Perfect Leekie Soup Recipe (A Delightful Choice)

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Embark on a culinary journey to Scotland with our Leekie Soup Recipe, a rustic and heartwarming bowl of tradition and flavor. Begin by simmering tender pieces of chicken and leeks, creating a broth rich in history and taste. Add a handful of plump, juicy prunes for a sweet contrast, and a sprinkle of barley to bring heartiness to each spoonful. Season with fresh thyme and a bay leaf, infusing the soup with layers of aromatic warmth. Ladle into bowls, garnish with a sprinkle of parsley, and dive into this comforting, classic dish, where each bite tells a story of Scottish heritage and home-cooked love. Enjoy the warm embrace of tradition and taste with every savory, delightful spoonful!

Discover the depth of Scottish tradition with our soulful Leekie soup recipe. As a mélange of tender chicken, creamy leeks, and delicate prunes, this hearty dish brings homely comfort to your table.

As you immerse in its creation, each step unfolds a tale of culinary heritage. 

Watch as simple ingredients transform, imbuing your kitchen with an aroma that speaks volumes of rustic highland feasts. Once ready, every spoonful is a nostalgic journey, effortlessly marrying humble beginnings with contemporary cravings. 

This recipe, honoring authenticity and flavor, promises a delightful dance on your palate, making you crave another serving. Perfect for rainy afternoons or chilly nights, this dish is the heart-warming companion you didn’t know you needed. 

So, let’s stir up some history together, creating memories one bowl at a time with our classic Leekie soup. You’ll love how its delicate taste wraps around your senses, urging you to savor each moment.

Embrace tradition. Savor Scotland. Discover Leekie soup.

What Is Leekie Soup Recipe?

Leekie soup is a traditional Scottish dish with a rich, warming broth. It’s primarily made of leeks and chicken, often simmered with a bouquet of herbs for a deep, satisfying flavor. 

Some versions include prunes within the soup or as a garnish, lending a sweet counterpoint to the savory ingredients. Served with crusty bread, Leekie is a delightful comfort food, embodying the simplicity and heartiness of Scotland’s culinary heritage. 

This soup is a crowd-pleaser, perfect for cold weather or whenever a hearty meal is in order.

Can You Vary The Recipe With Other Ingredients?

  • Keto Keep the chicken and leeks, but substitute the prunes with lower-carb vegetables like broccoli or spinach.
  • Paleo This soup is already Paleo-friendly. Ensure that your chicken is organic and free-range and your stock is homemade or free from additives and preservatives.
  • Gluten-Free Leekie is naturally gluten-free as it doesn’t typically include grains. However, always double-check your stock is gluten-free if you’re using store-bought.
  • Whole30 This soup is also Whole30 compliant. Again, pay attention to your chicken stock – it should be free of sugars, soy, and additives.
  • Vegetarian Swap the chicken with a hearty vegetable like cauliflower or celeriac, and use vegetable stock instead. Keep the prunes and leeks for flavor continuity.
  • Vegan Follow the vegetarian version, and ensure your stock is vegan-friendly (some vegetable stocks can contain animal-derived ingredients). If desired, add a protein source like chickpeas or tofu.


Recipe Directions 

  1. Boil chicken, water, onion, and barley in a large pot. Simmer for 1 hour.
  2. Discard chicken bones and skin, chop meat, and return to the pot.
  3. Add chicken broth, leeks, celery, thyme, parsley, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings 


  • For a heartier texture, add diced potatoes or barley.
  • Swap chicken with turkey for a post-Thanksgiving treat.
  • Incorporate other root vegetables like parsnips or turnips for added depth.


  • Toss in some chopped carrots for a sweet twist and extra nutrition.
  • Enhance the flavor with a splash of white wine during the simmering process.
  • A hint of garlic can add a pleasant, aromatic kick.


  • Sprinkle freshly chopped parsley or dill for a pop of color and freshness.
  • A dollop of sour cream or a swirl of cream can add a rich, creamy finish.
  • For a crunch contrast, top with croutons or a sprinkling of toasted almonds.

Can I Make Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?

