Chicken and Cornbread Buttermilk Soup

Chicken and Cornbread Buttermilk Soup

Chicken and Cornbread Buttermilk Soup is a perfect example of how simple, rustic even, ingredients can be creatively combined with elegant results. A bowlful is sure to satisfy your hunger in a deeply soulful way.

Chicken and Cornbread Buttermilk Soup 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4Source Adapted from John Fleer, Rhubarb restaurant Ashville, NCPublished

This soup is also good served chilled.

Chicken and Cornbread Buttermilk Soup


  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast half
  • 3½ cup chicken broth (or as needed)
  • vegetable oil (or other mild flavored oil)
  • ½ cup chopped leeks (white parts only)
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • ¼ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup crumbled, day-old cornbread (do not use cornbread sweetened with sugar) plus more as garnish
  • 1 cup buttermilk (full fat, if possible)
  • 3 tablespoon heavy cream
  • kosher salt (to taste)
  • freshly cracked black pepper (to taste)


Bring chicken and broth to a boil in a saucepan, the breast should be completely submerged if not, use a smaller pan or more broth. Lower the heat to simmer and cook, skimming the foam and scum that comes to the top, 8 to 10 minutes or until done. Drain, reserving broth. Let chicken cool, then shred or chop the chicken. Set aside.

Set a medium soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and add enough oil to coat the bottom. Heat the oil for a minute and then stir in the leeks and celery; reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables become lightly translucent without coloring. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, then add 2 ½ cups broth and ½ cup crumbled cornbread; cook (uncovered) for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Combine the buttermilk and heavy cream in a heatproof mixing bowl. Gradually pour in the hot broth mixture, stirring constantly. Puree the soup in a blender or with an immersion (stick) blender until smooth. Taste, and season with salt and pepper as needed. If the soup is too thick for your liking, add a touch of remaining broth.

Return the soup to the pot; add the shredded chicken and gently cook over low heat just until warmed through. Be sure to reheat slowly to keep the buttermilk from separating.

Serve with an additional sprinkle of crumbled cornbread on top.