How do you cook chicken feet (AKA chicken paws or phoenix claws)? Try making my simple chicken feet soup recipe in your slow cooker! Though chicken feet are not a typical part of U.S. cuisine, they are a delicious addition to soups. If you want to make yourself one of the richest and most flavorful broths ever, do not miss out on this chicken foot soup recipe.
This recipe is an update from 2020. I added new information, a recipe video, and lots of new photos of chicken feet! The soup recipe, however, remains untouched.
We are going on a foodie adventure today! Though chicken feet are a common food in some parts of the world, many in the U.S. are unfamiliar with this ingredient. This was the first time my family tried a dish with chicken feet, and it was delicious!
I understand that this Crock Pot chicken feet soup recipe is not going to be something that everyone will want to try. I had a wide variety of reactions when I posted a photo of chicken paws on Twitter. Some told me how much they loved chicken feet, while others were far less enthusiastic.
A few folks told me the feet looked a bit too much like human fingers! I am glad I kept them in a clearly labeled package for the photo.
I knew going into this culinary foray that one of my family members was going to have a hard time with this one. Meanwhile, my other family member would totally be game to try these. (My predictions were spot on, btw.)
Luckily, if you just can’t bear to face the feet, simply make the broth and remove the feet. Then add the rest of the soup ingredients to that delicious broth. Easy!
Why make soup with chicken feet? Here’s why this recipe is a keeper in my household:
- The best way to cook chicken feet: Using your crock pot is my favorite way to cook chicken paws. The chicken feet get that long, low temperature cooking time that they need to be their best. Unlike cooking on the stovetop, the process is pretty hands off for you.
- Makes the richest, most flavorful broth ever: A benefit of using chicken feet in your bone broth is that is makes some of the richest chicken broth around. It’s a nifty way to upgrade your regular chicken soup recipe into something extra special. I think of it as chicken soup 2.0 Haha
- Packed with collagen: If you’ve never had success making a bone broth that gels, try throwing this collagen-rich ingredient into the batch! The stock should gel quite easily after it has cooled.
- Inexpensive: Some people spend big bucks on collagen supplements and powders. Save money and get yourself some chicken feet instead if you regularly make your own broth. Chicken feet tend to cost only $1-3 per pound, depending on where they are sourced.
- Easy to customize: If you don’t like the idea of feet in your soup, this entree can work for you too! You can discard the feet after they’ve done their job making the soup broth. You still get the wonderful broth from the feet, without actually having to see said feet in your food.
Here’s what I use to make a simple chicken feet broth in the crock pot:
- Chicken feet
- Apple cider vinegar
- Cold water
Unfortunately, our local supermarkets do not typically carry chicken feet. I have to make a special trip to an international market each time I want this ingredient. You may be in a similar situation if you live in the United States.
Thankfully, chicken feet freeze well. So, buy a package (or two), put them in the freezer, and defrost them when you need them. Easy peasy.
After making the chicken stock, I add the following to the slow cooker to make chicken feet soup:
- Sliced carrots
- Sliced celery
- Chopped onion
- Dried thyme
- Dried oregano
- Finely chopped garlic
- Chopped jalapenos (if you want some spicy heat in the soup)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Cooked chicken breast, chopped
- Dry barley
- Fresh parsley
I like the texture that barley provides in crock pot soup recipes. Feel free to use another grain (such as brown rice, farro, or wild rice) if you would prefer.
If you use whole grain pasta or quinoa, you should add them a little closer to the end of the cooking time. Otherwise, you risk turning them to mush in the crock pot.
The main kitchen equipment that you need for this recipe are a good knife, sharp kitchen shears, and a large crock pot. I developed this recipe using the Crock-Pot SVC700-B, an oval slow cooker with a 7-quart capacity. It’s a one of the cheaper slow cooker options but does a great job cooking large batches of soup and broths.
How to Make Chicken Feet Soup
Finally, we’ve reached the part you’ve probably been waiting for: how to cook chicken feet soup. First up, we need to do some prep to make chicken feet broth. For the best results, make sure to start this recipe the night before you want soup.
Most of the time, the yellow outer layer of the feet has been peeled by the butcher. If this has not been done, you will need to do this.
