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Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Corn Soup Recipe – A Must Try Recipe

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Nestled in the heart of Amish country, Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Corn soup recipe has long been a culinary treasure that epitomizes comfort and community. This nourishing elixir is a tapestry of flavors, blending the heartiness of farm-fresh chicken with the sweet crunch of locally grown corn. 

Dutch Chicken Corn Soup

It’s not just a dish; it’s an experience—imbued with generations of craft and care, transporting you straight to a rustic kitchen in Lancaster County. Infused with simple yet aromatic ingredients like saffron and hard-boiled eggs, it is a testament to the rich cultural tapestry that makes up Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. 

So, grab your spoon and prepare to delve into a bowlful of history, tradition, and flavor.

What Is Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Corn Soup Recipe?

Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Corn Soup is a cherished staple of Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine, originating from the Amish and Mennonite communities of Lancaster County. 

This heartwarming soup combines tender chunks of chicken with the natural sweetness of fresh corn kernels. Aromatic saffron and hard-boiled eggs elevate the dish, adding layers of complexity and richness. 

It’s more than a soup; it’s a comforting blend of local flavors and centuries-old culinary traditions, making it a timeless favorite for family gatherings and solitary moments of indulgence.

History Of Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Corn Soup Recipe

The history of Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Corn Soup is deeply rooted in the Amish and Mennonite communities of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. 

This culinary gem reflects these communities’ resourcefulness and agricultural heritage, blending farm-raised chicken and harvest-fresh corn

Originally, the soup was a nourishing, communal dish, often featured at church events, potlucks, and family gatherings. 

Through generations, it has remained a steadfast emblem of Pennsylvania Dutch cooking— a harmonious blend of simplicity, tradition, and local ingredients, still beloved and enjoyed today.

Interesting Facts About The Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Corn Soup

  • Community Tradition: The soup is often a centerpiece at “corn soup socials,” where neighbors gather to enjoy food and fellowship.
  • Seasonal Connection: The recipe is most authentic when made with corn harvested during late summer, at its peak of sweetness.
  • Culinary Fusion: While rooted in German and Swiss culinary traditions, the soup has been Americanized over generations, making it a unique blend of Old and New World influences.
  • Saffron’s Role: Using saffron is a historical nod to spice trade routes, lending the soup a luxurious depth of flavor.
  • Nutritional Bounty: Rich in proteins and fiber, the soup is a nutritional powerhouse, providing a wholesome balance of essential nutrients.
  • Family Variations: No two families make it the same way; hard-boiled eggs, potatoes, and even rivels (small dumplings) are sometimes added for personalized touches.
  • Harvest Ritual: In Amish communities, making this soup is often a family affair, aligned with corn harvesting season, reinforcing its role as a celebration of local agriculture.

What Makes The Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Corn Soup Special? 

  • Farm-to-Table Freshness: The ingredients are often sourced directly from local farms, ensuring optimal flavor and nutritional value.
  • Cultural Heritage: This soup is a living testament to the rich Pennsylvania Dutch culinary tradition, incorporating German and Swiss cooking elements.
  • Communal Experience: Traditionally enjoyed at community events and family gatherings, it fosters a sense of togetherness and belonging.
  • Aromatic Complexity: Including saffron adds an unexpected, sophisticated depth to this otherwise simple dish.
  • Seasonal Significance: It is best enjoyed with late-summer corn and serves as a culinary marker of the year’s harvest season.
  • Nutritional Balance: It offers a well-rounded nutritional profile, with protein from chicken and fiber from corn.
  • Recipe Flexibility: The soup can be personalized with additions like hard-boiled eggs, rivels, or potatoes, making each rendition unique.
pennsylvania dutch chicken corn soup recipe

Ingredients List

IngredientQuantity
Whole chickens, cut into pieces2 (3 pound each)
Water3 quarts
Onions, minced3
Chopped celery1 cup
Salt2 1/2 tablespoons
Ground nutmeg1 1/4 teaspoons
Ground black pepper1/4 teaspoon
Fresh corn ears10
Eggs3
Sifted all-purpose flour1 cup
Milk1/2 cup

Ingredient Tips 

  • Chicken Quality: Opt for free-range or organic chicken for your soup’s best flavor and texture.
  • Corn Freshness: Use corn harvested at its peak sweetness, ideally from a local farm, for the most authentic taste.
  • Onion Varieties: Sweet or yellow onions work best for a balanced flavor profile.
  • Salt Selection: Choose a high-quality sea salt or kosher salt for a more nuanced flavor.
  • Nutmeg Notes: Freshly ground nutmeg offers a more vibrant aroma and taste than pre-ground options.
  • Pepper Potency: Freshly ground black pepper offers a more robust kick than pre-ground versions.
  • Flour Sifting: Don’t skip the sifting step for the flour; it helps make a smooth mixture for rivels or dumplings.

