Chicken soup is one of the classic comfort foods. Whether it comes with noodles or rice, a bowl of chicken soup can make the worst day a little bit better. Many people have a time-honored chicken soup recipe passed from generation to generation. If you don’t have one, here are some herbs that will make your chicken soup taste better than anything you can get from a can.

Parsley

Chopped fresh parsley is an essential ingredient in any chicken soup—it lends a light, fresh taste. Chop the leaves and save the stems for making stock another day. The taste is very mild so feel free to use it generously. If you can’t get fresh parsley, use the dried version, but the flavor won’t be as intense.

Oregano

Oregano is a strong herb, so be a little more careful about how much you use, especially if you’re using fresh. Even a little bit of dried oregano gives chicken soup an Italian flair and pushes the flavor to a whole new level. If you choose to use fresh oregano, finely chop just a few leaves; if you want more flavor you can always add more.

Bay Leaf

Bay leaf is one herb that’s difficult to find fresh. Buy the dried version and store in a cool, dark place. Add 1 or 2 whole bay leaves to a pot of soup when you start cooking to let the flavors meld. Be sure to remove and discard the leaves when the soup is finished cooking.

Other Herbs

For an Asian-flavored chicken soup, add garlic and some fresh or powdered ginger.

For a very Italian-style soup, add rosemary, thyme, and onion.

For a zesty chicken soup, add just a dash of cayenne pepper or a little paprika.

Almost any chicken soup benefits from a little bit of fresh or dried sage and some garlic.

The possibilities are endless so don’t be afraid to experiment.