To prepare this dish, I had to clip the tips of the toes off of the chicken feet to remove the nails. A sharp set of kitchen shears will make quick work of this.
As you can see, even after cutting each foot, it still looked like a foot. I know that this will exceed some people’s comfort level when it comes to food. For others, we’re going on a culinary adventure!
Put the trimmed chicken feet in your slow cooker and cover with water. Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and give it a stir. Now cover the crock pot, put it on low, and let it cook overnight.
The next day, about six hours before you want soup, skim off any foam that formed on top of the broth. At this point, you can choose to take the chicken feet out or leave them in. Taking the chicken feet out makes the soup much easier to eat, no fussing with little bones.
The feet don’t have much in the way of meat on them, so it’s not really wasteful to discard them after the broth is made. You know your family and their preferences best, so I’ll leave that decision up to you.
If you try this chicken feet soup recipe, let me know whether you left the feet in or not!
It took 12-18 hours to make chicken foot broth in the slow cooker. It will take an additional 6 hours to make crock pot chicken feet soup.
Add the carrots, celery, onion, thyme, oregano, garlic, jalapenos (if using), salt, and pepper to the slow cooker. Cover the slow cooker again and cook for 5 hours on low.
Now add the cooked chicken and dry barley to the crockpot, and give the soup a stir. Cover the pot and cook on low for one more hour.
At the end of the hour, the barley should be tender and ready to eat. Stir in the fresh parsley and serve. I hope you enjoy it!
What are some other ways to cook chicken feet?
Though chicken feet aren’t extremely popular in America, they are enjoyed in many other parts of the world. Here are some examples of how chicken paws are prepared around the globe:
- Trini style: In Trinidad, you can find a dish called “chicken foot souse.” The chicken feet are boiled in seasoned water and then mixed with peppers, onions, cucumbers, and fresh herbs.
- Chinese style: Chicken feet are a popular part of Chinese cuisine. In China, you can find phoenix claws served as a snack, a cold dish, soup, or a main dish. I often see red dates used in Chinese chicken feet soup recipes. Packages of chicken feet (with rice vinegar and chili) are sold in Chinese supermarkets as a convenient snack!
- Guyanese style: This one is tricky! In Guyana, “chicken foot” refers to a crunchy snack of spiced flour that was fried in oil. There are no actual chicken feet in the dish at all (Guyanese chicken foot recipe).
- Jamaican chicken feet soup: In Jamaica, chicken foot soup often contains ingredients such as green bananas, potatoes, yams, and dumplings. It’s a delicious and carb-rich way to enjoy your chicken feet.
- Thai chicken feet soup: Chicken feet can be found in an assortment of dishes in Thailand, including curries. Tom Yum Teen Gai is a popular soup from Thailand that uses chicken feet.
I hope this gave you a few more ideas for what to do with chicken feet. I can tell you that I’m adding a few chicken feet to each batch of my Instant Pot Bone Broth from now on.
Have you ever tried chicken feet? If so, I’d love to hear about how you like to prepare them. Drop me a comment below and tell me all about how you use chicken feet in your menu!
Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 1 recipe (may help support fat loss). Is chicken feet soup fattening? Heck no!
I’ve mentioned this before, but (in general), broth-based soups are a great option to support weight loss. The high-volume, low-calorie combo of protein, fiber, and fluid may help to keep you full.
I especially enjoy a comforting dish like this when it is cold out. What’s better than coming home to a warm bowl of soup after spending time in the cold? IMVHO, it’s a little piece of heaven.
This chicken feet soup recipe is under 500 calories per serving (463 calories, to be precise). The exact calorie count on your soup depends on the recipe you use and the portion size you enjoy.
Chicken feet broth is good for you nutritionally. One serving of this low calorie chicken feet soup provides 45.4 grams of protein, and it’s an excellent source of provitamin A and vitamin C. It’s also a low carb option, offering 22.2 grams of net carbs per serving.
Chicken feet are not meaty and they have a ton of little bones. The bones soften up considerably after the extended slow cooking, but they are not really meant to be eaten. The edible part of the feet is rather gelatinous and takes on the flavor of whatever it was cooked with.
