This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission. Full Disclosure Policy.
This homemade Chickarina soup is so much better than the canned version! Loads of fresh veggies, cute little mini meatballs, and a flavorful broth come together in a bowl full of deliciousness!
This hearty healthy soup is great to warm up to on a cold days and is also freezer-friendly so make a double batch for later!
Step by step photos and instructions below!
This Chickarina soup recipe is the homemade version of the classic canned soup (made by Progresso) we all loved growing up. And might I say, it’s much better tasting and healthier than the original!
It still has everything we love about the canned version, including perfectly seasoned light and airy chicken meatballs, tender couscous, and a delicious broth. However, this recipe is made with fresh, quality ingredients, much less sodium, no artificial flavors and it’s much more cost-effective thanks to being able to make a big batch and freeze some for later!
Don’t get me wrong, the convenience of canned soup doesn’t go unnoticed, but the benefits of homemade soup far outweigh the convenience more often than not. I love being able to control the ingredients and making meatballs from scratch can’t be beat!
If it’s meatballs you want in your soup, it’s meatballs you shall have! Try chunky Italian meatball soup or albondigas soup next. You’ll love them both. Or, try this Italian Wedding Soup from On My Kids Plate.
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- A quick and easy soup that is ready in 40 minutes! Perfect for busy weeknights, lazy weekends, and leftovers for the week ahead.
- Move over chicken noodle soup, this nourishing cozy chickarina soup is exactly what you need to get you through cold and flu season.
- It’ll remind you of sitting with grandma watching her stories or staying home from school and watching The Price is Right. There is nothing that says comfort food more than a nostalgic recipe!
Frequently Asked Questions
This soup is a long-standing favorite among soup slurpers. It’s made with mini meatballs, veggies, and tiny pasta floating in a light savory broth. It’s broth-based so it’s light, yet hearty and satisfying just the same!
Absolutely! The beauty of this recipe is the meatballs are adorably mini and cook fast! They’ll be cooked through by the time the soup is done.
This is also great because ground chicken and turkey are lean meat that will dry out when overcooked.
You can. However frozen, store-bought meatballs tend to come already cooked, so you can add them to the soup later on.
If you have frozen homemade meatballs, go ahead and use those!
You just want to make sure that you’re using mini meatballs, otherwise, larger meatballs may overpower the soup!
Simple microwave a bowl or two in the microwave. If you have larger portions to heat, use the stove over medium-low heat.
What to serve with Chickarina Soup
Well, this is a hearty soup, it’s already complete with veggies, protein, and carbs, you don’t need much else!
I have included step by step photos and instructions, as well as tips and tricks in the post. If you’d rather skip all that, scoot right on down to the full recipe card located at the bottom of the post.
Add a little garlic powder or onion powder to your meatballs for a pop of extra flavor.
What to do with leftovers
Once cooled, store the soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
I use Israeli couscous, but you can easily use regular couscous, pastina, ditalini, orzo, acini de pepe, or any small pasta shape.
Use ground chicken or turkey for the meatballs.
Allow the soup to cool completely, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container or freezer bag. Leave room for expansion. The couscous will absorb more liquid the longer it sits, so you may need to add some extra broth upon reheating.
The full list of ingredients and quantities is found in the printable recipe card below.
- Ground chicken. Ground turkey can be used. If you can’t find it at your store, throw some boneless skinless chicken breasts in a food processor and chop until coarse, but not pureed.
- Breadcrumbs. Regular bread crumbs are what I use. But roasted garlic or Italian breadcrumbs are good too!
- Parmesan cheese. Reserve some for serving as well. If you have a wedge of Parmesan, it tastes better when it’s freshly grated.
- Egg. I use large eggs in my recipes.
- Fresh parsley. Wash and dry the parsley. Chop it up and reserve some of this too for serving.
- Salt and pepper. To taste. You’ll also need some for the soup broth.
- Olive oil
- Mirepoix. Otherwise known as the holy trinity of veggies, diced onion, carrots, and celery are a signature base of many soup recipes that deliver a ton of flavor.
- Chicken stock. This is a great opportunity to use the homemade stock you’ve got in the fridge. If not, store-bought chicken stock can be used here.
- Israeli couscous. Otherwise known as pearl couscous or little pearl pasta is teeny tiny semolina pasta that becomes tender, fluffy, and somewhat chewy when cooked in liquid. If you have none of these, try any small pasta of your choice.
- Salt and pepper
Styled Pin Header
- Large stock pot/large Dutch oven
- Liquid measuring cup
- Serving bowls
- Mixing bowl
- Sharp knife
How to make this recipe
Scroll for Recipe
The full list of ingredients, quantities and instructions can be found in the printable recipe card below.
Make the meatballs
In a bowl, combine ground chicken or turkey, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, egg, parsley, salt, and pepper.
Use your hands or a wooden spoon to mix until combined.
Do not overmix!
Roll the mixture into tiny meatballs, about the size of a marble, and set aside.
- Cook the soup
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté until the vegetables are softened, about 5-7 minutes.
Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
Carefully add the meatballs to the simmering soup. Lower them into the broth using a spoon to avoid splatter.
Let them cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the Israeli couscous to the pot. Cook until the pasta is tender, about 5-8 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish with chopped parsley and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
More delicious soup recipes:
- Butternut squash apple soup. A soul-warming, nutritious soup that screams fall weather! Plenty of seasonal veggies and tart apples come together in this creamy earthy soup.
- Pasta fazool (aka pasta fagioli). A one-pot soup made with loads of veggies, beans, and pasta. Hearty and satisfying with every bite!
- Homemade tomato soup. A 20-minute soup made with budget-friendly ingredients ready to be served with crackers or a grilled cheese sandwich!
- Roasted red pepper soup. Warm up with puréed roasted red peppers and roasted garlic in a smooth and smoky broth.
- Vegetable barley soup. Bulk up your veggie soup with pearls of barley. This beautiful vegetable soup brings a new meaning to eating the rainbow!
For the Meatballs
For the Soup
- 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley
- Parmesan cheese
Make the Meatballs
- In a bowl, combine ground chicken or turkey, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, egg, parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
- Roll the mixture into tiny meatballs, about the size of a marble, and set aside.
Cook the Soup
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté until the vegetables are softened, about 5-7 minutes.
- Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
- Carefully add the meatballs to the boiling broth. Let them cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add the Israeli couscous to the pot. Cook until the pasta is tender, about 5-8 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish with chopped parsley and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.