny Indian Soup in the video!

Recipe Substitutions & Variations

Vegetarian Mulligatawny Soup

Mulligatawny is often prepared as a vegetarian soup. Try swapping out the chicken for chickpeas and the chicken stock for vegetable stock. You can also you coconut oil instead of butter and coconut milk instead of cream. The soup will still be plenty hearty to be a one pot meal.

Grain Substitute

If you would prefer not to use rice but still want to bulk up your mulligatawny try substituting the rice with lentils or couscous. Both options are great variations considering the origins of mulligatawny soup being an Indian inspired cuisine.

Mulligatawny Indian soup with chicken served in a white crock.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can mulligatawny soup be made in advance?

Yes. Chicken Mulligatawny Soup will save in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for 4 days. The soup will thicken over time as the rice absorbs more liquid so be prepared to thin it out a little with some extra chicken stock while you reheat it. Or even better, if you know you’re making it ahead of time, leave the rice out of the soup and add it right before serving.

Can I freeze leftover chicken mulligatawny soup?

Yes. I try not to freeze dairy soups so if you know you’re going to freeze it I would leave out the cream and rice. Freeze the soup for up to 2 months and when you reheat it, add rice and cream.

What are the origins of mulligatawny soup?

Mulligatawny originates in India. With parts of the word relating to the Indian word Tamil, meaning black pepper, the soup features a peppery, heavily seasoned, broth.

A bowl of chicken mulligatawny soup with carrots, apples and chopped parsley beside a bunch of fresh parsely.

The Recipe for Mulligatawny Indian Soup

The recipe is attached below for easy downloading and printing.  If you test it out be sure to leave a note in the comments below. I’d love to hear what you thought. Enjoy!

Yellow curry cream mulligatawny soup served in a white crock alongside fresh parsley, a cloth napkin and spoons.

Mulligatawny Indian Soup

The origins of Mulligatawny soup come from India. It is a rich cream of curry soup with chicken, apples, vegetables and rice. Aromatic and just slightly spicy, this soup is hearty and bursting with flavor.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 8 servings
Calories 351 kcal


  • 2 large chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 7 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion diced
  • 4 celery stalks diced
  • 5 carrots cut into coins
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp all spice
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp pepper
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 Granny Smith apples peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • naan bread for dipping


  • Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the chicken pieces and sauté until browned and cooked through, about 7 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate.
    2 large chicken breasts
  • Add the butter to the pot and melt. Add the onion, celery, and carrots to the butter and sauté until soft, about 4 minutes.
    7 tbsp butter, 1 onion, 4 celery stalks, 5 carrots
  • Add the garlic to the vegetables and continue cooking for one more minute. Stir in the flour and let the butter thicken. Now add your seasonings of curry powder through pepper. Stir to combine.
    1 tbsp minced garlic, 3 tbsp all-purpose flour, 1 tbsp curry powder, 1¼ tsp cumin, ¼ tsp all spice, ½ tsp dried thyme, 2 tsp salt, 3/4 tsp pepper
  • Pour in the chicken stock and water, and then the rice. Stir to cover the rice with liquid. Bring the soup to a boil. Place the lid on the pot, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender.
    4 cups chicken stock, 1 cup brown rice, 4 cups water
  • Remove the lid and add back your chicken and apples. Let everything heat through.
    2 Granny Smith apples
  • Turn off the heat and pour in the heavy cream. Stir until the soup is creamy is consistent. Serve hot with a piece of Naan bread for dipping.
    1 cup heavy cream, naan bread


Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for 4 days. The soup will thicken as the rice absorbs more liquid and become the consistency of chili. Add more chicken stock as you reheat it to thin out the broth. 
Vegetarian Option:  The soup is great without the chicken too. Omit the chicken, use vegetable stock instead chicken stock, coconut oil in place of butter and coconut milk in place of heavy cream. Your soup will turn out fantastic. 
Keyword curry, one dish, soup

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