Can You Vary The Recipe With Other Ingredients? 

  • Keto: Replace corn with diced zucchini or cauliflower to lower carb content. Use almond or coconut flour for the dumplings.
  • Paleo: Skip the flour and milk, using arrowroot or tapioca flour for thickening. Choose a dairy-free milk alternative if needed.
  • Gluten-Free: Use a gluten-free all-purpose flour for the dumplings. Make sure your spices are also gluten-free.
  • Whole30: Omit corn and flour; focus on a rich chicken broth with added vegetables like turnips or sweet potatoes for texture.
  • Vegetarian: Use a hearty vegetable broth and substitute the chicken with tofu or tempeh. Omit the eggs or use an egg replacer for the dumplings.
  • Vegan: Follow the vegetarian guidelines, replace the milk with a plant-based alternative like almond or oat milk, and use egg substitutes for the dumplings.
pennsylvania dutch chicken corn soup recipe

Recipe Directions

  • Cook Chicken Base: Combine chicken, water, onions, celery, salt, nutmeg, and pepper in a large pot. Boil and simmer for 2 hours. Refrigerate.
  • Remove Fat: Skim fat from the chilled soup.
  • Prepare Corn: Remove corn from cobs and add to soup. Simmer until tender.
  • Hard-Boil Eggs: Boil two eggs, cool, peel, and chop.
  • Add Chicken: Chop refrigerated chicken and add to the soup.
  • Make Dumplings: Beat an egg, flour, and milk. Drop spoonfuls into hot soup and cook until they float.
  • Final Touch: Add chopped boiled eggs and serve.
pennsylvania dutch chicken corn soup recipe

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings

Variations

  • Spicy Twist: Add a dash of cayenne pepper or sliced jalapeños for some heat.
  • Creamy Version: Stir in a bit of heavy cream for a richer, velvety texture.

Add-Ons

  • Vegetables: Additional veggies like diced carrots or potatoes can make the soup heartier.
  • Meat Options: Smoked sausage or turkey can be added for a different protein profile.

Toppings

  • Fresh Herbs: A sprinkle of chopped parsley or chives can add color and freshness.
  • Cheese: A handful of grated Parmesan or sharp cheddar can be added for extra depth.
  • Croutons: Homemade croutons add a delightful crunch.
  • Lemon Zest: Consider adding a sprinkle of lemon or lime zest for a zesty note before serving.

Scaling The Recipe

Here is how you can scale a recipe.

Scaling Up

  • Ingredient Proportion: Keep the ratio of ingredients consistent. For example, double all the ingredients if you’re doubling the recipe.
  • Cookware: Make sure you have a large enough pot to accommodate the increased volume of soup.
  • Cooking Time: The simmering time may need slight adjustments; however, the basic cooking times should remain fairly consistent.

Scaling Down

  • Halving: To make less, halve all the ingredients.
  • Reduce Pot Size: Use a smaller pot to ensure the ingredients are well-submerged during simmering.
  • Freezing: If scaling down isn’t an option, remember that this soup freezes well. Just omit the dumplings if you plan to freeze them and add them fresh upon reheating.

What Is Used For Garnishing? 

  • Fresh Herbs: The most classic option is a sprinkle of finely chopped parsley or chives for color and a burst of freshness.
  • Cracked Pepper: A few turns of a black pepper mill can add a touch of spice and visual appeal.
  • Cheese: A light dusting of grated Parmesan or sharp cheddar adds depth and a gourmet touch.
  • Lemon Zest: Consider a sprinkle of lemon or lime zest for a zesty lift just before serving.
  • Sliced Green Onions: These offer a mild onion flavor and a pop of green color.
pennsylvania dutch chicken corn soup recipe

Can I Make Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Corn Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot? 

Here are some simple tips to help you prepare the soup in a slow cooker and instant pot:

Slow Cooker

  • Preparation: Prepare ingredients as usual and place them into the slow cooker.
  • Cooking: Set the slow cooker low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.
  • Final Steps: About 30 minutes before serving, add corn and prepared dumplings, letting them cook until they float to the surface.

