a close up of a mug of dark brown broth with scallions floating on the surface

soothing broth for a sore throat

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Miso, ginger, lemon, and garlic make the perfect flavorful broth for a sore throat.

a mug of broth with a wooden spoon inside it. on the wooden counter is a clove of garlic, ginger root, and scallions.

I don’t know about you, but when I’ve got a sore throat there are only two things that I want: 1) warm broth and 2) alphabet noodles. (Am I the only person who associates alphabet noodles with getting to stay home sick from school? I suspect my mom was just trying to make sure I still got my reading in…).

I’ve got nothing against a plain mug of chicken bouillon and alphabet noodles. When you’re under the weather, you can only manage what you can manage and sometimes chicken bouillon is it and I’m proud of you for that. We’ve all had those days.

But on days when I have just a little more energy, or have started to go stir crazy and need to just do something a little creative, I make a mug of this miso ginger broth to sooth my aching throat.

A close up of a mug full of miso ginger soup. A wooden spoon rests across the opening of the mug with alphabet noodles in it.
“Good Baltimorning” mug from Maryland Mercantile (#notanad)

It uses mostly ingredients I always have in my kitchen: chicken stock (usually homemade, usually frozen), lemons, miso, and alphabet noodles. The ginger is the only thing I don’t always have on hand, but when I feel that first tickle in the back of my throat, I know to go pick some up.

The ginger helps reduce inflammation, miso is a fermented food rich in vitamins B and E, garlic is rich with allicin, and the lemon helps break up mucus and can provide some pain relief. At least, that’s my understanding. I’m not a medical professional. What I can tell you for sure is that it tastes fantastic and provides a bit of instant, sweet, sweet relief.

The alphabet noodles are small enough that you don’t really feel them, but provide a nice substantial bite when you’re just starting to feel up to eating real food again.

Basically, if you aren’t slurping this soothing broth out of a mug while swaddled in blankets on the couch, you’re doing it wrong.

tgfm: thank goodness for microplanes

I’ve waxed poetic about my microplane here, but having one will truly make this broth so much easier.

If you don’t have a microplane, you may have been reading the above thinking “ugh, but when I’m sick the last thing I want to do is mince garlic, zest a lemon, and mince ginger.”

But if you DO have a microplane, you know that you can do all three things with the same tool easy.

Hold the microplane upside down so the ingredients collect on top, held in place by the bent sides, just ready to be used. Boom. Minimal effort, maximum flavor.

Don’t believe me? Look closely at the photo below. The ginger is toward the base of the microplane, the pale garlic is in the middle, and the fine lemon zest is toward the top. All three, done without even having to put the microplane down.

A hand holds a microplane in front of a small pot on the stove. the microplane is upside down so that the bent edges face up. grated ginger, garlic, and lemon zest have collected on the top, ready to be cooked.

a few quick cooking notes:

  • Use the smallest pot you can find for this — a cup and a half of broth is all you’ll need, so a 2-cup pot like this works perfectly.
  • Don’t use too much oil in step 2 — just enough to prevent the garlic, ginger, and lemon from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Too much oil will combine with the miso paste and make your soup greasy.
  • If you’ve never worked with miso paste before here’s some good tips on incorporating it into soup. Miso is fermented, so it stays good in the fridge basically forever, though the flavor might wane slightly after a year. It’s a great thing to always have in your fridge to add some extra umami to your favorite soups, stews, stocks, and sauces. I use it mostly to make these miso maple ribs (skip the scallions) from Smitten Kitchen Everyday. For more on the history of miso soup, click here.
  • If you regularly make your own chicken stock, freeze a portion of it in ¼ cup measurements using a silicone egg bite mold. You can drop the frozen cubes of stock right into the pot, no need to defrost first.

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a close up of a small wooden spoon resting across the mouth of a mug. alphabet noodles and broth have collected in the spoon and more broth is in the mug.

soothing broth for a sore throat

Feel better with this flavor-packed soothing broth for a sore throat.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Soup
Cuisine American, Japanese
Servings 1 mug



  • 1 tsp oil (sesame, vegetable, or canola)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 inch fresh ginger (peeled)
  • 2 tsp miso paste (if vegetarian, increase to 1½ TBSP)
  • zest and juice of ¼ lemon
  • cups chicken broth (if vegetarian, use vegetable broth or water)
  • 1 TBSP alphabet noodles (or orzo)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 scallion (thinly sliced)


  • Hold the microplane so that the sharp surface is facing down and the curved edges are facing up. Grate the fresh ginger, garlic, and lemon zest on the underside of the microplane so that it collects on top. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a small 2-cup pot over medium heat until shiny. Add the ginger, garlic, and lemon and cook until fragrant and soft, about 1 minute.
  • Increase heat to high and add ½ cup chicken broth. Stir frequently to keep anything from sticking to the bottom, about 30 seconds.
    Add miso and cook 1 minute more, stirring frequently to dissolve the miso. When the miso has dissolved, bring the broth to a vigorous boil and let reduce, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to medium-high and add the rest of the broth. Bring the broth to a low boil, then add the alphabet noodles and cook according to package directions (usually 4-6 minutes).
    Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pour broth into a mug and garnish with sliced scallions.


  • Don’t use too much oil in step 2 — just enough to prevent the garlic, ginger, and lemon from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Too much oil will combine with the miso paste and make your soup greasy.
  • If using frozen cubes of chicken stock, no need to defrost first. Add the cubes right into the pot.
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