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Chicken Pastina Soup with Homemade Broth

The most comforting chicken soup made with rich chicken broth from scratch, tender chicken, pastina, and a few other simple ingredients.  This soup is perfect for the colder months of the year or when you’re feeling under the weather.

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I love all of the recipes that I’ve shared with you, but this one feels the most personal.  Chicken pastina soup is one of my favorite recipes that my mom makes.   At her house in the winter, you can usually count on a pot of chicken soup sitting in her fridge or cooking on the stovetop.  This recipe is the taste of my childhood at home.  Her version was always a little different but always the same too. Sometimes she made it with rice, spaghetti noodles, or egg noodles but my favorite without a doubt was when she made it with pastina pasta. This is my interpretation of one of my childhood comfort foods.

What is Pastina?

Pastina means little pasta in Italy but in the US it refers to a tiny star-shaped, pasta.  It is the smallest type of pasta produced and is made from semolina durum flour. This flour is high in protein and finely textured and commonly used in Italy to make a variety of pasta as its strength allows for a variety of shapes and can yield pasta that is perfectly cooked to al dente


This chicken pastina soup recipe is made with just a few basic ingredients:

  • Butter – Butter gives the soup base a rich flavor, but you could also use olive oil or avocado oil if you prefer.
  • Onion – either yellow or white onion is fine!
  • Celery – Stocks and leaves both taste great in this soup.
  • Carrots – Peel carrots before slicing. Whole carrots have better flavor, but you can also use baby carrots to save some peeling, they work in a pinch as it’s not the main star of the soup.
  • Garlic – Fresh garlic has the best flavor, but you could also use jarred garlic if you prefer.
  • Seasonings – Poultry seasoning, sea salt, and a pinch of turmeric for a beautiful golden broth.
  • Broth – Homemade chicken broth is preferred for the best flavor, but high-quality chicken stock from the store also works. Chicken bone broth will add extra flavor and richness, and if you have a roast chicken you should absolutely make bone broth.  
  • Shredded chicken – I recommend roasting a whole chicken and then making homemade broth for a fully homemade version that’s not too complicated either. It’s a few more steps but you can get 3 or 4 meals out of it. But you can also use rotisserie chicken.  
  • Pastina – Pastina is a small pasta that looks like little stars and is unlike any other shape in my opinion.  It’s the best choice for this soup.  If you can’t find it, acini de pepe or another tiny pasta shape will work in a pinch.

How to Roast Your Own Chicken and Make Broth

For the roasted chicken: Roasting a Chicken is simple and there are countless recipes on the internet.  My basic method is:

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Remove the chicken giblets. 
  • Rinse the chicken inside and out. 
  • Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers and pat the outside dry. 
  • Place the chicken in a large roasting pan. 
  • Brush the outside of the chicken with butter or oil and sprinkle the inside and outside of the cavity with salt and black pepper. 
  • Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. 
  • Scatter some onion slices around the chicken.
  • Roast the chicken for 1-1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh.

You can serve this for dinner one night, with a veggie on the side. Just set aside about 1-2 cups of the shredded meat from the chicken for your soup.

How to make chicken broth:

  • After you remove the leftover meat from the chicken bones, place all bones into a slow cooker. Add onions from the roasting pan and add a few carrots and stalks of celery. Cook on low over 18-24 hours and then strain broth 1-2 times as needed.  This makes a wonderful rich broth.
  • If you are short on time just cover the bones in water in a stock pot and boil them for 30 minutes to an hour.  This will make stock (not bone broth). It’s still delicious and takes way less time.  Strain the bones, add salt and you’re set to make your soup.

Storage Instructions

Store the pastina chicken soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

How to reheat

Reheat chicken soup in a saucepan or in the microwave until hot.

Can you freeze the soup?

Yes, you can freeze the soup without the pasta for 2-3 months.  When you’re ready to eat it, thaw it in the fridge overnight or heat it in a saucepan on low until hot all the way through.  Cook the pastina in a separate pot of water according to the package directions and then add it to the soup.

What if I don’t want to roast a chicken and make broth?

That’s fine!  You can use chicken stock or bone broth from the grocery store and any leftover chicken or diced skinless chicken breasts in this soup.  It will work just fine!

Recipe variations

  • You can use spaghetti, linguini, or egg noodles to make this chicken noodle soup instead.
  • Add in any fresh herbs you like at the end for a fresh flavor.  I love fresh parsley or thyme.
  • Add a little tomato paste and dried Italian seasoning when sauteeing the veggies and top with parmesan cheese for an Italian Pastina Soup.


Chicken Pastina Soup with Homemade Broth

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 10


  • 1 whole roasted chicken about 1/2 the meat is needed for this recipe
  • 7-10 cups water
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp butter or oil
  • 1 cup onion white or yellow, diced
  • 2 cups carrots peeled and sliced into 1" pieces
  • 1 cup celery sliced
  • 2 whole cloves garlic peeled
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup pastina pasta


  • From the roasted chicken, remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and shred or dice the chicken meat.

For the Chicken Stock (on the stovetop)

  • Place the chicken bones in a 16- to 20-quart stockpot. Add 7-8 cups of water (enough to cover the bones by about 1/2") and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 30-45 minutes. Strain the entire contents of the pot through a colander and discard the solids.

For the Chicken Stock (in the crockpot)

  • After you remove the leftover meat from the chicken bones, place all bones into a slow cooker. Cook on low over 18-24 hours and then strain the entire contents of the pot through a colander and discard the solids. This makes a wonderful rich broth. This takes a long time but it's totally hands off while it's cooking.

For the Chicken Soup

  • Heat a large pot on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Add in the butter or oil, carrots, celery, and onion. Add in a little salt and pepper and let that cook stirring occasionaly for about 5 minutes.
  • To the pot add in the thyme leaves by stripping the little green leaves off of the stems, and add in the turmeric and the poultry seasoning. Stir for another minute and add in the homemade broth.
  • Add in the meat from the chicken and the whole garlic cloves and let this simmer until the veggies are soft about 15 minutes. After the veggies are soft, you can pull out the garlic cloves, they have done their job flavoring the broth. Or if you aren't afraid of garlic, you can leave them in. 🙂
  • While this is cooking in a separate small pot, cook the pastina according to the package instructions. When it is al dente, drain and add it to the soup just before serving.
    You can also add the pastina directly to the soup to cook, but I prefer it cooked separately, this will ensure the pasta and the soup are cooked perfectly. This also works well for re-heating the soup as the pasta can be added at the last minute, helping to keep it al dente. Cooking it separately works well if you want to freeze the soup.
  • Taste for salt and pepper, and enjoy a big comforting bowl of soup!

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