Slow Cooker

  • Place the chicken, onion, barley, and water in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  • Remove the chicken, discard the bones and skin, and chop the meat into bite-size pieces. Return the chicken to the slow cooker.
  • You can add leeks, chicken broth, celery, thyme, parsley, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook on high for an additional 30 minutes or until the vegetables softens.

Instant Pot

  • Use the sauté function to slightly brown the chicken, if desired. Then add the onion, barley, and water to the pot.
  • Seal the lid, set the valve to “sealing,” and cook on high pressure for 20 minutes. Allow a natural pressure release for about 10 minutes, then perform a quick release.
  • Open the pot, remove the chicken, discard the bones and skin, and chop the meat into bite-size pieces. Return the chicken to the pot.
  • Add celery, chicken broth, leeks, thyme, parsley, salt, and pepper. Seal the lid again and cook on high pressure for an additional 5 minutes. Quickly release the pressure.

Can I Use Store Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?

  • Store-Bought Broth: This is a convenient option, especially when you’re short on time. It’s ready-to-use and usually comes in a variety of flavors (chicken, vegetable, beef) to suit your needs. Opt for low-sodium versions to control your salt intake.
  • Homemade Broth: Making your own broth allows you to control the ingredients and flavor fully. You can use leftover bones and vegetable scraps, making it cost-effective and waste-reducing. Homemade broth typically has a fresher, richer taste compared to store-bought versions.

How To Serve?

  • Hot and Fresh: Serve the soup right after it’s done cooking. The flavors are at their peak, and the soup is most comforting when served warm.
  • Bread on the Side: Pair the soup with a slice of crusty bread, a warm roll, or a wedge of soda bread to soak up the broth and add a pleasing textural contrast.
  • Garnish: While not always traditional, you might garnish the soup with a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley or thyme for color and a fresh flavor.
  • As a Starter: Leekie soup is often served as a starter during a traditional Scottish meal. But with some bread and perhaps a salad, it can easily be turned into a light lunch or dinner.
  • In a Soup Tureen: If you’re serving soup at a dinner party or during a holiday meal, consider using a soup tureen. It’s a beautiful way to present the soup, and it keeps it warm for longer.

Perfect Side Dishes

  • Crusty Bread: A piece of crusty bread or a warm roll is perfect for sopping up the flavorful broth.
  • Green Salad: A simple green salad with a light vinaigrette can provide a refreshing contrast to the hearty soup.
  • Cheese Scones: These can be a delicious accompaniment, adding a British touch to the meal.
  • Roasted Vegetables: Seasonal roasted vegetables make a nice side, adding color and varied textures to your meal.
  • Grain Salad: A light grain salad, like a simple couscous or quinoa salad, could offer a pleasant contrast with its unique texture and flavors.
  • Potato Dish: Given its Scottish roots, serving the soup with a side of tatties (potatoes) like a potato gratin or mashed potatoes could make for a heartier meal.

Storage & Make Ahead

  • Refrigeration: Store leftover Leekie Soup in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The flavors meld and improve with time, making it a great option for advance preparation.
  • Freezing: Leek-based soups freeze well. Portion into airtight containers, leaving room for expansion, and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
  • Make Ahead: Prepare the soup base, excluding any pasta or rice, a day in advance. Refrigerate the base to let the flavors develop. Add the grains and simmer just before serving to ensure they maintain their ideal texture.
  • Separate Ingredients: If possible, store delicate ingredients like fresh herbs separately and add them just before serving for optimal flavor.
  • Flavor Infusion: Allowing Leekie Soup to sit in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight before reheating enhances the soup’s overall flavor.

What Can We Do With Leftovers? 

  • Chicken Pot Pie: Use the soup for a rustic pot pie filling. You should thicken it with a little flour or cornstarch.
  • Pasta Sauce: Reduce the soup until it’s thick and toss it with pasta for a flavorful sauce.
  • Grain Bowls: Use the soup as a base for a grain bowl. Add rice, quinoa, or barley, then top with fresh vegetables or herbs.
  • Stuffed Vegetables: Mix in some rice or couscous and use it to stuff bell peppers or zucchini, then bake.
  • Bread Dip: Reduce the soup to a thicker consistency and use it as a warm, hearty dip for crusty bread.