Instant Pot

  • Saute Mode: Use the sauté function to soften onions and celery before adding the other ingredients.
  • Pressure Cooking: Seal the lid and cook on high pressure for 25 minutes, followed by natural release.
  • Add-ins: Add corn and dumplings after pressure release, and use the sauté function for cooking them until tender.

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

Store-Bought Broth

  • Convenience: It’s quick and easy, saving you the time of making broth from scratch.
  • Consistency: Commercial broths offer a uniform flavor, but read labels to avoid brands with high sodium or preservatives.
  • Flavor: Opt for organic or high-quality brands offering richer, more authentic chicken flavor.

Homemade Broth

  • Flavor Depth: Making your own allows for a customized, richer flavor profile.
  • Control: You have complete control over the salt content and can avoid preservatives and additives.
  • Waste Reduction: It’s a great way to use up chicken bones and vegetable scraps.

Can I Use Different Types Of Meat/Fish/Pasta/Vegetables For The Soup? 

Meat/Fish

  • Turkey: A leaner option that still retains a hearty flavor.
  • Fish: White fish like cod could be a lighter alternative but would reduce the cooking time significantly.

Pasta

  • Egg Noodles: Replace dumplings with egg noodles for a different texture.
  • Gluten-Free Pasta: Opt for a gluten-free noodle variety if you have gluten restrictions.

Vegetables

  • Carrots: For added color and nutrition.
  • Potatoes: For a heartier version, you could add small potato cubes.
pennsylvania dutch chicken corn soup recipe

Success Tips – Tips And Tricks For Making The Soup

Here are some tips to help you prepare soup:

Prepping Tips

  • Mise en Place: Have all your ingredients chopped and ready to go for a smooth cooking process.
  • Fresh Ingredients: Use the freshest produce and meat for the best flavor.
  • Homemade Broth: If time allows, opt for homemade broth for richer flavor and better control over salt.

Cooking Time Tips

  • Low and Slow: Simmering on low heat for extended periods yields more decadent flavors.
  • Taste Test: Always taste your soup before the final seasoning.
  • Stagger Add-Ins: Harder vegetables and meats that require longer cooking times should go in first; delicate ingredients like herbs should be added last.
pennsylvania dutch chicken corn soup recipe

Nutritional Values

Savor a bowl full of nutrients! This soup packs protein from chicken and offers fiber through corn. Dumplings add a carb kick, while spices like nutmeg offer subtle, unique flavors. A wholesome meal in a bowl!

What Are The Total Calories In The Soup? 

Calculating the exact calorie count for Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Corn Soup would require specific measurements for all ingredients and an analysis of how they interact during cooking. 

However, a rough estimate can be made by summing up the calories from individual ingredients and dividing by the number of servings. So, a single serving could range between 400-600 calories. Always consult a nutrition calculator for more precise information.

Dietary Restrictions Of The Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Corn Soup

  • Gluten: The all-purpose flour used in the dumplings contains gluten.
  • Dairy: Milk in the dumpling batter can be problematic for those with lactose intolerance or a dairy allergy.
  • Meat: Chicken broth and meat make it unsuitable for vegetarians and vegans.
  • High Sodium: Store-bought broth and added salt may contribute to high sodium levels, which could concern those with hypertension.
  • Eggs: Those with egg allergies should avoid this dish due to eggs in the dumplings.
  • Nuts and Shellfish: The traditional recipe is generally free from these allergens. However, always double-check if you’re using a store-bought broth.

Health Benefits Of The Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Corn Soup

  • Protein: Chicken is an excellent source of lean protein, essential for muscle repair and overall bodily function.
  • Nutrients: Corn is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, including antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin.
  • Hydration: The broth base contributes to fluid intake, aiding in hydration.
  • Low Fat: The soup is relatively low in saturated fats when made with skinless chicken and a skimmed broth.
  • Immune Boosting: The soup contains onions and garlic with antimicrobial properties.
  • Customizable: You can easily tweak the recipe to include more vegetables or leaner meats, aligning it with your health goals.

Nutrition Table 

pennsylvania dutch chicken corn soup recipe

How Can I Make Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Corn Soup Recipe Lower In Sodium? 