You can easily make this chicken feet soup in your Instant Pot using the “slow cooker” function. To speed the process along, try making the chicken paw broth with pressure cooking (modify my bone broth Instant Pot recipe). Then, switch over to slow cooking to finish up the soup.
To make chicken feet soup that is gluten free, simply swap the barley for a gluten free grain. Brown rice or wild rice are two great choices.
Other Soup Recipes You’ll Love
Soup is pretty much the quintessential cold weather comfort food! If you’re searching for more recipes for soup, here are a few you may enjoy:
- Turkey Soup with Wild Rice (Crock Pot)
- One-Pot Sausage and Bean Soup
- Quick Black Bean Soup with Pumpkin Swirl
- Vegan Gazpacho
- Pureed Cauliflower Soup with Garam Masala Granola
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All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats with yogurt post. Let's get cooking!
Chicken Feet Soup Recipe (Slow Cooker)
- 1 lb. chicken feet (454 grams; yellow outer layer peeled, if the store has not done this for you)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 9 cups water
- 3 medium carrots, sliced
- 3 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 0-2 jalapenos, chopped (none for classic chicken soup flavor, 1-2 if you like things spicy hot)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 12 ounces cooked chicken breast meat, chopped (340 grams; leftovers from this recipe would be perfect)
- ½ cup dry barley (hulled, not pearled)
- 4 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
The evening before you plan to have soup for dinner:
- With sharp kitchen shears, cut the tips of the toes off of each chicken foot, removing the nail. Put the feet into a slow cooker.
- Cover the chicken feet with the water. Add the cider vinegar and give it a stir.
- Cover the slow cooker and put it on "low." You're all set for the evening!
About six hours before you are having soup:
- Skim off any foam that has formed on top of the broth. Scoop the chicken feet out of the broth and discard them or leave them in if you are feeling more adventurous.
- Add the carrots, celery, onion, thyme, oregano, garlic, jalapenos (if using), salt, and black pepper. Cover the slow cooker. Keep it going on low.
One hour before dinner:
- Add the cooked chicken and dry barley to the slow cooker and give it a stir. Cover the pot again and cook on low for an additional hour.
- Stir in the fresh parsley and serve. Enjoy!
Devon Valentine says
I'm from Trinidad. Here it's more common to leave the feet in, but there are some folks who still prefer to remove them. In my Instant Pot I like to saute a diced onion with grated garlic, throw in some curry powder and let that cook for a few minutes. Then I'll throw in a pack of chicken feet (already cleaned and toes removed) for another few minutes and follow that with a couple cups of washed yellow split peas that I pre-soaked for a couple hours. Cover it all with water, add a couple Maggi bouillon cubes, some salt and a whole habanero pepper and use the Soup function on the Instant Pot that cooks it for about 70 minutes. Pure heaven.
Summer Yule says
Hi Devon, Thank you so much for all of this information! It completely fills my dietitian heart with joy to learn more about how foods enjoyed in other parts of the world 🙂 This sounds so wonderful; I'll be sure to make your version the next time I buy chicken feet. I love that you're using an Instant Pot to save time too! Summer
Alice Martinez says
I am making this today... so if i remember I will let you know tomorrow how it comes out. Thank you for posting!
Summer Yule says
You're welcome and I hope you like it! I'd love to hear whether you end up keeping the chicken feet in the soup or taking them out!
Terrified Amateur says
Wow, Summer! As you probably know, I'm a chicken..eh...enthusiast, but I never have tried the feet before.
Not due to any reticence on my part (well, not much, at least) but where do I find them? Maybe the poultry monger on the other side of town?
Your colorful, vibrant creation is a thrill for all the senses. In fact, I can smell it now, right through the monitor. Divine!
Thanks for lifting a page from the Chinese cookbook an making it your own!
Summer Yule says
Thank you! Do you have grocery stores that specialize in East Asian foods local to you? I’ve heard that chicken feet are not unfamiliar in the Caribbean and South Africa as well. Basically, the stores that have a lot of fresh international foods should have these!
I could tell you several places to go if you lived in my area. None of my suggestions would be regular major chain supermarkets, however. This one takes a little hunting down but I think that is part of the fun 😀
Terrified Amateur says
Actually, there is an East Asian market in town - thanks for the tip!