  • Caramelized Leek Elegance: Start by caramelizing leeks in butter until golden brown. This imparts a rich sweetness to your Leekie Soup, elevating its depth of flavor.
  • Herbal Infusion: Add a bouquet garni of fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves. This herbal infusion enhances the aromatic notes of your soup, creating a symphony of flavors.
  • Pearl Barley Bliss: For a hearty twist, toss in cooked pearl barley. It not only adds a pleasant chewiness but also boosts the soup’s nutritional content.
  • Smoked Paprika Surprise: Infuse a subtle smokiness with a dash of smoked paprika, providing a unique and unexpected dimension to your Leekie Soup.
  • Creamy Cauliflower Companion: Introduce creaminess by blending in a handful of steamed cauliflower, creating a velvety texture that complements the leeks beautifully.

Perfect Leekie Soup Recipe (A Delightful Choice)

Perfect Leekie Soup Recipe (A Delightful Choice)

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Course: Soup Recipes


Prep time


Cooking time







Cock-a-Leekie soup is a hearty, comforting dish hailing from Scotland. It’s a simple blend of tender chicken, flavorful leeks, and often prunes, simmered to perfection to create a warm and satisfying meal.

Ingredients List

  • 4 Pounds 4 Boneless, skinless Chicken Thighs

  • 10 Cups 10 Water

  • 1 Chopped 1 Onion

  • 1/3 Cup 1/3 Barley

  • 10.5 Ounces 10.5 Condensed Chicken Broth (Can)

  • 7 Sliced 7 Leeks

  • 2 Sliced 2 Celery Stalks

  • 1 Sprig 1 Fresh Thyme

  • 1 Tablespoon 1 Fresh Parsley

  • 1 Tablespoon 1 Salt

  • 1/2 Tablespoon 1/2 Ground Black Pepper

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Gather all your ingredients: chicken, water, onion, barley, chicken broth, leeks, celery, thyme, parsley, salt, and pepper.
  • In a large pot over high heat, combine the chicken, water, onion, and barley. Allow the mixture to reach a rolling boil.
  • Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer gently for about 1 hour. This slow simmering will help extract flavor from the chicken and barley.
  • After an hour, carefully remove the chicken from the pot. When cool enough to handle, discard the bones and skin. Chop the meat into bite-sized pieces.
  • Return the chopped chicken to the pot. This reintroduces the meat, enriching the texture of your soup.
  • It’s time to introduce the remaining ingredients. Add the finely sliced leeks, chopped celery, chicken broth, thyme, and parsley to the pot.
  • Season the soup with ground black pepper and salt to taste. This step is essential for flavor; adjust according to your palate.
  • Allow your soup to return to a simmer. Let it cook for another 30 minutes or until all the vegetables are soft.
  • Serve your Cock-a-Leekie soup piping hot, straight from the pot. For an additional flourish, garnish with extra parsley or a few strips of leek.
  • Enjoy the hearty warmth and inviting flavors of your homemade Cock-a-Leekie soup. Optional: Serve with a side of crusty bread for a complete meal.
  • Large Pot or Dutch Oven
  • Sharp Knife and Cutting Board
  • Ladle
  • Slotted Spoon or Tongs
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons


  • Chicken: The recipe traditionally uses a whole chicken, but you can substitute it with chicken thighs or breasts based on preference.
  • Prunes: Some versions of this soup include prunes, which contrast the savory components sweetly. However, these can be omitted if desired.
  • Herbs: Fresh herbs like parsley and thyme are typically used, but dried herbs can be a convenient substitute.
  • Storage: The soup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or frozen for longer storage.
  • Serving: Cock-a-Leekie soup is either delicious or served with a slice of crusty bread. It can be garnished with fresh herbs for added color and flavor.
  • Dietary Considerations: This soup is naturally gluten-free and can be adapted to fit a variety of diets, including low-fat, low-sodium, and vegetarian or vegan diets.

Nutrition Table

Nutrition Table

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