  • Broth: Opt for a low-sodium or unsalted chicken broth. If you’re making your own, skip the salt during the boiling process.
  • Salt Substitute: Use herbs and spices like thyme, rosemary, or sage to flavor the soup instead of relying solely on salt.
  • Fresh Produce: Use fresh corn and vegetables rather than canned options, which often contain added sodium.
  • Limit Seasoning: Be mindful of the salt content in added seasonings or sauces.
  • Taste as You Go: Add salt incrementally and taste as you cook so you can better control the amount used.

How Can I Make Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Corn Soup Recipe Lower In Sugar?

  • Broth: Opt for unsweetened, homemade broth or a store-bought version with no added sugars.
  • Corn: Choose fresh corn over canned varieties, which sometimes contain added sugar.
  • Seasonings: Be cautious with bottled seasonings or sauces containing hidden sugars; always read labels.
  • Natural Flavorings: Utilize natural herbs and spices for flavor rather than sugar-laden mixes.
  • Monitor Dairy: If using milk, opt for unsweetened, unflavored varieties to ensure no hidden sugars.
pennsylvania dutch chicken corn soup recipe

How To Serve The Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Corn Soup At Its Best? 

  • Temperature: Serve the soup hot, ideally right after the dumplings have fully cooked and floated to the top.
  • Presentation: Ladle generous servings into deep bowls to showcase the vibrant corn kernels, tender chicken, and fluffy dumplings.
  • Garnish: A sprinkle of fresh parsley or chives adds color and an extra layer of flavor. A wedge of lemon on the side can offer a zesty kick.
  • Accompaniments: Pair with a slice of crusty bread or a green salad for a complete meal.
  • Individualization: Offer condiments like black pepper or a mild hot sauce so guests can adjust the seasoning to their liking.

Perfect Side Dishes To Complement Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Corn Soup Recipe 

  • Crusty Bread: A loaf of warm, crusty bread can soak up the flavorful broth.
  • Green Salad: A light, leafy green salad with a simple vinaigrette balances the soup’s richness.
  • Steamed Vegetables: Asparagus or green beans offer a nutritional boost without overwhelming the main dish.
  • Cornbread: To continue the corn theme, serve with a slice of slightly sweet cornbread.
  • Pickles or Olives: A small serving of pickles or olives can work wonders for a palate cleanser.
  • Cheese Platter: A selection of mild cheeses can make the meal feel like a feast.

How Long Can We Store The Soup? 

  • Refrigeration: The soup can be safely stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • Freezing: For extended storage, the soup can be frozen for 2-3 months. However, note that the texture of the dumplings may change upon thawing.
  • Reheating: Reheat on the stovetop over low heat, stirring occasionally, until hot. If reheating from frozen, it’s best to thaw the soup in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Can I Make The Soup In Advance? 

Yes, you can make the Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Corn Soup recipe in advance. Cook the soup entirely according to the recipe. Allow it to cool. Transfer the soup to airtight containers. Refrigerate the containers. 

When ready to serve, gently reheat the soup on the stovetop. Enjoy your delicious pre-prepared soup!

What Can We Do With Leftovers? 

  • Chicken Salad: Strain out some of the cooked chicken, mix it with mayo, and enjoy as a sandwich filler.
  • Casserole: Incorporate leftovers into a baked casserole, adding extra vegetables and a cheesy topping.
  • Stir-Fry: Use the chicken and corn in a quick stir-fry with fresh veggies and a soy-based sauce.
  • Fritters: Turn dumplings and corn into fritters by mixing them with an egg and some flour, then pan-frying.
  • Tacos: Use the tender chicken as a filling for tacos, adding lettuce, cheese, and salsa.
  • Rice Bowl: Layer the leftover soup over rice for a hearty and quick meal.
  • Flatbread: Use the chicken as a topping for a quick flatbread or pizza, adding cheese and herbs before baking.
pennsylvania dutch chicken corn soup recipe

Special Tools/Equipment Needed

  • Large Pot: A high-capacity, heavy-bottomed pot is crucial for cooking the chicken and simmering the broth.
  • Sharp Knives: Good quality knives are essential for chopping vegetables and deboning the chicken.
  • Cutting Board: Having separate cutting boards for meat and vegetables aids in easy prep and food safety.
  • Strainer: Useful for removing fat and impurities from the broth.
  • Measuring Cups & Spoons: For accurate seasoning and ingredient quantities.
  • Mixing Bowls: You’ll need at least one for mixing the dumpling batter.
  • Ladle: For serving the soup.
  • Small Saucepan: For boiling the eggs separately.
  • Whisk: To ensure that the dumpling batter is smooth and lump-free.
  • Serving Bowls: Deep bowls are ideal for showcasing this hearty soup.
  • Thermometer: Optional, but helpful in checking if the chicken is cooked through.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I Use Frozen Corn Instead Of Fresh Corn?

While fresh corn is traditionally used and offers the best flavor, frozen corn can be a suitable substitute. If using frozen, there’s no need to thaw it before adding it to the soup.

How Can I Make The Dumplings Gluten-Free?

You can make gluten-free dumplings by substituting the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free blend. Ensure your blend is suitable for savory dishes and contains no added sugars or flavors.

What Can I Use Instead Of Nutmeg?

If you don’t have nutmeg, you can substitute a pinch of cinnamon or allspice. These spices have different flavor profiles but can still complement the soup well.

Can I Add Other Vegetables To The Soup?

Absolutely! While the classic recipe mainly uses corn, celery, and onions, add other veggies like carrots, peas, or some leafy greens like spinach for additional nutrients and flavors.

Is It Necessary To Remove Chicken Fat?

While traditional recipes often recommend skimming off the fat for a leaner soup, some prefer to leave it for a richer flavor. It’s entirely a matter of personal preference.

Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Corn Soup Recipe - A Must Try Recipe

Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Corn Soup Recipe – A Must Try Recipe

5 from 3 votes
Recipe by Hanna Barnes Course: Soup Recipe
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

40

minutes
Calories

450

kcal

Discover the soul-warming comfort of Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Corn Soup. This hearty dish melds tender chicken, fresh corn, and fluffy dumplings into a rich, flavorful broth—a must-try culinary tradition.

Ingredients

  • 3 pound 3 Whole chickens, cut into pieces

  • 3 quarts 3 Water

  • 3 3 Onions, minced

  • 1 cup 1 Chopped celery

  • 1/2 tablespoons 1/2 Salt

  • 1/4 teaspoons 1/4 Ground nutmeg

  • 1/4 teaspoons 1/4 Ground black pepper

  • 10 10 Fresh corn ears

  • 1 cup 1 Sifted all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 Milk

  • 3 3 Eggs

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Preparation Steps
    Gather Ingredients: Assemble all ingredients for the recipe to ensure a smooth cooking process.
  • Cooking
    Chicken Base: In a large pot over medium heat, combine chicken, water, onions, celery, salt, nutmeg, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil.
    Simmer: Reduce heat and let the mixture simmer for about 2 hours. You might need to add water to keep the chicken submerged.
    Refrigerate: Remove the chicken from the soup and refrigerate both until the fat solidifies on the surface of the soup.
  • Blending
    Remove Fat: Remove the soup from the refrigerator and remove the solidified fat. You should have about 2 1/2 quarts remaining.
  • Cooking
    Corn Preparation: Use a sharp knife to cut kernels and scrape them off the cob. Add this corn to the soup and bring to a boil again.
    Simmer Corn: Lower the heat and simmer until the corn is tender, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Final Touches
    Egg Preparation: Place two eggs in a small saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let them stand for 10-12 minutes—cool, peel, and chop.
    Chicken Addition: Chop the refrigerated chicken meat into bite-sized pieces and add it back into the soup.
    Dumplings: Beat the remaining egg in a medium bowl until light in color. Add flour and milk, and beat until smooth. Drop partial spoonfuls of this batter into the hot soup and cook for 2-5 minutes, stirring constantly, until they float to the surface.
    Egg Addition: Stir in the reserved, chopped cooked eggs.
  • Serving
    Serve Hot: Dish the hot Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Corn Soup in bowls.
  • Additional Options
    Seasoning: Adjust salt and pepper to taste before serving.
    Garnish: Optionally garnish with fresh herbs like parsley or chives.

Recipe Video

Notes

  • Use organic, free-range chicken for better flavor and nutritional value.
  • Fresh corn is key; avoid canned or frozen versions.
  • You can blend some corn kernels before adding them for a thicker soup.
  • Don’t rush the simmering process; the longer it cooks, the more flavorful it gets.
  • Skim off any excess fat for a leaner soup.
  • Vegan or vegetarian? Substitute chicken with tofu and use vegetable broth.

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